Business development 13 July 2016

What small business owners need to know about working with influencers

influencer marketing
Some 92 per of consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of advertising

The founder of influencer marketing agency Come Round, Giles Harris, explains how micro business owners can target those with a strong social media following to generate hype for their brand.

Nielsen data shows that that 92 per of consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of advertising, while the Word of Mouth Marketing Association claims that word of mouth recommendations are five times more effective than advertising.

But as it is a relatively new phenomenon, few company owners are able to harness the power of influencer marketing based on business experience as opposed to speculation and supposition.

Lots of small business are in the ideal position to make the most of influencer marketing, but aren’t sure how to get started. Here are our top tips, using the old faithfuls: who, what, where, when and why.

WHO is your audience?

Whether marketing on or offline, it’s vital to clearly define your target audience. Without recruiting the right demographic for your product, you are effectively shouting into the ether. Encourage your team to take some time away from their desks and work on identifying your brand’s ideal consumer. Giving this character a name, age, job and personality is a helpful way to get started.  Then, research to establish where they discover new products, brands and information. This will help you shape a hot list of top target influencers who talk directly to your target demographic on a regular basis.

WHAT will they do?

Many companies fall into the trap of sampling products to their target demographic and stopping there. I believe it’s important to shape the whole product engagement experience by bolstering your campaign with activities that evidence product claims or generating social media content. Incentivise deeper engagement by rewarding interaction in order to maximise reach and gather insight.

WHERE will they do it?

Marketing to consumers at home or work by sending them sample products and activity ideas to enjoy in familiar surroundings can be a lower cost entry to an ideal audience. This option also allows a small business to maintain control of timings and more carefully manage the online reach of real world activity by personally briefing each consumer with clear instructions included with samples.

WHEN should this happen?

If you’re launching a new product, remember that timing really is everything. It’s helpful to make your samplers feel special by offering them a chance to try the product before anyone else, but be careful not to run it so far in advance that the buzz has dwindled by the time it is available to the public. You want to use the activity to maximise sales for your small business, so take a step back and don’t commit to activity that isn’t at quite the right time. It’s worth waiting for an activation date that will best support your bottom line.

WHY did it work?

It’s vital to evaluate activity throughout the campaign – you may well find that certain influencers with a smaller reach in fact have a much bigger impact, for example. So, at every stage of the planning process, try to consider how you will measure success. Measurable elements include both the reach of the campaign, its impact on the consumers directly engaged with and the extended word of mouth generated both on and offline. By integrating market research questions and incentivising responses, you can gain also use your influencer marketing campaign to gain an understanding of how the activity has shaped opinion with consumers and then tailor your next campaign accordingly.

Giles Harris is the founder of influencer marketing agency Come Round.

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