WINFLUENCE: How to Leverage Influencer Marketing in Your Small Business – Jason Falls

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Often when people hear the term influencer marketing they think it’s this new social media thing because the term was coined around the advent of social media. However, influencer marketing has been around for centuries. Essentially influencer marketing is working through a third party to have them persuade their audience to take some action or change their mind on a topic. When you think about it, influencer marketing aligns with public relations because often the PR person is working with journalists, a third party, to impact an audience on your behalf.

No matter if your business is big or small you can find value in and get access to influencers that match your brand. The goal is to find the people in your area or industry that have the type of audience you want to reach. I would encourage people to not just think about influencers with social media followings. Social media influencers certainly have their place but there is a much broader network of influencers that could benefit your brand and might not even have a social media account. For instance, if your audience is parents with small children and you are a local dentist, you might look at partnering with school teachers or nurses.

As with any marketing you want to ensure you are generating a return on your investment. This is especially true for small businesses. For example, there is a young lady in Lexington, KY named Gabby Male, who is a fitness and wellness influencer. Gabby has been building her network on Instagram for several years now and she has over 200,000 followers. If you are a local spa or activewear store it would probably cost you thousands of dollars to work with Gabby because of her audience size. However, if you look closely at her audience there might only be 2% of them located in Lexington, KY. So for local Lexington, KY small businesses she might not make sense to partner with.

If you have a product you sell online direct-to-consumer you might consider partnering with a micro or nano influencer. One strategy is product seeding, you send influencers some of your product and ask them to write about it if they like it or if not to provide feedback. Your only cost for a product seeding campaign is your time, some shipping, and the cost of the product. A lot of the time you can get 20% to 30% of the influencers to post about your product. So you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do influencer marketing.

The two main goals of advertising are to increase awareness and generate conversions. Awareness fills the funnel and conversions empty the funnel by putting money in your pocket. Where I see people get it wrong is they spend all their time and energy on awareness and not enough energy on conversions. You cannot pay your bills with awareness, no matter how many website visits you get or social media followers you have. Those won't help you make payroll next month. What does pay the bills is when you convert that awareness traffic into customers. You should start with the conversion piece first and then once you have that down move on to increasing your awareness.

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