How to Leverage Social Media Influencers For Your Small Business
June 26th, 2018
Social media marketing is at the crest of a huge wave right now: with platforms like Instagram having over 1 billion users and Facebook having over 2 billion active users it’s hard to pass on the golden opportunity to reach all these people and offer them your product or services.
Social media platforms have basically erased the tedious jobs that used to plague advertisers and marketers. If you want to advertise your product on Facebook, for example, you just pay the money and indicate the country and target audience that you want to reach. All you need to do on your part is to come up with an effective marketing campaign that will grab the attention of your target audience.
By the end of 2017, according Invesp, 92% of social media marketers used Facebook for advertising. It’s a great way to immediately reach big audiences, and the ability to instantly survey their needs will help you immediately adjust your marketing campaign and make it more targeted.
Image credit: Invespcro.com
In the advent of social media marketing, hiring celebrities to shoot expensive TV commercials started to die out little by little. It also gave companies an opportunity to save some money for a better cause, as shooting ads with celebrities tends to cost a ton of money. For example, the popular Air Emirates commercial with Jennifer Aniston cost the company $5 million just to pay the celebrity to be in it. Sure, the commercial was adored by many people, but others complained that Air Emirates should be more down-to-earth because not everyone can fly a first-class plane like an A-list celebrity.
And thankfully, social media marketing has come up with a solution for the businesses, who want to entertain and fit the needs of their followers and not spend a lot of money on marketing campaigns, and that is hiring social media influencers.
A social media influencer is a person who has established authority on a certain social media platform and has a big audience thanks to the content they publish. And because of the huge audience who trusts these influencers and adores their content, collaboration with influencers as a way to promote something on social media has become powerful.
It is also important to differentiate between micro-influencers, who are just peers and macro-influencers who are celebrities. However, while micro-influencers have a lower amount of followers that macro-influencers, they still have higher engagement rate, according to Social Media Today.
Influencer marketing is something that can be interesting for an owner of a small business. Influencers can be easily reached and collaboration with them still brings you a lot of money. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses are making on average $6.50 for every dollar they pay the influencer.
So your collaboration may be very successful, once you find a relevant influencer.
What? A relevant influencer? Yes. Each influencer also works in a specific domain, whether it’s fashion, education, lifestyle etc. Choosing an influencer also depends on the platform you want to put your ad on. For example, if you choose Instagram, you might expect a photo featuring your product. On Facebook, you might get a photo and a post describing your product. And if you choose a YouTube celebrity, you might get a whole video with your product featured in it.
Collaborating with social media influencers sounds very tempting. And it is, indeed, as you can get original content that will instantly reach a multi-million audience.
But it would be foolish to expect everything to be downright easy. There are a lot of things you should consider if you have a small business and want to leverage social media influencers for more media support. Let’s take a look at some important points.
Before you even consider writing a social media influencer about collaborating, try to get in their mindset and think: would the product you want to promote be interesting for their audience?
Crowdtap has surveyed more than 50 influencers about their work with different companies and asked about their values and preferences. And all surveyed participants answered that the method they use to sort out brand partnerships is to determine which opportunities will be the most beneficial for their followers.
Now, let’s make it clear: influencers treat their followers like you treat your products. This is the way they earn money from, just like you from selling your goods. And mind you: here we’re not talking about the celebrities who have other sources of income but also have social media accounts and are considered influencers.
If you own a small business, you would probably be interested in a partnership with an influencer who’s been an average person but thanks to the outstanding content, has gathered a huge army of followers. Collaborating with such influencers is obviously cheaper, than with celebrities, but they are also more committed to their followers.
Image credit: Instagram.com/JulienSolomita
So before you consider a partnership with a certain influencer, dive a little deeper and study the preferences of this influencer, and also dig deeper into a comment section under the photos/videos or any other type of content they are posting.
One of the biggest challenges of leveraging the influencer marketing for your business is measuring the return on investment (or ROI). According to Linqia study that sums up the results of influencer marketing for the year of 2017, determining the ROI of the influencer marketing programs has been the most challenging for the businesses.
Image credit: Linqia
Measuring the ROI is a complex process that requires investigating a lot of areas of measurement, such as audience reach, impressions, engagement, sentiment, conversions, quality of the content etc. There are also specific goals of your partnership you need to consider when measuring the ROI. For a small business these goals would include:
Visibility – this may be your primary goal, depending on whether you want your product to appear on social media for the first time or you just want to introduce your company to the public in general.
Engagement – when measuring the ROI, the cost-per-engagement is measured by how many likes the post gets or how many clicks the video gets. This factor is also important to help you measure the long-term return on investment, as you’re probably interested in gaining more loyal customers, even after the partnership with an influencer is over.
Content – when partnering with an influencer, you get a content that is far less expensive but still appealing, relevant and creative. Yes, you still need to negotiate the image rights, but you still get enough benefits as a third-party endorsement. That is why content is also a crucial factor in measuring the ROI, as you both save on content creating and earn on sales and reach generated by your partnership with an influencer.
The last factor is more on the ethical side. The stories of many social media influencers are more about “rags to riches”, as they’ve earned their fame owing to creating high-quality content, which is a lot of hard work. But because they were simple people once doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be treated equally.
The Crowdtap research, mentioned above, also dwells upon the ethical issues that arise during such collaborations. And it appears that 54% of influencers claim that they would work only with brands who respect them as they respect any other publisher.
Image credit: Influence.co
Another study by Influence.co also shows that influencers are very picky about partnerships. Only 24% of the social media influencers accept more than 50% of the offers they get from different businesses.
There are multiple reasons why influencers do not accept partnership offers, including the lack of relevance to their audience or to the domain they are working in. However, lack of respect for them as equal business partners has been one of the most defining reasons why the reject particular offers.
Beware: social media influencers are public personalities, who tend to share their experiences with the audience who preaches them. And if your business relationship with a certain influencer isn’t equal and respectful, you might wake up one day to a post that exposes you and your business as untrustworthy. Thus, you might not only lose the chance to reach the audience of a particular influencer but also get a very bad publicity.
When working with social media influencers, whoever you might pick, treat them as business partners, as they become an integral part of your company, helping you raise awareness and build your public image.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Partnerships with social media influencers may be very beneficial. For example, Nike has become one of the brands, that has built an army of social media influencers and has made them brand ambassadors promoting Nike’s products all around the world.
Being an owner of a small business, you should also start small: find an influencer who will believe in your product as strongly as you do and work together on a marketing campaign that will reach a big audience. Then, try to collaborate with multiple influencers. And after a certain period of time, you’ll see how many benefits influencer marketing has brought you, as you’ll have the loyalty and support of millions of their followers.
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