\

If you and your competition are both publishing the same number of posts, on the same platforms at the ideal time of day, how do you stand out?  This series of posts will help your small business optimize your social media and take you beyond the benefits of mere “activity”.

GAIN REACH & WEIGHT WITH INFLUENCERS

How can you instantly and affordably get access to thousands of people on social media?  You can take out a paid ad, or you can consider working with an influencer.  Influencers are basically the “cool kids” of the online world.  They have tons of followers who will usually copy their style, or follow their recommendations or suggestions for where to buy stuff or what activities to try.  Good influencers put in a lot of work to make sure that their followers represent a specific demographic are well engaged and highly loyal.

Reaching back to our post about tagging and influencing, getting in front of the influencers followers can be to your advantage as it can get 100’s of new eyes on your product, service or event.  So when making your marketing plan, it makes sense to identify people online who you can work with.

We hired influencer, Isla Pearl, to escort a contest winner to a gala event and share Instagram Stories live from the event to increase the exposure.

TIPS FOR FINDING AN INFLUENCER

If you are new to the game, and aren’t sure who you should be working with, you can do some quick searches.  Instagram is usually the best place to find an influencer.  You can use hashtags that are relevant to your business.  If you are selling something appropriate for moms or young children, try hashtags like “MommyBlogger” or “momlife” The first results are the most popular posts, and below that you will see the most recent.  Start exploring these profiles to find an active, engaged, and brand consistent person you could work with.

Whether or not your business is “local” can make a big difference.  If you are a restaurant, we recommend searching your city name, and checking out the most popular profiles associated with it.  These are people you would want to invite to your restaurant if they have the reach.

Keep in mind that the more followers an influencer has, the more it will cost to work with them.  Newbies and people with followers under 3000k may work with you strictly for free product, while others may charge additional fees. This is normal and expected. Influencers blog and cultivate their followings for a job, and they can’t pay their mortgage with your free socks or free coaching session – no matter how cool it might be.

We recommend following a blogger for a while before working with them – (unless you are working with an agency or brokerage that has pre-screened for you.) You want to see how active they are if they have strong writing and an engaged audience. Are they a fit for your brand and the image you are creating for yourself?

Some influencers may not want your product, or it may not fit with their brand.  Don’t take rejection personally.  Influencers know their audience, and what they want, so don’t waste each others time if it isn’t a fit.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

When you reach out to the influencer, be clear about what you are asking for, do you want a product review? Instagram story? Live Facebook video? Maybe you want their attendance at an event, and a post one week before to say they are attending?  Be clear about your expectations, and let the influencer be honest with you about what they think will work best.

Be clear about what you’re offering, and when payment is due, or what product they are keeping or how long they should stay at an event.  Good fences make good neighbors and good contracts make good business relationships.

HOW MUCH TO PAY

It can be challenging to know how much to value an influencer’s reach.  Fees will change depending on the size of their following for sure, but engagement and loyalty can change everything.  Even a blogger with only a few thousand followers can be valuable – especially if they are in a niche market or have a very specific demographic that you want access to.  Ask if they have a media kit or any stats about how their posts perform and compare it against how much it would cost for a comparable Facebook or Instagram ad.  (Keeping in mind that hopefully, the influencer will have better engagement stats as they are speaking to a warm audience.)

LET THE TAIL WAG THE DOG

Think about how an influencer can change the way you share your business, and be open to doing things differently.  Maybe you offer them a free service in your spa or salon every month or allow them exclusive access to your backroom when new stock comes in.  Maybe you design an event specifically with the intent of having influencers come into your business on a specific day.  Identifying people in your community who are trying to go big, and working with them early can also be to your advantage.  Support local applies – even for influencers.

Katie Dempsey

Katie Dempsey

Owner of Brand Ambition, Director of Marketing & Training

Katie Dempsey provides training to help small businesses integrate and benefit from developments in social media, branding and online marketing. As the owner of Brand Ambition, she has used her techniques to grow a business from 1-15 employees in just 2 years, and has applied her ground-truth learning from that experience to her teaching.  You can see available courses here.   To see samples of branding or social media projects, you can visit our growing work portfolio here.  You can also book a free consultation one of Brand Ambition’s Project Managers.  You’ll receive a 30-40 min session where we can discuss your current marketing challenges and some recommended solutions.  Book your no-obligation consult here.