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Running your own business comes with its challenges, especially when it comes to marketing. While we understand that as a small business owner or startup, your company might not have the most massive budget for marketing, if you're not connecting with influencers - you might be missing out on a useful marketing tool that can help grow your business.
Influencer Marketing, It's Not Just for "Big" Companies
A common misconception is that influencer marketing is a marketing strategy implemented by large companies or corporations, but that's not the case. Influencer marketing can significantly benefit small companies or startups since it can provide significant exposure for your brand or business. You might think your company doesn't have the funds to afford to work with an influencer, but the reality is that there are many ways to work with influencers that can be cost-effective. These include offering them a product in return for a post on their Instagram or blog, offering a free service in exchange for their honest review on Instagram, and more.
Do Your Research
The most important thing to do if you're interested in working with an influencer is to do your research - set some time aside and gather a few names of influencers who you feel would appeal to your audience and you to theirs. A great way to accomplish this is to go through your followers on Instagram. The reason behind this is that any person following you already has an interest in your brand or business - thus, they'll be more inclined to be interested in working with you. Another way to find influencers that might align with your brand's aesthetics is to search by a hashtag you utilize for your company's Instagram posts frequently. While you're conducting your research, jot down your favorite accounts and compare their number of followers to their engagement. Remember that social media isn't just a numbers game - just because an individual has thousands of followers it doesn't mean that they're the perfect fit for you. Instead, take notice of how they interact with their audience, do they respond to all of their comments on their posts? Do they answer questions from their followers? It's also important to take notice of their content style, do you feel like the content they create would appeal to your audience as well?
Establish a Relationship
After narrowing down your list to an influencer you're interested in working with, follow them on social media and familiarize yourself with who they are and what they do. Influencers are more inclined to work with brands who have taken the extra time to try and get to know them before even reaching out. When you're ready to connect with them, draft up a personalized email introducing yourself, as well as your business or brand. Briefly explain the kind of partnership or collaboration you would like to conduct with them and let them know why you're interested in working with them as well. Influencers receive numerous collaboration requests/inquiries per week so by keeping your initial email personal and positive you'll be sure to stand out. Don't take it to heart if you don't hear back, or if they decline your inquiry - you want to work with people who want to with you, so take it as a positive experience that is only going to benefit your business.
Once you've found an influencer who's interested in working with you, email them a detailed outline of what you expect from the collaboration such as a timeline of specific dates for when you'd like their content to be posted, your company's hashtag, and any information you think is vital for them to know before they officially agree to work with you. If you can, it's always a good idea to have some kind of contract to hold both parties accountable. At the end of the partnership campaign, try and maintain that relationship with the influencer if the collaboration went well. This will allow you to have the opportunity to possibly work with them again the future.