Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses

Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses
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You've shared some very interesting, analytical posts on Influencer Marketing on LinkedIn. Can you summarise your thoughts on it here for our readers and recommend some best practices (especially for small to medium-sized businesses)?

Influencer marketing, if applied correctly, is one of the most prompt, responsive and cost-effective digital marketing strategies. Having said that, there is no solid principle for measurement of its impingement and evaluation of ROI – you really need to trial and test to find out what works best for you. There is a lot of influencer marketing fraud where people, who come across rich in data but really, they have used bots and other get-quick-follower-methods to accumulate large followings for Instagram or subscribers for YouTube. They will not only not produce results for you but also damage your brand, especially if you are an eCommerce business. It’s the equivalent of buying millions of bad SEO backlinks and put yourself at risk of Google spiders to rank you lower and even restrict genuine traffic to you.

When choosing influencers, you should look at their content first and then briefly screen their following and audience by going through the comments on YouTube and in the case of Instagram – their followers and comments engagement. Say, you are a brand selling DIY tools and you came across or were approached by this fashion & beauty influencer with 1.5 million followers and you end up advertising on their posts and feed. How would you feel as a consumer to see that content on their page? You’ll lose your trust in the influencer’s overall content and also see your marketing stunt as deceptive and desperate. This is detrimental for the influencer and the advertiser and the irony is, in most cases, they both don’t fully understand – what one should be charging and working with, and how much one should pay and advertise with.

For small to medium and even big organisations, it’s far more beneficial to use micro-influencers with audiences in the size range of 5,000 to 10,000 and have a set of 10 to 100 influencers to promote your brand as opposed to advertising with a handful of well known, largely followed pages. Instagram puts a cap on the number of followers of a specific page to see the content that they post; it’s hardly seen by 10% of the most engaged followers and they too are only interested in the niche the influencer is putting content out for. It’s far more cost effective and productive to capture 10% of an audience of 5,000 followers across 10 pages within your niche than 10% of a 50,000 ambiguous audience of one page. Mathematically, this may not make much sense but algorithmically it makes sense to me. If the algorithms pick up content that is trending across 10 accounts, it will push it to the explorer page of Instagram and also take off the cap of limited followers within the page. You could even go viral!

How should you now proceed? – Well, really that’s not an easy question to answer and carries multiple right answers, but this is what I would do: If I have a bakery and I sell patisseries, cakes and hot beverages, I will look for bloggers that are promoting fashion, beauty, apparel and indulgent eateries by default as their own native content. I will invite them or send them my product as a good gesture to see their reaction. I will then see if they actually like or dislike my product themselves. Once they’ve ticked those boxes, I will send them a guest invite or offer for them and up to three members of their family and friends in return of sharing their experience with their audience ‘posting your content on their feed’. You are now waiting for a response - if you can somehow measure the ROI and see that they are capable of turning £ 1 spent in marketing into £ 3 gross profit, you should consider making them a part of your business family for either heavily discounted or free products and/or a fair fee in line with your ROI. I really don’t care if you charge £50,000 for posting to your 200 million followers, if all I’m selling is a burger or milk-shake – it just doesn’t make much commercial sense. In my previous business I had some celebs with just under a million followers and verified accounts, coming to our café to enjoy the products with their families and friends followed by sharing it on their feeds. I never expected them to produce tens of thousands of pounds of instant cake sales and they too knew that. On the other hand, if I’m selling a financial product worth £ 1 million profit, I would happily pay £ 300k to a successful sales person come ‘influencer’.

Screening influencers or hiring someone to find the right ones could be a time consuming and futile exercise. You can buy licenses to AI systems ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 70,000 to screen more than the above discussed data about them and contact the right ones, run campaigns on automation. We train people from a single person business to a large bank or a billion-dollar group on strategies or carry out works on their behalf.

I can be contacted via inbox on LinkedIn or contact form on the below link:

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