Influencer Marketing – what’s it all about?

Written by Molly Ashley, Marketing Account Manager

Have you ever purchased a product on the recommendation of an influencer? You’re not alone! Valued at $13.8 billion in 2021, influencer marketing has driven online commerce, transforming our favourite brands – and creators – in the process.

From TikTok to Instagram, a new wave of influencer’s have taken the digital sphere by storm. But in all their glory, some people are still new to the concept – and its worth. If you want to learn more about influencer marketing for small businesses, its benefits, possibilities and potential dangers, here’s everything you need to know!

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a social media strategy that sees brands work with content creators to raise awareness of their product.

Be it beauty or baking, an ‘influencer’ is a trusted individual with a dedicated social following in their sector. Though some are followed by millions, creators with a small yet loyal audience still fall under the category. Known as ‘micro-influencers’, these creators tend to have some of the highest engagement rates online.

How does influencer marketing work? Is it right for your brand?

With 49% of consumers depending on influencer recommendations, it’s argued that the tactic should form a sizeable chunk of your brand’s marketing strategy. But an approach to the phenomenon isn’t one-size-fits all. Often, larger businesses work with influencers in exchange for payment, so, if your budget’s on the smaller side, don’t fear! A micro-influencer could be your saving grace.

Defined as ‘everyday’ content creators with followers in the thousands, a micro-influencer is more likely to accept gifted products in exchange for their services, making marketing for small businesses more accessible.

But, before you direct message your favourite Tik-Toker with a partnership brief, you’ll need to consider whether the marketing strategy is right for your brand in the first place.

Niche products are notoriously difficult to market. Whether it’s pet food or handmade toys, user-generated campaigns tend to outshine influencer marketing. On the other hand, products that target the masses have seen excellent outcomes as a result of influencer campaigns.

Your brand must be active on social media before you command the help of an influencer. Marketing for small businesses can be overwhelming but perfecting your social media strategy is a great place to start.

If your target consumer was a millennial woman, would you work with a male influencer in their 50’s? Before you call on the help of a content creator, make sure that their following fits your market in the first place.

What are the benefits of influencer marketing?

So, what’s the best thing about influencer marketing for small businesses? Aside from placing your brand at the heart of an existing audience, it’s been proven to increase brand awareness, enrich content strategies and boost trust.

Here are some of those benefits in more detail:

  • New & Existing Audiences – Through relevant influencer campaigns, your content will land on the feeds of an audience already interested in your niche. More than that, influencer marketing can pique the interest of those yet to connect with your brand.

  • Increased Brand Awareness – As influencers expand your reach, they also tell your story. But it’s important to rely on more than just their expertise; the key to maximising your marketing strategy is in providing valuable organic content too.

  • Enriched Content Strategies – Have you ever been stuck on what to post? Influencer marketing for small businesses can help to fill the gaps of your social media schedule, enriching your content strategy in the process.

  • Boosted Trust – Influencer’s careers are dependent on their credibility; as long as they’re trusted, their audience will continue to respect their content and recommendations – your product included.

And what about the dangers?

As influencer marketing grows at a rate faster than digital ads, its benefits appear to be limitless. Or do they?

One of the biggest dangers of partnering with a content creator is the potential onslaught of cancel culture. A danger that makes influencer marketing for small businesses all the more risky, it’s defined as ‘the phenomenon of promoting the cancelling of people and brands due to offensive remarks or ideologies’. It can blacklist content creators and ruin the reputation of organisations they’ve partnered with.

To avoid a cancellation storm, you should thoroughly research an influencer before you approach them and set a clear brief. But if you find yourself in the midst of a scandal, there’s some steps you can take to ease the damage.

Step 1 – Take ownership of the influencer’s mistake.

Step 2 – Issue a timely and honest response that clarifies the future of your brand’s partnership with said influencer.

Step 3 – Demonstrate your commitment to correcting the scandal and lay out your plans to resolve it.

At LS Media and Marketing, we understand that marketing for small businesses can be tricky. But, with the support of our specialised consultants, we can work together to establish the ideal strategy for your brand. To improve your marketing, sales and results, get in touch.