Social media influencers boost local businesses

A shout or post from the right influencer on social media can potentially shake things up for businesses, both in terms of brand awareness and sales.

This is one of the reasons influencer marketing is expected to be worth $ 13.8 billion in 2021, up from $ 9.7 billion in 2020, according to a recent report from Influencer Marketing Hub.

“Influencers don’t disappear,” says Jackie DiBella, account manager at EGC Group, a Melville-based marketing and digital services company that assists clients with influencer marketing.

Influencers can be celebrities, but for small businesses it’s more likely to connect with smaller-scale social media influencers who have developed a niche / following in their respective fields, she says. For example, people turn to accounts like @lieats for restaurant recommendations in the area, she says.

Built-in trust

The advantage is that “they target exactly the audience you want to reach,” she says.

She finds that many small businesses work with influencers with between 10,000 and 50,000 social media followers.

“They have a built-in audience and trust,” says DiBella.

But that doesn’t mean small businesses can’t work with bigger influencers.

The WhalesTale in Northport in July teamed up with Carl Radke of Bravo’s “Summer House”. He was a guest at the bar and took photos with fans there, says owner Sosh Andriano, who also owns Northport-based Harbor Head Brewing Co.

Cross promotion

This coincided with the launch of NoPoCo, a Northport-focused lifestyle brand that Andriano was launching for a brand of beer made by Harbor Head and clothing like shirts and hats. It was a mutually beneficial alliance because Radke was looking for Whales Tale to carry a sparkling hard tea, Loverboy, which he is affiliated with, Andriano says.

“This gave us the opportunity to present our brand to the more than 300,000 Carl customers. [Instagram] followers, ”he says.

By promoting the event via photos on their own social media pages, they were able to cross-promote their brands to their social media followers, introducing each of their respective audiences to Whales Tale and to Loverboy.

Smaller influencers like food bloggers have been particularly helpful in brand awareness of Andriano’s new restaurant in East Northport, Lota Veco, which targets an organic and vegan audience. It will invite influencers to try the food for free.

Smaller influencers can have a powerful appeal, says Shane Barker, a brand consultant and influencer based in Sacramento, Calif.

“Let’s say you have a celebrity who recommends one product on one side and your close friend recommends another product. Who will you trust? ” he says. “People are more likely to trust and heed the recommendations of people with whom they have a close relationship.”

Gifts

Often times, many small influencers will work for freebies or discounts rather than getting paid. It depends on the reach of the influencer.

Hilary Topper, president of Long Beach-based HJMT Public Relations, and micro-influencer who helps promote branded products, gets freebies, but also gets paid for referral posts.

She has a blog, “A Triathlete’s Diary”, and with it has grown an audience. She has over 10,000 Instagram followers and has a book deal pending on her blog, Topper says. Brands, from sneakers to wetsuit companies, will be looking for her to do autographs or videos on Instagram. She could earn between $ 500 and $ 2,000 per position.

But because she’s built an following, to maintain their trust, she says she doesn’t take endorsement and scream if she doesn’t like the brand or the product.

Salvatore DiBenedetto, aka The Grubfather, a food and travel influencer with more than 300,000 Instagram followers, says he won’t post either if he doesn’t have a good experience.

Pandemic factor

“You have to maintain a level of integrity with your subscribers,” he says. With his number of followers, he is paid for his relationship with brands.

It usually goes beyond a simple message or shout and creates content, including an “image and video bank,” says DiBenedetto, CEO of The Connect Agency, a creative marketing agency based in Babylone and co-owner of The Grub Shop. in Huntington and Long Island Taco in Babylon.

Influencer marketing has grown, but the pandemic “has put a lot more eyes on social media,” he says, noting that it has grown from 135,000 subscribers to over 300,000 since the start of the pandemic.

So how does a small business find influencers?

“It’s easy to find niche influencers by doing hashtag searches on Instagram and Google,” says Barker, noting that you can also search for influencers among your followers. You can also use influencer marketing platforms, he says, noting that he has reviewed more than 35 of the top platforms.

Gain influencer friends

Start by liking or interacting with their posts, then reach out to them. DiBenedetto prefers electronic mail. “Introduce your business and be nice,” he says. “You want them to feel comfortable with you and your product.”

But you also want to empower influencers. By giving influencers promo codes to share with their followers, a business can measure the number of customers that influencer is driving.

“They help encourage influencers to generate sales” and “also track who your most valuable influencers are,” says Barker.

It is best to work with influencers who:

  • are most relevant to your business
  • believe in your brand and your products
  • have followers that match the demographics of your target audience
  • are genuine and authentic
  • have a style of content and core values ​​similar to your brand

Source: Shane Barker

About Madeline Powers

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