Tips for Successfully Executing Influencer Marketing Strategy on a Budget

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In previous articles, this blog has discussed the benefits of influencer marketing and tips for picking the right influencer for your influencer marketing strategy. However, while many companies and brands have embraced the importance of influencer marketing, there is still a pervasive misconception that it is a strategy for big businesses and global brands. Companies with million-dollar budgets. In truth, small businesses are more than capable of executing effective influencer marketing strategies. Like with all campaigns, it just takes having a clearly defined plan and strategy. Here are a few tips.

  • Use Micro-Influencers – According to HelloSociety (an agency that connects brands with the right influencer for their campaigns), micro-influencers are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencers with large followings (source: AdWeek). Micro-influencers are essentially influencers with a smaller audience as the regular influencer. However, smaller does not automatically mean less influential. As I noted in my post about picking the right influencer, it’s not always about big social media numbers. Yes, while an influencer having a large following is indicative of their reach, it does not always mean that their followers are engaged. Sometimes the individuals with 2,000 followers may have a far more engaged following than the individual with 2 million. Micro-influencers are typically cheaper than major influencers while achieving the same goals.

 

  • Contribute to their Content – Influencers do not always live on Instagram or Snapchat or the like. Many also have blogs and quite a few are willing to accept submissions from others, as long as it is in line with the theme and topic of their blog. Finding an influencer that allows guest posts for free is a very cost-effective way to utilize influencer marketing. It is also important to remember that influencers are not always individual people. Industry magazines, trade journals, news shows, television shows, brands, etc. can all be influencers. And a popular and influential magazine, for example, is a perfect avenue for submissions and guest articles that will be seen by a large and significant audience.

 

  • Offer Free Products/Services – One of the biggest hesitations that small businesses have regarding influencer marketing is that there is simply no budget for it. However, payment to an influencer does not always have to come in the form of money. Using resources that your business already has is a great way to save money while getting the most out of your influencer marketing strategy. For example, if are in the fitness business, e.g. own a gym or a vegan restaurant, etc. and you would like to work with a personal trainer or fitness expert with a large and engaged Instagram following, you can offer special discounts to the trainer and some of their most loyal customers in exchange for their posting about your gym or restaurant.

 

  • Activate Fans into Influencers – Here’s a little fact that some businesses are completely unaware of. Some of their potentially most effective influencers are already customers and fans of their brand. Many businesses assume that they need to look outward to find effective influencers, when the truth is, sometimes, someone with a fairly decent sized and active social media following is already using their product or service. Identifying those individuals and working with them can not only be a cost-effective way of executing a successful influencer marketing strategy but also an organic and credible way since the influencer was already a user and a fan of your product or service.

 

  • Become Your Own Influencer – I know what you’re thinking. It takes a long time to build enough of a following, credibility and influence to become an influencer. And yes, Rome was not built in a day. However, the potential benefits of establishing your business as an influencer are numerous, not least of all the costs saved by not having to constantly look elsewhere and pay others. Becoming an influencer largely involves establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader and there are many avenues to do so. Become a professor on websites like SkillShare, contribute to high-quality publications like Forbes and industry magazines, host free seminars, webinars and/or expos, etc. When people start to view your business as an expert and an authority, their trust in you will increase, which in turn will increase their willingness to buy whatever you’re selling.
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Tips For Marketing Your Cause

In October 1985, the American Cancer Society in partnership with a pharmaceutical company founded the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which would happen in October annually. The goal was to increase awareness of the disease and raise money for research into finding a cure, better treatment, early detection and more. From that early beginning, thousands of charities and for-profits have since contributed to making the month of October a global support of breast cancer awareness, with the iconic pink ribbon recognizable the world over as a symbol for the cause.

It is truly admirable to support and be passionate about a good cause, whether your business is a non-profit or a for-profit. However, simply being passionate about your cause is not always enough to get the support you need. It is essential that as a business, you learn how to market your cause effectively. Here are some key steps that can help you achieve this.

1. Have a plan – It is always important to have a detailed marketing plan before executing any marketing strategy and marketing a cause is no different. You must outline your goal, audience, objectives, strategy and tactics, budget, timeline and more. A well constructed and clearly outlined plan serves as a roadmap for successfully marketing your cause.

2. Keep Your Message Simple & Direct – Having a muddled and confused message that tries to include too many things at once increases the risk of no one understanding what it is you are trying to achieve and not being interested. Having an excellent marketing plan to start will help in this regard. Your plan should have a specific goal and knowing exactly what your goal is will be a strong asset in helping you define your message in a simple and direct manner.

3. Be Authentic & Credible – This should go without saying but it is extremely important that people believe you are honest and sincere in your efforts; otherwise it is unlikely they will support the cause. The quickest way for a cause to fall apart is for individuals to think you are untrustworthy. This also refers to facts and figures. Don’t exaggerate statistics or the issue to gain support.

4. Leverage Social Media (The Right Way) – It’s virtually impossible to avoid social media today and the fact is if utilized in the right way it can be a very effective marketing tool at a fairly low cost. The key, of course, is to use it in the right way. Like most marketing channels, each social media channel has its own pros and cons, demographics, etc. Understanding these differences will help you to better utilize each in the right way to achieve your ultimate goal.

5. Don’t Ignore Traditional Media – We’ve probably all heard the refrain that print is dead. With the advent of the Internet and proliferation of smartphones today, that certainly seems to be the case to some. However, that belief is a fallacy. Traditional media is still a very effective marketing tool, especially depending on the type of audience you are trying to reach. Press releases, radio and television media interviews, for example, are all still very effective methods of getting the word out about your cause.

6. Have a Great Website – This is an absolute must. While social media is great, it is not enough. A well designed and thorough website is a great hub for posting all the information anyone will need to know about your cause and organization. It is a great resource for posting press and media related materials, news, call to action, organization background, blog articles, photos, videos and so much more.

7. Align With a Compatible Organization – Partnering with a more recognizable and profitable organization can increase the credibility and brand recognition of your cause, as well as increase your audience sometimes exponentially. The key here is that the partnership is a right fit.
8. Brand Your Cause – While increasing awareness is often a major factor for most causes, ultimately the end goal is to receive donations and funding. In other words, like any organization, you want to make money. Therefore it is important to treat your cause like an organization and like an organization, you need successful branding. Yes, breast cancer awareness by itself is a very important cause. However, we cannot deny that it is today a brand, particularly with the co-opting of the color pink and especially the pink ribbon. When anyone sees that pink ribbon symbol, they instantly know what it means and what it is for. That kind of top of the mind awareness is invaluable.

9. Create Engaging & Shareable Worthy Content – You cannot have a great social media presence, without great content. You cannot have a great website without great content and you cannot have a strong traditional media presence, without great content. Simply put, you cannot successfully market your cause, without great content. The point is to get people’s attention, get them to care and want to help and the way to do that is through engaging and effective content. This includes everything from videos, photos, infographics, case studies, testimonials, press releases, etc.