Successful influencers like the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo or reality TV star Kylie Jenner can charge more than $1 million for a single sponsored post to their vast social media following.
But in the last two years, small businesses have spotted the potential of influencer marketing – and our Azimo Business survey shows that they’ve embraced it as a mainstream marketing tool.
Not every business needs a megastar like Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, the right influencer can generate sales for your business with only a few thousand followers. That’s thanks to the rise of nano-influencers, who post about very specific topics to a highly engaged audience.
In the part five of the Azimo Business special report, we’re talking about the rising popularity of influencer marketing.
Read on to discover how small businesses are using influencers to drive growth – and how you can too.
Nearly a third of businesses to use a social influencer in 2022
Around 30% of small businesses say they have used an influencer in the past and will continue to do so in the year ahead. These aren’t businesses with vast marketing budgets, which shows how accessible influencer marketing has become for small and medium enterprises like yours.
Remarkably, when we asked small business owners which marketing channels were most effective for growing their business, influencer marketing held its ground alongside more established options such as Amazon Marketplace and social media channels like Facebook.
Respondents were asked to choose the channels that provide them with the greatest return. While a significant 52.6% included social and business channels like LinkedIn, some 44.8% mentioned influencers in their response.
This is because smaller businesses and sole traders are becoming more intrepid in their hunt for growth.
This starts with having the confidence to abandon ‘business as usual’ by investing time and money into the likes of influencer marketing in 2022.
Mega versus Nano
There is a dramatic difference in cost and accessibility between ‘mega’ influencers or celebrities and ‘nano’ influencers who are simply popular in a certain field. This is an important distinction, according to Charly Booth of EngageHub.
“At least 40% of the leads coming to EngageHub now are from the small business community trying to dip their toe into the influencer world. Small businesses tend to have niche audiences, even in a wider sector like fashion, so they are looking to use influencers to speak directly to their audience, which is often very niche.”
A nano influencer might only have 800 to 1,000 followers on a particular social media platform, but if those followers are particularly engaged then that could be enough for a small business looking to increase their popularity, traffic and revenue via positive PR and awareness.
This is good news for small businesses who are looking towards this rapidly growing marketing channel in 2022. More than a fifth (22.1%) have considered using an influencer as part of their growth strategy, while a smaller but still promising 15% have not considered using influencers in the past but may do so in the future.
How does influencer marketing work?
If you’re considering this route to market in 2022, let’s take a look at the strategies you might use. Here’s a step-by step guide from EngageHub’s Charly Booth:
- Identify your own values, target audience and existing customers.
- Look for influencers who share some of the above – this is where valuable matches are found.
- Make sure the influencers on your shortlist are creating a good standard of content that is regularly engaged with and shared.
- Approach your chosen influencer to negotiate outreach within a brief and build a contract for the influencer – be sure to schedule posts.
- Analyse the results and the data in real time so you can be responsive and get more from the partnership during the campaign – be prepared to tweak and make changes that give you the most value.
“So, drill down into things like brand, values, target audience and who is currently consuming the product or service. Then you can start to match that key information with the right influencer.
“Then negotiate, understand outreach, write contracts and briefs for the influencer, set the content and schedule based on engagement times – then monitor the results in real time so we can influence the results,” she explains.
As with any digital campaign, the proof is in the analysis. Look at the data to measure the campaign’s influence on website traffic, conversion rates and sales.
Small marketing budget? Try gifting
If your business is operating on a tight budget, it’s worth remembering that influencer marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Some influencers with a smaller following will charge relatively little for a post. In some cases, you can even convince an influencer to work on a ‘gifting’ basis.
It’s the same technique that PR companies have used for decades. Businesses approach potential influencers with free products or services in exchange for a positive post about the business. This can be a great way to test influencer marketing out without committing too quickly or at too great a cost.
Booth adds: “As we have grown, we have typically started to push for £20,000 to £25,000 mark but if a business was activating this on their own, they could start with as little as £2,000. Businesses can go out there on their own and some nano influencers will charge £50 for a post.”
You might also be able to find a social media influencer who will review your service or product for free. Whether you’re looking for a trader to try out your new brokerage app or a hot sauce expert to test your latest chilli dip, the right person is out there for you.
Key takeaways for your business
- 30.6% have used an influencer in the past and will continue to do so in the year ahead.
- No matter how niche your business, there will be a nano social influencer who can help you grow.
- Nano influencers will charge as little as £50 for a post.
More in the series
Enjoyed this special report? Great. You’ll find more in the series below.
- Part 1: The companies saying ‘no’ to a website.
- Part 2: A great copywriter is your secret weapon.
- Part 3: How your business can get to grips with growth.
- Part 4: What is your competition planning for 2022?