influencer showing makeup to a camera
Finding an influencer is a versatile business — you can set your budget, research the best influencer platform, and also choose which social media platforms to use. — Getty Images/Kritchanut

Savvy business owners know that word of mouth (WOM) is one of the most powerful marketing tools. According to a Nielsen study, 92% of consumers trust recommendations or suggestions from people they respect or with whom they feel a personal connection, such as friends and family.

For many brands, influencers fill the role of a trusted ambassador. An influencer is defined as someone who “has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience.” Influencers are paid by businesses to promote a specific product or service, most commonly on their own personal social media channels.

Influencers work with businesses of all sizes. If you’re interested in engaging an influencer to promote your brand, here’s what you need to know.

Where to find an influencer

There are a plethora of apps and websites that connect influencers with brands. Many sites specialize in one particular channel (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or another). Here are a few popular platforms that connect companies and influencers:

  • AspireIQ. This platform works with a ton of big brands, including Calvin Klein, GrubHub and more. Not only will they connect you with an influencer, but they will also track the influencer’s performance (with stats like sales, followers driven and engagement).
  • Heepsy. This platform comes with a free trial — a great option, if you’re just dipping your toes into the world of influencer marketing. They offer location targeting as well as micro-influencers.
  • Klear. This platform is also trusted by a number of big brands, including IBM, Nike and Microsoft. They also offer a unique tool that helps measure Instagram Stories.
  • Tapfluence. This software specializes in food, beauty, lifestyle and fashion influencers, which are some verticals where WOM makes all the difference.
  • BoostInsider. If user acquisition is your goal, then consider BoostInsider. They can help you increase brand awareness and follower count.

If you’re not interested in working with an official influencer platform, try using a free tool like Skorr or Buzzsumo to find users in your industry that have a high follower count. Reach out to them to indicate you’d like to work with them and see what their rates are.

Small businesses can still capture the power of influencer marketing without paying celebrity-level fees.

How much should you pay for an influencer?

Influencers charge different rates based on a few factors. Usually, an influencer will charge on a per-post basis and take into consideration:

  • The number of posts you want
  • The type of post (i.e., image, video, story, etc.)
  • Their personal stats: fans, followers and engagement
  • The effort required of them (i.e., whether they will be creating the post, or if you will be)

Costs can vary widely, but according to a report by industry analyst Digiday, expect to pay within the following ranges:

  • Instagram: $1,000 per 100,000 followers
  • Snapchat: Starting at $500 per campaign in 24 hours
  • YouTube: Roughly $2,000 per 100,000 followers

Some platforms, like Tribe, AspireIQ or Tapfluence, will set rates for the influencer. That can be a good way to make sure your budget is going to the right people and you’re getting the best ROI.

Tips for finding the right influencer

If those prices seem a little high, don’t worry. Small businesses can still capture the power of influencer marketing without paying celebrity-level fees.

Micro-influencers are those with 1,000-10,000 followers. These influencers have been proven to deliver strong marketing results. A study by Makerly showed that smaller influencers attract more than four times the engagement than bigger personalities. Micro-influencers tend to have loyal followers who trust their recommendations. If the goal of your campaign is to convert a post into sales, then a micro-influencer may be your ideal partner.

Start by understanding your marketing goals, identifying experts in your industry or local community, and then hashing out the details of their post promotions. From there, you can increase your word-of-mouth marketing and boost sales for your small business.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published April 16, 2019