Should I use an influencer? In today’s digital age, social media has become a powerful tool for businesses to promote their products or services. One popular marketing strategy is to collaborate with influencers, individuals who have established a significant online following. However, when it comes to very small business owners or solo operators, the decision to use influencers requires careful consideration. Just a quick read of any business group online has horror stories regarding working with influencers.
Remember that handmade soap company that poured her heart (and essential oils) into? The one that promised to banish blemishes and bring compliments? Yeah, the one the “Insta-famous” beauty guru reached out to them about and gushed she could get eyes on their soap and more customers if they send her product and pay a creator fee? Then claimed never to have got the soap samples that were sent? Stories like this abound when it comes to small businesses and influencers.
In this blog post, we will explore the circumstances in which small business owners should consider using influencers, discuss how to approach influencer collaborations, and provide some important warnings to keep in mind.
1. Understanding the Benefits.
Before deciding to collaborate with influencers, first understand the potential benefits they can bring to your small business, also ask is this the best way to achieve it. Here are a few key advantages:
a) Increased Reach: Influencers have a dedicated following, which can expose your brand to a larger audience and potential customers.
b) Trust and Authenticity: Influencers often have established relationships with their audience, and their endorsement can build trust and authenticity around your brand.
c) Creative Content: Influencers are skilled at creating engaging content that resonates with their followers, providing your business with high-quality promotional materials.
2. Considerations for Small Business Owners.
While influencer collaborations can be beneficial, they may not be suitable for every small business. Make sure of
Target Audience Alignment.
Ensure that the influencer’s audience aligns with your target market. Collaborating with influencers whose followers are likely to be interested in your products/services can yield better results.
Influencer collaborations can vary widely in cost. As a small business owner, it is essential to evaluate your budget and choose influencers whose rates are within your financial means.
Clear Goals and Metrics.
Define your goals for the collaboration and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure the success of the campaign. This will help you determine whether the investment was worthwhile.
Approaching Influencer Collaborations.
If you’ve decided to work with influencers, it’s crucial to approach the collaboration in a strategic manner. Consider the following tips:
Research and Vetting.
Take the time to research potential influencers thoroughly. Look at their content, engagement rates, and audience demographics to ensure they are a good fit for your brand. Or use an influencer agency/service which can provide people that are a good fit.
When reaching out to influencers, craft personalised messages that demonstrate your knowledge of their content and audience. Show genuine interest in collaborating and explain how it can be mutually beneficial.
Establish Clear Expectations.
Clearly communicate your expectations regarding deliverables, timeline, and compensation. We recommended having a written contract/collaboration contract no matter what the size/nature of the influencer engagement.
While influencer collaborations can be advantageous, it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls:
Ensure that the influencers you choose align with your brand values and maintain authenticity. Engaging with influencers who promote too many unrelated products might dilute their credibility.
Influencer marketing can be difficult to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Establish clear metrics and track the outcomes of your collaborations to evaluate their effectiveness.
Familiarise yourself with advertising regulations and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction. Ensure that influencers clearly disclose their sponsored content to comply with guidelines.
Collaborating with influencers can be a valuable marketing strategy for small business owners, but it requires careful consideration. Don’t just jump on board because “everyone is doing it”. Consider what you need for your brand and whether influencers are the best way to get it. By understanding the benefits, considering relevant factors, approaching collaborations strategically, and being aware of potential warnings, you can make informed decisions that align with your business goals.