An effective marketing strategy is contingent on adapting to current trends in order to best reach consumers and have them better engage with your brand. Today's consumer is bombarded with advertisements and sponsored content everywhere they turn and they're becoming more aware of when they're being marketed to. This is forcing brands to get creative and think outside the box when trying to get their brand in front of consumers. Influencer marketing, when done right, can be an authentic means of promotion. Consumers everywhere have their go to influencers (social influencers, bloggers, thought leaders, etc.) that they look to for product recommendations, tips and trends, etc. If you think this means celebrities and social influencers with millions of followers who may charge upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a social post is the only way to go, think again. For brands without the massive budget, there are tactical ways to leverage influencer marketing without breaking the bank. Here's how:

Micro Influencers

A micro-influencer is an influencer with a dedicated following (10k-100k) who is a trusted source in their industry. Whether their loyal communities of followers look to them for product/service reviews or recommendations, they appreciate the authenticity of the posts in a world where brands are shoving content down their throats. Micro-influencers are likely to charge a small fee (think a few hundred dollars) or in some cases, no fee in exchange for product. You may be thinking, "But I want an influencer with a million followers!" Well, in a study done by Markerly, where 800,000 Instagram users were analyzed, results revealed that "as the number of followers per user increased, the rate of engagement decreased." These micro-influencers are much more likely to actually try your product or service, continue the conversation with followers online, and influence purchasing decisions of potential buyers.

The Spider Effect

You have a couple thousand dollars dedicated towards influencer marketing. You know it's not enough to partner with a celebrity influencer and you want you want to utilize the funds in the best way possible. Well, instead of aiming for one post from a mega-influencer, consider a spider effect of scattering posts from different micro-influencers across multiple platforms. According to ZDNet, 90% of micro-influencers charge brands under $250 to write posts. Using this spider effect of influencer marketing and focusing on dispersing posts on multiple platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or blogs that are owned by different, inexpensive micro-influencers will give your brand much more reach for your funds.

Social Influencers with Blogs

Another way to maximize influencer marketing efforts is to target social influencers who also have a blog, or bloggers who have a strong presence on social media. If the influencer is prominent on both, it's likely that your product or service featured post could end up on more than one of their platforms. While you may not be able to secure a link to your website on Instagram, you absolutely can on a blog, which can positively impact your SEO efforts.

Relationship Building

Public Relations 101 means building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. By treating influencers like you would a media contact, it's likely that you will develop relationships where you can continue to work together on campaigns and promotions on a recurring basis. Micro-influencers are much more likely to work with your brand on different campaigns over a period of time, and it's possible it won't cost you any extra. For example, if you've partnered with an influencer to promote a product as part of a holiday gift guide, but the product also works for Mother's Day, it's possible the influencer will be open to multiple promotions. If you're running special sales, promoting discount codes or running giveaways, micro-influencers who truly approve of your product or service may be open to promoting collaborating on these efforts over a period of time.