Small Business News from 4imprint
Small businesses often operate on the tightest of budgets, which makes it essential that you get the most bang for your buck from your marketing spend. Yet in an environment where your target audiences will be confronted by countless ads across multiple channels every day, this is by no means easy. But it’s often said that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way of building brand awareness and loyalty that there is, so why not adopt an approach that places that at its heart?

Whereas people might be sceptical of a marketing message pushed by a brand, they are easily swayed by the views of friends, family members and previous customers who have left online reviews. But people are also increasingly buying into the views of their favourite bloggers and vloggers – and it’s this growing trend that might potentially open doors for small businesses.

Bloggers and vloggers are popular because people identify with them and perceive them to have no vested interest in talking up a brand or product. Anyone with a camera and an internet connection can establish themselves as a trusted source of information on a particular subject, and some have been so successful they have made a very healthy living from it.

Could small businesses therefore tap into this trend and engage with popular and relevant influencers in their sector? Might this be a way of combatting growing cynicism among their target audiences, build credibility with a specific group and establish themselves as an authentic brand – all without breaking the bank?

Find influencers in your industry
If you don’t already have any specific names in mind, tools such as PeerIndex, Klout and Technorati can all help you identify those figures with the right expertise and reach. And a few quick YouTube searches can help you find vloggers who regularly post video content on your subject matter. At the same time, why not carry out your own research to find out what online influencers your existing customers follow and value the most?

Once you have put together a list of names, you should monitor their activity on their blogs, YouTube channels, Twitter profiles and other platforms as much as possible, so you can see how much engagement they get from their followers and what type of content they distribute. You can also get a feel for the style and tone they use and consider whether this is appropriate for your organisation. You can then refine your shortlist further and begin moves to get in touch.

Engage with your chosen names
Influencers won’t necessarily rush to respond to an instant request for them to endorse your brand. But they might if you’ve already forged a strong and meaningful relationship. You can begin to strike a bond by engaging with their online content, such as leaving comments on blogs and sharing their videos on your social platforms. Laying this groundwork can help them become familiar with you, so they might be receptive to an eventual approach for you. And a few extra incentives such as a free product trial or a few promotional gifts such as a pen or notebook printed with your details or even a USB or mousemat will help to bring your name to the front of their minds and may make them want to work with you on a more formal basis.

Stay authentic
Bloggers and vloggers are trusted because they don’t have a vested interest in a specific brand – so involving them in a marketing campaign will fundamentally change this. Therefore any marketing you devise that involves them must be true both to your brand and the influencer. Otherwise, it simply won’t be seen as authentic and could end up alienating rather than attracting those you’re trying to target.

 

Further Reading / Sources
Top five digital marketing tips for SMEs SmallBusiness.co.uk
5 Easy Steps to Creating an Influencer Marketing Campaign AmericanExpress.com
How to Leverage Celebrity Influencers for Small Business Convince & Convert