When done right, influencer marketing can be an amazing way to promote your business. I’m a believer that influencer marketing should be rolled right into your public relations plan.

And, contrary to what most think, influencer marketing can also be a cost-effect marketing tool for your business. You don’t need the likes of Kim Kardashian to utilize influencers as part of your small business branding. You just need a few marketing tips to help you choose the right influencer for your budget, brand and goals. Then, off you go!

Up First, Identify Your Goals.

Goals set the stage for what type of influencer partnership you are trying to make. Are you hoping to gain traffic to your site? Or hoping to promote a new product? Or hoping to just get brand awareness in front of a crowd?

Whatever the goal, and it should align with your business goals, set the stage and let it be your guiding light.

Understand Different Influencers

Based on your goals, are you looking for an influencer that you build a local, longterm partnership with? Or do you need someone with a larger national following? Perhaps you don’t need an online influencer, but a local notable to come by your restaurant.

Onalytica that breaks down different types of influencers here:

Everyday Influencers – 1-1000 followers

Small, every day consumers of your own or similar products. These types of influencers will often not consider themselves highly influential and will rarely monetise their audience. While their audience may be small, their influence is still significant – think customer reviews on Amazon.

Brand Advocates –  1 to ∞ followers

This type of influencer can be at any level, from everyday influencers right through to macro or celebrity. However, what separates them from others is the fact that they are earnt advocates of your brand, product or service. Often these types of influencer are hard earnt through your brand’s actions, yet can create the most powerful content that advocates your brand.

Micro-Influencers – 1,000 to 20,000 followers

Micro-influencers hold a smaller reach than other larger influencers in their niche. The major benefit to these influencers is that they usually hold very high levels of engagement, relevancy and trust amongst their following.

Professional Influencers – 20,000 to 100,000 followers

This type of influencer is the jump between micro and macro and is where an influencer really starts to take their influence seriously in terms of leveraging their audience and providing high levels of benefit. This type of influencer is often looked upon as an industry expert and highly respected.

Macro Influencers – 100,000 to 300,000 followers

This type of influencer is often large enough in terms of expertise and reach to warrant some sort of representation with a talent manager. They are often in a similar space in terms of their reach as celebrity influencers.

Celebrity Influencers –  300,000+ followers

This type of influencer usually has a very large following and will be represented by a manager or talent agency. Known to collaborate with brands on a paid basis.

Choosing an Influencer:

Based on your goals and knowledge of different influencer groups, begin to narrow down your selection by alignment, channel and engagement.

Your chosen influencer(s) should align with objective you set, look for influencers with similar audience demographics and make sure their content is aligned with your brand. Then, look at the measurables like followers and engagement.

My recommendation is usually to go with engagement of numbers – you want folks who are actually going to be engaged with your influencer and brand rather than a bunch of “impressions” that land in No Man’s Land.

Look for Partners for the long-haul:

Finally, always look for partners that are in it for a long-term relationship. These can be brand ambassadors/advocates, local bloggers in your neighborhood or just people who are great to work with. Wouldn’t you rather have a long-term, reliable partner, than a one & done when it comes to your business?

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is more than just follower count. It’s about engagement, value and finding the right partner who can help you deliver the right message to the right audience. And, if I haven’t said it enough, it should always be aligned with your goals.