With social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, small businesses can tell their stories directly to consumers and engage one-on-one with fans. However, there’s still an advantage to leveraging a messenger. In the social media world, Instagram influencers can lend credibility and expose new audiences to your small business.
Instagram influencers are the ultimate online content-creators. They build brands around their passions, including fashion, travel, DIY, cooking, books and more. Through their Instagram profiles, influencers share tutorials, make recommendations and review products related to their interest. They reach thousands of followers and they understand what Instagram users want to see. That makes them valuable partners for any small business.
Before you can tap into the power of Instagram influencers in your field, you have the seek out the right personalities, get them interested and set expectations.
Know the Content
To find the right influencer, you have to understand his or her brand. A successful influencer won’t want to risk turning off followers by recommending a store or product that doesn’t fit with his or her Instagram persona. For that reason, you have to look beyond the follower count when considering whom to work with. The right influencer partner for your small business will have genuine enthusiasm for your story and experience with your industry.
Before reaching out to a potential influencer partner, take some time to review the influencer’s content. How does the influencer describe himself or herself in the bio at the top of the profile? Does the influencer prefer photo or video content? What does the influencer say in the captions? Understanding what the potential influencer partner posts gives you an opportunity to make sure that your business aligns with the influencer’s brand, and you can start to envision what content the influencer may create for your business.
Pitch an Experience
Many Instagram influencers are happy to promote products that they’ve received complimentary from brands or businesses. If you go that route, make sure you understand the regulatory implications to providing free products in exchange for social media promotion. Your influencer will have to clearly disclose any gifts.
Alternatively, you can pitch your potential influencer partner an experience. The disclosure rules will still apply to any complimentary tickets, meals, etc., but your influencer may appreciate the opportunity for a unique experience and jump at the chance to work with you. If your specialty running store hosts a weekend group run or your independent record store is planning a new release party, add an influencer or two to the guest list. With an experience, influencers will better understand your business and what makes it special.
Once you’ve found the right influencer and pitched a successful idea, you’ll want to set the right expectations. Be specific about the messages you want to convey to consumers and the type of content you expect. Is the product best showcased through video? Is there a common misconception you’re trying to dispel? Is there a hashtag you’re trying to popularize? Give your influencer partner the insight he or she needs to create content that will serve both of you.
At the same time, you should also respect the influencer’s expertise. Influencers know their audiences and how to create content that resonates. After all, that’s how they earned the “influencer” label in the first place. Provide your influencer partner with recommended messages and hashtags, but respect your influencer partner’s ability to understand what will resonate.
By working with influencers, small businesses can reach new audiences and legitimize their brands online. Once you’ve established a relationship with a valuable influencer partner, repurpose the content by sharing it on your own website or social media profiles to make the most of each post.
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