Regardless of your feelings on ‘online influencers’, it has been pretty much proven by this point that they can have a positive effect on small and independent business ventures in and around the UK.
We’re not talking about the biggest stars in world here, or even those that may refer to themselves as influencers, but rather the people or fellow businesses that can give your firm a shot at being in the limelight for a few brief moments; sometimes that is all it takes to get your business noticed by the right people and allow you to expand your audience further than you could have ever imagined.
If you’re wondering how on Earth your small business venture would be able to take advantage of influencer marketing, just try to remember what we have already pointed out to you: this isn’t about connecting with huge internet stars!
The proof is out there
The BBC recently reported on a case of an online influencer changing the fortunes of a small business venture in a monumental way. Nick Fisher currently runs a Hampshire-based furniture business which has suffered greatly in terms of profit levels and overall finances recently, due to the unfortunate implications of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, Olivia Bowen posted an image to her Instagram account which contained items made by Mr Fisher’s company, and it has resulted in him gaining more custom than ever before.
The BBC reported that, “She had found him online completely by chance. Nick has since had other influencers on the phone, including two professional golfers and another reality TV star. In addition, Ms Bowen has placed further orders – and, contrary to popular belief about influencers, nobody has asked for any freebies. Nick is now getting several sales orders a day from Instagram. What happened to him could be described as an exceptional stroke of good fortune – he has not paid for any of his new-found influencer engagement – but he says he thinks the influencers deserve their fees”.
This just goes to show that sometimes luck can be on the side of your small business in the most unexpected ways, just as long as you take full advantage of the opportunities the internet hands to you.
You’ll need some goals to aim for
Before you set out on the plan of gaining some online traction from the people that are able to shine a rather large spotlight on your company, you’ll need to become aware of what your overall goal actually is. Whether you’re planning to run a short-term, seasonal campaign to raise the awareness of your brand, or planning a longer-term partnership with an influencer, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Both in terms of marketing goals, and physical results.
Use SMART goals to thrive
Whenever you begin to develop the goals for your business venture, you need to ensure that you are following the SMART framework. This means that each and every single one of your goals or objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Without following this structure, you run the risk of creating unrealistic goals for yourself and your small business venture; setting your company unachievable tasks isn’t going to help it in any way.
For example, if you want to grow your social media followers, don’t use Coca-Cola as something to aspire to just because they’re one of the biggest brands creating content in the digital age. Instead, compare yourself to others in your field of work and try to be the best performer in your own niche market. If you’re a small business, you must have small business goals; do not set yourself impossible tasks, or it’ll only end in disappointment and you’ll end up pointing the finger at someone who shouldn’t really be blamed.
In order to successfully set and achieve goals you’ll need to first identify where the problems lie in your business structure and where there is some room for improvement within the firm. This will award you with some guidance and set you down the right path from the beginning of the improvement process.
Pay attention to your social media engagement
If you have a specific influencer in mind that you would like to target, then there is likely a reason you are thinking of them. Are they already engaging with your company in some way, for example? If so, then you have the ideal scenario on your hands. If they have been commenting or liking posts your business is publishing via its social media channels, or even just follow your account on one of the many available platforms, you should aim to take advantage of this already-established connection.
Not only does it mean that they’ll have a real passion for the project, but when they announce the collaboration with their followers, it will naturally feel like a good collaboration fit as that influencer will have featured and mentioned you a lot in the past.
Do your own research
Not everyone that you could possibly connect your brand to during a marketing campaign, or similar sort of project, will come to you directly. In fact, that sort of situation is actually very rare, so do not be too overly reliant on that sort of thing becoming a reality for your venture. Instead, do your own research on people that are realistically going to be somewhat available to your small-sized firm.
Even the hashtags your company uses throughout its social media postings can play a massive part in connecting you with potential social media influencers.
Have you got a branded hashtag for your Instagram posts? Or a collection of hashtags you regularly use to reach audiences in your genre? It’s time to really look through these hashtags to find Instagram influencers for your campaign. If you have a branded hashtag with an engaged community that regularly posts using the hashtag, it could be a gold mine for potential collaborations.
Different ways to reward influencers
- Cash – This is the most common form of compensation, and most influencers prefer this method and will request it. The only caveat with this is that the person may not be truly invested in your brand and therefore doesn’t put their heart into the project. If your company has the resources, however, the data confirms that this is one of your best options.
- Free products and exclusive discounts – Why not offer somebody a free product or a discount in exchange for a shout out? This doesn’t have to be the only arrangement, but it is a good way to build a relationship. Over time, you may phase this out and opt for another form of payment.
- Commission – This is a win-win, as both parties have skin in the game. You pay the person to share your brand’s product with their audience and any sale they generate will result in a commission paid to the influencer. As long as you are fair with the commission structure, this is one of the best arrangements.
Of course, there are other ways that you can pay the influencers that help your brand to grow, but those three are the most commonly found into today’s current business environment.