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What Small Businesses Can Learn from Influencers

The marketing industry is familiar with the influencer’s power to impact day to day shopping habits through brand deals. But their reach extends way beyond this, sprawling every facet of the Internet.

Large swathes of the population circle around these people in their millions, hanging on every word, every photo, and video they create. Which begs the question, “Is this really their world, and are we just living in it?”

Many of the biggest influencers are entrepreneurs who come from very humble beginnings and develop an ingenious way to build their brand, predominantly in the entertainment industry, often undermining giant media monopolies in the process.

By extension, a small business can adopt similar strategies in a similar effect, allowing them to compete in a saturated big business market. Here, I will look to discuss a few ways influencers have managed to take over the Internet and how small businesses can learn from them.

To open up through videos

Many influencers have found success in creating videos and posting them across social media. For many, what is attractive about these videos is the creator’s personality. They don’t possess the mystique of a singer, or the bold confidence of a Hollywood superstar — and neither should they — what makes these people so enticing is their relatability.

Influencers have shown that you don’t have to adopt a fake corporate tone to find professional success. It actively suggests that you should avoid this approach at all costs. Consumers appreciate the personal touch. It will encourage engagement with your brand if you appear more authentic. Videos are a perfect way for small businesses to touch base with their customers and present a human side.

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Influencers have been doing this for a while, by taking advantage of temporary story features on Snapchat and Instagram to allow their audience to feel closer to them. Small businesses can emulate these methods of daily updates, filming clothing halls, and taking part in new trends – all in the name of relatability and community management.

An example of where this has been successful for businesses is George Sullivan, CEO, and founder of The Sole Supplier, a news and media site based around high-end trainers. They are experts in developing connections through video, often allowing their audience to view the general office environment. It has now reached the point that even their employees have become influencers in their own right.

To master your aesthetic

A signature aesthetic creates a uniqueness that sets you apart from the rest of the pack. An influencer can harness their personality and sell it as an idea. There is no reason a small business owner cannot do the same. The unique element of any small business is its owner.

The YouTuber ImAllexx is one example of this. His comedic self-awareness and social commentary shine through his media channels, linking with his ironic ‘Internet Sensation’ merchandise. Via his many hoodies and hats, he is allowing fans to buy not necessarily the product, but the aesthetic they associate with him.

A small business owner can take this and opt to unite their media channels as one personal vision. The quickest way to begin achieving this is to develop a unique functional style and commit to this aesthetic across every channel you engage with your audience, from Instagram and Twitter to your online store.

Combining ecommerce and social avenues in a consistent manner allow small businesses to showcase their products, engage with their audience, and simplify the path of purchase from social to store. Done right, it can be as simple as setting a tone and making people enjoy hearing from you.

To stay up to date with pop culture

There is nothing worse than seeing a business Tweet about a twelve-year-old meme to seem funny and relatable. In reality, it can harm your marketing, often coming across as inauthentic and out of touch. This Internet is a fast-moving place, and you must always have your finger on the pulse; relevance is rarely permanent, what was funny one day can often make someone wince the next.

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Influencers are masters of judgment and use it to gain an immediate advantage. They understand what is currently popular — from Baby Yoda to the Renegade Dance — and use it to appear higher up on search rankings. Small businesses need to stay sharp and witty on the web, as not to lose touch with their market and fall from relevance.

How to take a good photo

Similar to the previously discussed aesthetics, Instagram stars have shown the importance of a really good photo. Many brush aside influencers for having little notable talent, but in reality, this could not be further from the truth.

The Instagram user, for example, is a real expert at taking professional quality, eye-catching photos, and small businesses should learn to take note. Be it, models, stacks of books, or a fresh Avocado on toast, good quality photos are always repaid in followers.

Excellent photographs elevate your visual brand, meaning that the way you present yourself and your product through images adds to your overall quality. It doesn’t necessarily make your company more relatable but instead demands people’s attention by appealing to senses and emotions — a picture is a powerful thing.

Photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom can be an accessible place to start when looking to add to your photography skills, due to their inbuilt tutorial features. Influencers have shown that businesses should start to hold more stock in photography.

Influencers are unmatched in establishing unique personal brands and amassing huge followings. Small businesses should take note of their actions and consider what makes the online world tick because influencers are showing us all how it is done.

About the author

Kayleigh Alexandra is the lead writer at MicroStartups

Kayleigh Alexandra is the lead writer at MicroStartups, a website dedicated to helping charities and microbusinesses. After years of working in the sustainability, marketing, and creative industries, Kayleigh now loves to devote her time to supporting other businesses to grow and thrive. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter @getmicrostarted for the latest news, tips, and advice for startups and solopreneurs.

Photo credit: The images (feature, body) have been done by Sebastiaan ter Burg.

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