When you think of influencer marketing, you may think of celebrities endorsing products and brands with big name recognition and even bigger budgets.
But in reality, this marketing technique is accessible to anyone, regardless of whether you’re running a big or small business or operating locally or on a national scale.
Small, local businesses can (and do!) succeed with influencer marketing every day. Here’s an in-depth look at how influencer marketing for small businesses works.
There are a ton of benefits for local businesses staking their claim in the creator economy, from building more brand awareness in their communities to earning more revenue.
Whether you have a lot of competition or just don’t have a ton of brand awareness, creators can help introduce your brand to locals and showcase the benefits of doing business with you.
Creators are expert storytellers, and they can use these skills to highlight your business in a meaningful way. According to research, we are able to retain 70% of the information we receive through stories, but only 10% from data. Sharing your brand story can associate certain emotions with your company, boosting sentiment and sales.
Getting a top spot in Google Maps is a dream come true for any business, and so is snagging a coveted placement on the first page of Google search results. While there are over 200 factors that can affect your site’s rank, check out how influencers can impact some significant SEO quality signals:
The most effective influencer partnerships rely on strong relationships and a love for the brand and the product or service. If your creators work with you just for the paycheck, their messaging will fall flat.
Seek out creators who actively use your brand and talk about it online. They can become some of the best brand ambassadors because their followers can sense their genuine excitement.
If you’re a relatively new company, send your products to local creators, and ask them to consider a partnership if they like the items. While this may cost a little more in the long run, the results will be well worth the upfront investment.
Small businesses can absolutely afford to participate in influencer marketing. In fact, influencer marketing can be very economical if you know how to do it right. And with an average ROI of $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencers, it should definitely be a technique in your marketing toolkit.
Beyond that, working with creators can help you save money in other areas of marketing. For example, if you negotiate for content usage rights with your influencers, you can repurpose their photos and videos in other marketing channels, like paid ads, emails, and your website. This can save money you might otherwise pay to a production team.
These tried and true tactics are essential for lowering the cost of running an influencer marketing campaign for your small business:
Another great way to save money on an influencer marketing program is to take advantage of the wide range of free tools on the internet. Google Sheets offers an excellent (and free) way to track your creators, the content they produce, and the results you see from your program.
GRIN also offers a suite of free tools that can help you analyze and choose the right creators, including:
The right social platforms really depend on which your ideal consumers use. If your target audience is people in their 50s or 60s, TikTok wouldn’t be the right place. And if you’re looking to capture the attention of Gen Z, you might want to skip Facebook.
Define your target audience, then research the leading social media platforms to see where your audience likes to spend their time.
And as a local business, you have a few more options than a national brand. For example, Nextdoor might not come to mind when you think of influencer marketing, but many people turn to their neighbors for recommendations for all sorts of products and services. If you can partner with trusted community members, you can endear more people to your brand with the help of Nextdoor.
Now comes the fun part—finding the perfect creators to partner with. Now that you know which social platforms you want to use in your influencer marketing campaign, open up the apps and start searching.
Use hashtags to find local creators, whether they’re #HoustonProud or into #SacramentoStyle. Search location tags of local landmarks from which creators may share photos, too. Just be sure to avoid any tourists and non-local creators.
You can also search for local bloggers by Googling “[city]-area bloggers.”
And if you’re looking to venture to a more niche platform, like Nextdoor, look for people who are active in the community and earn a lot of engagement on their posts.
No matter where you look, though, you need to do some research. Ask yourself the following questions:
Additionally, consider looking for creators who are already talking about your brand online. If you can recruit genuine brand fans, you will immediately have some of the best spokespeople on your team. Plus, they may be more willing to work in exchange for free products if they truly love your brand. Search any branded hashtags you have to see what people are saying.
The first thing to do once you find a creator you want to work with is check their bio, whether it’s on a social media platform or their blog. If they list an email there, use this to reach out.
If they don’t have their email posted, see if the platform supports direct messaging. If it does, send them a quick message; if not, see if they have accounts on other social platforms that do support messaging.
Tried all three, and still can’t find a way to contact them? It may be time to move on to other prospects on your list.
Once you find an ideal way to send a message, it’s time to craft the perfect note. Here are a few tips:
And if the creator doesn’t respond right away, don’t be afraid to follow up. Send up to two more messages over a period of time so you can gauge interest and get on their radar. If they don’t respond after the third message, it’s best to move on and try someone else on your list.
Working with local creators can help your business grow its brand awareness, content bank, and ROI and help guide people down the marketing funnel. So what are you waiting for?
Are you ready to stake your claim in the creator economy? Discover more helpful tips and resources from the experts at GRIN.
Are you ready to stake your claim in the creator economy? Discover more helpful tips and resources from the experts at GRIN: Creator Management Learning Center
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