Guest post by Hugh Beaulac
One of the fastest-growing social networks with the highest engagement rate, Instagram has become a powerful social media platform for both big companies and small and medium businesses. Today, over 25 million businesses use the platform to promote their products, and Instagram is quickly becoming a crowded space. As a result, it’s getting harder to cut through the noise and reach your target audience unless you invest in Instagram influencer marketing.
For many small and medium businesses, influencer marketing doesn’t seem like the most obvious marketing tool, but it’s still a critical one. Why? According to BigCommerce, most marketers believe that the popularity of influencer marketing is rising:
- 65% will increase influencer marketing budgets
- 69% plan to spend more on Instagram influencer marketing
- 89% believe that influencer marketing provides better ROI than any other marketing channel
Influencer marketing is not just about collaborating with well-known celebrities who charge top dollar for brand endorsements. Today, companies can work with micro and nano influencers—those focused on a specific niche with a smaller (up to 10k followers) but engaged following—and still get results.
Because they have the highest engagement rates, working with micro and nano opinion leaders has become one of the top influencer marketing trends, and even big brands turn to them to achieve business results.
Case in point, to raise brand awareness among millennials, Dunkin’ Donuts collaborated with Instagram nano influencers to promote its espresso drinks. With loyal followings, these opinion leaders generated positive engagement, and some posts reached an engagement rate of 26.1%.
Influencer marketing doesn’t require much budget, so even small and medium businesses can make the most out of this trend. Moreover, there are many reasons why Instagram influencer marketing can be beneficial for your business.
Top 5 Reasons Why Small and Medium Businesses Should Implement an Influencer Marketing Strategy
1. Spread the Word about Your Product
Modern customers crave authenticity, so they trust peers’ recommendations more than branded ads. This is partially why Instagram users pay close attention to what other users say on the platform. With engaged followings, micro-influencers have a big impact on their followers. Thus, working with them is a proven way to enter an already-established community and promote your product in a creative way.
Just take a look at an example from MODU. In partnership with fashion blogger Stacey Louise White, the company promoted its products effectively:
As a small business, it’s more effective for MODU to spread the word about the product among loyal users instead of running ad campaigns. Moreover, Stacey Louise White tagged @modu_watches , making it easy for her followers to check out their account and find out more about the products.
2. Create Images for Social Media
Over the last few years, user-generated content (UGC) has increased in popularity. Since customers rely on peers’ opinions, they seek out recommendations before making a purchase decision. Not only can UGC help get more photos for posting, but it can also provide the brand’s followers with social proof Unfortunately, getting these photos can be a problem when you’re just starting. However, it’s easy to get fan-made content if you work with influencers.
Here’s how small brand, Bredder Balance Boards, collaborated with Julian from Waves’n’Backpack to generate photos for their social media accounts:
You can also ask an influencer to create a short video for you or combine several photos to make an animated video, as customers trust video testimonials.
3. Increase your Customer Base
No matter how hard you try to build your Instagram following, having many followers doesn’t mean they will convert into customers. Luckily, opinion leaders have an influence on their following and can help you increase your customer base. It always grabs attention when an influencer shares his or her thoughts on a product.
For example, when lifestyle blogger Evanns posted a photo with a natural body scrub, it got 309 likes and 14 comments. People were interested in the scrub brand and were more likely to become customers:
Since social media platforms help people identify products that resonate with their unique lifestyles, they trust influencers. As a result, small and medium businesses who collaborate with influencers can spread the word about their products and attract potential customers faster.
4. Boost Ecommerce Sales
It doesn’t come as a surprise that every company aims at growing its revenue. Today, 60% of users discover products on the platform, so Instagram has rolled out business-specific features like product tags to make it easier to sell in-app. Since p make purchase decisions when scrolling their Instagram newsfeed, collaborating with micro-influencers can help to boost e-commerce sales.
Take an example from PrimeBlitz Clothing. The company works with niche influencer Yardena to offer her followers an exclusive discount opportunity:
For small and medium businesses, using unique promo codes makes it easier to track referral sales and evaluate whether an influencer partnership was worthwhile. And if you run a local business, you can still attract customers. Just take a look at an example from Republic Garden & Lounge:
Food blogger Emma shares special deals with her followers to direct their attention to the venue. She also works with some local companies to run contests and give away gift certificates.
5. Collect Customer Feedback
To improve the quality of your products and win more clients, it’s important to know what your current customers think about your company. For small businesses, Instagram isn’t the best source of market research as it’s simply too small of a sample. However, working with influencers, it’s easier to gather customer feedback as users want to share their thoughts within a community.
Here’s how Glossier did it. When beauty influencer Liz Hew shared the news about the new Glossier product launch, it helped the company understand that it was important to deliver globally to reach the international audience:
If Instagrammers don’t tag your account when sharing their thoughts, it can be daunting to gather their feedback. To track all brand mentions with ease, the Influencer Marketing Cloud by InfluencerDB offers a Monitoring module! The Monitoring feature allows brands to track mentions or Instagram handles thus, it is a great tool for listening and competitive brand analysis.
How SMBs Can Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
- Define your influencer marketing goal: Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for businesses, but you need to think about your final goal in advance. Whether you want to build brand awareness or boost eCommerce sales, it’s important to define your goal and inform the influencer so that you can achieve it faster.
- Find niche influencers: Choosing the right influencer is a proven way to get good business results without spending too much of your budget. As a small business owner, you can save your time and discover micro and nano opinion leaders fast with InfluencerDB software.
- Measure the ROI of your campaign: For small businesses, the easiest way to evaluate an influencer’s performance is with tracked links or unique promo codes. The Influencer Marketing Cloud by InfluencerDB will create automatic tracking links for you and autogenerate an aggregated breakdown of the campaign results in the Campaigns module.
If you’re deciding whether or not you should launch your first influencer marketing campaign these reasons why small and medium businesses need influencer marketing should help. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon and make the most out of this marketing strategy.
About the author:
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 website where you can get professional math help to calculate the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign. Hugh also works as a freelance SMM manager to help small businesses grow on social media and he often contributes to top-notch marketing blogs to share his tips and tricks.