Influencer marketing for small businesses is a relatively new concept, but one you shouldn’t ignore.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the idea and highlight the key benefits/pitfalls to help you work out whether it’s worth considering for your business.
The exact definition is a little woolly. However, influencer marketing for small businesses basically means having someone with a huge following advocate for your product or service via social media.
Originally, these influencers were mainly your run-of-the-mill YouTube stars; big on social media, but relatively unknown in terms of TV coverage etc. However, with the practice gaining in popularity and influencers pocketing some serious cash, celebrities have looked to get in on the act.
Influencers are usually well known within a particular field, or to a specific demographic. The size of the online community means that – despite their relative niche appeal – they still have the power to change the minds of thousands (or even millions) of potential customers.
Famous examples (for better or worse) and their specialisms include:
- Zoella: Fashion/beauty
- PewDiePie: Gaming
- Kim Kardashian: Fashion/lifestyle
- Logan Paul: Travel/sport/music
- El Rubius: Gaming
As you’ve probably guessed, most influencers are Millennials or even part of Generation Z. They gain their immense influence by speaking to people their own age about the things they love and in a language, they’re fluent in.
Obviously, the ultimate goal would be to produce something so amazing that influencers will talk about your business free-of-charge. But, let’s face it, the majority of us would just have to pay for the privilege.
What are the potential benefits/pitfalls of influencer marketing for small businesses?
Here’s a quick introduction to the key benefits and pitfalls of using influencer marketing for small businesses:
- You could extensively magnify your reach and influence within a particular sector/among a specific demographic
- You could change or enhance your brand’s reputation by gaining representation from certain influencers
- Millennials and other young folks have lost faith in traditional advertising, whereas influencers still cut through
- Influencer content can generate 11 times the ROI of traditional digital campaigns, and return around seven times the amount you invest
- You’ll need to invest a significant amount to get them on your side, which makes the method a bit of a gamble
- The concept is still young, so regulations are changing fast (ASA just imposed rules demanding all paid influencer endorsements are visibly classified as ads)
- Some influencers aren’t as popular as they claim (it’s possible to buy fake followers), which can disrupt your strategy and results
- Your reputation will become entwined with theirs; so, if they do something controversial (as has happened frequently in recent months) your brand will suffer by association
So, is influencer marketing for small businesses worth the investment? Well, influencers undoubtedly have the power to transform the fortunes of brands. But, whether it’s right for you will depend on your products/services, target market, existing online presence and a whole host of other factors.