Here’s how to pick the right one for your brand
Sorry, if you’re disappointed, but this is not a list of the “best” small and midsize business (SMB) influencers. Instead, it’s a post about how to choose the best influencer to boost your content and raise your brand’s profile with SMBs. Hopefully, that’s more useful to you than a list of names.
Occasionally, clients ask me about working with small business influencers. Often, they think that working with a high-profile influencer with tens of thousands of followers will help raise the profile and credibility of their brand with their own audience. Or, sometimes they seek access to the influencer’s audience, which they otherwise may not reach. Either way, my response is the same: before choosing an influencer, first be clear about what it is that you are hoping to accomplish.
What’s the goal here anyway?
First, decide what you really want to accomplish with your content. Most marketers want to attract, engage, convert, and retain customers, while positioning their brand as a trusted resource. This requires top-notch content. Great content, not content that is merely good enough, is table stakes these days. Mediocre content, whether you are working with influencers with millions of followers or not, will not produce results for you and might negatively impact your brand.
What defines great content? It’s content that changes the point of view (POV) of the reader. An influencer can help you do this, but it may not be the influencer who has the most followers or who first comes to mind. Here’s how to find the right one.
3 steps to choosing an influencer
- First, determine whether the influencer is truly a topical expert and capable of producing content that changes POV. When we evaluate experts, we want to know, “Does this person work with small businesses every day and help them produce great results?”
- Next, consider how the influencer’s followers match your target market. Are their followers startups? Are they real business owners, or simply dreamers who perennially want to start a business? Are they smaller mom-and-pop businesses, or larger, more-established concerns?
- Once you’ve found an influencer who can produce POV-changing content and whose followers have some overlap with your target market, the next question is, “How will you work together?” Are they going to publish something on your website, or something about your brand on theirs? While the latter might be of value to you, bear in mind that you will be building their audience, not yours.
On a recent podcast, I talked about working with micro influencers. I also refer to these people as subject matter experts (SMEs). They usually don’t have thousands of followers, but they do have clients that rely on them to help move their businesses forward. These micro influencers, working with great writers and editors who also really know SMBs, can produce content that your target market will love, and that will help your brand accomplish its objectives.
In summary, influencers may or may not be a magic pill. As with any business decision, use a process to vet potential influencers, and consider under-the-radar micro influencers. If you have a question about a specific SMB influencer, give me a shout. My team and I have worked with many of them over the years, and we are happy to give you our POV.
- Seek subject matter experts who can help you produce content that can change the point of view of your audience.
- If you want to tap into an influencer’s audience, make sure their audience and their messaging is relevant to your target market.
- Don’t overlook micro influencers who may be lesser known but whose specialized expertise may be optimal for your audience.