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In the US alone, there are nearly 30 million small businesses, all of which are competing for customers and sales. Not only do small businesses have to compete with each other, they are also going up against the big-name brands and companies. With so many options available to consumers, how can your small business make itself stand out from the crowd? One option is influencer marketing for small business. Working with people who have built up solid online reputations for themselves can get the word out about your brand and convince others to give your business a try.

What Is Influencer Marketing for Small Business?

To understand what influencer marketing for small business is, it first helps to understand what influencer marketing is.

Influencer marketing involves using people with a considerable amount of influence (or the ability to persuade or sway others) to draw attention to a brand or the products and services offered by a brand.

In some ways, influencer marketing is a twist on the old celebrity endorsement. Someone other people respect or admire represents or uses a product, then demand for that product increases.

The key difference between celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing for small business is that influencers are often very far from being celebrities.

Small businesses are much more likely to connect with so-called “micro-influencers” than they are with big-name bloggers or the Kardashians. Micro-influencers don’t have massive followings, but they do have a lot of reach and influence in a particular niche.  

The Benefits of Small Business Influencer Marketing

Why should your small business give influencer marketing a try? For one thing, it’s known for having a fairly decent return on investment. The ROI for influencer marketing might be as much as 11 times higher than the ROI for other forms of marketing or advertising.

Additionally, social media (where influencers tend to hang out) is having more and more of an effect on people’s purchase and buying habits. Around 19 percent of the total population have been influenced in a purchasing decision by social media. Among millennials, that number is even higher — 47 percent.

Plus, people are likely to spend more when social media influences them. They are also nearly 30 percent more likely to buy something on the same day when they use social media.

Another benefit of influencer marketing for small business is that using it can help your company target a specific audience. Nearly 70 percent of marketers find that influencer marketing helps them reach a more targeted audience. It all depends on the influencers your company works with, and who their audiences are.

Does Size Matter When It Comes to Influencer Marketing?

Are there any differences between influencer marketing for small business and influencer marketing for big brands or larger enterprises?

One significant difference is the type of influencers a small business is likely to work with. While you never want to say never, it’s pretty unlikely that your small company is going to manage to land a big-name influencer such as a fashion blogger with millions of followers or a celebrity-level influencer.

Small businesses are much more likely to partner up with micro-influencers, who usually have anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 followers. Although they have smaller follower counts, micro-influencers usually have a leg up on macro or celebrity influencers.

People with lower follower counts tend to have higher rates of engagement. A micro-influencer has an average engagement rate of around 8 percent, while people with more than 10,000 followers have an average engagement rate of just 2.5 percent.

That means that those who follow micro-influencers tend to be more invested and interested in what they have to say compared to people who follow macro or celeb influencers.

Another way that influencer marketing for small business differs from influencer marketing for bigger companies is the price. Engagement rates might drop as follower counts increase, but prices don’t drop.

Some of the biggest influencers charge well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post. Meanwhile, the average micro-influencer charges less than $200.

How to Get Started With Influencer Marketing for Small Business

If your small business is ready to jump in and get started with influencer marketing, there are two things to do. The first is to decide what you want to get out of influencer marketing.

Setting a goal for a campaign, such as increasing your brand’s followers, getting more customers, or increasing website traffic, will help guide you through the rest of the process. Having a goal can also keep you from veering off course.

Next, you’ll want to think about the type of influencers you want to work with. What niche should they be in? Do you care about the platforms they use? Do you want to partner with a single influencer, or do you want to work with multiple people?

Influencer Marketing for Small Business — Step by Step

Once you have a goal and general idea of who you want to work with, it’s time to put your campaign into action. Here’s what to do, step by step.

Find your influencers.

You can find people to work with by scouring social media and looking for people who post about your desired subjects or niches — or you can use an influencer marketing marketplace or platform to search for and connect with influencers.

Make contact.

Reach out to influencers with whom you’d like to work. Send a friendly message explaining what your business is and does, what you’re looking for, and why you think they’d be a good fit for the campaign.

Get ready to negotiate.

You and your influencers are going to have to agree on the scope of the project and the payment rate. Be prepared for a bit of back-and-forth during this stage.

Produce and approve content.

Once you’ve agreed on the terms of the campaign, it’s time for the influencer to work their magic. Before their posts go live, though, make sure someone from your team reviews them for quality, FTC compliance, and to make sure the posts contains the things you agreed upon.

Publish the content.

Once the posts get the all-clear, your influencer can share them with their followers. Your business might want to repost or share the content from its own social media profiles as well.

Track and measure.

How is the influencer’s content doing? Are people clicking on it? Are they liking it? Do people leave comments? You want to pay close attention to performance so that you can see if your campaign is delivering the results you wanted or not.

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to influencer marketing for small business. An influencer marketing platform and influencer marketing software can help take out much of the hassle and stress of launching a new campaign, so that you can focus on what matters most to you — growing your business.