4 Reasons for Small Businesses to Use Influencers

July 23, 2015

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Wish you had bought Apple shares at the turn of the millennium? Wish you could go back in time and put some money on the 2007 New York Giants? How about helping JK Rowling publish that book of hers about wizards? We all have those moments of wondering what could have been…


We have yet to perfect our DeLorean time machines so all of these lucrative opportunities have unfortunately fallen by the wayside for most of us. As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and we don’t want you to miss out again by not engaging in influencer marketing for your campaigns.


There is a misperception that influencer marketing is only for larger brands, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Regardless of a business’ size or industry, influencer marketing can have a powerful impact thanks to social media. With companies like Vine, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram all being less than six years old, overpaying for marketing is now avoidable.


Only a few years ago, small to medium sized businesses would have to strongly weigh the pros and cons of shelling out expensive fees to hire anyone of celebrity status to endorse their brand. This commonly resulted in businesses ruling out the endorsement marketing channel, or even worse, wasting money on someone more affordable who doesn’t best represent the brand.


Finding the right fit between a brand and an influencer is hard enough, even for market leaders with strong track records. Brands like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Victoria’s Secret are still being mocked for their unusual choices of Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Dylan to represent their respective brands.


The days of celebrity spokespeople and brand endorsements are far from over, but make room for the new-age of smaller reach influencer marketing opportunities! From small businesses run out of a garage, to Fortune 500 companies, the wealth of influencers available to work with is extensive and inclusive. Small and medium sized brands now have the opportunity to leverage brand advocacy without having to break the bank.


By keeping the following four reasons in mind, influencer marketing has never been more accessible than it is today.


Publish Harry Potter

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In the late 1990s, author JK Rowling was rejected by eight different publishing companies for her first Harry Potter book. Even though billion dollar franchises are extreme and rare, similarly unknown people like Rowling can easily become sensations overnight!


Generally speaking, influencers with a smaller following will charge brands a lower rate. When a smaller brand seeks out an influencer to work with, the “smaller” influencers are less likely to have an established pricing model for brand collaboration. If an influencer doesn’t have pre-set rates, it provides brands with an opportunity to negotiate terms that will be beneficial to both sides.


If the influencer is a product reviewer for example, he or she may be inclined to partner with a brand for free products. Some influencers prefer to be paid in products while some prefer financial compensation. This freedom to negotiate your influencer outreach campaign is key to ensuring the relationship between both sides starts out on the right foot, and with understood expectations. By establishing a strong relationship early with an influencer you have faith in, you have a much better chance of continuing to work with and afford them as their fee and market grows alongside yours.


There’s No “I” in Influencer… (you know what I mean)

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One of the most necessary and difficult aspects of influencer marketing is finding available, interested, and dedicated influencers. More prominent influencers have a celebrity status that allows them to turn down campaigns without batting an eye.


Fortunately, influencers with a smaller reach who have interest in expanding their personal brand can easily do so by creating a professional partnership. Whether or not they have past professional experience, providing an opportunity for an influencer to work with a brand they can trust is coveted.


These partnerships allow influencers to showcase their skills and increase the likelihood to monetize their craft moving forward. As relationships strengthen between small businesses and influencers, the mutual benefits of the partnership will grow as well. Just remember, you’re a team and in it together!


Find your Snowflake

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Within the ecosystem of the World Wide Web, lives millions of active and inactive bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, and all-around social media gurus. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two influencers are exactly alike. So finding the most appropriate pairing for a brand is key to creating a successful outreach campaign.


An invaluable but less obvious benefit of working with a smaller reach influencer is the number of options you have to make your campaign truly tailor-made. Whether you want to focus on the content itself, geographic locations, demographics, the style of presentation, or their preferred social network, having the largest pool of reliable influencers to choose from will give your campaign a huge competitive advantage.


Brands who choose to work with celebrity status influencers have a much smaller group to choose from and will commonly have to compromise one or two of their desired criteria just to ensure the follower reach is as large as possible.


Aim for a Strike

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If you roll ten bowling balls down a lane, the odds are in your favour to knock down all the pins. If you aim correctly with one ball, a strike is still very possible.


A large reach is undeniably helpful with creating awareness, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching a viable target. You can avoid overkill with smaller reach influencers, as they often have loyal niche followings.


When starting out, influencers will commonly purchase followers as a shortcut to gaining a seemingly credible online presence. With smaller reach influencers, their following is more likely to consist of active and “real” people. These “real” people are the early admirers and have proven their loyalty and interest in the actual content, as opposed to bandwagoning on the hottest internet fad or fascination.


So, in conclusion


With such a broad spectrum of online topics on different social media platforms, the ability to find a voice that aligns perfectly with your brand is more feasible than ever before! Small and medium sized businesses no longer have the ultimatum of spending big or not at all. You can stretch the value of your dollar, create effective and lasting partnerships, find the perfect embodiment of your brand, and narrow down your audience to a greater extent through influencer marketing.


We can’t go back in time to capitalize on every missed opportunity, but we can seize the ones available to us today. Influencer marketing is here to stay, so enter while your business is on the ground floor, and enjoy the ride to the top.


To increase your odds of success, check out the 8 Tips to Ensure Your Influencer Campaign Doesn’t Flop.

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