Influencers are helping small businesses during the pandemic: 6 tips small business owners need to know before getting started

At the start of 2020, stay-at-home orders radically affected our world in a variety of ways. Brands big and small had to adapt. Events were canceled. Marketing budgets were trimmed. Small businesses got hit the hardest. Especially those who were just on the brim of opening their doors – just before the pandemic.  

As a result of an increase in stay-at-home orders, the use of social media increased. Brands took the opportunity to leverage ‘Influencers’ to reach their audiences. After all, studies show that modern consumers trust influencers more than ads as Influencer campaigns resemble a recommendation more than a promotion. 

Jessica Chin Fong, a social media strategy manager for Orangetheory, says that the fitness brand ramped up their influencer’s efforts to help franchisees during a very challenging time.

“In today’s digital marketplace, Influencer Marketing is one of the fastest-growing customer acquisition tactics available. And yet, it is still widely misunderstood.” 

According to her, Influencer Marketing can help small businesses keep their message bruiting while creating an overflowing stream of content highlighting their offering. “When done right, it’s basically creating word of mouth at a low risk with high return.” She says. 

If you are a small business owner, here are some things you should know before partnering with influencers:

Choose your influencer roster carefully: Consider local candidates who are already creating good content related to your area. You can find them by using an Influencer Managing Tool or picking influencers who repeatedly use hashtags related to your immediate location.   

It’s mostly an awareness campaign: Partnerships with influencers are a great way to build your business’ presence and generate awareness. But it’s important to have the right expectation. Influencer marketing works mainly as an awareness campaign. It can take multiple months of exposure to a brand or business before a prospect makes a purchasing decision. People looking to make a purchase need repeated exposure to a brand to make a purchasing decision. To maximize your results, execute your influencer marketing campaigns alongside traditional advertising. 

Start with a short relationship: Instead of diving into a long relationship with an unknown influencer, start with a short test campaign. This will let you determine if you and the influencer are a good match in terms of voice, content, work ethics, etc. 

Set deadlines but be prepared to be flexible: Set clear deadlines but be flexible. Be specific with your deliverables’ dates and times. But be ready to be flexible. Influencers are photographers, videographers, and copywriters, and they usually need time to come up with unique content. Sometimes allowing additional flexibility on your deadlines will yield better content. 

Don’t micromanage their content: Set some guardrails around the expected deliverables, but let influencers handle what they do best. Forcing your ideas or overdirecting their creative content defeats the purpose of working with an influencer in the first place. Let them use the tone and voice that their audience already trusts and relies on. 

Reuse their deliverables: Creating consistent and engaging content can help your business create familiarity and gain authority and credibility. But this critical marketing step can be time-consuming. A partnership with an influencer who understands your brand’s tone and voice can help you create a regular source of content. Repurpose their assets and share them in your channels to maximize your investment.

Remember that influencer marketing is only a small piece of the puzzle. Use it to complement your other marketing practices to help you achieve your goals. 

To learn more about Jessica Chin Fong don’t forget to connect with her on LinkedIn.