Once upon a time, brands relied mainly on big-name celebrities to serve as brand ambassadors and signed them on for multi-million-dollar endorsement deals. While this is still happening, brand endorsements are no longer dominated by superstars. The growth of social media gave rise to influencers: passionate content creators who create beautiful content to engage with their audiences.
With the number of their followers ranging from 3,000 to 100,000, it might seem social media influencers only reach a small audience. While celebrities have more visibility, social media influencers know their niche (travel, gardening, makeup, food, parenting, decorating – the list goes on), they know their audience and create content relevant to them. This makes influencer recommendations not only genuine and authentic but targeted to a specific group – which is perfect for small businesses.
Micro-influencers – or influencers with less than 30,000 followers – are proven to generate 60% more engagement than the average celebrity influencer – that’s 22 times more average weekly conversations on every post. This is because consumers tend to trust a fellow consumer’s opinion more than a branded message.
It also makes more economic sense for small businesses to work with social media influencers; some of them are open to collaborations in exchange for products or services.
Contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to be a big brand to use influencer marketing. If you want to give it a try but don’t know where to start, here are some tips from Becca Ingle, an influencer, swimwear designer, and a mom of two. Becca specializes in the family/travel niche and is a regular Forbes contributor.
Join blogger networks. There are blogger/vlogger/influencer groups on Facebook, for example. Join one of these and send out inquiries there.
Work with a PR company. PR firms in Raleigh NC such as McKeeman Communications can connect you to the influencers within your niche.
Cover all bases. If you are partnering with them for the first time, send them a direct message, comment on one of their posts, and send them an email to make sure they see your proposal.
Check the influencer’s profile. More than the number of followers, verify if the influencer is in your niche. Is his or her content and tonality in line with your brand? A social media influencer who’s passionate about his or her niche is more likely to create great content and looks and feels genuine and heartfelt.
Ask for metrics. Instagram has an insights feature, which measures metrics such as post reach, engagement, Instagram Story views, content interactions, and more. If the influencers also blog, ask for their portfolio and a list of brands they’ve previously worked with.
Provide content posting guidelines, but refrain from sending a full script. Becca, for one, likes to have leeway with how she writes content. The messaging has to be in her “voice” to keep it real.
For up and coming influencers, Becca’s advice is to find a niche you love. “If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re going to burn out quickly,” she says. Maintain a thoughtfully curated and visually pleasing social media feed that’s authentic to you.
Explore different platforms; TikTok, for one, is on the rise and appeals to a younger demographic. Tagging brands and using relevant hashtags helps increase the visibility of your posts. Be consistent in getting your name out there. “All it takes is for one person to say yes,” Becca adds.
More importantly, be professional and go above and beyond what is expected of you. Brands remember influencers with a great work ethic and will consider them for succeeding campaigns.
Like social media, influencer marketing is not going anywhere for a long while. It allows brands to communicate with customers in a more personal way.
A top PR firm in Charlotte NC, McKeeman Communications works with companies that are experiencing rapid growth or change. We help localize and share messaging that builds awareness and trust for their brand. Call (866) 341-2650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.