If you are a young brand who wishes to use social media/influencer marketing, then save and read my blog before you plunge into this new era of Digital Marketing.
On regular basis, several new brands and mompreneurs reach out to me to help them promote their new ventures and ask for tips and guidance to work with influencers
I have been an entrepreneur myself, now a blogger and also been a digital marketer who has worked with top influencers in my last company. Based on these 3 roles I got a fair chance to understand this space to share my take on what new brands must know before they plunge into Influencer Marketing. I have written this blog based on my knowledge, research and experience with the hope that it helps fellow entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Remember- Influencer marketing is not direct sales. Its brand awareness and promotion which will lead to sales in the long run.
Why should Small Businesses use Influencer Marketing?
As a small business your crucial strategy is to get the word out to your consumers and encourage them to give your business a try. Influencers/bloggers can help to make that connect. Influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsement but has a higher weightage as people relate more to a real person with whom they can connect. The dialogue between an influencer and their audience is strong enough to help you generate an ROI of 10 times compared to regular ads and marketing efforts.
An important benefit of influencer marketing is that you can actually reach out to your niche or a specific target audience. It all depends on the influencers your company works with, and who their audiences are. With more people spending endless hours on social media there are higher chances of your brand reaching to your desired target who may make the purchase on same day!
How is Influencer Marketing for a Small Business different from a that for a Bigger Brand?
Small businesses cannot hire or work with celebrities or top influencers with 100’s of following due to affordability. But the good news is that you can work with Micro influencers who may have followers in range of 0-10,000 with higher engagement rates. New bloggers/influencers will be happy to work with smaller brands as its a huge opportunity for them to showcase their talent and their creativity. This also means your opportunity work with enthusiastic and new age bloggers with an excitement to help market your brand at a much lower cost.
Getting started with Influencer Marketing for Small Business
If you think your brand is ready to take the plunge then here is a checklist of 10 steps to get you started.
1. Rule 1 is to have a good quality Social Media Business page (instagram/facebook) free from any personal/family updates. Once in while showing up yourself helps to connect with your customers but let’s stick to work. Use the intro space well to let people know your business well and to visit your website
2. Social Media is highly visual. Ensure you upload only high quality beautiful and pleasing pictures of your products with important information that will help consumers to make an informed decision. Add product details, pricing and how to buy.
3. A major mistake many small businesses make is hitting in the air. It’s important to understand your products and services and then specify your niche. This will help you choose influencers and bloggers to work with. If you retail mom care products then you should work only with mom bloggers, if you are a travel company then you can work with travel bloggers plus others who also travel and share their stories whether from fashion background or moms who do family trips.
4. Set your goals like -increasing your brand’s followers, getting more customers, or increasing website traffic. This will help guide you through the rest of the process. Having a goal can also keep you from veering off course.
5. Decide a monthly marketing budget and keep min 60-70% for influencer marketing in initial few months. This can reduce as your brand grows. Strategically plan social media campaigns that are spread over at least 30-60 days.
How to select and work with Influencers?
6. Choosing an influencer to work with is overwhelming. Look for influencers based on your niche only and go through their feed. More than follower numbers look at the content they create and engagement they receive. If their words and lifestyle resonate with your brand, it’s likely their audience will enjoy your products/services and buy them too.
7. Send them professional email with the scope of project to collaborate and ask for their quotes for certain expected work in terms of deliverables. If you really like them try and negotiate for a win win deal. Else let them pass. You can always return to them when you have better budgets but do not spoil the relationships. Look for micro influencers willing to work with you on a barter or small budget. You can request to review the posts they do before it goes up. this helps you ensure its aligned to your expectations and their commitments.
8. You sell an expensive product or service? You feel you are already giving someone a good barter deal? It may work with few, but most professional macro influencers/bloggers may refuse to work on Barter. At the end of the day it’s their time and effort spent to help YOU to promote YOUR brand. So don’t feel bad if someone refuses to work on barter. They are just sticking with their work ethos. It’s not personal. Add these products/services cost as a part of your marketing budget. Think about this, if you don’t give someone a product to try how else will they be able to review it for YOU? You are the clear receiver here as brand not the influencer. Most can go out and buy your products if they wish to and not worry about reviewing it.
9. Influencer marketing is an ongoing process. Ideate campaigns that your audience can relate to. Plan it in a phased manner to create wave effect over a period of time. Read and research what your competitors do. Planning will be crucial here.
10. Still unsure? Hire a freelancer or a digital agency to guide you. Entrepreneurship is hard and there is as much money to fund. But if you don’t do it now it won’t matter if you do it later.
Influencer marketing can help your business grow in abundance. Work hard, choose smart and plan well.
If you are a brand and found this useful, please don’t forget to leave your comment or ask your questions. Happy to help. I have also worked with brands in the past and helped them ideate digital marketing campaigns. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can offer my services to you too.