OCEAN PANDA CREATIVE

INFLUENCER MARKETING IS NOT DEAD: HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN STILL GROW IN 2020

Influencer marketing is no longer the same. While it does have its challenges, it is definitely not dead. The question is: Can small businesses still benefit from influencer marketing in 2020?

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Influencer marketing is stronger than ever, and all indicators point to its growth in popularity over the coming years. Brands are still seeing power in influence and doubling down on their investment by continually increasing their marketing spends.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE AN INFLUENCER?

An influencer can be just about anyone. It doesn’t have to be a major celebrity who will ask for your entire marketing budget in exchange for one post. Reputation and authenticity play a key role in buyer decisions. When you consider what type of influencer best fits with your brand ethos, consider individuals, such as:

  • Brand advocates with a significant following
  • Journalists
  • Bloggers and YouTubers
  • Industry experts
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Podcast hosts

Identifying the right influencers for your brand or business can help you steer your marketing campaign in the right direction.

INFLUENCER MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2020

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Fashion and beauty are two verticals that are continuing their strong support of influencer marketing. Instagram remains the preferred platform for influencer marketing. We think that influencers will continue to develop their own businesses in 2020. Many are tired of driving sales for other companies. Instead, they are looking to grow their own brands. They are moving beyond merchandise to drive revenue. Still, we think that there will be more high-profile advertisement campaigns featuring influencers.

We have observed that brands are now focusing less on traditional advertisements. Instead, they are moving budgets from traditional advertising to sponsoring influencers. Due to the global pandemic, this trend has continued in 2020.

SMALL BUSINESSES STRUGGLING IN THE PANDEMIC

We walked into 2020 with abundant excitement for what this new decade could bring –unemployment was at an all-time low, both small and large businesses were thriving, and social media marketing opportunities were booming. Instead, we were hit with curveballs that shook the world and turned our lives upside down in just the first six months of the year. As we work to navigate this new norm and try to get comfortable in uncertainty, one thing is certain: nothing will ever quite be the same.

This is especially true for brands, big and small, that are figuring out what their next moves are. These brands — and the people that run them — are asking themselves questions like:

  • What’s the right thing to do?
  • Do I need to completely adapt my business to survive?
  • How can I be sensitive to my customers during this time?
  • Is it appropriate to continue marketing my product and/or service right now?
  • If I do continue, am I crafting the right message to reach customers effectively?

The struggle is real for all businesses but even more so for small businesses. Growing a brand and putting it in front of the right audience is where influencer marketing can really help. If you own a small business and have been thinking of collaborating with influencers, now is the right time to do so.

INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN 2020

With a small business or startup, it is hard to reach more people without spending a lot on marketing. It is because you have not established your brand yet, so there is no recall of any of your products or services. You will be marketing from the ground up, and that takes time, effort, and money. However, influencer marketing upends all that because people trust the word of mouth recommendations more than traditional advertising methods.

Utilizing influencer marketing is a great way for small businesses to get the word out about their products and services and connect with their audience through a trusted source. Consumers trust the recommendations of the “influencer” giving you a chance to prove your worth to a large audience. By connecting with the right influencer in your industry, you gain access to their fans and their followers. They will immediately be your target audience, no need to build your reputation from the ground up. It’s because the audience is already under the assumption that you provide a good product or a reliable service since the person they trust already endorses you.

BEFORE YOU DIVE INTO INFLUENCER MARKETING

The first step to execute a successful influencer marketing program is to set your goals and clearly define what you wish to achieve. You need to work out what metrics you will use to measure success based on those goals. This would help you get a clear idea of what you need to do in order to achieve your goals. Determining the ideal influencer for your small business goes beyond interest. Determine whether the influencer will reinforce your brand’s values and mission.

So, before you start looking for influencers, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s my small business’ niche?
  2. What’s my brand’s mission?
  3. What ideals and values does my brand hold?
  4. Who’s my ideal customer?

Your ideal influencer has to align with your answers to each of these questions. So make sure you define each of them in detail so you can compare potential influencers and make the best choice for your small business.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The following list is a simplified guide that you can follow if you want to use influencer marketing to boost your brand. While the steps may vary from one business to another, these are the milestones that you need to observe if you want your campaign to succeed.

The first thing you need to do is to come up with a list of experts and personalities in your field. This could be an individual or an organization that has a considerable number of fans or followers. You can list as many as you like, as long as you think they have that “influence” on your brand’s target audience.

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Once you have the list from the previous step, the next thing you need to do is shortlist the influencers closest to your business. Identify which ones are connected/in parallel with your goals and are catering to the exact same audience that you want to service/sell to. By doing so, you are increasing the chance of successfully making a sale, since you’ve already cornered your market by choosing the right influencer for your brand.

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Now that you have a definite list of influencers you want for your business the next step would be to start building a connection with them. Reach out to them, follow their pages/accounts, add them up on whatever platform they’re on, and message them your intent. Introduce your brand and tell them why you want them as an influencer for your products or services. The success (or failure) of landing them as your influencer would depend on how well you pitch a future partnership with them.

After choosing and connecting with your influencers, you can now work on creating the content that they will share and promote. Depending on your agreement, you could be the one doing the content and they will just promote it for you. If they are very particular with the style of content that gets shown on their pages, they’d offer to create them for you in a form of a direct/paid advertisement. The content varies depending on what you both agree on, including videos, infographics, and the usual posts and reviews about your products.

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CONCLUSION

There’s no doubt that influencing will continue to be a massive industry for marketers in the years to come, but a shift in execution for influencer marketing tactics is inevitable. From choosing the right influencers as the face of your brand to crafting appropriate messaging, remind yourself of what consumers need right now and will need more than ever when this is over: authenticity, truth, and empathy. At the end of the day, people trust people. And in the digital world where consumers have become increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising methods, influencer marketing has been and will continue to be very popular, especially among small businesses.

A team of creative marketing and e-commerce experts realizing the full potential of small, sustainable brands.

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