23.11.2023 11:30

How to Use Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses

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The rise of social media has brought with it a unique marketing trend in the form of influencers. Influencers exist across many fields of interest, from fitness to food to makeup and more. Because of this wide net of interests, they’ve also become one of the best ways to market a business.

From a customer’s perspective, it’s easy to understand the appeal; traditional marketing can easily be spotted and pinned as too focused on sales, whereas influencers constantly emphasize that they’re real people who are enjoying the products and services they’re using. But simply viewing the content influencers create from the outside can be a little mystifying for marketers looking to take advantage of this unique marketing trend. If you want to expand your marketing strategies, here are a few pieces of advice to consider.

Don’t Think Big

When attempting to find influencers to market your business, it’s easy to think of huge names whose platforms are built on social media popularity. Put bluntly, you’re not going to be booking Charli D’Amelio to promote your small business. Not only are influencers at a tier that high, far beyond easy accessibility, but they’re also wildly beyond the budget of the average business owner. Go the other direction and focus on smaller influencers (or “micro-influencers,” as they’re sometimes called).

The benefits of micro-influencers repping your brand are very clear. For one thing, they’re likely already focused on a specific demographic. Micro-influencers tend to stake a platform by focusing on a specific topic, and if that topic aligns with your business, you’ve already got common ground. There are several services (for example, Tribe) designed to bridge the gap between you as a marketer and an influencer, and by clearly articulating what you’re looking for in a marketing package, you can have someone promoting your brand in no time.

Provide the Tools

Influencers are experts in content creation. They likely don’t need much in the way of advice when it comes to creating content that will receive positive attention. Beyond that, they could probably use some information about the brand they’re promoting, and the more you provide to them, the better.

Providing them with polished marketing material, like these free social media posts from MustHavemenus, that they can use when planning content to promote you is a great tool to give them a feel for what you need from them. Don’t necessarily expect that they’ll incorporate it directly into the content they create for you. If you need them to utilize that material in the content they create, make sure you make this explicit from the beginning so that they can plan what they create appropriately.

A great secondary tool would be giving influencers a personal promo code! These codes don’t need to expire and don’t need to take enormous amounts off the purchase prices; the important thing here is keeping this person to the influencers that potential customers already like. This encourages the chance for people to see the promotional content even weeks or months later, bringing more and more potential customers into the fold for you.

Bridge the Gap

If you’re using influencers to promote your brand, meet them halfway. The intent of using influencer marketing is to bring people onto your own brand platforms. If new customers are migrating away from the familiar platforms of influencers and onto your brand platform, they’re likely looking to follow up on something specific, whether it’s a product, a promotion, a contest, or what have you. It’s critical that you remove as many barriers to entry as possible, so whenever the influencer content goes live, make sure your platforms are prepared with sympathetic marketing.

In simple terms, if an influencer is hyping up something specific within your brand, the top post on your Instagram should be a crisp in-house ad for the same thing.

By cutting out extra steps and difficulty navigating to what you’re selling, you raise the chance that even on an impulse, a customer will follow through on a transaction. If you can post a link to the promoted material in Instagram or TikTok bios or pin a tweet, do it! Just doing a little bit of preparation to make the process easier for your customers helps create positive mental associations with your brand in the minds of your future customers, which means they’re more likely to become repeat customers.

Keep Data

You need to know for a fact what works and what doesn’t. Influencer marketing is a volume game, and the more bodies that an influencer can get through your doors (figuratively speaking), the more useful they are to you. Tribe, mentioned previously, has metric services you can use to track engagement and follow-through when people pursue your product through their content, as do other services like GroupHigh.

If you’re hoping to use influencer marketing to drive your business’s growth, you need to track this data very closely. If your marketing campaign through one influencer isn’t working, see if you can salvage it. If not, it might be time to find a better fit to represent your brand.

Stay Light On Your Feet

If a style of influencer marketing isn’t working well for your brand, don’t be afraid to scrap it and start over. There’s no need to burn bridges – it’s your responsibility as the brand representative to explain to the influencer that the partnership isn’t generating the return that you need. Knowing when to cut your losses is important in the fast-paced world of the internet; given the speed that new content is created, you need to know when money should be spent and when it should be saved to put towards totally different influencer campaigns.

Try a few things out! Don’t hesitate to experiment until you see something beginning to gain traction and more frequent engagement. Once you’ve figured out what works, ensure your influencer friends drill down to that and focus on producing what your new customers seem to be responding to. Remember, influencer marketing might seem daunting, but the returns can be huge. You might not know that it will pay off from the beginning, but if you end up with viral levels of engagement, you’ll be glad you put the work in.

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