Trust is evolving. And, with it, so is influencer marketing. Although many associate influencer marketing with big brands (think Old Navy, Nike, and Adidas) and big names (like the Kardashians or the Hadid sisters), it’s actually ideal for small businesses as well. Here’s everything you need to know about influencer marketing for small business.

The Evolution of Trust

Building trust with your audience or customer base is a key component of marketing to that audience. But trust is changing. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that people are less likely to trust the media and government now than in the past. Trust in business is slipping as well. The one thing that people do trust is the opinion of “a person like themselves.” About 60 percent of people surveyed stated that they found a person like them to be the most credible spokesperson for a company.

Research from Nielsen backs up Edelman. In 2015, the Global Trust in Advertising survey found that 83 percent of people trusted recommendations from people they knew. Around 66 percent of those surveyed trusted the opinions of other people posted online.

What Is Influencer Marketing for Small Business?

Influencer marketing for small business involves using people who have a dedicated and engaged following to promote your product or service, and to spread the word about your brand.

When a small business partners with an influencer, it is able to leverage the audience of the influencer for its own marketing. Influencers give small business a stamp of approval. It’s likely the people who trust influencers will be willing to give your business a try. That’s the power of influencer marketing for small business.

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Why Should You Try Influencer Marketing for Small Business?

Aside from getting to take advantage of the influencer’s built-in audience, influencer marketing has several benefits and things to offer small businesses. Those benefits include:

It’s affordable

Influencer marketing for small business is more affordable than you think — a plus for small businesses operating on a shoestring marketing budget. The 2017 State of the Creator Economy study (SOCE) found that many marketers expected the cost of influencer marketing to be anywhere from 3 to 13 percent higher than the prices actually charged by influencers.

It’s targeted

The great thing about influencer marketing for small business is that it lets you target a specific audience. Although some of the bigger influencers have people from pretty much every demographic in their follower mix, smaller influencers, aka “micro-influencers,” usually connect with a specific audience or a group of people who are interested in a particular niche.

It’s easy to track

Is your small business influencer marketing campaign a success or a flop? It’s easy to see, as you can measure and track pretty much any KPI or metric out there, thanks to analytics and tracking devices. You’re able to see how many people are clicking, where they are clicking from, and what they are doing after clicking, among other things.

It gives you usable content

You know what they say: Content is king. As it turns out, influencers typically excel at creating content. You don’t build up a following by publishing sub-par Instagram posts or putting grainy, incomprehensible videos on YouTube. Even better, influencer marketing for small business offers plenty of influencer-generated content that you can use any way you want during and after the campaign.

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Components of Top-Performing Influencer Marketing for Small Business

Putting together an influencer marketing for small business that performs well involves more than just choosing an influencer and hoping for the best. These three components are all must-haves for influencer marketing for small business to succeed.

Your business’s goals

It helps to have an influencer marketing for small business campaign goal. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing what you’re working towards or why you are even putting together a campaign. The best type of goals are those that you can easily measure, and that you can actually reach. For example, “generate 100 leads” is a measurable and a reachable goal. So is “increase sales by 10 percent.” A goal such as “find new customers” is too vague, while a goal such as “gain one million new subscribers” is probably unachievable for most small businesses.

The influencer

What’s the most important component in an influencer marketing for small business campaign? The influencer. The influencer you decide to work with plays a big role in determining not only who sees your campaign, but how those people react. If you’re not sure if an influencer is a good fit for your brand, don’t worry — they will know.

According to the SOCE, when choosing campaigns, most influencers look at how well the product fits with their own brand, or whether they would be proud to represent it. They also typically only choose campaigns that they think will be useful or interesting to their audience.

The content

Many influencers have high rates of engagement and great rapport with his or her following. But if the content is lackluster, no one’s going to care or click. Many factors determine if content is stellar or forgettable. One thing to consider is the quality of the content. Are there spelling mistakes in a blog post, or are the photos an influencer posts blurry? You also want to think about the tone of the influencer’s content. Ideally, his or her tone or style will complement your brand’s.

The metrics

How will you measure the results of your influencer marketing campaign? Without key performance indicators (KPIs), it will be impossible to tell whether your campaign has achieved its goals or not.

Examples of Small Business Influencer Marketing

What does influencer marketing for small business look like? Take a look at some successful campaigns to get an idea.

Casper Influencer Marketing for Small Business

Casper mattresses

Casper has a different way of selling mattresses than its competitors. The startup is based online, so people don’t get to try out their mattresses before purchase. Instead, they get a one-year return period if they don’t love the mattress. Casper used influencer marketing, in the form of user-generated social content, to promote itself and boost sales. Thanks to its strategy, the brand had $20 million in sales during its first 10 months.

FabFitFun Influencer Marketing for Small Business

FabFitFun

LA-based subscription box service FabFitFun regularly works with 1,000 influencers. Its influencer marketing program has grown considerably since it first started in 2013. The brand had bloggers contribute content to its site. Later, it worked with Instagrammers and YouTubers, creating unboxing videos and posts highlighting the products in the box. FabFitFun’s influencer marketing program doesn’t just promote the subscription service — it also gives a boost to the brands the company features in its boxes.

How Small Businesses Can Put Together a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

Finding the right influencers is the key to a successful influencer marketing campaign. Without the right influencer, your company’s campaign won’t get off of the ground.

When it comes to choosing an influencer, it pays to think small. For small brands, micro-influencers are where it’s at. They might not have hundreds of thousands of followers, but they do have high engagement rates. Influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers had engagement rates above 15 percent for each post. Meanwhile, those with the largest followings had the lowest rates of engagement, just 2.4 percent per post.

Using influencer marketing software or an influencer marketplace can help small businesses streamline the process of putting together a campaign. An influencer marketplace simplifies the process of finding and connecting with relevant influencers. Software helps you manage the content creation process, payment process, and measurement process after your campaign has gone live.

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