Your ultimate small business guide to influencer marketing

Woman in red top holding up shoes. The sleeve of a man wearing a blue shirt can be seen at the right of the image

If you’re like most business owners and marketers, you’re always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to market your business. And if you have ever wondered what influencer marketing is, how it works and haven’t yet considered influencer marketing, now is the time to discover a new strategy to help you grow.

Influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth advertising that relies on engaging people with large followings to refer their audience to your business. These influencers have their audiences and can help you reach more people than you could otherwise achieve on your own.

Contrary to popular belief, this type of marketing can benefit businesses of all sizes – from sole traders to big players in the market.

Ultimately, unlike other marketing strategies, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that relies on influential humans who have built their audience.

What is an influencer?

Influencers are individuals who have a significant following on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, including their own highly visited websites.

Influencers may also be bloggers or celebrities, but they all have one thing in common: many followers listen when they speak about a particular topic or product.

When an influencer follows a brand’s account and promotes their products or services, their followers see it as an endorsement from someone they trust and respect. This leads the customer to trust the brand, making it easier for you to reach new customers.

What about micro and nano influencers?

With over 300 million small businesses worldwide and more people than ever before having regular access to smartphones and social audiences, we see a rise in self-employed influencers.

Depending on their follower counts, they might be considered a micro or nano influencer. A micro influencer is generally considered to be someone with a following under 200,000, while a nano influencer usually has a following under 10,000.

Although these influencers do not have a more extensive offering through a large follower base, the recommendations of a micro and nano influencer are seen as more authentic than those with a much larger following – giving businesses more choice as to who to choose to be an ambassador for their products or services.

Not only do these micro and nano influencers offer a perspective that is achievable for your small business, but they also present an opportunity to target a specific demographic for your products or services that are considered far more credible than that of the more prominent players.

Screenshot of a wedding photo from arteliajewellery on Instagram. The images shows two other accounts being tagged in the photo.

Where do I find an influencer?

The best place to start is on the native platforms you already have a presence or want to grow.

For example, if your business has an active presence on Instagram, using the search functionality is an excellent place to start, particularly on the mobile application.

The words "Melbourne fashion" in a search box.

Example of Instagram mobile search benefits

Pro tip:

As Instagram is primarily a mobile application, using the mobile search function will give you greater visibility and search options. Search options include top content shared, as well as the most popular accounts, audio, tags and places. Searching each of these categories will help you find leaders, hashtags and other businesses in your field in a more targeted way.

Apart from a trusted and focused keyword search on Google, there are also purpose-built websites and apps designed to help you find the right influencers – for example, Tribe and The Right Fit, both of which are based in Australia.

Google search showing the words "Female fashion bloggers in Brunswick East Victoria" highlighted in yellow.

Example of a carefully considered Google search to help you find a suitable (and local) blogger.

How does a partnership with an influencer work?

You can recruit an influencer to promote your product, service, event, competition or campaign. To successfully engage an influencer, you can expect and be prepared to do so in exchange for money, products and services.

Regardless of the arrangement, the influencer then promotes your product or service by mentioning, tagging and letting their followers know they are collaborating with you on social media or other online platforms like a blog.

Screenshots show a hot air balloon alongside an inserted screenshot of the Instagram profile of The Wanderlust Times.

Instagram collaboration between Melbourne business @globalballooningaustralia and the @_thewanderlusttimes

The rise of influencer marketing and how it can benefit your business

Influencer marketing is becoming more popular because it’s a great way to reach a large audience. Influencers generally have large connected communities and their followers trust their opinions.

The rise of digital marketing, mobile technologies and new platforms have made influencer marketing even more popular. Unlike traditional marketing initiatives, digital marketing relies on online platforms to reach consumers. As more and more people shift their attention to online platforms, the importance of influencer marketing will continue to grow.

In fact, according to a recent digital landscape report by Nielsen, 92% of Australians are now using social media daily.

This trend has made it easier for marketers to reach their target audience and engage with them on social media platforms. Additionally, it’s also made it easier for brands to find and connect with influencers.

The best part about influencer marketing is that it offers brands an authentic, creative way to connect with consumers and build stronger relationships with them through their channels. Influencers can help brands achieve this by creating content around their products or services and increasing engagement by sharing it with their social media followers.

So, if you’re looking for a new and innovative way to market your business, partnering with an influencer has the potential to increase your engagement with a new audience and lift your brand.

Screenshots of Tik Tok influencer shawtygutz holding up a bottle from brand  Javy. Red boxes highlight elements on screen that show this is a paid partnership.

How to find the right influencer for your brand

Not all influencers are created equal, so it’s essential to find the right ones for your brand.

Here are 5 tips for finding the right influencers:

1. Set a clear goal

Successful influencer marketing requires the right combination of ingredients. The best way to ensure your campaign will succeed is to make sure that you have a clear goal in mind.

When you partner with an influencer, the more clarity you have about what you wish to achieve, the greater the outcome to be a success. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, sell more products, or just get more people to know about your business, make sure your goals are clear.

2. Do your research

Before you reach out to any influencers, do some research to find out who they are what they do. Look at their websites and social media accounts and see what kinds of posts they like to share. Also, check out other entities they’ve worked with and further investigate pricing for endorsements and promotions.

This will help you determine if they would be a good fit for your brand and how you can help each other.

In addition to social media platforms, search engines and sites such as Tribe and The Right Fit, you can also research influencers using online tools like BuzzSumo to optimise your influencer marketing strategy.

3. Look for influencers with a similar audience to yours

When you partner with an influencer, you want them to reach as many people as possible.

The best way to do this is by finding someone who already has a community of followers aligned to the ideal type of audience you want to reach. Searching for similar audiences means that they already have a built-in audience, and all you have to do is help them add value to them through your brand offering.

Looking for influencers with a similar audience means you can reach your target market through their content and social media channels.

4. Reach out to your prospective influencers

Once you’ve found a few good candidates, start engaging and building a relationship. Start to like, comment and engage in their content before making contact to explore opportunities of working together.

Be sure to explain what you’re looking for and how you can add value to them, not what you can get. After all, influencer marketing, like all types of marketing and partnerships, is about relationships.

For example:

“Hi ____!

I/We have been following your journey for some time and love how you ____.

We’re looking for someone with the same energy and values at the moment to partner with for an upcoming promotion of our ____.

If you are interested in exploring further, what is the best way to contact you to discuss this opportunity?”

5. Negotiate the terms

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with influencers. They understand the value of their influence and you know the value of your product and service. Don’t be shy about having a conversation about the value exchange in return for their endorsement and working together.

If you’re not sure how much to charge, start by looking at what other businesses are setting and negotiate.

Consider using the TrendHero list of top 20 questions to ask an influencer to determine if they are right for your business, event or campaign.

Steps to start working with an influencer

Once you’ve partnered with an influencer, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Be clear about your expectations

When working with an influencer, it’s essential to be clear about your expectations. Having clarity from the beginning will prevent any confusion and make sure that everything runs smoothly.

You also need to be realistic about what you can expect from an influencer. For example, if your influencer has a substantial social media following but doesn’t have any writing experience, it might not be a good idea for them to write blog posts for your website. In this case, it would be better to focus on their other talents and skills to promote your business.

2. Be flexible

If you want to be successful with influencer marketing, you need to give your influencer creative freedom. Influencers have a lot of creativity, so let them use their voice and style when creating content about your product or service.

Your brand will be associated with your influencer’s brand and their content will reflect both their style and values. Maintaining brand alignment is important because they are authentic, genuine people who are passionate about what they do.

Letting them create their content will help you build trust with your audience because the influencer is being honest about the product or service you are working on to promote together.

3. Be patient

It may take some time for an influencer to create content about your product or service.

Stay patient and give them enough time to produce quality work and prepare for the possibility that some influencers won’t deliver what they promise on time.

Set up clear expectations at the start of your relationship and clearly lay out your expectations to avoid any surprises.

4. Be prepared to pay

In some cases, influencers may be happy to collaborate in exchange for complimentary products for review purposes. Other times, it is perfectly acceptable that they receive monetary compensation for their endorsement.

Paid advertisements can be expensive, but influencer marketing is often much more affordable and is disclosed to the audience that the influencer is paid for the post and endorsement.

5. Be aware

Like anything involving online advertising and suggestive selling, it is imperative to be mindful of the general code of ethics and guiding principles to be transparent with your influencer relationships.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) is the peak national body that champions the interests of Australia’s advertising community. It is an excellent resource, particularly regarding the laws around influencer marketing.

Screenshot of influencer Mia Fev showing a photo of her in a bathrobe holding up a product beside a screenshot of her comment section showing text that makes it clear that this is a paid partnership.

Melbourne influencer @mia.fev makes it very clear that her collaboration with skincare brand @cerave_ausnz is a paid partnership.

How to measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign

If your influencer marketing campaign isn’t measured, it isn’t managed effectively.

Here are a few ways to measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign:

1. Sales

The most obvious way to measure the success of your campaign is by tracking sales. If you see an increase in sales after working with an influencer, you know the campaign was successful.

Another way to track sales is by setting up unique coupon codes or dedicating landing pages on your website to amplify your collaboration.

2. Engagement

Another way to measure the success of your campaign is by tracking engagement. Look at comments, shares and likes on content created from the campaign.

3. Awareness

Finally, you can measure the success of your campaign by measuring awareness. Use tools like Google Analytics to track how many people visit your website or click through to your product pages after being exposed to your influencer marketing campaign.

By using these methods, you can measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign and determine if it was successful.

Let’s recap and take action

Influencer marketing offers a unique opportunity to build connections with your audience and grow your business. However, you must be thoughtful in using it and leverage influencer marketing strategies wisely.

As a wise business owner, it is time to take time out of your business and research how influencer marketing can help your business. Craft a strategic plan for making the most of this type of marketing by starting to research, engage, build relationships and budget for this new exciting way to grow your business.