How Can Small Businesses Use Social Media Influencers To Drive More Sales

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In the ultra fast-paced world of social media marketing trends that we live in, one of the handfuls of strategies that receive repeated buzz is influencer marketing. While influencer marketing has been unstable throughout the years, the rise of social networks has given it a new and powerful form.

Considering that word of mouth is regarded as the most successful marketing strategy of all times, influencer marketing comes as a modern-day extension of word-of-mouth marketing for the social media age and seems like a natural and beneficial evolution.

Influencer marketing is a hot topic nowadays, especially within brands and companies ready to go “all-in” to raise awareness and boost the sales of their products or services. From small businesses and newly formed startups to major corporations, companies are actively harnessing the popularity of bloggers, vloggers, TikTokers, Instagrammers, and other internet celebrities to promote their products efficiently.

And when you’re a small business or solopreneur, every new click matters. Budgets are typically tight, and your marketing choices can feel a bit restricted. However, with competition getting fiercer and the undeniable need for online presence, you still need to shout about your brand from the rooftops to drive sales and raise awareness about your products.

And while most of your rivals turn to social media to be their marketing megaphone via boosted post and paid advertising, what if you hire a social media influencer to do the shouting for you and exploit the power of influencers?

Without further ado, here’s how to capitalize on the hottest marketing trend, and drive more sales for your small business or startup.

Find The Right Influencer(s) According To Your Budget And Needs

Social media influencers’ public image may as well be Beyonce, Bieber, or Ronaldo shaped, sitting by an infinity pool. However, it’s not all about expensive tans, millions of fans, and billion-dollar brands with influencer marketing.

Influencers are a great marketing asset for small businesses as well. Just think about it, if you could find the right ones for a reasonable price, you could tap into ready-made audiences, promote your brand by association, spare time spent on do-it-yourself marketing, and cut all DIY media and production expenses. All you have to do is know how to find, engage, and make the most of them.

The key to influencer marketing’s success lies in the influencer’s relationship with their followers. Usually, people who follow celebrity influencers are just fans. Still, many other influencers exist in a range of niches and markets because they are seen as trusted or experts in specific industries.

To find the right influencer(s) that can help you take your small business to the next level, you have to know that there are a lot of different types of influencers, with the four most common being:

Mega influencers – 1M+ followers and equally large fees;
Macro influencers – 40K to 1M followers;
Micro-influencers – 1K to 40K followers;
Nano influencers – usually have less than 1,000 followers but can engage with very niche audiences.

Micro and nano influencers are the type of influencers that small businesses and startups should be looking to harness most. They cost less and can get your business closer to the kinds of followers and customers you need within your market area or niche.

Once you know what type of influencer your business needs, it’s time to acknowledge where your target audience spends their time, or where the creative content you’ll prepare with the influencer should be distributed.

TikTok Influencers

TikTok is the fastest expanding social media platform out there, with an estimated 800 million active users. The final answer to how TikTok is different from other social media platforms is its user base: half of TikTok’s user base is under 34, with 41% between 16 and 24 years of age.

If you’re looking to stay ahead of the trend and reach new audiences, TikTok influencers can help your business grow brand awareness and present a commercial opportunity to drive more sales. The cost of entry right now is cheaper than Instagram by far, and ROI is significantly higher.

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Instagram Influencers

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is still the primary platform that social media influencers use. And active users look to Instagram to be influenced. They use the platform to discover and research new products and services daily.

By working with an Instagram influencer, you can easily showcase your company’s portfolio to your targeted audience. The influencer can publish the content in two ways: posts or stories. With each, the influencer can also choose if they want to upload a photo or video content. However, not only do you have to find the perfect influencers for your business, but you also need to set realistic campaign goals, deadlines and track and measure your success.

Other than TikTok and Instagram, other strategically important social media channels for influencer marketing include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, blogs, and others.

Know Their Industry

Never work with influencers in another industry than yours only because they’re influential and local. Always make sure that the content you’ll collaboratively produce is attractive to their audience, or you won’t get the desired return on investment.

For instance, to successfully promote a local fast-food restaurant, it’s recommendable to work with a local foodie influencer and not with one who’s known for their affection for cars. All influencers have an audience in a specific niche, so make sure that you pick an influencer with a similar niche of interest to yours.

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You would be amazed to know how much marketing budgets are spent worldwide working with the wrong influencers, and that’s something you need to avoid.

Start Locally

Even if you could bear to go straight to the macro and mega influencers, it wouldn’t do you as much good as electing to stay local. Suppose you run a fast-food restaurant or a dry cleaning business. In both instances, you’re reaching out to a local clientele, as people won’t bring their stained tuxedos across the country to let you work on them.

For this reason, you should start with people (influencers) who have already used your dry cleaning services or ate at your fast-food restaurant and genuinely like your food. As word spreads nearby, the number of clients should increase, and who knows, you may be able to start another shop or become a local fast-food chain.

Consider Cost Per Action

Cost per action is just like purchasing any other kind of advertising. You certainly don’t want to overpay for exposure. Receiving name recognition is practically worthless if it doesn’t turn into sales or sales leads.

What’s worse is that spending your marketing budget the wrong way means you won’t have it available to pay for better options. Besides, not every influencer is evenly effective. When you begin with influencer campaigns, considering the final cost per action with each influencer will help you know who to select for your future marketing campaigns.

You can also create an affiliate marketing program for your influencers to achieve an even higher investment return.

Final Thoughts

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Bottom line, when it comes to influencer marketing for small businesses, you want to find someone whose content and personal mission will build authenticity and trust between you and your customers or followers.

Make everything possible to select someone who fits your business’ profile and build a partnership that will last. And, in case you don’t have the budget to kickstart a campaign with an influencer, there’re still a couple of alternative methods to lure influencers in, such as offering them exclusive or personalized products or providing the influencer with discounted or free merchandise for their sincere feedback.

Whatever path you go, make sure to spend enough effort and time to create valuable content that will drive more sales and sales leads.

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