How to Partner with an Influencer: A Short Guide
As a small business, influencer marketing might not be on your radar. After all, it's expensive and is only really used by big corporate brands right? While it is true that many large brands have created partnerships with key influencers, this form of digital marketing is not solely used by them. Solopreneurs and small businesses have found success in partnering with influencers for outreach campaigns and have seen strong brand uplift and engagement.
But what is an influencer?
But before delving into how influencer marketing can be a benefit, it is important to understand who an influencer is and their reach. Influencers are social media personalities across different platforms (or sometimes just one) with strong followings and user engagement. Depending on how influencers structure their own personal brands, they work with companies to create sponsored content that showcases products or services that is posted on to their accounts to get maximum exposure from their followers. As an example, Barkbox, a subscription box for pet owners collaborates with micro-influencers such as popular dog accounts on Instagram to create collaborative content that advertises their products on the platform.
Does it really work?
2018 and 2019 have demonstrated that influencer marketing is a strong way to reach audiences, both new and existing. Trends show that brands continue to favor long-term partnerships with influencers to gain more engagement and visibility. 65% of marketers have indicated that they are increasing their budget to allow for this form of marketing over others and that number is poised to rise.
What influencer should I work with?
First and foremost, it is important to have a clear strategy in mind. What do you want to accomplish with your outreach campaign? Is to gain visibility for a new brand? Or to increase engagement for an existing brand? Or perhaps you want to reach a different kind of demographic to the one you already have? There are lots of ways to approach this, so before delving into it, it is best to sit down and brainstorm about what you want to do with this campaign.
Once you have a strategy in mind, the next step is to identify the type of influencer you want to work with. There are many different kinds of influencers out there and there are pros and cons to working with each one that need to be examined before deciding.
mega-influencers (think social media stars like Kim Kardashian)
macro-influencers (between 100k-1m)
micro-influencers (anywhere between 1k-100k followers)
nano-influencers (less than 1,000 followers)
While of course, mega-influencers require massive budgets, that is not the case for the other tiers. Nano-influencers are great if you have a very specific audience in mind that you want to target since a low following means that there will be more visibility comparatively. However, micro-influencers are better for launching new products since they are seen as more authentic and trustworthy. Macro-influencers are useful for gaining more engagement for existing brands, but are also good for testing out new products.
Again, there are a lot of ways to approach this, so when picking an influencer, consider:
who their followers are
what their post engagement is like in terms of likes and comments
what kind of content do these influencers prefer (i.e. Instagram so more visual content, Youtube so a video would be needed, etc.)
These are all components of a larger outreach strategy and it will help you decide which influencers to work with and what kind of content you need to plan for. While you can manually search for users that fit your needs, you can also use tools such as:
These resources serve as databases for how marketing teams can research and find influencers in specific niches. While it can seem overwhelming, influencer marketing is a strong way to have your brand stand out from the rest and find a more authentic and real audience. And if you find yourself struggling to get these campaigns off the ground, you can always work with experts in the field such as social media consultants like myself to leverage their experience and create a successful outreach campaign that gets you results.