How Any Business Can Grow with Influencer Marketing: 5 KC Social Media Experts Share Top Tips

A collage of 5 Kansas City social media experts

How Any Business Can Grow with Influencer Marketing: 5 KC Social Media Experts Share Top Tips

Want to expand the reach of your business? Working with a social media influencer to create sponsored content can be a powerful way to attract new customers, advance your brand’s exposure and gain credibility. Research shows 50% of millennials trust recommendations from influencers and have bought a product based on an influencer’s endorsement.

So, how do you tap into this compelling marketing strategy and get results? In this Q&A, we hear from five digital content creators in the Kansas City-area who have large social media followings. They share how entrepreneurs can effectively partner with influencers to build real connections with their target audiences and better promote their products and services.

Don’t know where to start? Our Network Navigators can create a free Personal Action Plan just for you. It’s a to-do list tailored to your unique needs and goals and directs you to the experts and organizations in KC who can help you move your business or business idea forward.

Q: How can local businesses with small marketing budgets provide value to influencers who they want to work with?

Kasim Hardaway, culinary artist, videographer and content creator: Many small to medium-sized businesses run on very little to no marketing budget, so when they reach out to influencers, it’s important for them to be flexible. Don’t say, ‘This is what we have, and this is what we’re expecting from you,’ but be more of, ‘I love what you’re doing in the community. I love that you did this here and here. Could we strike up a partnership?’ It’s important to personalize your ask to the influencer, especially when you can’t compensate them very well. And be upfront if you’re unable to provide monetary compensation.

Influencer events are a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck without spending much money. Entrepreneurs can create curated experiences for a small group of five or a big group of 50 where you invite them to your space, treat them to food, give them a VIP experience and ask for certain deliverables in exchange. When influencers are welcomed into that kind of space and provided with a great experience, they will organically talk about your business.

Corissa Enneking, content creator, influencer and founder, Fat Girl Flow: If hiring a creative is too expensive for you, don’t be discouraged and don’t ghost them. Rates are meant to be negotiable and being honest about your financial constraints is ok. Content creators who don’t understand the financial pressures small business are under are not the right content creators for you.

Another approach is to develop an affiliate program. If you want to help creators make passive income from your products, build an affiliate percentage into your price and promote the program so influencers will want to include you in listicles and posts without direct sponsorships.

Jasmine Green, lifestyle content creator and strategist, Jasmine Diane:  Creators have to spend a lot of time and energy to produce content, so we need to get some kind of return on our investment. If a business can offer even $50 or $100, that goes a long way with me. Businesses with small budgets can also come up with other ways to provide value, such as showcasing the influencer in their newsletter or on their website.

Q: What makes you want to partner with a business to promote their product or service?

Yesica Orozco, content creator: When I work with a brand, I always make sure it fits with my community. I always take a look at my engagement to make sure the brand is something my followers will be interested in.

Kasim: I love when there’s a natural brand alignment or affinity, for example, Aldi, which I’ve been working with for a few years now. Prior to that, I was shopping at Aldi. My family was shopping at Aldi. So, there’s this natural cohesion that happens with brands when I’m already familiar with their product or what they stand for.

There are certain partnerships that if I did them, my audience would be like, ‘Why are you talking about this?’ I like to make sure the brand I’m working with is an authentic and genuine fit for my voice and who I am.

Corissa: I only work with brands that have values aligned with my own. I look for brands that have a clear commitment to size inclusivity and aren’t afraid to talk with me about the challenges plus-size people face. I personally always work toward building relationships with businesses that will last longer than one paid post. I want them to come back to do business with me again and again. I want to work with brands that I love and support and can become synonymous with my own.

Q: What should small businesses do to attract influencer partners?

Jasmine: It’s important for business owners to start by building relationships with the content creators and influencers they want to work with. Don’t send the same generic message to everyone. When a business owner reaches out about a collaboration, it’s nice when they explain why they like me and my content and why they think their product is a good fit for my audience.

Yesica: Businesses should reach out and express how they feel and mention a few things they like about the influencer’s content while also calling them by their name. When I get emails and they just say, ‘Hey, girl,’ it makes me feel like they just want an influencer for content. It doesn’t make me feel like they actually looked at my content and genuinely want to work together. I also love getting fun PR boxes in the mail. They make me feel special.

Q: What are some best practices for entrepreneurs to get the most out of a brand partnership?

Jaron Myers, comedian and content creator: The first thing business owners need to do is decide what results they want to see from their social media strategy, such as more leads, increased sales, stronger customer retention, etc. If you don’t have clear goals and an understanding of what you would consider to be successful for a social post, you’re going to frustrate yourself and also whomever you hire. You can dump a bunch of money into social media, but if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve by posting, then you’re just dumping money down the drain.

Corissa: Let content creators know what you’re trying to accomplish with your marketing. Do you want to drive brand awareness? Do you need a lot of quick sales? Are you hoping to become a staple within a specific community? These things are really important and can help us find creative direction for promotion.

Want more marketing and branding tips from successful KC influencers and social media experts? Check out our blog post.

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