Should I Partner With An Influencer?
Influencer marketing is all the rage, but is it right for your business? We’ll give you the basics about influencer marketing—and what it means for small businesses—below.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencers are individuals who have a strong brand following and social media presence. This includes celebrities, authors, and speakers, but it also includes YouTubers, social media stars, and bloggers.
Influencers have such a huge following that they’re able to “influence” styles, trends, and culture. It’s like when a Kardashian promotes a makeup line or Neil Patel tells you which SEO tools to use. These individuals are well-known in their industry, so their followers trust them and are loyal to them.
Influencer marketing is how businesses utilize and leverage the popularity of influencers—and how influencers, in return, make money. Essentially, the business and influencer create a mutual partnership: the business will compensate the influencer in some way, and that individual will promote the brand through various content channels.
What are the benefits of working with influencers?
1. Establishes brand trust
Influencers are unique in that they’ve been able to gain their popularity and status through their own personal and authentic marketing. Their brand is built on a relationship based on trust between influencer and viewer.
Influencer marketing lets you optimize on the trust they’ve already established. When that influencer says they trust and love your brand, they’re putting their stamp of approval on you. They’re transferring the trust they have with their followers to you.
The biggest benefit for your business is proof and credibility. If you establish trust with the influencer, you establish trust with their audience.
2. Generates leads
If you partner with the right influencer, they’re operating within the target audience you want to reach. For example, you sell mini trampolines. You wouldn’t want to partner with an influencer in the makeup world. You’d partner with an influencer in fitness, so they can promote the use of your trampolines for workouts and wellness. When they make a video using your trampoline, their followers may want to buy the same one so they can use it in their own workouts.
This is a great way to find new and relevant leads within your audience—without having to go out and search for them. The influencer does the legwork of reaching the right people at the right time, and you get to optimize on it.
3. Pushes conversions
Awareness and trust are the two keys to making a sale. Once people know about you and they believe in your product, they’ll make a purchase as long (as it’s relevant to them).
That’s why influencer marketing does so well: you’re touching a wide range of people who already rely on the recommendations of the influencer. It’s like the audience is receiving a high-quality review from their trusted friends. Once you have that, they’ll be more responsive to your calls to action—and you’re more likely to push the conversion.
Tip: This works especially well if the influencer shares a promo code for their fans to try out your brand themselves. The promo code encourages the user to make a purchase, and it’s also a good way to track the success of your influencer campaign.
4. Improves search ranking
Google rewards backlinks. If you’re getting organic backlinks from high-quality influencers to your website, Google will tag you as a trusted and relevant site. This can help boost your website ranking and get you seen higher up in search results.
One of the best ways to bump up your website’s rank is with a strong quality and quantity of backlinks—which influencers, especially bloggers, can help with.
5. Gives your brand a face
Putting a face on your content marketing is critical to connecting with today’s audience. Customers are numb to all the advertising they see from faceless corporations. They want to hear from real people using real products.
Influencer marketing puts not only a face on your brand—but it puts an established, trusted face on it. You’re getting secondhand popularity.
Learn more about how to put a face on your content marketing here.
6. Unique content
Creating content, especially visual content, can be time-consuming and costly. Partnering with an influencer who creates content all day everyday is a great way to get gorgeous content about your brand. You can then use their content to promote your brand.
Not only do you save money creating this content, now you have an incredible testimonial to use and repurpose. This is a great way to give the influencer some reciprocal attention as well, since they get more viewers and impressions on your audience in tandem.
Tip: A lot of influencers create videos when promoting a brand. This is a great way to get some videos for use, even if you don’t already have a video campaign associated with your content marketing. (Read: Is Video Taking Over Digital Marketing?)
How to select the right influencer
Consider the influencer’s audience first and foremost. This doesn’t mean the quantity of followers they have, but the type of target they attract. You want an influencer who is going to introduce you to a new audience… that’s still within your target.
For example, you sell women’s earrings. Partnering with an influencer who focuses solely on shoes may be effective because a lot of the women interested in shoes will probably want matching earrings. You’re getting into the same world but through a different avenue. However, you’ll want to first talk to the influencer, to make sure that your brand is a good fit alongside theirs.
Get more info about defining your target audience, and thus finding a relevant influencer, with this article: Create A Profitable Content Customer Persona Today.
How engaged are the influencer’s followers? A group of 100,000 ultra-engaged followers is better than 1 million ones that never interact with the influencer. Take a look at the influencer’s page to see how many likes and comments they get, especially in relation to how many followers they have. This will give you an idea of how engaged those followers are—aka how likely those followers trust that influencers recommendations (and how likely they are to purchase those recommendations). This can also help you weed out influencers who use fake followers.
Some influencers primarily use YouTube videos, some are bloggers, some are on Instagram, and some are even on TV, etc. You’ll want to partner with an individual who operates on channels that are inn alignment with your content strategy.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on the same content channel that you’re already on, though. If a lot of your business comes through your website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get more business through Instagram. If your audience is aligned, a different content platform may actually help you better open up to new markets and leads.
In fact, it could be incredibly beneficial to work with influencers who create content types that you are not creating. This gives you a wider range of content and new ways to touch your audience.
Influencer marketing is not free. Different influencers will want different compensation. Some will promote your brand just to get some of your products or services for free (if they’re already a big fan of your brand). Some will partner with you for products and monetary compensation. Newer influencers will sometimes just do it for a few products so they can build more content for their viewers.
You’ll want to look for an influencer who’s within your budget and compensation plan. For example, pairing with Kristin Bell for Momsplaining is going to be a lot more expensive than pairing with an up-and-coming mommy blogger.
Don’t stretch your budget for an influencer you can’t afford. Start with a few budget-friendly influencers and work your way up as your business grows.
Most businesses, small or large, can see success by partnering with an influencer. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: the influencer gets content for their followers, some sort of compensation, and greater exposure; and your brand gets awareness, trust, and quality content in a new or overlapping audience segment.
The success of influencer marketing comes down to two principles:
It’s a mutually beneficial campaign.
Alignment is everything.
If you and the influencer are aligned with audience, goals, and growth—you’ll both see major success in your marketing campaign.
Not sure how to approach influencer marketing with your content campaign? We’ve got special tips and tricks for you, like which kinds of influencer content platforms work well, how you handle contracts and payments, and how to create the most effective contact. All it takes is an email address with the message “Influencer Marketing” to get started!
Contact us here to learn more about content marketing for your small business.