Influencer marketing costs a bomb.
Even so, it’s worth the money spent, according to industry experts.
Mike Heller, founder, and CEO of Talent Resources, while speaking to Fortune senior editor Anne VanderMey said: “When you have an influencer that has 30 million followers, 20 million, five million—that’s more powerful than any of the other traditional media outlets out there.”
The bottom line: Whether you are a startup, small business or a big brand, you cannot turn your backs on influencer marketing.
Here’s the problem:
Startups and small businesses are invariably cash-strapped. Thinking of hiring an influencer for promotional campaigns is almost equivalent to ripping their pocket at the seams.
Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the best available option for them is to enter the good books of influencers by offering them free products and services and even guest posting for their sites, if possible.
Here, I walk you through 7 cost-effective ways to engage with influencers.
#1. Piggyback on ordinary people with 1K followers
Sure, piggybacking on popular influencers for promotional activities is the smartest way to gain immediate attention for your brand. However, the fact is, popular influencers act pricey. They’ve got their hands full. Getting a morsel of attention from them might take ages.
This is where small-time influencers or micro-influencers could come as a saving grace.
I know your next question? How do you target small-time influencers?
Simple. Look for ordinary people in your niche with 1k followers. Even so, these ordinary people should be experts in their niches and should have inordinate knowledge and passion about the things they are pursuing.
According to HelloSociety, micro-influencers offer 6.7X more engagement than influencers with larger followings.
#2. Offer free products or services
Once you have nailed down the small time influencers in your field, check whether or not they accept freebies. If yes, send them free products and then make a humble request for a feedback. This is important because if the review is positive it could lead to more followers and buyers for your product.
Here’s an interesting insight by author and marketer Ryan Holiday, in his bestselling book, “Perennial Seller,” on the importance of sending free stuff to the influencers. The author talks about a fashion company called Marc Ecko Enterprises that implemented “swag bomb” strategy to get influencer attention. As part of this strategy, the company had sent free tailor-made packages to influencers such as DJs and their like to get their attention.
Eventually, the brand managed to receive a shout-out from a famous DJ and Marc Ecko Enterprises was never the same again.
Likewise, if you are in the travel and hospitality sector, you could send influencers on free field trips or offer suite rooms in hotels for them to check out and review.
Nonetheless, if the influencer is not interested in reviewing your free products, just don’t pressurize them. Rather consult top branding agencies for better ideas on brand promotion with or without taking into account influencer marketing.
#3. Guest post for influencers
As it turns out, most of these influencers run blogs as well. And, more importantly, they accept guest posts too.
So, just send a guest post pitch to these influencers and see. If they accept your pitch, be assured, you stand to gain in two ways:
- You could connect with the influencer on a personal level
- You gain access to an authentic audience
Nonetheless, avoid promoting your startup within the article. However, add your startup link in the author bio.
#4. Create content curation roundup posts
If anything, you could even request both macro and micro influencers to be part of your roundup post that you are writing for your site.
The question now is will you be able to attract right influencers because your blog is still in the fledgling phase and is yet to attract a decent amount of traffic?
Sure! Try these tips to convince them to be part of your roundup post:
- You will be using paid ads to promote the post.
- Throw in a couple of big names (like Jeff Bullas) who have already given their confirmation for the roundup.
The best part? Influencers, who have participated in your roundup posts, will be happy to share the post with their followers. This will lead to an increase in traffic to your site.
#5. Choose influencers with affiliate marketing skills
Also, find out whether your chosen influencer is interested in affiliate marketing. Or, you could even Google influencers who are into offering affiliate marketing services in your niche. Connect with them, talk to them about your product or service, and more importantly, offer them a significant percentage of affiliate revenue.
#6. Allow social media takeover
For the starters, social media takeover means, the influencer will be controlling your brand’s social media handles for a certain period of time. This will be fun and, in return, you will get to add followers to your account as well.
More than anything else, it’s cost-effective and increases the brand’s reach and customer base. For more influencer marketing ideas, check out with top social media marketing companies.
#7. Get influencers to co-host events
Yes, you can even think of roping in influencers to co-host events for your brand on social media forums.
Their expertise will help you frame and package your content in an interesting way.
Influence marketing on tight-budget is not an easy thing. But then, it’s possible through planning and optimum utilization of resources at hand. Are you aware of any other light budget influencer strategy that startups and small businesses could undertake without much forethought? If yes, then let us know in the comment section.