What Is Influencer Marketing And Does Your Small Biz Need It In 2020?

Influencer marketing has soared in popularity in recent years. No longer confined to big brands, today even small businesses can enjoy the benefits of influencer marketing.


But what exactly does influencer marketing involve? And can your own small businesses benefit from it in 2020? Read on to find out.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is, in its simplest form, the practice of using famous individuals to promote or sell a product or service. The practice is as old as advertising, but the rise of social media has expanded it into a broad, accessible church.


With social media such a mainstay of our daily lives, marketers are eschewing traditional A-list celebrities in favor of smaller but still influential social stars.


These social influencers offer high engagement to targeted audiences at a lower cost overall. Influencers are also excellent for generating leads from social media and form an integral part of a good social media marketing strategy.


But it’s important to make a distinction here between macro and micro-influencers.


Macro-influencers are those individuals with follower counts of more than 100K. Beauty blogger RCLBeauty and tech influencer Austin Evans are two such examples of macro-influencers.


Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have a much smaller follower count, between 10-100K. However, despite this relatively small follower base, micro-influencers enjoy a much closer relationship with their audience. They also occupy more specific niches than their macro counterparts.


Consequently, micro-influencers often deliver higher engagement in brand collaborations than macro-influencers.


It is this that makes micro-influencers such a valuable asset for small businesses.


Affordable and effective, micro-influencer partnerships are a valuable endeavor for small businesses in 2020 — when performed right.

How can small businesses get started with influencers?

While each influencer collaboration is different, there are a few essential steps that small businesses need to know to get started.

Research your influencers

Before you launch your influencer campaign, it’s important to do your research first. This is especially true for small businesses with tight budgets. Solid research at this stage ensures you get the most value for money from your campaign by making informed decisions.


Start by looking at existing influencer campaigns from other businesses in your industry. Consider the following:


  • What kind of influencer is most commonly used?
  • What content formats/styles do they lean on?
  • How is the business presented in the influencer’s content?
  • What kind of posts receive the most engagement?


While you shouldn’t copy these influencer campaigns, they’re worth taking inspiration from. Each collaboration is unique and should be geared towards your own business goals. See what works for others and consider how it could work for your business.

Choose an influencer that’s right for you

When you’re choosing an influencer, it’s important to find the one that best aligns with your business and its needs.


There are two options open to you for this.


The first option is to manually trawl hashtags related to your business and find individuals with a high follower count who regularly share content around your niche. Once you’ve found an influencer, reach out to them directly to collaborate.


But a quicker (and more targeted) solution is to lean on tools. There are a number of influencer marketplaces whose sole purpose is to connect businesses with influencers. Simply search these marketplaces by keyword to find a list of potential influencers in your niche. These also come with the added benefit of metrics to help you find the best influencer that suits your budget.


Look for:


  • Engagement
  • Niche
  • Relevance
  • Reach


Once you’ve found an influencer with sufficient metrics who aligns with your business niche, reach out to them and request a collaboration. Be friendly and concise — they receive dozens, if not more, requests a day, so their time is precious.


While many micro-influencers do still work for freebies, most of them require cash payment. That said, an added incentive such as a free product may encourage them to reduce their prices.

Set a brief

It’s important to set out early on what you want from your partnership. If you’re working with a micro-influencer, engagement is naturally high on your list. But you might also consider what products you want to push and which ones most align with your influencer’s style.


Your brief extends to your influencer’s creative output too. You want their content to align with your brand, so set out boundaries for your campaign now.


But remember to let your influencer guide their content overall. They know what their audience likes, and as such, influencers know what kind of content resonates with them.


You could opt for a one-off sponsored post, in which your influencer endorses your product or service in a blog, video, or review.


The best influencer partnerships are sustained and meaningful. When your influencer’s audience is exposed to repeated endorsements of your brand over a period of time, it builds trust — more so than a single post.


With this in mind, build a relationship with your influencer. As well as ensuring both parties enjoy a positive working relationship, this also opens up more opportunities as your business grows.

Quantify your results

It’s important to quantify the success of your collaboration. Without seeing the results of your campaign in hard data, you won’t know whether or not it landed.


Measure the results of your influencer campaign from start to finish. This helps you ensure you hit your KPIs and spot problem areas.


But it also helps inform future influencer partnerships further down the line, as well as identifying what kind of content resonates best with your audience. You can subsequently use this for your own branded content too, beyond an influencer collaboration.


There are lots of metrics you can track here — page hits, traffic, engagement, comments, sales, and so on. While a broad overview of all of these is useful, the metrics you really need to focus on are the ones that align with your campaign goal.


It’s worth setting up all your tracking prior to the launch of your campaign. This makes it easier to monitor your campaign in real-time and assess its success at the end.


Influencers offer an array of benefits for businesses, both large and small. You don’t need a big budget to get big results from an influencer campaign. Follow the tips above and get started with influencer marketing today and enjoy the benefits well into 2020.