How to Create Influencer Marketing Trends for Small Businesses?
Influencer endorsements offer powerful social proof that small businesses can leverage to raise awareness about their brand and reach a larger pool of potential customers. In fact, 25% of small businesses are already leveraging the power of influencer marketing through social media to promote their brand and expand their customer base.
Influencer marketing provides small businesses with immediate access to thousands of potential customers. It helps small businesses boost their brand image and build a sense of trust and credibility among customers. So, how do you leverage influencer marketing to grow your small business?
This article will help you create a foolproof influencer marketing strategy for your small business.
6 Key Steps to Building a Foolproof Influencer Marketing Strategy
#1. Define Campaign Goals
The first step to planning a successful campaign is to have a clear idea about what you wish to achieve with your campaign effort. Have a solid understanding of your goals and KPIs to measure the campaign’s success. This ensures that the strategy remains consistent throughout the campaign duration.
A clearly defined goal also helps businesses target the best influencers and choose the right mediums to maximize the ROI. Here are a few examples of goals you might want to consider for influencer campaigns.
- Increase the follower count on social media
- Boost engagement (likes, comments, and shares) on your content
- Maximize customer purchases during sales
- Build a loyal community
- Grow brand awareness
Once you have defined your goals and KPIs, you can plan the campaign to achieve those objectives.
#2. Set a Budget
The next important step is finalizing the budget for the campaign. The budget for the campaign is determined by influencer compensation, administrative or legal costs, software subscriptions, and paid media advertising fees. Besides, you must consider the amount of time and resources you have invested in planning and executing the influencer marketing campaign.
Before diving into budget planning, decide on the best compensation model to pay the influencers for their effort. Here are the different ways brands are compensating their influencers.
- Sponsored content – This type of collaboration offers influencers monetary compensation usually on a per post basis. Here, brands have more control over influencers’ content creation process. As you are directly paying them for the effort, they will ensure the right message is shared with their audience.
- Affiliate program – This type of compensation program offers influencers a certain percentage of profits for every sale they generate. You can leverage affiliate marketing software, such as Refersion, LeadDyno, or Tapfiliate to manage the affiliate program.
- Gifting – This compensation model offers free products or subscriptions to the influencers in exchange for a review on social media.
Choose the compensation model that works best for your influencer marketing campaign. Always start with a small budget to figure out how the campaign performs. In this way, you will identify what is working and what is not and tweak your strategy accordingly.
#3. Connect with Niche Influencers
Once you have defined your goals and the budget, it is time to connect with the influencers of your industry.
Look for the right influencers
Finding the right influencers can be challenging for small business owners considering the budget constraints. Hence, partnering with micro-influencers is ideal to garner visibility for your brand.
Micro-influencers are those influencers who have a following of 10000 to 50000 followers. These influencers are usually connected with their followers on a more personal level which makes them the perfect fit for marketing your small business. Partnering with micro-influencers ensures your brand reaches a specific target audience with a possibility of higher engagement.
Now, let us understand the things to consider when shortlisting an influencer.
- Who is their target audience? Does it match yours?
- Which social media platforms do they use? Are you looking for the same?
- What is their follower count? What kind of engagement do they receive on the posts?
- Have they collaborated with brands before? Do they have a demonstrable portfolio?
Keep these criteria in mind while researching the influencers. Here are various ways you can utilize to find the best influencers for your campaign.
- Monitor the comments on your posts to find influencers who are actively following and engaging with your brand. You can also check the posts or stories you’re tagged in to find relevant influencers.
- Search the relevant hashtags to identify influencers in your niche. For example, if you have a branded hashtag on Instagram, following it every day will certainly help you find Instagram influencers for your campaign.
Influencers also use category-specific hashtags while sharing the content. You can look up those hashtags and connect with them. For instance, a small business manufacturing crochet plushies can follow the hashtag #crochetplushies to find mom influencers or kid influencers for their brand.
- Leverage influencer research tools, such as HypeAuditor, Storyclash, SocialBlade, and others to discover the best influencers for your small business. These tools offer incredible features that help you determine if the influencer’s following is authentic or not.
Check to see if the influencer’s voice resonates with your brand personality
To yield the best results from influencer marketing campaigns, it is wise to gauge whether the influencer’s audience and voice match your brand personality. Remember niche influencers are the best to create a positive influence on the audience.
For example, if you are a small eCommerce business that sells homemade scented candles, an influencer who posts about home decor and has gained followers for lifestyle and home improvement niche would be more ideal for your brand than a beauty influencer. The best audience for this content and influencer marketing strategy would be homemakers.
To qualify the influencers for your campaigns, ask yourself the following questions.
- What are the influencer’s follower demographics? Are the followers genuine? Where are the followers based?
- Is the influencer posting content relevant to your industry?
- What kind of engagement does the influence receive on the posts?
- Does the influencer have experience working for brands like yours?
- Is the influencer aware of the latest industry trends?
The answers to these questions will give you a clear idea about how well a particular influencer will help you achieve your campaign goals.
Shortlist and connect with relevant influencers
After identifying the target influencers, it is time to reach out to them with your brand collaboration opportunity. Connect with them over an email or their website. You can also send a direct message on their social media pages.
Craft a clear message by introducing yourself and your brand. Next, share details about the collaboration opportunity by stating the campaign requirements and content deliverables.
Here is an example of an influencer outreach message.
Including a line or two about why that particular influencer would make a good fit for the collaboration can take your outreach message to the next level. Besides, if the influencer is relatively new, you can ask for a work portfolio.
Here are some best practices that small businesses must follow when reaching out to influencers.
- Write a personalized message to the influencers. Emails with personalized subject lines and messages are 26% more likely to be opened.
- Ask influencers about the type of compensation they look for in brand collaborations before you pitch your offerings. Is it monetary compensation, a barter deal, or free products?
- Use contract management systems to draft contracts and other agreements for long-term collaborations. This will accelerate the contract review and signing process and also ensure that the documents are accessible in a few clicks.
- Leverage a chatbot to answer commonly asked questions by the influencers. This will reduce the back-and-forth of emails or phone calls, thereby speeding up the entire process. You can use a chatbot builder to design and build custom chatbots for your influencer marketing campaigns.
- Set up a communication channel to update the influencers about new collaboration opportunities, upcoming product releases, and other news.
#4. Manage Influencers Effectively
After rigorous research and outreach, you have finally shortlisted the influencers for your campaign and connected with them. Now, it’s time to manage them effectively to get the best ROI on influencer marketing spending.
This short guide will help you manage your brand influencers and foster great relationships with them.
- Develop a smooth influencer onboarding process and convey your expectations. Communicate the campaign goals and inform them what they need to do to help you achieve them. Telling them how you would monitor their performance will also help in avoiding any misunderstandings.
- Share a style guide and resources library to educate the influencers about your brand and other guidelines. This will help them tailor their content according to your brand.
- Give them complete control and freedom to experiment with their creativity. Allow them to present the content in their style and voice. Avoid micromanagement as much as possible.
- Leverage an influencer marketing platform like Upfluence, Promoty, Grin, or more to manage influencer relationships. Connect with influencers online for signing contracts, intimating deadlines, releasing payments, and more from a unified system. You can even use electronic signature tools to create e-signs to streamline the agreement process.
Remember, influencers are your brand ambassadors and not employees. Hence, treat them professionally and show respect toward their content creation process.
#5. Measure the Campaign Performance
Like every other online marketing strategy, the performance of influencer marketing campaigns must also be monitored and its results analyzed. This will help you evaluate whether you should continue working with the chosen influencers or collaborate with the new ones.
Depending on the goals you have set for the campaign, keep a track of the social media followers, post engagement, website traffic, sales leads, and more.
For example, if you have collaborated with an influencer for sharing your product’s review along with a discount coupon code, tracking the post reach and engagement is mandatory. However, monitoring coupon usage is equally important. Further, you can share these results with your influencers. This will help them analyze the effort and create better content for future collaborations.
Analyze all the results generated from each influencer collaboration and evaluate them to devise an influencer marketing plan that would drive better results in the future.
#6. Express Gratitude
It is always a good practice to thank the influencers for the hard work they have put in to promote your business. Remember influencer collaborations can be turned into loyal brand partnerships and lasting relationships if properly nurtured.
Write down a personalized thank you note to the influencers and express how thankful you are for the awesome content they have created. Send them personalized gifts, such as business merchandise, products, or other items to build strong connections.
For example, check out this handwritten note and a gift sent by Lola Rose, a jewelry brand to its influencer.
Do not hesitate to ask for genuine feedback from the influencers. You can share a short feedback survey to understand what worked well and what didn’t and gain insights into how the followers responded to the collaboration. Use this information to improve future collaborations.
Grow Your Small Business with Influencer Marketing
Now that you have learned how to develop an influencer marketing strategy, it is time to start planning and implementing a campaign.
Remember influencer marketing might not give excellent results in the beginning. Give it a chance, learn what works best for your small business, and focus your effort on the same. Foster long-lasting relationships with the influencers and leverage this versatile marketing tactic to your brand’s advantage.