Advertising, digital marketing, social media… these are all popular ways of getting the word out about your business. But over the last few years, a new way of marketing your business has become quite popular—and that is by using influencers.
An influencer is anyone who has an engaged audience in your field. They may be a blogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, or perhaps they have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Their audience respects them—looks up to them—listens to what they have to say. If you can get one (or more) of these influencers talking about you and your business, it’s like borrowing their following, and it can be a huge boost to your business.
In the world of influencer marketing, there are three different types:
Celebrities: these are the Kardashians of the world; movie- and rock-stars who are usually making big bucks on endorsements.
Major influencers: these are those who have conquered social media early, and have grown their followings to millions. These guys also are charging a lot of money to endorse a product, but it’s less likely that they will endorse something simply for the money. Their reputation is also important.
Micro influencers: they may only have a few thousand followers, but those followers are highly engaged and interested in what they have to say. These are the influencers that small businesses should be aiming for. Endorsements will be affordably-priced, or the influencer may do the deal for free swag.
1. Start by doing a google search. Search for your business’ keywords and add the location or area that you are in. For example, if you’re a florist in Louisiana, try “flower” or “plant bloggers, New Orleans.” If your keyword terms are too specific and don’t return any results, expand your search, either by keywords or by location. A florist could be applicable to wedding planners, lifestyle bloggers, and mom bloggers.
Once you start to get some results, create a spreadsheet to record the information on. Include their URL, email address (if you can find it), and any social media handles they have, including numbers of followers. Also make note of how much engagement they get on their posts. For example, do they get 100 likes per photo on Instagram? And do their Instagram posts also have comments? You should see an engagement rate of 2-5% on a successful Instagram account (Engagement rate = number of followers / number of likes + number of comments).
2. Engage. Start following the people on your list on all their social media. If you’re on twitter, create a twitter list of them all to help keep it simple. Then begin to engage with their content. Like and comment on their Instagram posts, RT them, share their blog posts and YouTube videos on your channels.
3. Pitch. Once you’ve created an online relationship with the influencer, now’s the time to pitch them. Write them a personal email, using their name (spelled correctly), and referencing a recent post or interaction. Understand that influencers get these kinds of pitches every day, so anything you can do to make it more personal will help. Outline clearly what is you’re asking of them, and what you’re willing to give in return. For example, while approaching a mom blogger, perhaps you could offer to bring them flowers for their child’s themed birthday party, in exchange for them writing a post about you.
Note that the influencer may say that they are interested, but that they charge for this service. If that’s the case, it’s up to you and your budget to decide. If you do end up going this route, be sure to create a written contract between you and the influencer.
4. Execute. Supply your part of the bargain, and then you wait! Ideally, the influencer posts something in a relatively short amount of time.
5. Follow up. Be sure to thank the influencer, but also share that post like crazy! On all of your social networks.
Influencer marketing is a great way to introduce your small business to a new audience.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, there are influencer agencies out there, probably in your area, that you can hire to do the work for you. They have rosters of influencers, or they can find someone appropriate for your business. There are also several online resources you can check out to identify influencers, like Brandwatch, Followerwonk, and Traackr.