Influencer marketing is often stereotyped as being picture-perfect Instagram models promoting anything from teeth whitening products to weight loss tea. 

Although this is the reality for some, there is a large market of niche influencers out there that are both approachable and effective for marketing your business. 

However, if you have no idea where to start, influencer marketing can seem rather daunting. So here are my top tips on how to make it work for small businesses: 

  • Keep it niche

Reach out to influencers who are actually influential in your industry. Someone with thousands of followers is no use to you if their followers are not your target market. For example if you are a whisky brand then there’s not much point approaching someone who posts about fitness, as  their followers will not be looking to them for recommendations on whisky. 

I would also recommend looking locally, although not every small business requires a local customer base, your audience is more likely to grow quicker and organically if you focus on the local market first. 

  • Prioritise engagement over followers

Don’t necessarily be drawn in by 10k+ followers! The engagement that someone is receiving on their profile is a much better indication of whether they hold influence. Smaller or ‘micro-influencers’ are also more likely to have a higher engagement rate and be viewed as a genuine expert in the industry they focus on. 

You can find engagement rate calculators on the internet for social media profiles, or I would just recommend delving deep into their profile. Look at who is commenting on and sharing their content, if these people are your target market, then you’re on the right track.

  • Aim for collaboration

Okay so you’ve found the influencer that you think perfectly represents your brand, do not just jump right in and ask them to do a post for a freebie or what their rates are for ad posts! This would make the process unnatural from start to finish and we want someone who GENUINELY likes your product or service! 

Kick the relationship off by sending them a message letting them know you enjoy their content and that you have a product or service you would like to gift them and get their feedback on. 

If they agree, allow them reasonable time to try out said product or service and then follow up with them about their experience. If they have positive feedback about their gift, then you can open up the discussion as to whether they would be interested in collaborating with your brand.

Collaboration means they will take an active interest in helping your business grow through the content that they put out to their following, in return you will give them free products or services and perhaps a financial incentive as the relationship grows. By waiting to receive feedback, you are more likely to work with an influencer who has a genuine interest in your business and who will naturally promote it. 

This is just a very brief intro to influencer marketing for small businesses. If you think this is something that your brand could benefit from, then please reach out for a free consultation and we can discuss it further.