• 3 Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Promote Your Small Business

With the rise of blogger and social media “celebrities,” influencer marketing campaigns have become increasingly common across all types of business industries. We know that customers today trust recommendations from the people around them more than classic types of advertising. So, if you’re looking for new ways to promote your business, an influencer collaboration could be right for you.

3 Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Promote Your Small Business

Fortunately, you don’t always need to pay an influencer to promote your business on their blog and/or social media pages. If you don’t have the budget to pay for an influencer marketing campaign, get creative! Often, proposing a generous “offer” (i.e. a trade of your products or services) with an appropriate “ask” (i.e. what the blogger will do for you) can result in a mutually beneficial influencer collaboration.

If you are thinking about reaching out to a blogger or social media influencer for an collaboration, you may be unsure of the best route to take. Here are three basic ways that bloggers and influencers can help get the word out about your small business and guidelines around proposing each type of “ask.”

Sponsored Blog Posts

Blogs are among the most trusted sources of information online for many consumers.  To leverage the social trust and audience cultivated by bloggers, both large and small businesses are turning to sponsored blog posts. Examples of sponsored blog posts include feature posts and roundups.

In a feature blog post, your business is the main focus of the piece. Feature blog posts often center around a review of your business’ products or services and can sometimes include a custom giveaway, exclusive discount code or even affiliate links.

On the other hand, a product/service/business roundup is a blog post that typically includes a number of different businesses, and calls out top competitors in a given niche or area. Since your business is not the sole focus of the blog piece and you can often request to be retroactively added to an existing roundup, this ask is not quite as great as a feature blog post.

How to Request a Feature Blog Post

A feature blog post should be considered a major ask. Be thoughtful and generous in your offer when requesting such a time consuming collaboration. For example, if you want a blogger to write a feature post about your new gym, you might offer them a 6-month free membership (rather than just a 15% off discount or a short free trial). If you own a jewelry company, consider offering the blogger a premium collection of your work (rather than just a clearance piece). The purpose should be to not only get press and influence but to try to get the blogger to turn into a loyal customer down the line.

When to Request a Feature Blog Post

  • When the blogger and their audience is an exceptionally good fit for your brand
  • When you are able willing to provide a generous offer
  • When immediate turnaround is not required for the influencer collaboration (feature blog posts can take time—up to a month before they go live)

Whichever ask you are requesting, when you reach out to the blogger, it is always important that you relate your brand to the content that they already have written about and shown interest in. Bloggers will not want to write content that is too far outside of what they normally post (and what their readers expect).

What to Send for a Feature Blog Post

  • The free product(s), service, or event invite to review and/or feature
  • High resolution images of the product (although it is best for bloggers to take their own photography, when possible)
  • Specific wording requests, including keywords or phrases
  • Custom discount code (if applicable)
  • Free additional product(s) for a giveaway (if applicable)
  • Custom tracked links

Note: If you’re doing a giveaway or promoting an online store, you should also consider setting up a custom landing page for this campaign.

2. Social Media Shout Out/Mention

In addition to posting on their blog, an influencer collaboration may also take the form of promoting your business across their other social channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Related: Instagram Marketing for Small Business Owners

Even without an accompanying blog post, a blogger or influencer can post a social media shout out. Though short and sweet, they can yield big results for your business if done appropriately.

Social media shout outs often include unique photography or images, and the content should be tailored to each social channel. For example, a tweet must be crafted to fit within 140 characters, photography edited to fit within the standard Twitter layout, and a shortened link must be created. The tone and verbiage of the post may also need to be adjusted if the audiences vary for each social media channel.

When to Request a Social Media Mention

  • When you are already working with a blogger on a blog post and include a social media component in our initial “ask”
  • When you are willing and able to provide a small to moderate “offer”
  • When you’re looking for a quick turnaround time for the influencer collaboration
  • When you are willing and able to provide a generous offer, but the blogger or influencer is too busy to write a blog post or have more than 10K followers

Note: more popular the influencers are often less willing to do sponsored posts for a trade in goods or services, as opposed to money.

To get a social media shout out or mention, you may ask the influencer to post a photo or video of themselves using or wearing your product, engaging in your service, or interacting with your company in some way. There are plenty of creative opportunities for such shoutouts. An ask for single shout out is a relatively a quick and easy influencer collaboration—compared to feature blog posts— and therefore doesn’t always require a major offer. For example, if you own a bakery, you could offer a box of your top selling pastries in exchange for one sponsored Instagram post.

What to Send for a Social Media Mention

3. Ongoing Brand Ambassador Relationships

An ongoing brand ambassador relationship can take on many forms. Typically, brand ambassadors will wear and/or use a brand products on an ongoing basis and promote the company continually across online and offline channels. For example, a brand ambassador could pass out samples at relevant local events and become a ‘face of the company.”

When to Suggest a Brand Ambassador Relationship

  • When you’ve had successful blogger or influencer collaboration
  • When both parties are interested in trying out additional types of sponsored campaigns and establishing an on-going relationship

With ongoing brand ambassadors, it is important to develop a way to standardize the relationship and track work both online and off. You may want to come up with a calendar for online posting or offline events. Establishing clear expectations on both ends and keeping in regular communication with each other will help ensure that such an ongoing relationship will continue to be mutually beneficial and that both parties are happy.

What to Send for a Brand Ambassador Relationship

  • Brand merchandise for them to wear and promote regularly
  • Custom discount code or affiliate links to put up on their website and/or social media pages
  • Free samples of products to pass out or giveaway on social media (either online or in person at local events)

Whichever route you choose for your influencer campaign—whether it’s blog content, social media shout outs, or other types of on-going relations—make sure that you take the time to do your research, consider the influencer, and carefully come up with an appropriate ask and offer. When done right, influencer campaigns help tremendously with building awareness for your brand and can ultimately lead to serious business growth!

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