More and more marketers are seeing the benefits of building an influencer marketing program. But for smaller brands, with a limited budget, it’s not that easy to compete for the time and attention of influencers.
The good news is that there are ways to make influencer marketing work for your brand, even on a shoestring budget. The key is to target the right people from the beginning and make sure you’re offering something of value, whatever the compensation model may be.
Here are a few budget-friendly partnership ideas that you can try, depending on the type of influencers you’re targeting this year.
Bloggers & Micro-influencers
The common misconception about influencer marketing is that you need to work with celebrities for the campaign to have an impact on your bottom line. Depending on your niche, bloggers and rising social media influencers can help improve your brand awareness and sentiment just as well.
Sometimes, rising influencers have a smaller, yet very loyal and engaged following. In fact, a study by Markerly shows that as the number of followers increases, the engagement decreases.
Source : Markerly
One of the downsides of working with micro-influencers is that it takes time to sort through all of the available ones and pick the right partners. That’s why it’s essential to use a CRM software to track your partnerships. At HubSpot, we’re lucky enough to be able to use our own tools, but any relationship management tool works as long as it fits your needs and budget.
Ways to work with micro-influencers:
- Do a blog swap
- Invite them to guest post on your blog
- Host a social media takeover
Experts & thought leaders
Book authors, Podcast hosts, popular niche bloggers – these are great to work with because they have a loyal audience that follows them for their advice. The easiest way to partner with thought-leaders is by providing them with the resources and context to best share their expertise.
Take the time to do a thorough research on what they like and what they don’t, what their favorite topic is, what’s happening in their life at the moment, etc. When you reach out to them, make sure your proposal is reasonable, fits their interest and the timing is right.
Ways to work with experts & thought-leaders
- Invite them as a guest on a webinar
- Ask for a quote for an article, ebook or whitepaper
- Invite them to speak at your virtual or live event
- Interview them for an article or a Podcast
HubSpot’s free online conference,Inbound Sales Day, featured over 30 top sales experts (Source:Twitter)
They are, by no means, easy to work with, no matter if you’re on a shoestring budget or not. Simply connecting with them can be a challenge. They usually have a PR team that handles partnership proposals so, when you reach out, make sure your message is reasonable and fits their interests.
You do, however, stand a great chance if you’re sharing the same core values as the influencer. In fact, Cultural Branding expert, Douglas Holt, says that the best way brands can connect with audiences on social media is by amplifying their subcultures. Take for example aerie: The brand stands for body positivity and only collaborates with Instagram celebrities who share their vision.
Aerie, a brand that stands for body positivity, collaborates with Instagram celebrities who share the same values (Source: ae.com)
Ways to work with celebrities:
- Create a tailor-made project that focuses on their unique point of view and experience
- Create a project that speaks to their values
- Invite them to become an Advisor for your company
Invest in long-term relationships
The value of your Influencer marketing program will grow in time, as you build stronger ties with key influencers. That’s why it’s important to focus on a few key influencers and keep strengthening those relationships. It will pay off more than investing in a lot of superficial relationships with many influencers.
Want more practical tips on how to work with Influencers?
Join my session on the first day of InOrbit because I’ll be talking about how to select, connect and manage influencers to build awareness and generate leads. So register now to get more practical tips on how to build your own Influencer marketing program in 2018. I hope to see you there!