I recently came across an article in Harvard Business Review that stated “Human beings are fundamentally social animals. Behavioral economics and psychological research have taught us that we fundamentally crave a sense of connectedness, belonging, mission, and meaning, particularly when performing their work.” Wow. That’s a bit heavy but real. It is the same with businesses. It is also why there are so many professional associations, women’s groups, and networking groups out there. Community matters! By working together, we can create sustainable and thriving communities that benefit everyone.
Influencer marketing is another way of feeling connected to something or someone important. While a lot of online resources about influencer marketing tend to be directed toward high-profile companies that can connect with other big brands or celebrities, the fact is small businesses can benefit from influencer marketing too.
Influencers and Social Media
Influencer marketing is a social media phenomenon. Businesses collaborate with influencers which can be individuals, brands, and on occasion animals. Yes, animals! Check out these famous pets: Nala the Cat, Doug the Pug, and Manny the Frenchie. Each of these stars has millions of followers!
Influencer collaborations are content marketing campaigns where each shares their audience or pays for access to another’s very large audience. It is mutually beneficial and expands the outreach of both parties using relevant content. It is also completely doable for small businesses to participate.
There’s no reason why you, as a small business owner, can’t build meaningful relationships with the influencers in your immediate vicinity. Let me show you how!
How to Collaborate with Online Influencers
Determine which influencers you should network with. Consumers do business with who they know like and trust. Can you identify someone within your community whose potential clients or customers might look to for referrals? Whose voices in your community do your neighbors turn to for local news or industry advice? Guess what, these are your local influencers!
Commit to networking and promoting. The next step is to be visible to these influencers. It also helps to make an effort to comment on their online content or listen to their podcast and they will eventually see you. It doesn’t hurt to leave a review for good measure on that podcast. Share their content that interests you and is relevant to your audience. Because networking is an ongoing, long-term process. If you don’t have immediate access to the influencer, try to figure out what your influencers’ goals are and how you can help them. If you do have access, simply ask them.
Team up, then cross-promote. Collaborate on a marketing campaign, event, or giveaway. Maybe you could create online content that benefits both of you. Some examples:
- Collaborate on a social media takeover! This is where your influencer takes control of one of your social media accounts- like Instagram- and provides content that both audiences will see.
- Ask to do a special podcast where you link to their business as a sponsor, and they agree to push your podcast out to social media or their newsletter.
- Offer to write a guest article for your influencer, then cross-promote the heck out of it.
- Host a joint webinar, and share your audience with each other.
Make yourself a desirable influencer. Our article, How to Become an Industry Expert, will walk you through the steps to becoming an influencer. Here are a few things you can do: write blog posts about the latest industry news and be active in forums. Provide your audience with unique, expert advice, and be inclusive by tagging clients and businesses you’ve collaborated with. If you dedicate yourself to creating meaningful content on a regular basis and elevate others in the process, you’ll become an influencer in no time!
What If I Don’t Have Time?
Our friends over at Mobile Monkey have this amazing blog with a case study highlighting Pottery Barn. In this instance, they used a very simple strategy. I know this may not solve your problem of not having enough time. That blog also has a list of the best influencer platforms that may make your life easier. Several of these are quite budget-conscious too! Check them out: 15 Best Influencer Marketing Platforms.
Let us know what you think of Marketing Monkey’s tools. Which one did you like the best?
And, if you need an active social media presence to boost your long-term success, but just don’t have the time, DCAVirtual Business Support is here for you. Reach out to us for more information on how you can make social media a part of your overall business strategy!
This is an update of our 2016 article on Influencer Marketing.