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How to work with influencers as a small business

Jun 01, 2022

Every day, we get a ton of messages from different businesses offering us their products and asking us to promote them. The reason for this is that these brands know the power of influencer marketing. If you are a small business and if you’ve ever considered using influencers to market your products or services, you’re on the right track, but influencer marketing can be very hit and miss if you’re not careful and you don’t do your research. So, let us help and guide you in the right direction - I will break it down into steps that you can easily follow so you’re guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your brand and create an awesome collaboration.

Why Influencer Marketing?

Before I show you how to get the right influencers for your business, let’s look at why influencer marketing is so powerful and beneficial for your businesses - no matter how small or big it is.

You can target a specific audience

As you probably know, most influencers focus on a specific niche and share their knowledge of this specific sector with their community. If you find influencers that are in the same niche as your industry, you will be able to target people that are truly interested in what you have to offer. So, instead of marketing that might reach people who aren’t interested in what you sell, you can go straight to the people that you know will show an interest in your products or services.

It allows you to tap into new audiences and grow

More importantly, you will also be able to potentially grow your account by bringing your business in front of new audiences. Someone who’s unfamiliar with your brand and isn’t following your social media channels is unlikely to see your content — but they might be following an influencer that you want to collaborate with.

It’s more authentic

Influencer marketing is actually a lot less “pushy” than promoting your product through traditional ads. That’s because the influencer can show how they use it and talk about the benefits. Ideally, it will feel like a genuine recommendation from a friend!

It’s relatively inexpensive

Lastly, influencer marketing can seriously level-up your campaign and build brand awareness without blowing the budget. Your main cost will be to provide your products for free! Yes, there are also collaborations where you pay the influencer to talk and post about your business, but there are also plenty of opportunities where that’s not the case.

Now that you know how powerful working with influencers can be, let’s make sure that you find the right ones, see how to best contact them, and what you should expect!

Identify your goals

Before you can find the right influencers for your campaign, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your campaign. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Do you want to increase your sales? Do you want to introduce a new collection? Or maybe you want to find a brand ambassador who will become a long-term partner for your brand? All of these goals are valid, but you need to define them. Btw, we created a “Work with influencers starter kit” for you, to help you put everything together. You can download it for free right now:

Work with influencers starter kit

Everything you need to plan your next influencer collaboration and to find the right partners to work with! 🥰

Once you know what you want to achieve and the results you want to see, it will be easier to find the right influencers, based on their s and previous experience!

Find the perfect influencer for your brand

The first step in finding the right influencers is of course lots and lots of research - yes, this can be time-consuming, but it’s so important. It makes no sense for you to simply reach out to influencers with a following of 100k or more. You will only waste your time and the time of the influencer. Don’t focus on just the big accounts. Sometimes it makes more sense to just reach out to smaller influencers. Make sure you inform yourself about the different types of influencers and see who is the best fit for you. You need to concentrate on people who will love your product, who share the same values as you, and most importantly who have the right audience.

Step 1: Find people in your niche and check their audience

Target influencers that are really in your niche - be very selective and pick wisely. Who is following them? Let’s say that you have a little boutique hotel by the beach perfect for a honeymoon and you want to invite someone to stay a night or two and post about it. Now, you might have found this bikini model with 500k followers which seems to be the perfect fit, right? Bikini, beach, big reach? Match made in heaven for your hotel, no? Well, not necessarily. Because if you look at her followers you might see that most of them are young people, a majority of them men who just enjoy looking at her content. On the other hand, you might have a travel couple with only 20k followers, but they actually turn out to have exactly the audience that you want to reach. And even though they have a lot less followers, it makes a lot more sense for you to invite them and not the model. At the end of the day, the number of followers does not equal the return.

Step 2: Review their content style and quality

Just like researching the quality of followers, you also need to analyze the content that they publish across their channels. This will help give you a better understanding of their content style, and the quality of their work. Look at what they usually post - do they have the same aesthetic as what you want for your brand? For example, if you want dark and moody pictures, it won’t make sense to reach out to us, since our content is always very bright and happy.

Step 3: Understand their engagement rate

Make sure you also check their engagement. Do they have an engaged community or do you barely see any likes and comments? When an influencer has a high engagement rate, it means their followers are paying attention and taking action on their content - that’s what you want as well of course. If you want to calculate an influencer’s engagement rate on Instagram, divide the number of likes and comments they get on their posts by their follower count, and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes it’s not even about the influence at all! It can also be about the content. If you find an account with amazing content but only 400 followers you can still reach out to them and ask if they could create some pictures or videos for you! For example, @brunathelabel often works with influencers (including us) but also with smaller accounts that create amazing content for them!

Reach out to your chosen influencers

Once you have done your research and you have a list of potential influencers you’d like to collaborate with, it’s time to reach out to them! Your first message can potentially make or break a partnership deal so it’s worth putting in some extra time to make sure you’re reaching out in the right way.

Step 1: Make it personal

The most important thing you want to do when you reach out to influencers is to be personal. Each message that you send out needs to be unique. There is nothing worse than a message that just seems copied and pasted. Address them by their name and don’t forget to briefly introduce yourself as well. Show that you’ve had a look at their account - you could refer to something they recently talked about for example. This will show them that you went the extra mile to learn something about them and it will help you to prove to them that they are the perfect fit for you. Also, make sure that you use the right language. You can’t imagine how many times we received messages in languages we don’t speak. Either reach out to them in English or, if you know the language they speak, use it!

Step 2: Be clear

As I mentioned at the beginning - we get hundreds of messages like these daily. Now imagine that everyone sends us huge texts or 5-minute audios. The chances that we have the time to read or listen to all of them is small. That’s why you should make sure that your message is short and sweet. Be straightforward with what you’re offering. There’s no point in sending 10 friendly-but-vague DMs back and forth, dancing around the subject, only to find that neither of you can deliver what the other one needs.

Step 3: Don’t expect anything

The next thing that we find works best is if you, as the business, don’t expect anything in return. I know that you don’t want to go through the effort and give out products without having the guarantee that they will post about it, but honestly, to us, there is nothing worse than getting a message saying “I give you this if you give me that”. It just doesn’t seem genuine and at the end of the day, if the influencer truly does like the product, they will end up recommending it anyways.

Step 4: Provide everything they need

As soon as you have found the perfect match you need to make sure that you provide them with everything that they need. Send out the products right away, don’t wait 4 weeks. If you think it’s useful for them to know some facts about your business, send that as well. If the influencer doesn’t have everything they need or could use, don’t expect them to wait around for you. They’ll just move on to the next project.

Step 5: Be open

Lastly, it’s super important to keep an open mind. Don’t tell the influencers what they should do with your product. If they take a completely different direction with the project than what you had in mind – work with that. The key is to find someone you would like to work with and to just trust them. Don’t try to direct them. At the end of the day, they know their audience, how to reach them and what they’re into.

Step 6: Don’t always expect a reply

Be prepared to have some influencers turn down your offer or never even answer - that’s completely normal and has nothing to do with you or your brand. They might just not be interested in any collaborations or they already have too much on their plate. You could send them a second message a few days later to show them how much you really care, but don’t be too pushy. If it doesn’t happen, there are plenty of other influencers that you will be able to work with.

And there you have it! While these tips hopefully help you to get the perfect influencers on board everyone will obviously approach it a bit differently. And that’s good - you should always stay true to yourself and your branding but make sure that you still follow these guidelines to ensure that you increase your chances of a collaboration!

Talk soon,

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