Should You Use a Social Media Influencer for Your SMB?

by Redeeming Riches on August 9, 2017

You thought that once you built your website, customers would come to you. By hiring an SEO specialist and enlisting the help of experienced writers, you believed it would only be a matter of time before your customer base would find you. After all, they found you easily on your Etsy shop, so what’s the holdup now?

Your paid advertisements. SEO keywords and long-form content will definitely help your SMB gain traction online, but to really get the ball rolling, you need a popular and well-liked social media personality to share the benefits of using your products or services.

Think for a moment about the ads you see on Snapchat and Instagram. Having trouble picturing them in your mind? That’s because businesses enlist the help of social media influencers to mask the ad. Answer this: Would you buy a Moleskine notebook after seeing its ad in your feed, or might you more deeply consider (and actually purchase) the notebook if your favorite writer swore by the product?

This leaves the question: Should you use a social media influencer for your SMB? The answer is yes, and here’s why:

Instant Trust

Social Media Today writes that “in a world where Yelp and consumer reviews dominate the online space, having real, credible people speaking positively about your brand can be an excellent way to improve your online reputation, as well as convince on-the-fence consumers to buy your product or service. People trust people, not brands.”

An ad is all too easy to identify as corporate messaging, and people tend to get annoyed by video ads that interrupt their social media browsing. If they even bother to watch, they likely will leave the sound off, thus missing an important part of your message. Influencer-produced content, on the other hand, engages followers and makes them want to watch and listen.

Finding an Influencer That Fits

Now, your business can’t just choose any person with thousands of social media followers and expect the campaign to work. Their brand has to align with yours. Here’s what to look for in an influencer, according to Kissmetrics:

  • Context: Is the influencer a contextual fit for your product or services? (Partnering with a YouTube beauty guru to promote your tax services is a waste of time.)
  • Reach: How many people do their social media posts reach? Which platforms do they use?
  • Actionability: Beyond reach, how much action can the influencer inspire in their audience?

The Power of Micro-Influencers

There’s good news for your SMB: You don’t have to blow your entire marketing budget on hiring a celebrity to make a single Instagram post on your behalf. Thanks to the rise of micro-influencers, the field is wider than ever. People with 10,000 to 100,000 followers actually have a higher like rate (2.4 percent) than people with a million followers or more (1.7 percent). Finding industry-relevant micro-influencers is a great way to spread your content to people who actually care.

When Influencer Marketing Goes Wrong

What happens if your brand partners with an influencer for an unsuccessful or controversial campaign? Or if the influencer starts posting non-approved content that offends, confuses or alienates your intended audience? What happens if an influencer campaign goes viral with a promise it can’t keep, like Sunny Co Clothing did earlier this year?

Your company is on the hook for not only its product and services, but everyone it works with. While a professional liability insurance quote will protect you if someone sues claiming misrepresentation or violation of good faith, you don’t want to let it get to that point because you’ll likely do some damage to your brand’s reputation.

Social influencer marketing can be a great tool for your SMB if you approach it the right way—choosing influencers that are a good fit, making sure that they share only approved content and protecting yourself with insurance in case the relationship goes south.

 

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