Influencer marketing is making waves. It’s everywhere now and only growing more popular as businesses learn what it is and how it works so well.
Even if your business has been up and running for a while, influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy. However, it’s worthwhile to think about -- it’s becoming incredibly popular for good reason. It’s been reported that influencer marketing may deliver an ROI rate (return on investment) that’s 11 times higher than other marketing strategies.
Influencer marketing is using social media influencers to market your product or services. You have probably seen a lot of celebrity endorsements on Facebook or Instagram, and if you look closely at the hashtags on the promotion post, you’ll see that one of them is “#ad.” It’s not just celebrities (or macro influencers) though -- micro influencers, who are not celebrities but have big followings on social media (as low as 1,000 and as high as 100,000), are also used to promote a product or service.
No matter how small, your business may actually benefit from influencer marketing. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you actually have your small biz up and running with a solid product or service to market. From there, a lot of different elements are considered when and if you should go about working with an influencer.
As I am considered a micro-influencer, I’ve become quite familiar with the trend and am happy to walk you through it!
Stick with Micro Influencers
A micro influencer is a person who is an “average joe” or a non-celebrity who has a relatively big following on social media. It may seem like they can’t help you, but even big corporations are realizing that celebrities or “macro influencers” (people with a huge following) are less helpful. Studies show that 82% of consumers are more likely to act on the recommendations from micro-influencers. That’s because big celebrities are less trustworthy and actually have less post engagement than micro influencers. Followers spend less time engaging with celebrity posts, whereas if they see content from a lesser-known person, they want to engage. One of the reasons is it feels less like spam and more relatable.
People are also more suspicious of a celebrity touting a product, because it’s well-known that companies are willing to pay big to advertise. It takes away the sincerity of the advertisement – it’s hard to believe a celebrity really uses a product they are being paid to post. There’s also the element of relatability and lifestyle. Many people feel like celebrities live in an entirely different world, and want to see someone “real” and “like me” giving advice and recommendations.
This is really good news for you, because you don’t actually have to pay that much to market your product with micro influencers.
Make Sure They Have Real Followers
Unfortunately, there are many accounts out there that are “fake.” They purchase fake followers so they can come across as an influencer – you might see, for an example, an Instagram account for a person with 60,000 followers but only three posts on their page. In most cases, this is clearly someone who has bought their followers because they haven’t done the work to earn real followers through posts and stories.
There are some tools online that you can use to scan an influencer’s profile to see if it’s real or fake, such as Scrunch, which looks at the profile’s page to determine if there is real engagement or fake. That's calculated by previous posts, the amount of likes/engagement, and seeing if the percentage matches up to the follower count.
So, let’s say there’s a beauty guru who has 70,000 followers but on average, only 50 people like her posts. That means majority of her followers are fake accounts because they are online bots and don’t interact with her page. You could do the math yourself to figure out if an influencer is real, but if you’d prefer to get a professional opinion, invest in an online tool to do it.
This step is crucial, because if you don’t check, you could lose money and not see the results you want from an influencer campaign!
Start with Cross-Promotion Collaborations
With my own small business in wellness and mental health, I’ve been approached by companies asking to collaborate with cross-promotion. I’m considered a micro influencer, so I make an ideal candidate to advertise products. Instead of paying me to make a post about a related product, I am promoted on that company’s social pages as well. It’s a win-win, and a huge free marketing opportunity.
In fact, cross-promotion can increase ROI rates so much faster than SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You can increase sales, customer engagement, and other social channel metrics such as likes, comments, and followers.
Say you run a handyman shop with all the essential products for people in the handyman business or individuals who like the DIY approach to home improvement. By going on Facebook or Instagram, you can search hashtags relevant to your trade to find influencers that are also in your industry. Maybe you find a handyman who has a 2,000-follower count on Instagram, and you see he posts home-improvement tips every day.
You could reach out to him and ask if he’s interested in a collaboration, and further explain that you could cross-promote each other. While he makes a single post promoting your store, you will post a piece of his advice to your 3,000 followers. That makes it a fair trade as both of you will get to increase your potential customer reach.
Make Your Goal Clear
If you’ve just made a social media account and you can’t seem to get over 500 followers, this could be an opportunity that you decide using an influencer to market your business. It could also be that you are trying to increase engagement with your content and your follower count.
Whatever your goal is, make it clear to yourself before reaching out to influencers. This can help you to measure the results better and determine what kind of post you want to be shared. Is it a page like campaign? Or, are you offering a discount code to boost sales? If you want to increase comments and interaction, maybe consider setting up a Q+A style post with the influencer.
Follow the same process as mentioned before on how to find influencers relevant to your trade, and then reach out to them. See if they are interested in being paid to advertise your product; if they want to learn more, then give them your price you are willing to pay. Some influencers have already worked with small businesses and have specific guidelines to how much they charge, ie \$150 per single post on their Instagram account.
Check Your Follow List for Potential Influencers
Your best influencers to invest in for marketing may already be a fan of your brand. If someone loves your product/service, they’ll naturally do a better job at promoting your business. If, for example, you are a personal trainer that posts workout training guides on YouTube, you may find that you have a follower who has made a fitness diary account on Instagram to show her progress while following your workout routine.
She also may have gained 5,000 followers in the process and has a lot of eager followers who are looking to start their fitness journey too. You could reach out to her, applaud her dedication and results, and also ask to promote your new workout video or nutrition plan. Since she’s already probably mentioned you to her followers, it will seem more genuine for her to give you a shout out on her fitness page.
Sometimes, all you need to do is repost a testimony. A good example of this happening is from the author and medium Anthony Williams, who is well known for is nutritional and holistic healing books. Recently, to boost his reputation and reach more people, all he had to do was repost a follower on Instagram:
This works perfectly to market both Williams and the woman, @soulcheihing (a micro-influencer with 1,200 followers), because she is posting a testimony on her Instagram page. Along with the visual progress of her weight loss journey, she naturally (not forcefully) shares that she’s been following advice from Medical Medium (Williams). This makes the recommendation feel authentic.
To market her page, all he had to do was repost it to his 1.1 million followers, which helps her because he has followers who look for testimonies and fitness pages to follow for inspiration. Consumers would probably prefer to reach out to her for an “honest testimony” before purchasing one of his books. Based on her success story, she probably just earned him a few sales – and all he did was repost her!
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When she’s not writing for SB, Pauline runs an intuitive healing business... and is still writing as she types up psychic readings! As she was raised by entrepreneurs, she knows what it takes to be a small business owner.
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