With the advent of the internet and social media, influencer marketing has become an efficient means of reaching one’s target audience in the 21st century. The essential mechanics lie in the use of celebrities and other famous personalities to promote a brand, organisation, product, or service.
But what exactly is it, and how can small businesses use it to take their sales to the next level? Keep reading to find out.
WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves celebrity endorsement of brands to increase their credibility and spread them to a wider audience.
Social media influencers like the Kardashian family or celebrities like Taylor Swift provide mass coverage to the brands they promote due to their online influence and platform. Moreover, celebrities and influencers provide a sense of trust to potential customers, thus reinforcing brand loyalty and offering a sense of legitimacy to the brand.
Apart from its affordability, compared to various traditional means of marketing, working with influencers allows brands to tailor their strategies according to their individual needs. Moreover, social media personalities and well-known individuals can reach thousands, if not millions of people, ensuring that you, as a small business, can find your target audience through mass coverage.
As social media has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, this evergreen strategy will help marketers as well as other individuals to create forever content that remains relevant and resonates with their audience.
In this article, we discuss the advantages of using influencer marketing for small businesses in growing and establishing a loyal target audience. We will also cover mistakes to look out for when selecting the right influencer for your brand.
10 BENEFITS OF USING INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
1. More authenticity
Influencer marketing functions by using familiar faces and reputable individuals to tap into their reach and find relevant consumers. Establishing a target audience effectively through social media marketing with the use of influencers creates a sense of authenticity and legitimacy that traditional methods of advertising and marketing cannot compete with today.
With the mass coverage that comes with selecting the right influencers for your marketing strategy, any small business can reach wider audiences and target consumers more specifically, and this is essential to the survival, success, and significance of your brand.
Most importantly, the affordability of influencer marketing compared to the benefits it provides can give small businesses a huge boost to the effectiveness of their marketing campaign. Such considerations can make or break a brand; therefore, building authenticity is an important hallmark for any business, big or small.
2. Long-term relationships
When it comes to any business venture, loyalty is an important factor to consider – not only for your customers but also for those with whom you conduct your business relations. As a business establishes contacts and connections with the influencers they hire for advertising purposes, the relationships created can foster a lasting business partnership.
Having an influencer showcase and using your products regularly is an effective way to keep your brand relevant. This will not only build a larger pool of potential customers but also help ally you with the influencer your business is working with.
YouTube is a great example of long-term relationships that enable brands to advertise their products frequently. Sponsorships offered to YouTube creators from VPN companies, games, or even therapy services are often seen throughout multiple videos from channels that garner a decent amount of viewership.
This shows that such businesses have established loyal, built-to-last relationships with influencers, making them a part of the forever content that they promote with the help of social media.
Lastly, effective long-term business relationships can also make marketing more affordable as you build rapport with influencers. With loyalty and trust, one’s small business is provided with legitimacy that can reduce the cost of future advertising and sponsorships dramatically.
3. More revenue
Multiple studies have shown that social media and influencer marketing is an effective tool for mass coverage, customer retention, brand awareness, and – most importantly – sales. Well-known and trusted personalities with a sizable social media following have a multitude of followers that tend to buy the products promoted by them, ultimately increasing revenue for the brand that they are promoting.
As the reach of such a business grows, it increases its revenue both in the short and long term. The amount a small business invests in influencer marketing will also positively influence its revenue stream, providing a sizable Return on Investment (ROI) over time. Such marketing strategies are crucial for small businesses to survive, thrive, and grow.
4. Reach your target audience
Target audiences are the bread and butter of any business – no matter how big or small they are. Where there is demand, there is money to be made. But without a reliable consumer base, it is extremely difficult to find buyers and consumers for your products and services. Relying on chance encounters as a marketing strategy is setting up a business to fail and go bankrupt eventually.
With social media, the world is at everyone’s fingertips. Using influencer marketing can help you reach corners of the world that traditional means of advertising cannot. The mass coverage offered by the internet and influencer marketing greatly increases the potential of a small business to expand to all parts of the world. This method ensures that you find and retain a consumer base, essentially guaranteeing a consistent source of income and revenue.
Various analytics provided to influencers on social media applications will also give you information regarding the reach of your brand. This will further help you plan your marketing plan and business model more affordably and effectively to minimise expenses and maximise returns.
5. Beef up your content strategy
Following up on our previous point, market research and social media help growing businesses to further strengthen their content strategies. Developing dynamic strategies that cater specifically to your consumer pool and niche is crucial to increase your conversion rates – that is, changing prospective customers into returning (and happy) customers of your brand.
Data and analytics gathered by such a marketing plan help tailor content to the needs and sensibilities of potential customers and the brand’s target audience. Therefore, the style of the content being promoted can be amended as necessary. Influencer marketing will also help a brand tap into the individual flair of influencers.
This ensures that the marketing policies implemented by a business keep improving, creating content that caters to as many people as possible while also remaining unique enough to remain relevant in an ever-growing competitive world.
6. Promote new products
One of the important advantages of influencer marketing is the ability to advertise whatever a brand desires to promote. Pushing less popular content, products, and services ensures that the whole catalogue of the business is visible and benefits from the coverage offered by social media advertising as a whole.
It is also important for brands to conduct research into influencers that cater to the niche audiences that would be interested in the promoted products and services. This tactic will guarantee small businesses the opportunity to reach people that would actively engage with their content or purchase their goods and services.
Instead of choosing random influencers with a large following, a business needs to consider whether it is profitable for them to partner with a social media personality by gauging the latter’s field of interest or niche.
If the influencer has a niche that your product serves, it is only natural for said product to be purchased relatively more among their followers.
With such flexibility, a small business is not only looking forward to a gradual increase in its revenue but also an increase in sales of newer or less popular in-stock products or services.
7. Potential for virality
It isn’t exactly news that social media is heavily affected by virality, and some influencers seem to have this on tap. They make content that caters to millions of people around the world, and such coverage is practically impossible with more traditional forms of marketing and advertising, like television or radio, for example.
Social media influencers that have learnt how to game the algorithm to garner more interaction from international audiences will be able to create content that follows the same principles of virality. Whether we talk about the Rick Roll, Chocolate Rain, or memes, going viral has often drastically increased the revenue streams for many content creators and, ultimately, the business they sometimes promote.
Likewise, an influencer that can create captivating and exciting brand promotion material is an incredibly useful asset to create forever content that remains relevant throughout the years and keeps raising funds in a steady stream.
It is also important to note that working with an influencer that goes viral regularly will also positively impact the reach of a brand and its sales. In essence, influencer marketing is both a direct and indirect form of advertising as it continues to garner views and attention over time – especially if the influencer is active and consistent in creating content.
8. It’s suitable for any business
Anyone that has browsed through social media platforms will notice that ads have become more tailored and targeted than ever.
Due to such an array of marketing strategies being deployed, it can be suitable for any business to implement social media or influencer marketing.
A good place to start is to learn more about content creators working with products and services similar to what you want promoted. This will help you find a strong foot within the community when you opt for influencer marketing yourself. Whether a brand wishes to promote beauty products or online services, there will be hundreds if not thousands of influencers whose content focuses on those very niches.
And even if you can’t find someone popular within your affordability along with your niche, you must focus on the factor of mass coverage. What makes influencer marketing superior to other conventional forms of SMM is the fact that you can almost always find an audience that’s willing to buy from your business regardless of the channel they hear about you from.
9. Gain valuable audience insights
Influencer marketing provides two very important tools that brands can leverage and use to grow. The first advantage is the analysis of an influencer’s reach and audience. Websites like YouTube provide valuable data regarding the demographics of a creator’s audience, with age ranges, location, and other vital information that could help any business develop appropriate marketing strategies.
Instead of using traditional forms of data collection like surveys or polls, these analytic tools will instantaneously provide information regarding the coverage and target audience of a brand.
The second advantage is direct audience engagement: comments, likes, and reactions provide valuable feedback that helps businesses tweak their products or services to suit their audiences or develop new ones that are in demand.
Most businesses realise that getting feedback from potential customers and target audiences takes a lot of work. However, when someone comments their opinion on a video or post by an influencer promoting a brand, it serves as an important metric to measure the reach, relevance, and relatability factor of the business’ offers.
10. Cost and time effective
Utilising influencer marketing greatly reduces the time and manpower needed to create branded content. The marketing department would not have to shoot or edit the advertisements posted by influencers, therefore requiring fewer resources and saving costs.
This is especially useful for small businesses that cannot afford to have large departments that cater to every need of the organisation. A small team of marketing specialists can draft proposals with clear instructions for influencers to follow, only having to follow up if changes are to be made.
Therefore, the burden on editors, videographers, and other specialists is outsourced to established influencers that have the knowledge necessary for ensuring mass coverage and creating forever content.
Labour, money, and time are extremely important aspects to consider – especially for businesses that are slowly but surely gaining traction. Therefore, influencer marketing is an affordable strategy that can greatly increase the productivity of a business, helping them become more effective at generating revenue and reaching millions of people worldwide.
INFLUENCER MARKETING MISTAKES TO AVOID
1. Choosing the Wrong Influencers
Any ethical and responsible business has to put effort into researching the influencers they market with. Mass coverage, huge audiences, and consistent engagement do not mean it will benefit your brand.
In fact, any irresponsible social media behaviour will ensure that the reputation of your small business is tarnished. Now, you don’t want that. What you do want is to research influencers and find one within your niche.
That means that you or your team responsible for sponsorships and social media advertising must weed out any potential harm that can be caused by infamous influencers.
Moreover, working with content creators that are professional, punctual, and responsible is important to ensure the legitimacy factor they imply for your brand.
2. Not Considering Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers are usually defined as content creators and internet personalities with about 1,000 to 10,000 followers. Despite their relatively low reach, micro-influencers (or micro-celebs) often have higher rates of engagement due to a devoted following.
It is also important to note that micro-influencers are sometimes willing to promote and advertise businesses for free in exchange for the brand providing them with access to their products and services.
Mass coverage is one of many concerns for small businesses attempting to grow. Moreover, the affordability of hiring an influencer goes down significantly if their following is in the millions.
Looking for reliable, consistent, and skilled micro-influencers can help small businesses cut down costs, reach new audiences, and potentially benefit from smaller creators going viral or having their platform increase in viewership over time.
3. Not Maintaining Relationships
As with any business, creating professional relationships is a must. The traditional way of organising fundraisers, gatherings, or lunches to discuss work is now replaced by simply sending a private message to the individual you wish to partner with.
However, that means that your organisation must do its due diligence to be professional and amicable in its interactions with influencers. When hired, it is important to keep the influencer in loop with the products and services you offer to create lasting relationships that will ensure the longevity of your marketing strategy. Promotional efficiency is only effective when the brand is in direct contact with the influencer.
4. Failing to Recognize Competitors
YouTube is a prime example of a social media platform where influencers are often sponsored by multiple organisations and brands. Whether you are a small business or not, keeping track of the activities and marketing strategies of your competitors can help you learn from their successes and failures.
Sometimes, an influencer you wish to work with may have previously promoted the products or services of your competitor. Being aware of such collaborations can avoid polarisation in your target audience.
Otherwise, the engagement and reach your brand receives will be limited due to the existence of another competitor’s content on the pages of influencers you have hired.
Small businesses have to keep this in mind, as any potential competition may have a huge impact on their revenue sources. Finding influencers that are loyal to your brand is extremely important, which echoes back to our points regarding how maintaining professional relationships is critical.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This article has outlined both the advantages and mistakes you can make while opting for influencer marketing to promote your business. It is undeniable that for mass coverage in the social media age, the most affordable, effective, and efficient strategy is influencer marketing.
As with any policy a business implements, adequate research is necessary to ensure that the influencers being selected for promoting a brand are suitable for the target audience of the said brand. Maintaining relationships with influencers that are effective and consistent is the key to establishing lasting connections with social media personalities whose virality can boost the sales and revenue of any business.
Social media and influencer marketing has often shown companies, brands, and organizations grow from the ground up – often within the span of weeks or months. Therefore, businesses that wish to keep in line with modern trends and increase their target audience while creating forever content must consider the importance of using influencer marketing as a promotion strategy.