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How to Find SMB Influencers You Can Actually Afford

How to Find SMB Influencers You Can Actually Afford

We know you’ve heard about Influence Marketing. Brand Influencers are the latest addition to digital marketing and it’s about time your company jumped on board. Don’t worry, every business owner can afford some form of influence marketing. You don’t have to reach out to a Kardashian that’ll charge $250k for a single photo post to be shared.  

When you’re working with a shoestring marketing budget, you must be creative. Learn how to find SMB influencers using this easy 5-Step Process.     

Step 1: Research Target Market

It’s time to put a little effort into laying out the details of your ideal customer. Before you start finding influencers, you must know who you want to sell to. Find the answers to these questions and prepare a target market report:

  • • Is your perfect customer male or female?
  • • What is the age range of your ideal customer?
  • • What is their job, career, education?
  • • Where does your target market live?
  • • How do your perfect customers spend their money?
  • • What social media sites can you find them on?
  • • What are some of your ideal customers’ hobbies?
  • • When it’s 3am, what is your target market searching for?

You can read our featured article on the who, what, where of finding your ideal customer here: Social Media Marketing for Small Business 101. You want to treat social media as a focus group. Peek into the minds of your perfect customers by watching their activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.

Step 2: Locate Practical Influencers

Finding you brand’s soulmate is no easy task. Of course you’d do anything to get a super popular celebrity on board, but restrain yourself and try to find practical influencers. You’ll see excellent results with influencers that have a smaller audience that is highly engaged.

When looking for voice leaders that have your target market as an audience, look for these channel traits:

  • • Brands that have a lot of “likes,” “comments,” and “shares.” Don’t let large audience stats distract you from what’s really important. You’re looking for quality not quantity.
  • • How often the influencer channel posts. Avoid going with an influencer that posts too many times in one day; you don’t want your shout out to be jumbled with a ton of others. Likewise, you want to find an influencer that posts at least once a day.
  • • Influencers that’ll match your brand voice. If you’re a conservative brand, find influencers that abstain from profanity and highly debated subjects. If you’re a more casual brand, find influencers with a relaxed and hip voice.  

Start a simple excel spreadsheet to organize all potential influencers you think would be a good match. Keep track of their name, site url, social media platform, contact information, followers and your first impressions of their brand. Don’t stop until you have 10 people that would work well with your brand.      

While performing influencer research, remember that, “Social media is a peer influencer when it comes to making buying decisions, as 71% of consumers are likely to purchase an item based on social media referrals.” Make sure you save only those influencers that have the attention of your immediate target market.

Step 3: Create Influencer Opportunities

How to find SMB influencers that’ll work with a small budget? That’s easy, be creative with the opportunities you offer. Meaning, maybe you can offer something other than straight cash to influencers. Come up with great ways to attract thought leaders and influencers to your brand.

  • • Keep it simple and offer your product or service for the influencer to review. With these types of opportunities, be prepared to get great reviews, mediocre testimonials and even harsher critiques. For this option, you have to be confident in the quality of your product or service.   
  • • Come up with a gift basket that includes your product plus some swag for your influencers. Buying the swag items in bulk for the influencers you want to approach will save you loads of money.
  • • Set aside some money for your marketing budget. Decide on the amount of money you can devote to influence marketing. Let’s say you have $300 you can spend a month towards marketing your brand. Offer something like $0.10 for each like or view of a shared photo, video or link. So if your influencers post a video on YouTube talking about your product, you’ll get 3,000 views with that marketing arrangement. You can spread out the money with multiple content pieces. Be creative. 
  • • Create an affiliate marketing program. Designate a coupon code with an influencer and provide a link for that affiliate to use. So when an influencer’s follower purchases your product or service, the influencer gets a commission. 

Devote a little time with a graphic designer and/or web designer to create the above opportunities.

Step 4: Contact 10 Influencers 

By this point, you know exactly who you’re marketing to; the leading voices that are in front of your audience; and what types of opportunities you can offer to the influencers. Send out personalized emails to each of the influencer brands you researched with your offer. Include any flyers, information or website landing pages that the influencer can review when researching your brand. 

TIP: Find their personal or business email addresses. Don’t just send them a message through YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Remember that if you did your research right, this person receives a LOT of messages via social media. Be professional and find their business email address to reach out; your chances of reaching them will be higher. 

Step 5: Follow Up with Influencers

There are three separate tips in this next step; depending on the initial responses to your emails. If they said: 

  • Yes. 

Go ahead and communicate your ideas for the campaign with them. Remember that your influencer knows their audience better than anyone. Allow the content creator to contribute any creative ideas they have about sharing your brand on their channel.

  • No.

Thank them for taking the time to respond. Treat every no as a “not now.” Save their information in your database and reach out again after 6 months. Replace their spot with another potential influencer for your brand. 

  • No Response.

Remember that good brand influencers get offers from companies and emails from fans coming in 24/7. Let a week go by, then send a casual email touching base to see if your offer was received. If there is still no response, move on to the next potential influencer.       

We hope this information will help you find the right SMB Influencers!

Did you learn how to find SMB Influencers that’ll help your brand be seen by the right people? We really hope so. If you follow these tips you should have no trouble finding social influencers your business can actually afford.   

When your phone starts ringing off the hook with all the new business from influence marketing, come back and see us. Our virtual live receptionist service is award winning and we answer your lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

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