These tips will help you decide whether an influencer marketing campaign is right for your small business and how much you can expect to pay.
A small business has limited resources, which is one of the reasons why most small businesses are selective in their online marketing. “Influencer marketing” may sound out of your league, as you probably can’t afford to pay the Kardashians to use your product in one of their Instagram posts.
However, influencer marketing comes in various shades and sizes, so there must be influencers out there that would fit your bank account. There are even “micro influencers,” with only a few thousand followers. Thus, if you have a budget of a couple hundred to a thousand dollars, most likely you can find influencers who are willing to work with you.
Let’s look at how your small business can take advantage of influencer marketing in seven easy steps.
1. Develop Targeted Personas
In marketing, “persona” is a term used to refer to a fictionalized customer with his or her own needs, wants, goals, passions, and behaviors. Based on each persona, you can create content that resonate with them so that the result would be favorable. For this, you might need to select several influencers with each influencer targeting one specific persona.
For instance, if you’re selling baby clothes, your personas might be the following:
- First-time mothers (aged 18 to 22): Still in college, busy studying, have no prior experience in childcare, single or living with a partner, has minimal income
- First-time mothers (20ish to 30ish): busy working, need childcare, has minimal childcare experience, single or living with a partner, financially struggling
- First-time mothers (40ish): busy working, have some health issues related to age, has some childcare experience, financially independent, single or living with a partner
- Experienced mothers (more than one child): busy working or staying at home, on a budget due to multiple children, have a lot of experience in childcare, single or living with a partner, always in a hurry
2. Select the Platform
When we talk about “influencer marketing,” most likely we’re talking about Instagram influencer marketing. According to AdWeek, the best platforms for influencers in 2017 were Instagram with 91.9% approval; falling much farther behind were Facebook with 2.7% approval and YouTube with 2.7%.
3. Use a Tool to Find Your Instagram Influencer
There are several tools for finding Instagram influencers, such as Upfluence and Buzzsumo. However, these two tools can be a bit a pricey. You can, however, start with the free plan at Heepsy, which provides the key metrics, hashtags, location, brand collaborations, and contact information of influencers’ Instagram accounts. The paid plan also includes the estimated cost per post.
If you’re not sure which Instagram accounts belong to “influencers,” relax. Accounts with more than 2,500 followers are usually open for business. They’re “micro influencers,” but still, they are influencers. If you’re confused on which influencer to hire, your best bet is choosing an account with the most engaged followers (the most comments and likes).
4. Approach Your Targeted Influencer
Contact several influencers that fit your targeted personas. Most of them have their contact information stated. You can also send them a private introductory message.
Inquire whether they’re accepting new clients and can help promote your product or brand. Confirm the cost per post and other requirements prior to starting the collaboration. Many marketers use $100 per 10,000 followers as a rough price estimate, but every influencer charges differently, so be prepared for some price variations.
5. Close the Deal & Start Promoting Your Product
Close the deal gracefully and ask the influencer what would be the next steps. Most likely, you’ll be required to send the product that you want them to wear or use in the sponsored post.
Make sure that the agreement clearly states whether there will only be one or multiple products per post, how many posts will be created, when they will be posted (day and time for optimization), and whether the product needs to be returned.
If you will be providing the images, ask what the requirements are, so the followers would have a seamless experience, which is known as “Instagram followers hack” among marketers.
6. Calculate Your ROI, Rinse & Repeat
The ROI of your Instagram influencer marketing campaign depends on how many leads or sales it generates per post. For this, you’d need to find the cost per lead, which can be calculated by dividing the cost per post with the total number of leads captured with the lead mechanism on your site (e.g., newsletter subscription or contact form submission).
Next, find the conversion rate, which is the sales ROI based on the total sales received from a paid post. To make this process easier, use Google Analytics.
- Cost per Lead = cost per post / total number of leads captured via subscription feature on your site
- Sales ROI (or “conversion”) = (total sales / cost per post) X 100%
Paying influencers within your marketing campaign budget is definitely doable. You might want to compare several influencer accounts to see which ones generate higher ROI for an identical product. Influencer marketing is here to stay since many small businesses are enjoying the boost of traffic and revenue from this creative strategy.
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and others. She is the author of “White Paper Writing for Business” and “FabJob Guide to Become a Management Consultant.” Her blog is JenniferXue.com.