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Social media influencers: What small businesses need to know

Social media influencers: What small businesses need to know

Social media ads are big — but users still have a tendency to scroll right past anything with that “sponsored” headline at the top. Influencers, however, can put products right inside the news feed, without appearing to “salesy.” Influencers are social media personalities with big audiences that share your products with their audience, in return receiving payment or occasionally free products or services. Here’s what small businesses need to know.

Social media influencers are often more trusted than traditional ads.

Consumers know that advertisers have ulterior motives, but tend to have more trust in the real people they follow on social media. Users tend to trust an influencers opinion, or at least influencers with a solid reputation. Besides sounding less salesy, influencers often share their real thoughts on a product and customers see that as more trustworthy.

Social media influencers tend to have a certain audience.

Businesses can’t target their ad based on location or interests when using an influencer like they can when placing a social media ad. But, the people that follow an influencer still tend to fall into certain categories. Look at who that influencer is, what they post about, and their personality, and you’ll get a general idea of who a partnership with that program would reach. Look for influencers with a connection to your industry, like beauty bloggers for a personal care product, or photographers for a printing service.

Social influencers can help ads stand out.

Ads placed directly with the social media platform are easier to scroll past. But, posts from influencers blend right in with the news feed, often designated as an ad by a simple hashtag like #ad or #sponsored. Pad posts from social influencers don’t feel like ads, and that can help them garner some extra attention.

Social media influencers can help start a conversation.

Social media marketing is more about conversation than just randomly blasting your message out there. Influencers can help get people talking about your brand. They can ask their followers a question, or encourage comments on a post to get even more reach. An ad feels like an ad, but interacting with a sponsored post from an influencer feels social.

Social influencer posts can last longer than a traditional ad.

A typical ad may grab attention for a few seconds, but because of the conversation generated, social influencer posts may have a most longer-lasting impact. But besides the conversation aspect, those posts don’t just disappear after a set amount of days. The post may still get some attention later by followers viewing the influencer’s Instagram grid, for example. That helps stretch the value of working with an influencer even further.

Social media influencers can share posts that don’t feel like ads, but instead drive conversation with a specific audience and have a long-lasting impact.