Who do you think of when you hear the words “influencer marketing”? Maybe you think of big-name celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Chrissy Teigen, or Travis Scott. Or maybe the YouTube famous star you binged watched last week comes to mind. Either way, influencers are all around us, varying in content niches, posts, and followers.

Today, many people build their social media presence with the sole intention of becoming an influencer. While A-list celebrities may feel like the only effective form of influencer marketing, they are also expensive. Brands, especially small businesses, can capitalize on those “on-the-rise” influencers.

Here are five steps for introducing influencers to your small business marketing plans:

Step 1: Determine Your Channels

Certain social media channels are better than others for your specific message. It all depends on your business, your target audience, and your goals. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are popular choices. However, what works for one brand will not work for every brand.

The choice of your channel determines which influencers you should choose from. Conduct market research to conclude which channels your target audience engages with the most. In addition, use influencers in conjunction with your owned media on that specific channel.

Step 2: Discover Your Hubs and Pumps

Hubs are people who are highly connected; pumps are people who are highly active. Nowadays, it is quite easy to find these social media stars. Hunt through hashtags that are relevant to your brand, products, or services.

For example, Jaclyn Johnson (@jaclynrjohnson) has 98.8k followers on Instagram, is the host of her own podcast, and is CEO of a small business created for empowering women. Johnson is an example of both a hub and a pump as she posts very frequently and has a large following. Office Depot connected with Jaclyn to promote their workspaces. In her promotion, she included information about both their products and services.

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#ad Productivity during these times of WFH and constant distractions (hello pups !) is paramount as an entrepreneur. From products to services @officedepot has been an incredible resource in helping me create a productive home workspace. Transforming my home office so it marries both form and function is much easier when there is a one stop shop like @officedepot to assist. I recently used their printing services to print out some important business documents and stocked up on some business essentials, grabbing not only my go to items like markers, pens & Post-it notes but also a new monitor  so I can focus on multi-tasking work throughout the day by having my video conferences on one screen and work on another. I also picked up a TUL charging notebook. This custom note-taking system has removable pages which makes it easy to quickly organize and reorganize whenever needed and the charging system lets you charge your phone by placing it on the cover (genius!) When managing a full schedule that includes developing conferences, planning of multiple events and creating resources for creatives and entrepreneurs, using time savers like curbside pickup & printing resources help me be efficient with my time which these days is a must. Head to my stories to check out my new home office space and how Office Depot OfficeMax helps me stay productive! #KeepBusinessGoing

A post shared by Jaclyn Johnson (@jaclynrjohnson) on

Step 3: Remain Relevant

Lots of influencers post about products or services that do not relate to their personality or feed. Consumers can tell when these individuals are being disingenuous and insincere. Marketing these days is about being personable and creating connections.

Step 4: Be Bold for Two-Way Influencer Marketing

Some people may say, “business is about trade-offs”. Think of “quid-pro-quo” when it comes to interacting with influencers. Send a product or a physical piece of your brand that gives a glimpse into your business to the influencer. In return, ask them to post about your brand.

Do not be afraid to comment on posts or direct message influencers asking them to collaborate. Be as lavish as asking for a full post or as simple as a quick shoutout. Ask to just throw in your website URL in their videos, posts, or stories.

For example, Courtney Harms (@courtth) is a low-key Instagram influencer with just over 2,000 followers. While she does not have the following of Jaclyn Johnson, Harms partnered with a small business, Balanced and Healthy. Balanced and Healthy sent Harms samples of their tea and introduced a coupon code for the influencer so that any of her followers could receive a discount.

Step 5: Follow Up

Retention is not just for consumers; it also applies to influencers. Do not just leave your interaction with influencers as a “one-and-done” scenario. Stay in contact and engage with them on their social platforms. Continue to send your brand’s content and maintain a healthy relationship with the influencers.

New influencers are born every day. Influencer marketing can assist your marketing strategies, even as a small business!

Looking for assistance for your brand’s social media strategy? Contact our team at Sweet Rose Studios today!