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One of the hottest areas of digital marketing these days involves the use of “influencers” who can help to build brand awareness and boost sales. What these influencers have that you don’t is a built-in audience of tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) fans and followers.
With just a single tweet or a single Instagram post, the thinking goes, it’s possible to activate huge audiences to act in a certain way. In short, the people seeing your products in beautifully filtered Instagram posts will also be tempted to buy them. But is that really the case? For every business that says an influencer marketing campaign resulted in booming sales, it seems, there’s a business that spends $20,000 and doesn’t see a single sale as a result.
Experiment with different pricing models
If you’re going to experiment with influencer marketing, it’s essential that you get a handle on the pricing model. If you think about it, spending tens of thousands of dollars for a few tweets and expecting products to fly off the shelves might be expecting a bit too much. As a result, it’s far better to agree on a pricing model that pays for performance. Think of it the way you would when buying Facebook ads: you’d probably ease into your campaign, testing to see what works, and only scaling up if your ads are actually working. So avoid committing to a big upfront payment.
Find the right influencers for your business
As you probably already know, there are different tiers of influencers. At the very top, of course, are the likes of Kim Kardashian or Beyoncé. As you move down the pyramid of influencers, you’ll start to see influencers targeting specific niches. These “micro-influencers” can often offer more bang-for-the-buck than big-name A-list celebrities. Plus, of course, they’re a lot more affordable. Your job is to find the right influencers who match up well with the goals and values of your business.
Understand how social media really works
Before jumping into an influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to have a good sense of how it’s going to work. For example, if your business does not lend itself to visual images (such as a tax prep accounting firm), using an Instagram influencer might not be as effective as using a Twitter influencer or a celebrity blogger. But if you’re a restaurant owner, a fashion retailer or a hospitality business, it’s easy to see how Instagram could be a huge hit.
Most importantly, it’s vital to grasp that, just because an influencer has 10,000 fans, there’s absolutely no guarantee that any social media post they make will be seen by all 10,000 people. Moreover, there’s not even a guarantee these days that those 10,000 fans are even real, or that even die-hard followers will decide to buy your products. They might “like” your products, but that’s not why you’re paying the big bucks. You want to be sure that these influencers are going to help you boost sales and move product.
The big takeaway here is that more education is needed for small business owners. They need to realize that there’s no such thing as a free lunch with social media – it’s time to recognize the various trade-offs and compromises that are involved with the launch of any successful social media influencer campaign.