Influencer Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
2017 End of Year Social Audit
As a business owner, it can take a significant amount of time and money to deal with all the nuances of digital marketing. Generating engagement, follows, clicks, impressions, and likes; boosting posts, promoting tweets—then stressing about if you’ve mastered the art of being sales-y enough to sell your product, but not too sales-y that it sounds like you just want people to buy.
When you’re working solo or with a small team, that time is better spent working on your actual business. If your business can benefit from word-of-mouth referrals (and it most likely can), then get back some of your time and money, because influencer marketing is probably right for you.
🇯🇵I came to Japan with my friends at @shiseido to learn more about their newest launch, The Essential Energy Collection and I wanted to wait and post a review after using the product for AT LEAST a week so I️ could report back with my real thoughts for you guys. ✨ DRUM ROLL….This new line is so bomb. The launch contained three products: a gel moisturizer, a cream moisturizer, and the same cream with SPF. ✨ This might be TMI but not only am I traveling but it’s also that time of the month and my skin has been flawless. Floored. 🌙 But seeing is believing so swipe through the videos behind this photo, you’ll see my skin after using the product and the shock in my face 😂 Thank you @shiseido for making products that make us feel things deeply, make us more confident in our skin, and that just plain work. 🙏🏻 #MyEssentialEnergy #sponsored #skincarereview #shiseido #WakeUpInTokyo
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In case you aren’t 100% clear on what influencer marketing actually is:
Influencer marketing is when someone with an engaged following introduces your business to their audience for brand awareness, or to help you sell products.
Think about how your favorite photographer gets Canon’s latest lenses to their mailbox to review them. As an expert, they swear by the product, and then they link their followers over to buy the lens for themselves—that’s influencer marketing.
How Influencer Marketing Helps Small Businesses
Avoiding Ad Blindness
Have you ever noticed your eyes skip the first result when Googling something, just to avoid the “Ad” listing at the top of the page? How many billboard images can you remember from your drive yesterday? These are byproducts of ad blindness.
We’ve become so accustomed to businesses trying to make us spend our hard-earned money using these ad placements that we avoid paying attention altogether.
So, what never fails to sell a product? A referral from someone you trust. How many times have you seen a product and thought it was a waste of money, but then a friend recommends it, you try theirs, you’re blown away, so you decide to get one for yourself? That’s what an influencer’s word can do for your target audience.
Social and SEO ROI
The return on investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is twofold: Not only do word-of-mouth style recommendations sell better than ads, but the social proof of someone who advocates for your brand can last a lifetime. This is how loyal brand followers are created.
One of the first things people do before committing to an investment is research for testimonials, reviews, and social proof of a product. Someone with a little clout advocating for your brand creates more trust for potential customers, plus it gives you the opportunity to influence Google search results.
How can that work? When keywords are searched for, they can be traced to a particular post or comment with your brand mentioned. A few popular websites linking to yours could give you a higher ranking for specific keywords.
For example, if your influencer posted on Instagram that they enjoyed your writing workshop in Manhattan, that could be indexed by Google when someone Googles “writing workshops in Manhattan.” Someone researching your influencer may just stumble across their recommendation of your brand. The possibilities are endless.
Affordability & Niche Targeting
It seems like a crapshoot when it comes to Facebook Ads and AdWords. About half of social media experts swear by it, while the other half say it’s a waste of money. My personal experience? It can get really expensive before you see a significant return on investment.
So much has to go right before you can make your money back: nailing the right advertising audience, writing advertising copy that will get approved and still be persuasive, producing images or videos that attract people from ad blindness, not to mention the actual financial investment. Influencer marketing eliminates most of that work.
The right influencer already has an audience that is interested in products related to your industry. They know how to talk to their audience, and they don’t need to experiment with images or video to break out of ad blindness, because they already know what works with the people who follow them. Plus, hiring the right influencer costs less than the time and money you put into advertising, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll barter your product for their influence.
Influencer Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
You don’t have to have celebrities or industry all-stars to make a significant splash with influencer marketing. Loyal fans with a bit of influential leverage have the power to transform your brand. Seek out influencers on the level of your own business.
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If you own an indoor baseball facility, reach out to some of the local Little League teams and offer them some free practice days in exchange for checking in on Facebook and tagging your Instagram in pictures.
The parents will likely end up sharing the team’s images, and the word of mouth will snowball into more buzz, which equals more customers.
Influencers Must Relate
It’s important that your influencer is relevant to your brand’s industry. Context is everything when having an authentic influencer marketing campaign.
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You’d trust the workout and recovery regimen of a professional athlete over someone who occasionally strolls into a gym. Whose opinion would you trust more when it comes to buying scuba diving equipment: an SEO agency or a search-and-rescue volunteer?
Be prepared when you run an influencer campaign. When someone pushes your brand, you need to second their push, and make sure your website can handle traffic spikes. Make sure your customer service and sales teams can handle an influx of communication, and that you have a great offer lined up for warm leads sent your way.
One of the quickest ways young SAAS (software as a service) companies grow is by being listed on Product Hunt. The best of the best are prepared for the heavy traffic and inquires, and often give an introductory deal to Product Hunt members.
How are you using influencer marketing in your small business? If you’re in need of more branding or marketing advice, feel free to reach out.
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Garett Southerton runs Garett® Creative, a creative branding and website design agency based in New York. Specializing in science-backed design and marketing, Garett has worked with startups and entrepreneurs for the last 15 years.