In today's digital age, it's hard to find a business that isn't on social media. After all, it's become one of the most important marketing strategies out there to date. And one of the most effective ways to promote your brand on social media is through influencer marketing.
In case you didn't know—though at this point, who doesn't know—influencers are individuals who have a significant following on social media and are able to, well, influence their audience's purchasing decisions.
This kind of marketing strategy is often coveted by most brands because unlike traditional advertising methods, it's less "salesy"—in that influencers can often sell your product with their own authentic voices, opinions, and experiences.
If you're reading this, you probably have heard about influencer marketing and are looking to get started. And you're in luck because in this article, we'll give you the most comprehensive guide to influencer marketing, especially if you're a small business owner just starting out.
What is influencer marketing?
First thing's first, we should take time to understand exactly what influencer marketing is.
We talk about it briefly above, but influencer marketing is a type of digital marketing strategy that utilizes influencers—or people with an online presence who have the power to influence others—to promote products or services.
With a large following, these individuals can help any brand or business reach potential customers and build brand awareness.
Like we mention in the introduction, unlike traditional advertising, influencer marketing focuses on relationship building and trust between the influencer and their followers in order to establish a connection with potential customers.
This is because they will often use tactics that are more authentic to their personal brand voice versus promote a product in the same way a brand would.
Many influencers focus on delivering value to their audiences versus simply promoting products, so even the people following these influencers themselves are more likely to trust influencer recommendations, even if they know it's a sponsored post.
Benefits of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can be a great way for small businesses to reach new audiences and foster relationships with their customers. Some of the key benefits of influencer marketing include:
Increased brand awareness
Having an influencer talk about your product or service is a great way to get in front of new audiences. Influencers can help you reach new people and expand your customer base.
Influencer marketing is often a more cost-effective way to reach potential customers than traditional advertising. You don’t have to pay for expensive campaigns when you work with influencers, making it an attractive option for small businesses on a tight budget.
People trust influencers more than traditional ads, so when they recommend your product or service, it’s seen as authentic and credible. This makes it easier to build trust with potential customers and turn them into loyal fans.
Types of social media influencers
Before we dive into how to start influencer marketing, let's first understand the different types of social media influencers. Influencers are typically categorized based on the size of their following. The four main categories of social media influencers are:
Nano-influencers are individuals with a following of 1,000 to 10,000 on social media. They are often everyday people who have built a small but loyal following around a specific niche or interest.
Nano-influencers are known for their high engagement rates and are an excellent option for small businesses with a limited budget.
Micro-influencers are individuals with a following of 10,000 to 100,000 on social media. They are often experts in a particular field or niche and have built a loyal following around their expertise.
Micro-influencers are known for their high engagement rates and are an excellent option for small businesses looking to target a specific audience.
Macro-influencers are individuals with a following of 100,000 to 1 million on social media. They are often celebrities, athletes, or social media stars who have built a massive following around their personal brand.
Macro-influencers are known for their broad reach and are an excellent option for small businesses looking to target a large audience.
Mega-influencers are individuals with a following of over 1 million on social media. They are often A-list celebrities or social media stars who have built a massive following around their personal brand.
Mega-influencers are known for their broad reach and are an excellent option for large businesses with a significant budget.
How Much Does Social Influencer Marketing Cost?
The cost of social influencer marketing varies depending on the size of the influencer's following, the type of content you want them to create, and the length of the campaign.
According to a survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, the average cost per post for an influencer with 100,000 followers is $1,000.
However, this cost can vary significantly depending on the influencer's niche, engagement rate, and other factors.
How to Start Influencer Marketing as a Small Business
Now that we have a better understanding of the different types of social media influencers and the cost of influencer marketing, let's dive into how small businesses can start influencer marketing.
1. Determine Your Goals
Before you start looking for influencers, you need to determine your goals for the campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or promote a new product? Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can start looking for influencers who align with your objectives.
2. Know Who You're Trying to Influence
It's essential to know your target audience before you start looking for influencers. Who are your ideal customers, and what social media platforms do they use? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can start looking for influencers who have a similar audience.
3. Understand the Rules
Before you start working with influencers, it's essential to understand the rules and regulations around influencer marketing. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires influencers to disclose any sponsored content. Make sure you and the influencer you're working with are following these guidelines.
Make sure the influencer you're working with is relevant to your brand. If you're a fitness brand, it wouldn't make sense to work with a food blogger. Make sure the influencer's niche aligns with your brand.
The influencer's reach is also an important factor to consider. While it's tempting to work with influencers with a massive following, it's essential to consider their engagement rate. An influencer with a smaller following but a high engagement rate may be more effective than an influencer with a massive following but a low engagement rate.
How Much Does It Cost To Work With Local Influencers?
Working with local influencers can be an effective way for small businesses to reach a local audience.
The cost of working with local influencers varies depending on the size of their following and the type of content you want them to create.
According to Proxi, the average cost per post for an Instagram influencer with 10,000 to 50,000 followers is $250 to $500.
However, this cost can vary depending on the influencer's niche and engagement rate.
If you're looking for more information about how to work with influencers even when you're just a small business with no budget, check out our complete guide that shows you how.
Measure Your Results
It's essential to measure the results of your influencer marketing campaign to determine its effectiveness. You can track metrics such as engagement rate, reach, and conversions to determine the ROI of your campaign.
What are low-cost ways to work with influencers?
Compensating influencers for their work doesn't always have to be expensive. Here are some low-cost ways to compensate influencers for their work:
Giving away free products or services to influencers is a more cost-effective option than paying them in cash. This is a great way to build a relationship with influencers and get them to promote your brand.
This is a simple form of payment that is easy to track. An influencer would post recommending a product, and the brand would only pay them when their content converts a customer, or triggers a successful event like a purchase, booking, download, newsletter signup, etc.
Fixed-rate + performance bonus
This is a combination of a fixed payment and a performance bonus. The fixed payment is a guaranteed amount paid to the influencer, while the performance bonus is paid based on the success of the campaign.
Content licensing fees
This is a payment made to the influencer for the use of their content in the brand's marketing materials.
Brands can offer influencers free tickets, backstage passes, or VIP access to use as influencer compensation. This is a great way to build a relationship with influencers and get them to promote your brand.
Host a special event
Brands can host a special event, just for influencers, as a way to compensate them for their work. This is a great way to build a relationship with influencers and get them to promote your brand.
By using these low-cost ways to compensate influencers, small businesses can still run an effective influencer marketing campaign without breaking the bank.
Best influencer marketing tools for small businesses
There are several influencer marketing tools available that can help small businesses find and work with influencers. Here are three popular influencer marketing tools:
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to manage your social media accounts and track your influencer marketing campaigns.
Collabstr is an influencer marketing platform that connects brands with influencers. It allows you to search for influencers based on their niche, location, and engagement rate.
Insense is an influencer marketing platform that uses AI to match brands with influencers. It allows you to create campaigns, track results, and manage payments.
Finding and working with influencers can be an effective way for small businesses to reach their target audience. Before you start looking for influencers, it's essential to determine your goals and identify your target audience. You should also understand the legal rules and regulations around influencer marketing, and make sure the influencer is relevant to your brand.
Ready to start with influencer marketing even as a small business?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much should I pay influencers?
Determining influencer rates can vary greatly depending on factors such as follower count, engagement rate, and the influencer's niche. Some influencers may work on a flat fee basis, while others prefer a commission or a combination of both. It's important to negotiate fair compensation that aligns with your budget and the influencer's value.
Should I work with micro-influencers or macro-influencers?
Both micro-influencers (influencers with a smaller following) and macro-influencers (influencers with a larger following) have their advantages.
Micro-influencers often have higher engagement rates and a more niche audience, making them effective for targeted campaigns.
On the other hand, macro-influencers have a wider reach and can provide more visibility for your brand. Consider your goals and budget to determine which type of influencer is the best fit for your small business.
How do I measure the success of an influencer campaign?
To measure the success of an influencer campaign, track key metrics such as website traffic, sales, engagement, and follower growth. Compare these metrics to your campaign goals and evaluate the return on investment (ROI). Additionally, monitor qualitative aspects such as brand sentiment and audience feedback to gauge the overall impact of the campaign.
Can I collaborate with influencers even with a limited budget?
Yes, even with a limited budget, small businesses can still collaborate with influencers. Consider partnering with micro-influencers who may offer more affordable rates or be open to product exchanges. Focus on building authentic relationships and offering value to the influencer and their audience.
How do I find influencers in a specific niche?
To find influencers in a specific niche, you can use influencer marketing platforms, social media hashtags, or conduct manual research. Look for individuals who consistently create content related to your niche and have an engaged following. Additionally, explore industry-specific forums, groups, and communities where influencers may be active.
Can I approach influencers directly without using a platform?
Yes, you can approach influencers directly without using a platform. Platforms can streamline the process, but reaching out to influencers directly allows for a more personalized approach. Start by engaging with their content, establishing a connection, and then send a well-crafted message explaining why a partnership would be mutually beneficial.