Influencer marketing for small businesses

Influencer marketing for small businesses

As COVID-19 continues to impact how we live, it’s also changed the way many businesses interact with their customers. If you’re a business owner, find out how social media influencer marketing can help you sell your products and services in these uncertain times.

Table of contents

Continue reading to discover:

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing conducted by celebrities and individuals with expertise and/or popularity in their field. Using platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, influencer marketing involves word-of-mouth endorsements and product placements in social media posts. 

Why influencer marketing is on the rise

Unlike many other forms of advertising, influencer marketing grew sharply during lockdown. That’s because as staying at home became the norm, social media use increased significantly. As a result, many brands have partnered with influencers to advertise on the platforms where their customers spend most of their time. 

Unsurprisingly, influencer marketing has been on the rise for a while now. According to Business Insider, it’s on track to become a $15 billion industry globally in 2022, up from about $1.7 billion five years ago. 

The benefits of influencer marketing

The best thing about influencer marketing is that the influencer’s audience already exists. All you need to do is establish a partnership where your business offers value to the influencer’s audience. Here are some main benefits of using influencer marketing in your social media campaigns.

  • Helps build trust

Influencers have existing relationships and credibility with their followers. Collaborating with the right influencer means your content will get shared with an audience that’s already engaged. This also means that you don’t have to waste time and money on finding your audience. 

  • Improves brand awareness

Influencer marketing allows social media audiences to learn more about your brand, your story, and the products you offer.

  • Enhances your content strategy

Sharing influencer content can help fill in the gaps in your content calendar. In turn, your social media content can attract new users to your existing content on platforms like your blog.

  • Builds potential partnerships

Engaging with an influencer can be the start of a win-win relationship. Long-term collaborations could lead to possible joint ventures, live events, and other opportunities.

  • Solves everyday problems

Good content should offer solutions to problems, educate or inspire your intended audience. Influencer marketing embraces this concept, as influencers are already in tune with the needs of the people they communicate with regularly. 

Examples of influencer marketing 

Businesses of all sizes are using influencer marketing. If there’s a product or service to endorse, there’s usually an expert in that field. 

You might be wondering why a global brand would need to use an influencer. The answer is that influencers can open doors that would otherwise be shut, even to large corporations. A great example of this is when Converse collaborated with Trans rights campaigner Kenny Ethan-Jones on this ‘Pride Never Stops’ campaign. By aligning with Ethan-Jones, the shoe company caught the attention of people interested in LGBTQ issues, body politics, and mental health. 

For small businesses using influencer marketing to boost their brand, look no further than Swisspers. The US beauty start-up used a mix of celebrities and influencers to encourage women to post no make-up selfies with their ‘Sleep Naked’ campaign. While the celebrities brought attention to the brand, the beauty bloggers motivated users to remove their makeup with Swisspers’ cotton rounds. 

In the weeks leading up to the event, these influencers teased their Sleep Naked photos on social media. Fans posted influencers’ makeup-free photos and their own on social media. 

Fans also participated in conversations with celebrities and influencers about the Sleep Naked campaigns and skincare via posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Total impressions from the campaign reached 94.1 million, tripling projections. 

The campaign was also a success on Twitter, with nearly 3,000 campaign mentions and huge exposure for the brand hashtag. A brand tracking study showed that 25 percent of all women from 18 to 34 recalled the campaign, and 8 percent specifically recalled campaign messages. Of those, 90 percent took some kind of action, such as changing their face-cleansing habits or buying the product.

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How much does influencer marketing cost?

According to Charly Booth of influencer marketing agency EngageHub, some businesses can pay up to £25,000 per campaign. However, for a small business with a limited budget, it’s possible to launch an influencer marketing project for around £2,000

If you’re a new business owner trying to manage costs, some nano influencers (1,000-5,000 followers) can charge as little as £50 for a post.

Where to find influencers

Love them or loathe them, influencers are everywhere. But this abundance of talent can make finding the right one a tad tricky. Fortunately, there are some initial steps you can take to secure the perfect influencer.

  • Understand the authority of the influencer

For any influencer, you’ll need to research if they have a relevant or large enough audience to help you accomplish your goals. Influencer analysis is an important part of learning how to find the right influencers that can reach your audience. 

Consider factors such as their number of followers, quality of content, and how much their followers engage with their content through “likes” and “shares”.

  • Find influencers who promote your competitors

Look for influencers who are already working with brands like yours. Many influencers are selective about who they’re associated with and may reject your proposal if it doesn’t match their brand identity. 

But if they’re already posting about other start-ups in your industry, they’ll be more open to working with you. Browse industry-related hashtags on social media to see who is regularly sharing content and talking about your competitors. 

  • Discover influencers who are related to your industry

A great hunting ground is well-known personalities in your industry. Industry influencers help you spread your messaging and build brand awareness in your target audience. 

You can start by setting up Google alerts for industry-related buzzwords. That way, you can see who’s publishing content about important topics. You should also browse forums to see who is regularly answering questions that relate to your industry.

  • Find influencers who share your audience

Influencers who share your audience can provide just as much value as those directly tied to your industry. Working with influencers in an industry that overlaps or is complementary to your own may help you reach even more of your audience. 

For example, if your electronics company sells portable car stereos, your audience will be car owners. That means you likely share that audience with brands that make custom car rims. In this case, you could see what influencers are operating within the car rim niche and look for ways to collaborate.