Influencers have taken over social media and business by storm, haven't they? Everywhere you look, there's an influencer enticing you with their collabs for shoes, makeup, clothes and even financial advice.
We're influenced by what we see and it's totally normal to be wondering, "Can anyone be an influencer?" or "How can you market an influencer business with limited funding?"
Marketing your influencer business can be challenging, especially if you have a tight budget, because marketing, for a long time, has somehow always been associated with deep pockets. But there are plenty of tools that can help you turn this into a thriving and sustainable business.
In this blog, you'll find tips that will help you promote your influencer business on a budget that'll make others sit up and take notice.
Why You Should Market Your Influencer Business
Let's break down the numbers around the influencing business and why you need to market your influencer business to actually be able to make a sustainable living from it.
The influencer industry is currently enjoying an almost $15 billion-dollar market share. Influencers are most commonly found in fashion, beauty and travel industries, but this is changing — you can be an influencer in any realm, even finance or healthcare.
The rise of influencers can be attributed to increased social media usage (which the pandemic further heightened), the popularity of short-video formats on YouTube, Facebook and TikTok and better data collection methodologies.
Digital Information Media estimates there are approximately 32 million influencers across Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. So yes, influencing or content creation is booming and trends predict it to remain a "hot" market for years to come. But that also means the competition only gets tougher.
This is why we recommend you market your influencer business. In order to reap the most benefits of this business, you need to know how to market it.
What to Include in Your Influencer Marketing Plan
You've set up an influencer business, so how can you market it? Instead of just randomly reaching out to brands and hoping something clicks, we recommend creating a marketing plan and budget.
Having a dedicated marketing plan will help you fast track your presence, optimize your resources and keep the earnings wheel churning, that too with the highest possible ROI (return on investment).
Below are a few strategies to look at while you research influencer marketing templates that have the power to transform your influencer business, increase its reach and score brand partnership deals on a budget.
Design a Media Kit
Think of this as a resume for influencers. Creating a media kit is an excellent visual and budget-friendly way to get your foot in the door with brands and other collaborators you're interested in working with. It’s also the best way to show how serious you are about this business.
This digital media kit should include the description of services you offer, data about your followers and basically almost everything a brand would like to know about you.
Common things brands like to see in a media kit include:
Audience size and demographics as per social media channel
Our Influencer media kit can get you started.
Engage Your Audience
When it comes to marketing your influencer businesses, research is your best friend. As a small business that's looking to grow, it's imperative you constantly develop ways to engage your audience and build yourself as an expert.
Why? Because many brands prefer partnering with nano and micro influencers because of their high engagement rates and content authenticity, so focus should be on quality over quantity. With high engagement rates, it becomes easier to market your business to brands.
Seasoned influencers recommend replying back to followers' messages, commenting on brand posts and answering FAQs of your audience group as ways to boost engagement.
We also recommend continuing to build your expertise outside the 'Gram as well. Christopher Pappas, a leading influencer in the e-learning market, is constantly researching, reading, blogging and guest posting to build an ever-growing community.
Having your name pop up across different streams makes it easier for brands to notice you too and also solidifies your reputation, influence and connections.
Consistently Create High-Quality and Cohesive Content
Think of your influencer business as a brand. In order to be successful, you'll need a brand image that is consistent. This is why your influencer marketing plan has to focus on building a strong, identifiable and cohesive brand image.
Pictures do speak a thousand words. While you might not need to invest in an editorial-grade camera, downloading the premium version of some key editing apps (mentioned below) will help you get the right visuals for your brand. Remember to keep the text, colors and style of the pictures similar so your posts can be easily identified.
However, the influencing business isn't just about bright, colorful photos. The heart of it is content — it has to be genuine, on-brand and engaging. To help you step up your writing, you can use free tools like ProWritingAid or Preview, which will not only correct your grammar and spelling but even suggest a tone or writing style for those catchy captions.
Optimize Your Content
Sometimes even the best content can get buried under the content storm. A quick and efficient way to enhance your influencer business's reach for new followers and brand partnerships is by optimizing your content.
You can optimize your content by
Using keywords in bio and image captions: Keywords are not just for websites, they are a pretty integral part of any search and most social media channels are mini search engines in themselves. Including keywords in your bio and captions will help you attract followers and brands.
Posting at the best times: Certain audience groups tend to check their social media at specific times. For instance, runners are known to be active post after their morning runs. But the million-dollar question remains, what is the best time? According to the American Marketing Association, the best time to post is on a weekday morning. Find out your target audience's peak time by industry so you can schedule your posts to reach their maximum potential.
Integrating relevant hashtags: Combine your top-quality posts with the appropriate hashtags. Check out these free social media hashtag generators like CaptionPlus to increase the visibility and reach of your posts.
Include location tags: Using location tags with photos will help you reach new followers. How? By using location tags, you have the potential to show up when a user searches for that place or hashtag.
Adding alternate text captions: This relatively new Insta tool was actually designed to help the visually disabled use the channel, but it has its significance in SEO.
To access your alternate text for a post, do the following
Select the "Advanced Setting" icon when you are editing your post.
Scroll down and find "Write Alt Text."
Add the relevant tags and captions and click "Post."
Get Active on Stories
An affordable, fun and creative way to increase reach is to get active on stories. Stories are a great way for brands and followers to get to know your personal side as well. But remember, stories are a form of content and the stories should be in line with your overall brand image.
Some unique ways to drive engagement via Instagram stories are:
Including emoji sliders as a reaction to a post/message
But these messages shouldn't be robotic, as brands can sense that from a mile away.
Here's what your email should include:
Provide them with some context as to why you think that working together is a good idea. Which specific products do you love? Do your digging into the brand's target audience, voice and goals and how you fit into this.
Describe your triumphs; focus the email on what the brand stands to gain from your partnership.
Consider offering them something a sample or free post to try out or test. Ask the brand, "What do you think of this idea?"
You can message brands directly on Instagram or look up their contact information on their website. As influencer marketing has proved its worth, many brands provide their PR or collaboration information easily. LinkedIn is also a great place to find a brand's direct PR contact.
Once you have a list of brands you want to target, you can invest in software like Trello (it's free) that can you help manage all outreach emails. You can organize brands into categories: 1) emails sent, 2) brands that need follow-up, 3) brands you're negotiating with and 4) brands that said no.
Collab with other Influencers or Influencer Networks
One of the best ways to market your influencer business is to keep your DMs open to partnerships and collaborations with other influencers. You can even join these free influencer networks like FourStarzz Media, Influence.co or Ainfluencer to discover brands and other influencers in your niche.
So, don't be afraid to slide a DM to other nano or micro influencers in a similar space to yours. We recommend studying their pages and identifying a topic or two that you both could collaborate on. It could be an Insta livestream or Reel.
Invest in Ads
Nowadays, all the social media channels provide you with the ability to promote your business/account through ads, so why not take advantage of it? Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend a lot to gain the benefits of this marketing strategy.
TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram all have various forms (videos or static posts) of ads that you can explore, depending on your budget.
Here are a few guides that can help you understand and launch an effective ad campaign.
Having the blue check can go a long way in marketing your influencer business. But this isn't something you can do right out of the gate; most social media channels will verify your account only after you have been consistently posting genuine and high-engagement posts.
Some tips to get verified include:
Maintaining a single, professional profile on each social media channel
Having a complete and engaging bio
Using the platforms regularly
Not buying followers
Applying for verification on social media channels that have verification options — for example, if you get verified on Facebook, then your chances of getting Insta-verified increase significantly
Create Something for Your Followers to Follow
One of the best ways to increase the reach of your business is to create something special for followers. A few ideas that could get your creativity flowing are:
Newsletter/blog: Maybe you have enough to discuss that warrants a monthly or quarterly newsletter or even a dedicated blog page. While developing topics for this channel, always circle back to what people want to hear about from you.
Podcasts: Why not start a podcast on your niche topic? You could even invite other influencers as guests and build your reach.
All the above will also help you gain additional engagement data that will be valuable for reaching out to brands that can pay you for ads and endorsements.
How Much Will It Cost to Market My Influencer Business?
The costs of marketing your influencer business aren't always discussed, and unfortunately, there is no standard pricing model. It can be confusing if you are trying to start out as an influencer and don't know how much money to set aside. But, let's unpack some of the influencing factors.
While you can start an influencer marketing business for almost nil, it doesn't mean you won't spend anything to market it. You might spend on ads, editing tools, templates and software to help grow your business. We've highlighted some common expenses incurred to market your business:
Setting a Budget for Your Influencer Business
With any and every business, it's crucial to keep track of how your money is flowing — even more so if you want to make a living as an influencer or content creator where your monthly income can fluctuate.
To get an understanding of what your earnings could be, you can:
Follow accounts like @influencerpaygap, which post real examples of sponsored posts and how much they pay.
A few golden rules to follow are:
Keep your business finances completely separate from your personal finances. It makes tracking earnings and filing taxes a whole lot easier.
Track any non-monetary income (clothes, cosmetics, shoes, hotel stay or free dinner at a new restaurant) since anything you receive that's valued at over $100 will need to be disclosed to the IRS.
Invest in a budgeting app to help you keep your spending in check.
Market Your Influencer Business to Growth
We can confidently say that advertising prowess has shifted from the hands of traditional celebrities and marketers to the hands of influencers and content creators. Using our recommended marketing strategies will not only help you market your influencer business but also stand out in this competitive domain.
To become an influencer that's not forgotten over time requires you to make a consistent effort in terms of marketing your business. But, you can't forget all the other nitty-gritty of running a business, like contracts, licenses and finances. Incfile's free Influencer Income and Expense Tracker can help the numbers aspect of your business stay streamlined and tidy.
Swara Ahluwalia is a freelance content writer with experience in the technical, B2B and SaaS domain. She also has curated content for various lifestyle brands. In her downtime, you will most likely find Swara training for her next marathon or spending time with her two daughters.