How To Score Influencer Partners as a Small-Business Owner
As a small-business owner with a limited budget, you might think influencer marketing is out of your reach. Yet nearly 5 in 10 buyers rely on influencers for purchase decisions.
It’s possible to get endorsements and reap the benefits without breaking the bank. By working with nano and micro influencers, you can get a substantial but affordable return on investment.
For the full details, check out HubSpot Marketing’s video with Tory Bullock, a marketing manager who breaks down influencer marketing for small businesses.
What's Nano and Micro Influencer Marketing?
Businesses work with influencers to generate brand awareness, increase social media presence, and drive sales. A shoe company might collaborate with an athlete, while a makeup brand might pair up with a beauty guru.
In general, marketers categorize influencers into four buckets:
- Mega influencers: 100k+ followers
- Micro influencers: 10k to 100k followers
- Nano-influencers: 1k to 10k followers
Compared to mega influencers, nano and micro ones often have higher engagement rates and greater authenticity, driving bigger returns on investment.
A brand like Nike might be able to afford a superstar athlete. Small businesses, on the other hand, can partner with a nano or micro influencer at a fraction of the cost. Mega influencers usually cost $100k+ for a partnership — which could include multiple posts or videos — whereas nano or micro influencers typically ask for between $501 and $10k.
How To Find an Influencer for Your Small Business
1. Search hashtags on social media
Ideally, you want to find influencers on a platform your audience uses. For example, if you know your audience leans on the younger side, TikTok likely works better than Facebook.
Next, search relevant hashtags. If you run a plant business, for example, you could look up #gardening or #plantparent on Instagram. Note down influencers that align with your brand.
2. Compare engagement rates
To measure the quality of an influencer, look at their engagement rate. This shows you how often their audience interacts with their content, either by liking or commenting on their posts. To calculate an engagement rate manually, use the following formula:
((Likes + Comments) / Total number of followers) * 100
Although the median engagement rate across all industries falls at 0.98%, smaller influencers have greater engagement. Nano influencers typically see an average engagement rate of 7%, while micro ones see an average of 4%. Higher engagement rates signal potential for a successful influencer collaboration.
3. Check for fake followers
Unfortunately, some accounts purchase thousands of fake followers to inflate their online presence. To avoid getting scammed, check for fake followers using an online tool — such as Modash. Look for accounts with <25% fake followers.
4. Ensure their content aligns with your brand
Finally, and most importantly, vet the influencer’s content to ensure brand alignment. Look at their previous partnerships. Check out how the influencer interacts with followers. By working with an influencer, you attach your brand to them. Make sure they can act as an appropriate spokesperson.
How To Reach Out to Influencers
Send them an email or message
You can often find an influencer’s contact information on their social media pages. Alternatively, send them a direct message to get the ball rolling.
Your message should talk about the influencer’s content, your interest in sponsoring them in a campaign, and contact information. Consider using the following template:
Hi! I’ve been following your content and love your messaging surrounding [topic]. I’d love to talk to you about a sponsored content campaign for us, [insert company here]. Do you have time to chat soon? I’m available at [email/contact info].
Of course, modify the language to fit your brand messaging.
Figure out the content you want from the influencer
Influencers can create tons of content for your brand, including:
- Guest blog posts
- User-generated content (UGC)
- YouTube videos
- Sponsored posts
The more work an influencer has to put in, the greater the cost. Take time to understand how they can best represent your brand. For example, if your product has a lot of technical parts or a cool aesthetic, a video walk-through might make more sense than a post.
Regardless, collaborate with the influencer. Ask them for their ideas — they know their audience better than you.