Influencer marketing is an absolute powerhouse strategy that will only continue to gain popularity heading into 2018. It is highly likely that your business can benefit from an influencer marketing strategy, however, large influencers are raising their prices, making their "going rate" too high for many small businesses. So, how can a small business strategically leverage influencers without a large budget?
Find Local "Superstars"
It's no secret that a small business must be active in it's community in order to be successful. This can often be overlooked, however, when discussing social media strategy. Business owners may fail to see that social media is a communication, storytelling, and engagement based medium. This makes it essential that they not only become active on social media, but they actively seek engagement within their local communities. There are many ways to accomplish this, however, one of the most authentic and effective methods is through local micro-influencer marketing. These "micro-influencers" will not have millions of followers, maybe not even 100,000. But, their engagement, by percentage, is extremely high because they drive conversation. Small businesses first step should be to build a relationship with multiple micro-influencers in their community and exchange free products, affiliate offers, or small payments for a post (or series of posts) about their business. This technique can be highly effective if a business finds the right micro-influencers and develops an authentic relationship rather than a transactional one.
Send Free Products
This strategy dovetails well with the first one, with only a few key differences. If you sell a product, it is highly effective to identify key influencers in your niche (via YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) and simply send them free products. These do not have to be local influencers and do not necessarily require a pre-existing relationship. These individuals can be anywhere in the world, and if they aren't already being bombarded with free products, they'll likely give you a shoutout. After all, who doesn't like free stuff?