Small business influencer marketing has definitely moved out of the novelty category for companies, and into the mainstream as a strong tactic in the overall marketing strategy used by businesses.
Even very small business owners such as locksmiths, plumbers, and veterinary clinics, should take advantage of the tremendous benefits of using influencer marketing to promote their small business.
The popular online marketing tactic isn’t just for huge, national companies with lots of cash to throw at celebrities and professional athletes. Keep reading to discover how you can find and build partnerships with influencers to help promote your small business to new customers.
Every town and every industry has people who are influential.
Regardless of how small your business is, you’ll have access to local celebrities and influencers who can help your company become more recognized and can help you achieve steady growth.
While celebrity endorsements have always been popular, influencer marketing takes that concept to the next level in how it reaches out to people on social media.
Using word-of-mouth as a primary vehicle for persuading their followers to try a specific product, influencers can quickly accomplish things that might take weeks via other channels.
Influencers don’t have to be celebrities.
Influencer marketing doesn’t need to rely on using mega-stars but instead can be very successful simply by employing micro-influencers, i.e. those who have limited appeal, or who are only known in specific local markets.
However, these micro-influencers can still exert some significant persuasion on their followers, and influence their buying habits to a large extent.
Where to find micro-influencers
Of course, not all micro-influencers are appropriate for your business, but it’s still easy enough to find a number of them who are. There are some free options available for tracking down influential people, and there are also some tools which you may want to purchase, to make your pursuit of micro-influencers more productive.
The first place to start is to check with your existing base of followers on social media.
You may already have some influencers who are fans of your business, and if you can find these individuals, it may be very easy to persuade them to become front people for your brand, and to use their influence to persuade others.
You should also connect with local bloggers who may have a natural affinity for your products or services, because they already have a built-in following, and they could be of tremendous value to your company.
Use popular hashtags – # to research industry influencers
If you have a presence on Twitter or Instagram, you should browse through all the popular hashtags which are in any way related to your company’s products.
In more cases than not, some of the most popular tweets about your products will have come from people who are very influential in your industry.
If you do have money available in your marketing budget, you can also think about purchasing a software tool or service which can help your efforts in finding and securing the help of influencers. You can subscribe to some of the more popular services, e.g. Klear, whose specialty will be to provide you with in-depth analysis about those individuals who carry serious influence in your market.
How to secure influencer help
When you’re working with marketing influencers, the best approach is always to establish a genuine, mutually beneficial relationship. By always treating your targeted influencers with respect, you’ll have a much greater chance of securing their services to work on your behalf.
Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind when looking for the right kind of social media influencers for your company:
✦ Build real relationships with influencers:
Plan for a relationship which is more long-term, as opposed to a one-time kind of sponsorship, and expect to build up a relationship over time, because some influencers are just not ready to enter into a partnership right away, even if you’re offering a lot of money. Allow them time to familiarize with your company and your products, so they can determine if working with your company would be right for them.
✦ Respect influencer boundaries:
Find out early in the game how your influencer wants to be contacted, and what types of partnerships they are willing to be involved with.
✦ Be transparent about influencer posts:
Make sure that all postings from any influencers that you work with, clearly identify their association with your brand, so that transparency is in place, and legal issues are avoided.
✦ Know your influencer:
Research the influencer’s history, along with any sponsorships they have had with brands in the past so that you can avoid embarrassing situations in the future
✦ Understand what your influencer wants from you:
Make sure that all parties have a clear understanding from the outset about expectations. Some influencers are happy to receive products and services for their participation, while many others prefer to be paid in cash.
You want your influencer to be kept happy, so that they’re genuinely interested in sharing their thoughts with followers about your products, rather than simply going through the motions on another paid endorsement.
Influencer marketing isn’t such a crazy idea for your small business after all!
It’s clear that no matter what size your business or your local area, building relationships with the key influencers in your industry is a great way to market your business to customers. By focusing on building a real relationship and what you can bring to your influencer and not just what they can give you, you too can use this powerful marketing strategy.
Have you tried using influencer marketing?
What do you think about the influencer marketing trend? Have you tried it? Will you? Tell us what you think about in the comments section below.
As the daughter of two serial entrepreneurs, Lexi grew up in and around small businesses and the people who make them tick. She joined BizIQ in March of 2015, bringing over ten years of experience in social media, content marketing, and online community management to the team! Lexi has a passion for helping small businesses grow through online marketing. She currently works to help get the word out about BizIQ as the Director of Marketing.