In today’s content-saturated world, capturing the attention of customers has become difficult. As a result, modern marketers have abandoned many traditional marketing tactics in favor of new, innovative strategies. One such strategy? Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is a tactic that leverages the help of influencers to achieve vital business objectives.

In today’s post, we teach you everything there is to know about influencer marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Keep reading for some our top tips and tricks for success.

1. Establish goals.

Like any other marketing endeavor, the first step to influencer marketing success is to establish clear goals. Common goals for influencer marketing programs revolve around brand awareness, social media engagement, lead generation, and revenue. Once you have established your goals, determine what metrics you’re going to use to measure them.

2. Consider your customers.

The most successful influencer programs are inherently audience-driven. Therefore, you must first understand your target market before jumping into a new campaign. The best way to do this is to create buyer personas.

The most effective way to leverage the power of influencers, is to select ones whose audience mirror the characteristics seen in your buyer personas.

3. Identify the characteristics of your ideal influencer.

For optimal results, you must be certain that the influencers you work with are the right fit for your brand. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. In fact, 73% of marketers stated that finding the right influencer is the hardest part of influencer marketing (source).

To simplify the process, focus on these five characteristics.

  • Relevance
  • Reach
  • Resonance
  • Attainability
  • Value

4. Prioritize the micro-influencer.

There are three major types of influencers: Mega, Macro and Micro-Influencers. For a small business, we recommend working with micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are everyday people – your buyers, fans, and employees. They maintain somewhere around 500–10,000 followers and drive 25% — 50% engagement per post (source). While their reach is a far-cry from that of the Mega and Macro influencers, Micro-influencers win when it comes to driving action from their audience.  

5. Identify and target your influencers.

Once you have a clear idea of the type of influencer you’re looking for, it’s time to take to social media to find someone who fits your mold. Social listening– or the process of uncovering social conversations of your prospects and buyers—can uncover a treasure trove of valuable insight, including buying preferences, purchase behaviors, and even the influencers they value most. Take a look at which influencers your audience is following, whose advice they seek, and whose content and messaging they engage with most.

6. Engagement first, outreach second.

While influencer marketing is no doubt a business exchange, you shouldn’t always go about it as such. In other words, don’t come right out and ask an influencer for their help.  Like your prospects, influencers need to be coaxed into a deal – not pushed.

Don’t start with your sales pitch; instead, focus on engaging with the influencer. Simple ways to do this include sharing or promoting their content, or even simply responding to their social posts. Start with small advances that build trust with the influencer. Once you’ve earned their trust, you’re much more likely to produce a profitable partnership.

7. Create an integrated approach to influencer marketing.

Once you’ve come to an agreement with an influencer, it’s time to put your program into action. Our suggestion? Integrate the influencer into every aspect of your existing marketing strategy – from content creation, to social media and more! Consider asking an influencer to speak at an event, sit in on a panel or host your next webinar. The more involved you allow your influencer to be, the bigger returns you will see.

For more ideas about incorporating influencers into your marketing strategy, check out the following blog post: 8 Best Practices for Influencer Marketing.

8. Have faith in your influencer.

Influencer marketing programs are most successful when the brand lets the influencer do what they do best – influence. Do not micro-manage the influencer! We get it: It’s a huge risk to give a stranger control of your brand’s voice; but trust the process. Remember, these aren’t your average social media users – they’re industry authorities. Editing out their voice and opinions can read as inauthentic – and can even compromise your reputation as a brand.

Contributed by Krysta Williams, Marketing Content Specialist at ZoomInfo. Krysta writes for their B2B blog on topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting.  ZoomInfo offers the most accurate and actionable B2B contact database to help organizations accelerate growth and profitability.