Influencer marketing is a hot topic for small business owners. It’s a highly debated subject that, for most, is surrounded by mystery. When polled, small business owners defined influencer marketing in vastly different ways. Some considered it purely related to social media and defined influencers as those with large, loyal followings. Others said influencers were most commonly channel partners with a similar audience.
In any case, the objective of influencer marketing is to take advantage of existing or strategic connections to influence peers in purchase decisions. But how does one do that, exactly?
Optimize your influencer marketing strategy by learning the following 3 keys to influencer marketing for small business owners and managers.
3 Keys to Influencer Marketing for Small Business Owners
Knowing the following three things will help you more effectively market through and to influencers in your industry. The desired result: Influencing your peers to purchase from you.
Key 1. Business peers are the most effective influencers
CEB did a study that looked at the power of influence different types of influencers wield – from channel partners to other small business owners. The results surprised the team.
“The first thing that stood out was the degree to which other business owners influence their peers in purchase decisions…We looked at the magnitude of that influence relative to, say, channel partners or associations,” Naumi Haque, Research Director at CEB, noted.
What they found was that other small business owners wield a more powerful influence than channel partners and associations. The study also determined that ‘other business owners’ are even more influential in purchases than the supplier’s own sales representatives. In fact, other business owners had the most purchase influence across the board.
To put this key to work in your influencer marketing strategy, stop relying on channel partners and industry associations to influence purchase decisions. Instead, rely on other business owners who carry more influence with their followers and audience than channel partners, professional associations, and related groups.
Key 2. Avoid the influencers who drive business to your competitors
As the results of the study showed above, other small business owners are the most effective influencers. One reason they’re more effective than channel partners and professional organizations and associations: The latter are more likely to recommend your business or service in addition to your competitors’.
Yes, these groups are trusted by their audience, but they’re also committed to impartiality. That’s problematic in influencer marketing where brand loyalty is important. “If every time you talk to them they’re providing three recommendations, then they’re not really great brand advocates,” Haque stated.
Key 3. Use social media to connect with other small business owners
Finally, the CEB study found that social media is a great place to connect with other business owners, contrary to past belief. Marketers tend to subscribe to the belief that owners are on social media solely to promote their business. According to the results, however, that’s just untrue.
Small business owners love to help other owners out because entrepreneurship is a kind of “exclusive” club. They recognize their own and don’t mind recommending fellow small businesses. That translates to big value in your influencer marketing plans.
To benefit from this key, start connecting and reaching out to other business owners on social media. Be genuine and offer to reciprocate promotion, discount a product, etc. in return.
These 3 keys to influencer marketing for small business owners and managers will help you concentrate your efforts where they matter most. That means knowing who wields the most influence, who directs people to your competitors, and connecting with other owners on social media.