How Small Businesses Can Master Working With With Influencers
Working with a content creator seems easy – you reach out to a few people and your brand pops up in front of thousands, or if you’re lucky, millions of potential customers. In theory that’s all there is to it, but in practice these connections need nurturing.
One of the most effective ways to get your brand in front of a lot of eyes today, is to look at influencer marketing. Social media has created stars who have tremendous emotional pull with their loyal followers through whom you can gain traction with your target audience.
Think about it: Five years ago companies spent under $5B USD on influencer marketing. This year, that figure will be over 300% of that at $16.4B. No other form of marketing is growing so rapidly.
The concept seems easy - reach out to a few people and your brand pops up on the mobile phones of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or if you’re lucky millions, of potential customers. And, yes, in theory that’s all there is to it.
Theory is great, but in practice content creators are as savvy about who they associate their brands with as multinational corporations. But don’t give up. Most people just don’t attack these relationships with the mixture of strategy and care that they should.
In this article we’ll look at some of the ways you can work successfully with influencers to turn their audience into yours.
Do Your Research
First and foremost, choose influencers that support your brand values and personality. They have to be an extension of your company’s vision and moral compass. Don’t just look at follower numbers. Of course, you want to have the largest reach you can, but often those below 100k followings (micro-influencers) actually have more loyal followers, and followers that are likely to be more attentive to the message of the influencer. These nano influencers could give you more bang for your advertising spend!
Choose Your Channels Thoughtfully
The huge rise in influencer marketing spend is largely down to the increased popularity of short-form video on TikTok, Instagram, Youtube and even the grandfather of social media - Facebook, through Reels. Work with influencers to see how your product or service can make its way organically into their posts. Where are your potential customers spending the two and half hours the average person spends on social media in a day?
Choose Organic-Style Posts Over Adverts
We don’t want to be sold to, we just want to live the lives of our favourite content creators. So push for your brand to be involved in posts that feel organic, without the obvious product shots which would be more at home on the shopping network. The creator will still need to disclose the content is an advert, using ‘#ad’ to comply with legislation.
Look to get your influencer using your product in their everyday lives (or at least make it appear like that). If you’ve got a line of fitness clothing, simply have your influencer wear it when they post from the gym.
Keep an Eye on the Stats
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Marketers will tell you that it’s hard to determine how much effect one channel of marketing has on sales. This is true, but at the same time you’re going to want to figure out your ROI. And even if you’re not too concerned in the short term, your board or shareholders will be. The way to measure a campaign’s effectiveness, however, might not be in dollars.
You might be trying to increase brand awareness, reach into a new geographical market, gain traffic to your website, increase followers for your own social feeds or other metrics. Determine this before you start and share this goal with your new partner.
Make Sure Your Deliverables Are Clear
It sounds obvious, but you have to set out exactly what you expect the content creator to do. Using specific deliverables allows you to measure your campaign goals and gives you insights into making future campaigns even more successful.
Laying out your goals will also drive you towards making the right choices for which content creators you want to approach. And creators are just human beings. They don’t want to let you down either, but you’re probably not the only person fighting for their attention, so be clear on what you want.
They’re a Partner – They Work with You, Not for You
The life of an influencer tends to be a busy one and, more often than not, isn’t defined by the conventions of a 9 - 5 work day. So, you have to be flexible and understand how they operate and build a working relationship that fits both of you. This goes for creative ideas as well. You’ll have your ideas, but you have to be willing to let them input into the creativity of their posts. After all, it’s not just your brand on the line here.
Aim for Long-Term Partnerships
Utilising an ongoing partnership with content creators is an integral step for dependable marketing. A long-term partnership will provide consistent earning potential for the creator, ensuring you receive the highest quality ad content, it’s a win-win for all involved. Nurturing that connection will also ensure that you won’t have to keep shopping around for new creators to work with.
Is Influencer Marketing Right for You?
Almost certainly if you find the right partnership. It’s not just for big brands, it’s for everyone. The average $1 spend on influencer marketing returns $6.50 according to a study by influencer marketing company Tomoson.
The cost can be low, the return can be high, but it’s not a magic bullet. You’ve got to put the work in and make sure you create the right connections with content creators that are aligned with your brand, and then let everyone know exactly what’s expected.
As a small business owner, you might need to wear the marketing hat, but you certainly don’t need to wear the finance hat. We’ve got that part covered with our flexible accounting packages to suit each stage of business growth.