It is undeniable that influencer marketing is a massive buzz in the marketing world. And at the moment it doesn’t look likely to quiet down any time soon. Many savvy marketers are either adopting the tool or exploring the possibilities of leveraging influencers to promote their brands. But a quick search on Google can easily leave you feeling like engaging the top talent in your market is simply out of reach, especially if you are a small or startup business with a modest budget or limited resources.
With mega-influencers such as Kim Kardashian reportedly demanding up to $500k for access to her vast Instagram audience of 104M, it is not surprising that many see influencer marketing as an over-priced and simply over-indulgent way for some businesses to rub shoulders with the stars.
But worry not. Many experts on the subject now preach the benefits and cost-effectiveness of working with smaller influencers and brand advocates to gain real and substantial exposure and brand value for smaller businesses. In fact, some businesses have practically built their whole marketing growth strategy on leveraging their numerous assets to work with a range of influencers. Take for example the Taft shoe brand and Gym Shark clothing, two businesses that have sky rocketed to success through the use of a mix of influencers and customer-generated content on Instagram.
Micro, Macro, Mega
Taking into consideration the sheer ridiculousness of paying up to $500k for influencer posts on Instagram, defining the size of influencers your business will work with goes a long way to defining your strategy and overall approach to this type of marketing.
Let’s start by putting Kim Kardashian and the other mega influencers on the back burner for now. At least until your business is making so much profit your only option is to buy a mega yacht or pay Kim to say she loves your stuff. You still have two options available. One is to focus on a small number of macro influencers or a larger number of micro influencers.
Working with a small number of macro influencers may seem like the obvious option here. A smaller pool means less leg-work and bigger reach per influencer. However, with startup and small business budgets in mind, working with these types of influencers can be cost inefficient. As macro influencers are often approached to collaborate with brands, this usually means there is much less wiggle room to leverage brand assets beyond financial reward for collaborations.
Working with micro-influencers on the other hand leaves more room to barter deals based on value that can be brought to the table. It also allows more scope to work with multiple individuals, this brings a host of benefits including increased creative assets as well as creating the ‘everybody is talking about…’ effect.
Micro-influencers as a general rule also bring more to the table in terms of engagement with their audience, this is often due to the more manageable numbers of followers they hold and the ease with which they can continue conversations. Engagement is key when working with influencers, without it there is no way a brand will benefit from collaboration, some reports show that micro-influencer demand more than 60% more engagement than their larger competitors.
With the media’s approach to influencer marketing you would be forgiven for thinking that all influencers care about is money. Yet, many influencers are open to bartering deals around the value your brand can bring them beyond actual cash payment. When approaching influencers, take into consideration the various aspects you can bring to the table that will motivate them to work with you.
These can include free products/services, early access to products/services, discounts for themselves or/and their audience, exclusive content, access to events, access to other influencers or access to your audience or expertise. The list goes on, but you get the point. There is no harm in getting creative!
Once you have a comprehensive list of what you are able to offer influencers, you must then understand what motivates them. Usually this is as simple as starting a conversation with the influencer and discovering their goals and ongoing objectives. This then allows you to match your assets to their goals and strongly compel them to collaborate with your brand.
It is worth noting here that influencers often gain their position through the expert content they create. This takes high levels of creativity as well as countless hours of honing their skills whether that be in writing, video or image editing. Therefore, it is often worth generating some budget when it comes to working with influencers even if it is a token amount. As it allows you to show your appreciation for their craft as well as covering at least some of the time they invest into delivery.
As a small or start-up business, it is crucial that you squeeze every last drop of benefit out of everything you do, therefore it is crucial to understand exactly what influencers bring to the table and how to leverage their skills to the benefit of your brand.
It is also crucial to understand the difference between the metrics that can be measured from influencer marketing activities and the actual physical benefits. Just like 1,000 new followers makes no real difference to your brand unless they can be converted into customers. Impressions, likes, reach, comments and sentiment on influencer posts truly provide no benefit for your brand, but are simply indicators of performance.
Understanding the physical benefits and assets that influencers bring means you can finely tune your operations to further boost these to your advantage. The generation of expert content, the increase of brand recognition, as well as aligning with influencers to generate a position on thought leadership are just some of the benefits of the tool.
It is clear that influencer marketing is not simply at the reserve of marketers within the big brands, working with massive influencers, paying them huge sums of money to create quite frankly often insincere posts about their products. In fact, smaller businesses can hack the influencer economy and get much better ROI on their assets by working with smaller influencers with higher engagement to create more assets that can further benefit the brand.
Collabor8 sets itself apart in the Influencer Marketing community by being the best app to connect micro and macro influencers to brands across the world. Here’s the proof: