Influencer Marketing: How to Make it Work for Your Small Business in 2016

Using influencers to market products has helped businesses connect with customers long before ‘influencer’ became a commonly accepted marketing term.

As early as Roman times, when famed charioteer Diocles became one of the world’s first sponsored athletes, marketers have tapped into the influence of prominent figures. Celebrity gifting at red carpet events is a more modern example of influencer marketing, but as social media becomes ever-more important to buyers’ decisions, marketers can now reach an even more powerful audience — their peers.

This has been an exciting shift for small businesses, who often have neither the means nor the connections to reach Angelina Jolie’s stylist for the Academy Awards. Perhaps even more importantly, small businesses are more likely to benefit from reaching the immediate friends and peer groups of their customers, which has made influencer marketing an important marketing component for startups and growing businesses.

Here are 5 ways to make influencer marketing work for you in 2016:

1. Stay true to your brand.

You can have the most famous face in the world showcasing your product on the red carpet or snapping a photo on Instagram, but if her audience doesn’t match yours, it can be money wasted. For many growing businesses, finding 3-5 on-brand influencers with loyal, targeted audiences — even if their reach might be smaller than top bloggers or celebrities — will often mean greater conversion.

2. Look at the data.

Until recently, marketers had little more than the total number of followers to gauge a social media influencer’s effectiveness. In an era when buying followers is as easy as setting up an Instagram account, having more data can be enormously helpful when deciding which influencers to collaborate with. Ask to see potential influencers’ Google Analytics and look carefully at their engagement history — the number of likes and comments they receive on their posts — in addition to their follower base.

3. Go the extra mile.

One of the biggest benefits of working with bloggers is the ability to really get to know your influencers. When you aren’t going through agents and managers for A-List celebrities, you have the opportunity to establish a genuine relationship that can lead to more meaningful campaigns, and in turn, greater conversion. Take every chance you can to personalize the campaign to the influencer. If you’re a fashion brand, choose pieces that fit your blogger’s favorite style. If your product isn’t as customizable, add a personal note. The more connected an influencer feels to your brand, the more likely she is to go above and beyond herself.

4. Outline your expectations.

Most professional bloggers understand the etiquette when working with brands, but to ensure the best results for your collaboration, make sure you outline your expectations in writing. Let bloggers know when and how often you expect them to post, and on what channels. Include hashtags or links you would like shared, and don’t be afraid to follow up to make sure your bloggers follow through.

5. Follow up.

After your collaboration is complete, it can be tempting to move on to other projects, especially when you’re a busy entrepreneur. Taking the time to follow up and determine how your influencer liked your product, what they liked about the collab, and what you might improve next time can help you get more out of the relationship.

Whether you have worked with influencers in the past, or you are just starting your business, these influencer marketing tips can help you get more out of your collaborations in 2016.


[By Kim Westwood] [Read More] [From B2C] [Image From]