Influencer Marketing Guide for Small Businesses

Updated: 2022-04-14 / Article by: Nicholas Godwin

What comes to mind when you think of advertisements?

Billboards or social media influencers?

If you chose the latter, you’re probably part of the 93% of marketers who’ve adopted influencer marketing as their ad channel.

The growth of influencer marketing strategies has been phenomenal in the past few years, thanks to Millennials and Gen Z users. 

The 2021 State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report estimated a $13.8 billion increase in the industry.

We can safely say that businesses are seeing results from their influencer marketing effort.

Everyone’s using the strategy for their brands, from small businesses to multinational corporations. 

So, now the question is how to choose the right influencer and execute the best campaign for your business. 

You’re in luck because I’ve answered all those questions here and you can take my answers to the bank.

Establish your Influencer Campaign Goals

You need to have a clear picture of your goals before searching for brand influencers. 

Are you looking to raise awareness for short-term seasonal campaigns, or do you need something longer-term? 

Your campaign goals affect everything from marketing goals to physical results. 

For example, you want to improve your follower growth, boost engagement, or generate more leads for your website to increase sales. 

Setting your campaign goals becomes easier when you know what result you need. And you could search for influencers based on their skills and previous experience.  

Think of how your influencer marketing strategy will fit your brand and create measurable goals you can track. 

Outline your campaign strategies and what roles the influencer(s) would play.  

Select the Best Type of Influencer for your Business

Before choosing an influencer, note the different influencers types and when to use them. 

We have three influencers categories:

  • Nano
  • Micro
  • Macro, and
  • Mega 

And they work for different campaign purposes. 

Some influencers are suitable for your campaign based on their follower reach, while others are best for their niche influence.

1. Nano Influencers

These are the smallest influencer groups with anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 followers. 

You could call them the affordable and authentic alternative to celebrity influencer marketing. 

Nano influencers receive little or no pay to promote products or services. Instead, they get freebies in exchange for their follower reach and audience engagement.

Benefits

These influencers are great for small businesses, especially if you’re working on a tight budget. They target a specific audience and deliver effective results since the influencers have close connections with their fans. 

They are more authentic and less likely to use bots or fake followers. 

Downsides

Nano influencers lack experience creating advanced content and have a limited audience reach. 

Since most of them don’t work with brands much, you could have issues with negotiations or run into legal risks.

2. Micro-Influencers

They offer all the benefits of nano influencers, plus a more substantial fanbase and higher engagement rates. 

Micro-influencers have more followers, from 10,000 to 100,000, because they specialize in a specific area. So, what they lack in follower numbers, they gain in support. 

Their followers are often interested in what these influencers say and trust their endorsements.

Benefits

Micro-influencers are niche-specific and have high engagement levels with their audience. 

They have relevant and reliable followers. 

Micro-influencers also supply valuable backlinks that are great for your website’s SEO and are budget-friendly. 

Downsides

Your campaign won’t reach a larger target audience, and it may take longer research time to find the right influencer.

You get less brand awareness and recognition. Additionally, the more micro-influencers you use, the more time and effort it’d take to manage them.  

3. The Macro Influencers

These influencers are great for boosting your brand’s engagement levels, reach, and reputation.

Macro influencers have between 100,000 to 1M followers and are more professional than the first two categories. While Micro and Nano influencers are everyday users documenting their lives on social media, Macro influencers are industry specialists. 

Their years of experience and collaborations mean they know where creativity ends, and business talks begin. 

Benefits

Macro influencers pose fewer investment risks to your brand. They’re also the best option if brand awareness is your number one priority. 

You need fewer Macro influencers for your campaigns because they have high visibility rates and optimize your research time.

Downsides

The higher the influencer’s reach, the costlier your campaign. 

Most users don’t always identify with Macro influencers and the brands they represent if they appear beyond their reach. 

Additionally, their brand ideas and yours may clash. 

4. The Mega Influencers (Celebrities)

Collaborating with Mega influencers would get your brand the instant recognition it deserves. One mention of your business from a celebrity can take you from anonymous to rock star status in milliseconds.  

Mega influencers have over one million followers on all social media platforms and are usually movie stars, musicians, or celebrities. 

Benefits

Mega influencers increase your product sales and reach by 100%. They’re also easy to find.

They’re don’t need help when developing your business ideas since they’re used to working with other brands. 

You’d get credibility and exclusivity points from working with these influencers. 

Downsides

They don’t work for niche-specific brands since Mega influencers have a broad audience range. 

These influencers aren’t ideal for small businesses since you’d need a larger budget to afford them. 

One wrong move from them could spell doom for your brand’s reputation.

Understand your Influencer’s Authority 

Analyzing the influencer’s authority will help you determine their relevance and how they’d reach your target audience. 

Factors to examine include: 

  • Follower numbers
  • Engagement rate
  • Authenticity 
  • Content quality
  • Coverage depth niche

Since it isn’t uncommon for some influencers to boost their followers with bots, you should verify their authenticity and organic growth. 

Don’t judge blindly based on their large following, likes, or comments. 

Also, weed out the fake accounts with tools like SocialAudit Pro, Modash, and Influencer DB

Pay attention to the influencer’s Instagram posts and comments. It’s the fastest way to determine if they’d engage with your brand or not.

Measure Their Follower Engagement

Ensure the influencer’s posts demonstrate high follower engagement. 

Your goal is to leverage the influencer’s audience participation for your brand’s profit. Therefore, your chance of success reduces to zero if their engagement game is weak. 

Measure their engagement based on two factors:

  • Follower Activity (FA) to Follower Size (FS) ratio, and
  • Follower involvement depth 

An ideal FA to FS ratio is 50%. 

A social media influencer with 5,000 followers and about 2,500 likes/shares/comments per post shows a high audience engagement rate.

We could say the opposite for someone with over 50,000 followers that gets only 5,000 likes and comments. 

You can predict the success percentage of your brand’s message by looking at an influencer’s engagement metrics and their followers’ relevance. It means their followers will pay attention to your products and take necessary actions when it’s time.

Content style and quality also play a role in optimal engagement levels. Ensure that your campaign aesthetics match with the influencer’s brand. 

Select the Influencer with the Highest ROI Potential

Despite the continued prevalence of influencer marketing, only 67% of businesses command outsized ROI from their influencer marketing efforts. 

Follower engagement doesn’t always equal a return on investment, so choose influencers that will generate leads or sales. 

Consider influencers that’ll give your product the maximum exposure it needs by showing your message more than once. You want to collaborate with people whose content gets a ton of engagement and drives followers to take action.

Influencers that influence other professionals to promote your products for free are a plus. 

You should consider an influencer that matches all these attributes with a high engagement, authenticity, and follower rate.

It helps to review their previous collaborations with other brands and note their track records. 

Set your campaign goals, determine key performance indicators, choose your strategies, and evaluate your expenses. 

If you play your cards right, your influencer marketing campaign should provide an ROI that’s 11 times higher than other digital media.  

Reach out to the Influencer

How you contact an influencer could make or break a potential partnership. 

Your messages or DMs to your chosen influencer should convey the right level of professionalism. Also, ask for their media kit. 

Be prepared to get a few rejections from influencers that don’t align with your brand’s values. 

Don’t rely on social media and research for the correct contact details of the influencers. Most brands miss out on working with their favorites because they fail to go beyond Instagram. 

Email is always the best first point of contact if you can find their official or personal email address. 

Introduce your business and campaign goals, and explain why they should work with you. Be open and straightforward.

This is not time to ask them questions. You need to establish a connection first.

Get the Best Results with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing drives mouthwatering results for growing and established brands. But that’s if they apply the ideas here.

Growing brands can boost their visibility, grow their sales, and reach a wider audience, on the other hand, big brands can reinforce their brand dominance.

If you choose the right influencer, you can almost guarantee that your campaign would snowball into an avalanche of success. So, find influencers who your audience listens to and who are committed to your campaign success.

No matter what you do, treat your influencer selection as sacred. Everything else depends on it.

About Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin is a technology and marketing researcher. He helps businesses tell profitable brand stories that their audiences love since 2012. He's been on the writing and research teams of Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, AT&T.