Influencer Marketing for Small Business: 7 Steps to Finding the Right Influencers (+ Free Templates!)
When it comes to growing your business on Instagram, influencer marketing has proven to be a huge growth asset.
And it’s not just for the mega brands — influencer marketing for small businesses can seriously level-up a campaign, build brand awareness and reach new audiences, without blowing the budget.
But working with influencers on Instagram can seem daunting — not only do you have to find the right influencers for your brand, but you also need to set campaign goals and deadlines, track and measure your success, and manage the budget at the same time!
To help you get started, we’ve broken it down into 7 easy steps to follow so you’re guaranteed to always find great Instagram influencers to work with and create an awesome Instagram collaboration.
Plus! We have a complete Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses that includes free worksheets, checklists and email templates for you to use every step of the way:
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #1: Identify Your Influencer Campaign Goal
Before you can find Instagram influencers for your campaign, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your campaign.
Whether you’re planning to run a short-term, seasonal campaign to raise brand awareness, or planning a longer-term ambassador-style partnership with an influencer, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Both in terms of marketing goals, and physical results.
For example, with an influencer partnership, you could be aiming to improve your follower growth, boost your engagement on a branded hashtag, build a stronger community, or generate more leads to your website to make more sales.
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I've got sunshine on my mind 🌞 Now that the weather is finally warming up we are always outside, on the go, and exploring new places! I've been loving these @crispygreensnacks freeze-dried fruit snacks lately. Get your Crispy Fruit snacks on Amazon with a $2.00 off coupon on any flavor and GO with Crispy Green! amazon.com/crispygreen #sponsored #CrispyGreenGO (PS we were parked for this photo. Please don’t try to take photos in a dangerous situation!❤️)
All of which are valid, viable goals to set for your influencer campaign or partnership!
Once you know what you want to achieve, you should be able to hone in on what kind of physical results you’d like.
For example, you may want to create a co-branded product with your influencers or have them shoot and take great product shots for your business. So it’s worth thinking about these “physical deliverables” as well as what influencers you choose to be part of your campaign.
Whatever the business goals for your influencer campaign, once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve nailed down, it will be easier to find the right influencers, based on their skill set and previous experience!
Are you running your first ever influencer marketing campaign and not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Influencer Marketing for everything you need to know to get started with a successful campaign!
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #2: Research Influencers on Instagram & More
Now you know what you want to achieve, you can really focus and find the right influencer for your campaign!
We have some awesome free resources to help!
Fill out the form below and we’ll send you the complete Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses — it includes an Influencer Campaign Goal Setting Worksheet, an Influencer Research Checklist and 7 email templates to use when you want to reach out to influencers!
Ready to start researching and finding the right influencers for your campaign?
Here are a few tips to help you thoroughly research and find the perfect influencer for your campaign:
Tip #1: Pay Attention to Your Instagram Comments
If you’re looking to collaborate with an influencer on a branded campaign or co-branded project, it’s a good idea to find someone who is already interested and engaging with your brand.
Not only does it mean that they’ll have a real passion for the project, but when they announce the collaboration with their followers, it will naturally feel like a good collaboration fit as that influencer (more than likely!) will have featured and mentioned you a lot in the past!
Check out how fragrance brand Jo Malone teamed up with beauty and lifestyle blogger Fleur de Force on a limited edition Mother’s Day collection. Fleur has been a fan of the brand since 2014 and has shared her passion for their fragrances with her followers over the years:
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I’m SO excited and proud to finally be able to share a little project I’ve been working on with @JoMaloneLondon ❤️ I’ve collaborated with them to create my very own fragrance combining palette! It contains two of my all time favourite scents: Wood Sage & Sea Salt and English Pear & Freesia. If you haven’t encountered their new solid perfumes yet, they are really quite incredible. The intensity and longevity of the fragrance is so impressive. The weighty compact is super chic, yet dinky and travel-friendly so super practical and perfect for your handbag. The two fragrances I’ve chosen are divine alone (Wood Sage has been a favourite of mine since it launched in 2014) but also work so well layered together. As you guys probably know by now, I’m such a huge fan of Jo Malone and have been for years, so it has been a dream come true to be able to work with them on this. The palette comes in its own limited edition pink and orange pouch with a matching ribbon and will be available from 20th March from JoMalone.co.uk and Selfridges #Ad #TailorYourScent
One of the best ways to find influencers who are already actively following and engaging with your brand is to check out your posts’ comments!
Look for standout comments from your followers in your posts — is there anyone who continually pops up? Or someone who has shared genuine interest and excitement over a recent product launch?
It’s also worth checking your “tagged in” posts and DMs — if an influencer has tagged you in their stories or posts, it’s a good sign that they’re already sharing news about your business or products with their fans!
Tip #2: Search Relevant Hashtags to Find Influencers in Your Niche
Have you got a branded hashtag for your Instagram posts? Or a collection of hashtags you regularly use to reach audiences in your genre? It’s time to really look through these hashtags to find Instagram influencers for your campaign!
If you have a branded hashtag with an engaged community that regularly posts using the hashtag, it could be a gold mine for potential collaborations!
Check out the hugely successful #bekapten hashtag by travel accessories brand @kaptenson — their branded hashtag has nearly 60k posts where thousands of travel influencers and photographers have tagged them in their posts!
By just looking through who has posted using their branded hashtag could turn up hundreds of potential influencers to reach out to!
If you don’t have a branded hashtag for your business, don’t worry! Just by searching the right, relevant hashtags, you could find some awesome influencers to partner up with.
Try looking at ultra-niche hashtags too — you may discover some super-active and engaged micro-influencers working in your field too!
Tip #3: Use Influencer Research Tools like Fohr and People Map
Influencer marketing is a big business — in fact, it’s on pace to become an $8 billion dollar industry by 2020!
Fohr Card, for example, offers a number of tools for businesses to determine whether or not an influencer has an authentic following on Instagram.
The Follower Health Tool provides a breakdown of an influencer’s followers-to-following ratio, username, bio, number of posts, and then calculates an overall “score” based on how the influencer ranked in each of those categories.
It’s a great resource if you want to investigate how authentic an influencer’s following is (more on this later in this blog post!)
People Map also lets you search for relevant influencers in your niche, and review their average engagement rate and average likes per post, which makes reviewing an influencer’s reach really simple to navigate:
Plus with People Map, you can really focus your research efforts for your niche, and find influencers who are active and engaged in your specific field.
For example, if you’re fashion brand specialized in streetwear, you could find an influencer who heroes and champions streetwear trends on their Instagram feed.
By setting up search filters on People Map based on most used hashtags (remember they can be as specific as you like!), follower count, caption and bio keywords, and much more, you can save time and find only the influencers that are most relevant to you and your business!
Tip #4: Look at Your Competitor’s Instagram Accounts
It’s also worth taking a look at your competitors’ Instagram accounts!
Firstly, you’ll be able to gauge what kind of influencer marketing they’re working on, and who they’ve been working with.
This will give you an idea on what to do (and what not to do!) and if there are any influencers that could potentially already be signed to your competitor as an ambassador.
Secondly, if you comb through your competitor’s comments and branded hashtags (just like you have with your own!) you might spot some potential (and even verified!) influencers for your project.
If they’re liking, commenting and engaging with your competitors’ posts, there’s a strong chance they may like your products too!
Tip #5: Ask Your Instagram Audience
What better people to ask who you think you should collaborate with than your own Instagram followers!
Your followers are your eyes and ears on the ground — they probably follow a ton of other brands and influencers and they’ll quickly be able to tell you who they’d like you to partner up with!
Check out how we recently asked our audience on the Later Instagram account with the Question sticker on who we should collaborate with on a recent project:
We received tons of responses — all of which were really valuable for our research and we treated them as a personal recommendation!
PS. Stay tuned and sign up to our Later newsletter to be the first to know more about this exciting project!
Once you’ve honed in on your influencer research, you might find you have a long list of potential influencers to reach out to. But before you do, take a couple of extra steps to really dig deep into their experience, skills, and strengths for working with brands!
Here are some extra tips for fine-tuning this research stage:
Tip #6: Review Your Potential Influencers’ Demographics
To find out whether an Instagram influencer’s audience matches your own, you need to look at their demographics.
Things like geographic distribution (where are the influencer’s followers are located), age breakdown (how old they are), gender, language, approximate income, and more are so important if you want to run a successful campaign.
Just keep in mind that the goal isn’t to reach an influencer’s entire audience but rather to find that intersection where your two audiences overlap. This is one of the best ways to get in front of the “right” eyes and showcase your products and/or services to a customer segment that’s most likely to convert.
Unfortunately, these days it’s not uncommon for influencers to buy followers and likes to boost their appeal to businesses.
So it’s worth spending some time investigating their followers and the genuineness of the comments on their posts.
Keep an eye on how many followers they have that don’t have a profile photo, or have an Instagram handle that appears to be a random letter and number combination — both of which are signs that they may not be genuine accounts.
Similarly, the location of their followers is important! If you’re looking to work with an influencer to promote a product to a UK audience, you want to make sure that the majority of their following is based there too!
You can ask the influencers to screenshot and share their audience location breakdown (accessible from their Instagram Analytics!) or share their media kit with you!
If the majority of their following is based outside of their home country (for example, if they’re a parenting blogger and influencer with a target audience of UK mums, but the highest percentage of their followers is based in Indonesia), not only is this is a sign of a disingenuous following, but it won’t help you reach your campaign goal!
Tools like SocialBlade can help you do this, but it’s also important that you do your own research and always look at their followers-to-following ratios and the authenticity of their comments.
Knowing how to identify fake influencers and find authentic ones is extremely important when trying to find the right influencers to work with. You can read more on how to spot a fake influencer in this blog post!
Tip #7: Understand an Influencer’s Engagement Rate
When an influencer has a high engagement rate, it means their followers are paying attention and taking action on their content. And it comes down to much more than just how many likes their posts get or how many followers they have!
That’s why many businesses and Instagram agencies use engagement rate to evaluate who is an ideal influencer.
If you want to calculate an influencer’s engagement rate on Instagram, divide the number of likes and comments they get on their posts by their follower count, and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.
Generally, you want to see an engagement rate of 2-3% on influencers’ posts. A ratio of 4-6% is excellent, while posts in the high tens and twenties are considered “viral.”
Tip #8: Review their Content Style and Quality
Just like how you researched the quality of an influencer’s followers, analyzing the content that an influencer publishes across all their channels (including other social media channels), will help give you a better understanding of their content style, and the quality of their work.
Make sure that the influencers you shortlist align with your own brand or Instagram aesthetic and that they can deliver the high-quality content you need for your campaign.
Australian beach towel start-up brand Tesalate (53K followers) recently collaborated with travel vlogger and micro-influencer Christianne Risman (18k followers) to help promote their innovative travel towel — and it’s easy to see why it’s the perfect pairing!
Their aesthetics match perfectly, and Christianne’s styling and photography works for the adventurous Tesalate audience:
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Camiguin, "the island born off fire" 🔥 The island that has the most number of volcanoes per square kilometers than any other island on earth 😱🗻 The island that is also covered in palm trees 🌴 and has water so clear it's mistaken for swimming pools. Y'all better not think that I'm gonna stop posting about this paradise anytime soon 😅 Accompanied by my trusty @tesalate towel which was literally used daily in the Philippines ❤️ You can still get 15% off any Tesalate code using 'BACKPACKINGBANANAS15' 🙌🏼 You're welcome 🙈 #gifted
Don’t forget to review who they’ve worked with in the past as well — have they worked with competitor brands or organizations in the same niche?
Also, look at the quality and scope of their work. If you’re planning a video-based campaign, it’s a good idea to look for influencers who have a strong track record with producing high-quality videos for brands and businesses.
Similarly, if you know your Instagram aesthetic is all about gorgeous flat-lays, make sure your influencer knows how to create images to suit your look!
Check out how vegan beauty brand @lovebeautyandplanetuk (9k followers) teamed up with popular beauty blogger and micro-influencer @simonescribes (21K followers) for a campaign to raise brand awareness of their cruelty-free hero products.
Simone is known for her gorgeous product shots and sneak peeks into her dressing table must-haves (plus an animal lover!) so it proved a perfect collaboration and paring:
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Hello pretty products 💕 I expect to be fully youthful and glowing AF after a few weeks of using this new range from @lovebeautyandplanetuki 💁🏻♀️ 😆 Have you heard of them before? They've just launched in #Ireland (the products are v. affordable – you can pick them up in Dunnes) and I'm going to be trying them out for the next few weeks 👏🏻 💗 #ad #lovebeautyplanet #beautygram #sustainablebeauty #beautyjunkie #productporn #loveaproductshot
Plus, having a good understanding of their skill set, like making videos or how-to tutorials for example, could give you a clear idea on how well they will help you reach your campaign goals!
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #3: Reach Out to Your Chosen Influencers
You’ve done your research and you have a list of potential influencers you’d like to collaborate with — congratulations!
This is a big milestone because now you’re ready to reach out and contact your shortlist of chosen influencers!
Before you start penning a DM to your favorite Instagram influencers, we have a few tips to help you get the right tone, message and level of professionalism across.
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One of many things I love is @tradecoffeeco 💕😋 what a great way to give the gift to someone you love this Valentine’s Day. Take the quiz and get #matchedbytrade and find your perfect roast ☕️ feel free to take the quiz in my bio and find your match and you’ll save 50% off your first coffee when you subscribe when using the code ▶️themiliosanchez◀️ • • • #coffee #tradecoffeeco #ad #chicago #mychicagopix #chicagogram #chicagogrammers #nanoinfluencer #coffeegram #coffeesubscription #coffeeholic #coffeetime #needmorecoffee #coffeelover
Your first message to an influencer could make or break a partnership deal so it’s worth putting in some extra time to make sure you’re reaching out in the right way.
Be prepared to have some influencers turn down your offer — often influencers line up their working calendar months in advance, or they might feel like they’re not the right fit for your brand.
Plus, some of the bigger influencers will be managed by an agency or have a manager so you may need to go down this route to open negotiations.
Travel and lifestyle blogger, Christina Galbato (@christinagalbato) (223k followers) shared with Later that she charges a rate of $2.2K per post and $700 per story.
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Growing up in Seattle and living in NYC, the thought of driving in snow petrifies me. So when @mazdausa invited me to come test the new #Mazda3AWD in snowy Tahoe, I was all 😳 😨. Luckily this car handled like a beast in the snow – zero slipping and sliding – making me feel like a pro in total control 👏🏼 #ad
But she leaves a lot of the negotiations to her manager:
“I am fortunate to now be at a place where I work with a manager, who handles all brand negotiations for me…when a brand reaches out to me, my manager and I speak with the company to establish the scope of the collaboration,” Christina explains.
So be prepared to be referred to an agency or manager for next steps!
Here are our top tips to reaching out to Instagram influencers for the best chance of success:
Tip #1: Research for Correct Contact Details
You would be surprised how many brands miss out on contacting their favorite influencers simply because they don’t research beyond Instagram!
First up, check if they have a contact set up on Instagram. All Instagram business profiles having the ability to set up an email button from their profile, so you may be able to email them directly from within the app:
If they don’t have this setup, many influencers will have a contact form on their blog, or a “work with me” page on their website.
Plus, check if they have a downloadable media kit, Fohr Card or even LinkedIn for more contact details!
Tip #2: Email is Always Best for First Point of Contact
If you can source an email address for your influencer, we’d definitely recommend sending them an email first over any other kind of contact in the first instance.
It’s more professional, plus gives you the opportunity to share more about your brand and campaign mission!
If you can’t find an email, you can send a DM! Just remember to always be professional, use their first name (rather than their Instagram handle as the greeting) and always provide your email straight away as a point of contact for them.
From there, your influencer may DM you a reply with their contact details, or send you an email directly. Either way, you’ll have reached out in the best way possible!
We have 6 email templates (+1 DM template!) ready for you to copy, paste and customize to send to an influencer if you’d like to reach out to them! Just download our free Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses here:
Tip #3: Ask for an Influencer’s Media Kit
If you’re on the fence about an influencer or would like more details before you offer them a place on your campaign, you can ask to see their influencer media kit!
An influencer media kit is a business card, CV, and portfolio of work all in one document — and it’s highly useful for brands looking for influencers to work with.
Whether they’re a blogger, vlogger, photographer, or videographer, if an influencer is serious about their career on social media, they’ll have a media kit to represents all the work they’ve done, their key achievements, and who they’ve worked with in the past.
Some influencers will have their media kit available to download from their website, while others you may have to email to get your hands on it!
PS. We have a specific email template in our free Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses which can help you craft a request for an influencer’s media kit!
Tip #4: Introduce Yourself, Your Role and the Brand You Work For
Remember that this is the virtual form of networking, so if you want to set a good impression, you need to be able to properly introduce yourself and your business.
Whether you’re the founder, CEO, marketing lead or social media manager, make sure you passionately introduce yourself to your chosen influencer.
They’ll be appreciative of knowing exactly who they’re speaking to and may feel more confident in asking questions about the future campaign.
Tip #5: Talk About the Campaign & Why the Influencer is a Good Fit
You’ve done a lot of research and planning for your influencer campaign and it’s time to share some of that with your short-listed influencers!
Always remember to talk about the campaign (even if it’s still being fine-tuned!) and the direction the campaign is going in. Plus you want to mention why you think the influencer would be a good fit for your campaign.
Here’s a good elevator pitch for a (fictional!) jewelry brand running a summer campaign with influencers:
“I just wanted to take the time to introduce myself — I’m Lea, the lead designer at JWL and this year we’re running a summer campaign to raise awareness (and funds) for marine conservation.
We’re looking to collaborate with 2-3 key fashion and style influencers to help us co-design some pieces for the collection and we thought you’d be a great fit!
We’ve noticed you’ve worked with ocean preservation groups in the past, and we’re big fans of your minimalist styling, so we’d love to chat through the project with you in more detail.”
Tip #6: Open the Conversation for Further Discussion
Be as transparent as you can in your emails so everyone is clear on the project from the get-go.
Perhaps not in the first email intro, but you should allude to being open to discuss more about project timeline dates, rates, and more so there should be a chance for open negotiations.
It can be quite hard to tell how much influencer marketing can cost, and while there is no one-size-fits-all pricing, many digital marketers adhere to the one cent per follower (or $100 per 10K followers) rule, but only as a starting point for their calculation.
So before you even email your influencer, you should be prepared to negotiate on their rate.
Not sure where to start when it comes to budgeting for your influencer campaign? Check out our How Much Influencer Marketing Costs blog posts for more info, insights and a detailed breakdown of potential costs!
Tip #7: Avoid All of the Below!
While every brand will approach and contact their influencers differently, there are a few rules which we think you should stick to when it comes to reaching out.
Here’s a quick-fire round of “what not to do” for contacting influencers for your campaign:
- Never use a bot to contact influencers: It goes without saying that these are impersonal and spammy. Not to mention that Instagram can pick up on this bot behavior and penalize you.
- Never reach out by commenting on their post: Simply put, it’s not cool. It removes a layer of professionalism and is not the way to go if you want to get off on the right foot with your influencer. DM them instead.
- Never copy and paste the same message: It’s important that you personalize your intro email (or DM) for every influencer you reach out to, you want to make sure you add in details about their work, what you like about their page and how they, personally, will be a huge asset to your campaign.
- Never message an influencer who is completely unrelated to your niche: Hopefully, this won’t ever happen as you have done your research (don’t forget — you can use our Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses to help you!). The more targeted you are in your approach to contacting an influencer the better!
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #4: Be Open and Transparent With Your Negotiation
As we mentioned, there’s still very little formal guidelines on how much an influencer should charge, or how much a brand should be paying them for a collaboration.
But regardless, you should have a very clear outline on what you would like your influencer to deliver as part of the campaign, and how much you are willing to pay for it.
This means you should have a breakdown of precisely what needs to be created (for example, 3 Instagram posts, 1 video, plus 5 Instagram Stories with brand mentions) and the deadlines of when each needs to be provided.
Instagram influencer, Matt Crump (@mattcrump) shared his fee guide with Later, including his rates per post:
He added, “Creative mandates, timeline, production costs and rights affect the fee. Instagram Stories are usually part of a package deal, or included to sweeten the deal for the brand.”
So for you to be able to correctly negotiate and pay a fair rate, you need to know exactly what, when and how the project needs to be executed and delivered.
Don’t have a big budget for your influencer campaign — no problem! Tons of smaller brands and businesses reap the benefits of an influencer partnership through an ambassadorship or referral program.
Usually, this involves gifting an influencer one of your products, in exchange for a review on their Instagram page.
Take a look at how wellness and beauty brand, Golde has teamed up with micro-influencers to promote their products:
It’s likely that any Golde ambassadors that are part of the #clubgolde, are privy to some of Golde’s latest products — so they can be the first to reveal any new and exciting product launches with their audiences.
Also, Golde, a relatively new and small brand to the beauty and wellness arena, works with creative micro-influencers to make sure that they’re always targeting an engaged audience, without blowing the budget!
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superfood face masks 🥭 I’m seriously in love with this brand and was so excited when I was asked to be a part of #clubgolde ✨ these new masks are PURE MAGIC & made with 100% superfoods (you can even eat them!) follow the link in my bio for 10% off your first order * @golde #golde #goldebeauty
You can also then plan and manage a referral campaign — where anyone who goes on to buy your product from their Instagram post will receive a discount, either using a special promo code or a specific link to shop!
It’s a great way to build a community around your product, where your ambassadors can recommend and refer their audience to your products for the long-term — meaning you’ll always have influential spokespeople for your brand on Instagram, for very little cost!
You might also want to think about having your influencers sign a project agreement. Remember, this is a business exchange — if you ask your normal contractors to sign agreements, it’s important to consider having your influencers sign one too.
In the agreement, you can outline the project requirements and partnership obligations — whether that’s the number of posts you require, or the correct language to be used in the post or Instagram Stories.
Check out this handy template to help you draft and create your own influencer contract agreement. It’s a great contractual safeguard so your brand and project are protected should anything go wrong with the campaign, or the influencer you partner with.
If you’re looking for more info on setting up an influencer agreement or contract for your campaign, take a look at the guidelines in this article by PR Week.
Finally, you might want to study and learn how you should correctly, and legally, disclose a sponsored post or partnership with your chosen influencers.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires you to disclose your endorsement relationships with businesses whenever a “material connection” with that business exists.
And a ‘material connection’ can include everything from being paid, receiving a gift, or even having a business or family relationship with the business. So there’s some important legal protocol around influencer partnerships you should understand before you post!
Read our How to Properly Disclose Sponsored Instagram Posts According to the FTC blog post for everything you need to know about disclosing your social posts!
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #5: Share Resources with Your Influencers
It’s a good idea to bring your influencer up to speed with a great onboarding pack ahead of their project.
Think about setting up a Dropbox or shared Google Drive folder for all your influencer campaigns and sharing a resources folder that could include:
- Brand Style Guide: This should outline your business’ approved images, logos, color palette, or tag lines.
- Editorial Style Guide: Sharing an editorial style guide with your influencer will help them get the right tone of voice in their copy, as well as using the right language when they’re discussing the aims and goals of the campaigns.
- Press Releases and Talking Points: Sharing some example copy or talking points for inspiration can really help influencers when it comes to drafting captions or storyboarding for Instagram Stories. Try to include any important stats or figures from press releases here too so they’ll always get the small details right.
- FAQs: Here’s where you can answer and explain all the frequently asked questions about your campaign and the deliverables, like what dimensions, file formats, and file sharing locations.
The aim is to make your project as streamlined and easy for the influencer as possible! Not only will this help you maintain deadlines and deliver the campaign on time, but if your project expands you’ll have great foundations for on-boarding new influencers time and time again.
With Later’s new Contributors feature, you can share a link with your influencers, who will be able to upload photos and videos directly into a content library for your Instagram.
You can then accept the content you like, and it will go straight into your Later media library to make it easy to schedule out to your social profiles.
Contributors is available now on all Later business plans, starting at $19/month:
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #6: Track, Measure & Follow up with Analytics
Equally as important as finding the right influencers to work with, is setting up a process to track and measure the success of your campaign, especially if it’s a paid partnership.
Tip #1: Use Instagram’s Paid Partnership Feature
If your collaboration is going to be a paid partnership (that means you’re paying your influencers for their work as part of the campaign), you can disclose that on Instagram by using the Paid Partnership feature.
Instagram created this feature to help influencers disclose when a post is sponsored, and also to help businesses gather insights about how their sponsored content campaigns performed.
For influencers, the paid partnership feature allows them to “clearly” disclose (via an Instagram tag) that they’re publishing sponsored content.
And once the post is tagged, people will see “Paid partnership with [business partner]” in the post’s header–where you would usually see the post’s location.
The feature also works for Instagram Stories, in which case the tag will appear at the top of the story just below the user’s name.
As a business, it’s important that you work with influencers who will tag paid partnership posts, as you’ll be able to see the reach and engagement (likes and comments) of the post on your Facebook Page Insights account:
And for Instagram Stories, you’ll have a 14-day window to see such metrics as reach, taps forward, taps backward, replies, and exits.
However: Instagram’s paid partnership feature is being rolled out to a select number of celebrities, influencers, public figures, publishers, and businesses.
It’s unclear exactly when or if the feature will be available to the general public, but according to a recent Medium article by Eduardo Morales (who runs @pinlord on Instagram), he received an in-app notification when he was accepted to try out the new feature.
So it’s worth keeping an eye on if you have been accepted into the Paid Partnership feature! If you haven’t — don’t worry! Take a look at Tip #2 below for more ways to track and measure your campaign.
Tip #2: Set up UTM Tagging for Your Influencers to Use in Their Posts:
You can also set up UTM tagging for your specific influencers’ posts, so you’re always able to track and measure how much traffic you received from their posts.
UTM is short for “Urchin Tracking Module”. To put it in easier terms, a UTM is the piece of unique code you’ll add on to the end of your URL. With UTM tagging, you can make sure Google Analytics is tracking your Instagram traffic with complete accuracy.
For example, if Later was running an influencer campaign to drive more signups to our course, we’d create a unique UTM tag to track and measure the traffic to our landing page:
Google Analytics lets you tag your URL with the following three campaign parameters and their values. You can add parameters (such as utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign) to a URL to capture reporting data about the referring campaign.
For example, the following link would allow you to identify the traffic to later.com that came from Instagram, as part of a particular campaign:
We would then share this link with our influencers for them to use every time they’re linking to our Later course page!
You can learn more about tracking and measuring traffic from Instagram in this blog post!
You should also be clear with your influencers what metrics you’d like to track, and which you would like them to share with you once the campaign is over. For example, if they’re driving to your website with a swipe up link in Instagram Stories, you’ll need to ask them to share this stat with you.
The more transparent you can be with what you want to track and measure the better — that means there won’t be any surprises for your influencers when it comes to the reporting stages of the campaign.
Tip #3: Share Campaign Results with Your Influencers
It’s important to remember that this is a collaboration, and you should share results with your influencers too!
If you have interesting metrics from your trackable links or paid partnership analytics, share them with your influencers.
Not only is this a good way of building a professional co-working relationship, but you can share these insights so you can better plan and prepare for any future campaigns you might work on together!
Tip #4: Ask for Feedback from Your Influencers
Finally, don’t forget to ask for feedback — what worked, what didn’t, what their followers responded to best and how the campaign can be improved on in the future!
Whoever you decide to work with is more than likely a key leader in their field on Instagram, so they may hold some valuable insights for your future campaigns.
Influencer Marketing for Small Business Step #7: Say Thank You
Remember that influencer marketing is a partnership and community building exercise as well as a promotional project for your business, so it’s important to say thank you for all your influencer’s hard work.
Think about sending them a small token as a thank you (like a personalized gift), some cool branded merch from your business, or a gifted item from your collection.
These small tokens can go a long way in making lasting connections (and business partnerships!) with influencers for the future!
Running an influencer campaign for your small business doesn’t need to be overwhelming or costly.
Once you have these 7 clear steps in place, you’ll soon be able to set up long-lasting partnerships with influencers that complement your brand and business mission!
Don’t forget to download our Free Influencer Campaign Kit for Small Businesses — it includes worksheets and checklists to help you map out your campaign goals, shortlist your favorite influencers, and professionally reach out to them with our 7 customizable email templates!