In the past months, there has been a lot of talk about influencer marketing. Many (1,2,3) are calling influencer marketing one of the biggest marketing trends of 2017.

Currently, influencer marketing is typically available only to those with huge budgets to blow. As a result, small business owners are often left assuming they cannot afford the marketing trends they read about online. 

The main challenge: Not knowing what they (small businesses) are paying for or how influencer marketing contributes to their marketing objectives.

Despite there being a lot of coverage around micro-influencers (who cost far less than standard influencers), there have not been many resources explaining how those with smaller budgets can utilize influencers effectively.
In this article, I wanted to do just that. Let’s dive in…

Utilize Micro-influencers

In short, even if you don’t have the budget to run expensive influencer campaigns or have Beyonce shout out your shoe company, you’re still in luck thanks to micro-influencers. To identify and connect with influencers in your industry or city, use tools like ours, which lists out relevant influencers based on a variety of criteria, and see if you two can work together. If that does not work for you, you can never go wrong with a Google search.

Don't Get Stuck with your Definition of “Influencer”

The definition of an influencer is anyone who influences a member of their audience to take an action. If you are unable, why not get a little creative here?

Here’s an example:
Shameless confession: I’ve spent some time as a city guide. The amount of times I received the question, “Where is a good spot to eat around here?” or “Which streets do locals go to?” is outrageously high.

If you’re the owner of a cafe, bar, restaurant or a similar business, consider hosting a night/day where city hosts or taxi drivers get 25% off. Then, appreciate those who show up and let them know you’ll compensate them (either with money or freebies) for every x amount of people they bring into your business. To track this, have their passengers say “Cik Puan, the city guide Richard, told me about you.” etc. Begin thinking creatively on how to reach audiences and potential clients where they’re already at. Once this “clicks”, the possibilities are endless when it comes to generating awareness for your business.

Another example:
For online influencers with Facebook pages, explore arrangements where you can be given "advertiser" role in their page. This allows you to work with content created by influencers for you and reach out better to their audience. Your goal ultimately is to work with them to engage their audience, right?

Be Curious of Who's Who in Your Area

What I mean by this is for you to make relationships while influencers are still on the come-up.

If you are the owner of a local cafe, then follow influencers in your area who document their cafe hopping sessions. If you come across an influencer who has a small following at the moment, but is gaining a lot of momentum and traction, reach out to them.

Let them know you are a fan of their work and you’d like to meet up sometime. This may lead to a fruitful partnership.

Have Realistic and Actionable Goals

IF you are looking for sales as direct outcome, you're going to be disappointed. 

Here’s the deal: For the most part (and I’m talking about the 85–90% part), influencers are best at driving awareness. I hate to burst your bubble, but better to do it now than finding out after you invest time, money, and resources into influencer marketing.

Sure, you might receive some conversions. Hell, maybe even a sizable amount of conversions. But thinking you will receive MYR 1,000 in product sales by spending MYR 100 on influencer marketing is just not realistic.

Sometimes it happens, and I call those instances “MAGICAL”.
However, the true value in influencer marketing is worth much more than what you will pay them. The awareness you receive is more than worth the cost. Conversions are a bonus.

Hence it is important to measure what is the awareness they generated for your brand. This is where data analytics come into play. One way you can do it now is to ask for awareness related metrics from influencers after end of your campaign - views, impressions, reach, unique views etc. 

Have an awareness goal that is realistic. If the influencer who’s posting for you typically receives 4,000 Instagram Likes on her photos, make your goal 3,800 Likes.
Begin to think of influencer marketing like a billboard on a highway where only your potential customers drove on. Difference being, this is measurable

Word of caution:
An influencer who are not willing to share how their content perform for your campaign is a serious redflag. 

--If you would like to learn more about how to leverage micro-influencers on Instagram
**read this terrific article here on Stories by Buffer written by Shane Barker.

Want to Learn More about Influence Marketing?

Subscribe to get instant ebook on "The Top 10 Trends of Influencer Marketing"