Now a billion-dollar industry, influencer marketing has become the fastest-growing customer acquisition marketing method.  With a return-on-investment 11x higher than traditional advertising campaigns, it’s clear that influencer marketing is a highly effective way of promoting and growing a business – yes, probably even your small business!

What is influencer marketing?

 Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves working with online influencers to promote your brand. An influencer is a person who is known as an expert or personality in a particular field and has a considerable following within this niche. They have the power to influence their audience’s purchasing decisions because of their relationship with them and their authority, knowledge or position. Essentially, influencer marketing is the practice of capitalizing on this influence.

Finding the right influencer for your small business

There are influencers of all different sizes (in terms of their number of followers), on all social media platforms and within virtually every niche. You just have to find the right match for your business. Micro-Influencers (influencers with 3K to 100K followers) are usually the best choice for small businesses. Although they don’t have a huge following, their audience is generally more focused and engaged, compared to celebrities and mega-influencers with millions of followers. Not to mention they are much less expensive to work with.

The benefits of influencer marketing

Working with micro-influencers within your niche gives you an opportunity to get your business in front of an audience made up of your ideal customer base. They’re already interested and inclined to want or need your product or service. For instance, just imagine how much a potting soil business would benefit from having a plant influencer recommend their product to his or her following of gardeners and plant-enthusiasts!

On top of getting direct access to your target audience, influencer marketing allows your business to “piggyback” on the reputation and credibility of the influencers you’re working with. This is great for new or small businesses that don’t have an established brand yet. Like customer reviews and word-of-mouth, influencer marketing is a form of “Social Proof”. (People are more likely to make a purchase if they see that others have already done so.) In the case of influencers, their followers trust that their product reviews and recommendations are reliable and are more likely to make a purchase because of this endorsement. Among other things, influencer marketing is a great way to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Reach new and larger audiences
  • Gain followers
  • Increase website traffic
  • Drive sales

How to work with influencers?

There are a ton of ways you can connect your brand with influencers. And, because each influencer is unique, partnerships will vary from one another. However, there are some established influencer marketing tactics. Here are 5 ways small businesses can work with influencers:

1. Reviews

Businesses can send their products or offer their services to influencers for free, in exchange for a review on their platform. This is one of the most common forms of influencer marketing.

2. Contests and Giveaways

Businesses can offer products or services to influencers for them to giveaway to their followers. In order to participate in these online contests and giveaways, followers are generally required to engage with the influencer’s and/or the brand’s post (through a like, comment, or share for example). This is a great way to grow your following and boost engagement on your business’ page.

3. Social Media Takeovers

Businesses can have influencers take over their social media pages for a predetermined amount of time to create and share content. This can benefit both your business and the influencer, as you both reach new followers, build credibility and generate new content from this takeover.

4. Sponsored content

Businesses can offer to pay influencers to promote their products or services. These sponsorships come in many forms depending on the type of influencer, but it’s usually through a picture, video or post on the influencer’s platform. Although brands can provide guidelines, they should work with the influencer to come up with content that their audience will respond well to.  

5. Collaborations

Businesses can team up with influencers to create content or a product together. For example, a small grocer could work with a food blogger to create recipes for their website, or a makeup brand could work with a beauty influencer to come out with a limited-edition lipstick. This type of partnership has many benefits which generally include increased sales.

Because it’s so effective and versatile, influencer marketing is a great way for businesses of any size to promote their brand. In fact, by partnering with the right influencers, small businesses can get an extraordinary return without having to break the bank. Don’t be afraid to get started!