Influencer marketing, the practice of partnering with content creators and social media personalities, is one of the most cost-effective methods of reaching your audience today. Some reasonable estimates even say brands get a return of $6.50 for every $1 spent.

So, if I told you that all you had to do was cough up $230,000 for a post by Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, or Cara Delevingne, you might be choking on your coffee. Even if your advertising budget could afford that kind of spend, how would you possibly see strong enough results to justify it?

Don’t worry. Celebrity names are not the bread and butter of effective influencer marketing. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck when you focus on smaller influencers.

Simple & Effective Influencer Marketing
For most of the last 40 years, we’ve been accustomed to seeing product endorsements from household names. (Not that those paid celebrity endorsements have significant impact.) Well, the world doesn’t really work that way anymore. The mass-to-mass communications of old were clunky and inefficient… but they were all that we had.

Today, brands can hone in their message to precisely targeted audiences, or “tribes,” to borrow from Seth Godin. Paying a well-known celebrity to blanket a large and diverse audience with a single message just doesn’t make sense anymore.

How Do You Get That $6.50 Return on the $1?
Turn to smaller influencers with targeted audiences and high engagement.

  • Small Influencers: It’s much easier to attract the attention of small influencers who may have 40,000 Instagram followers, than major celebrities who have millions.
  • Targeted Audiences: These influencers–whether they are on Instagram, YouTube, or some other platform–have most likely built their audience around a specific interest. While Taylor Swift may attract fans with a broad range of interests, people who follow an outdoor rock climber on Instagram all share one very clear, niche, marketable interest: rock climbing.
  • High Engagement: Look for influencers who are natural storytellers and sharers. These smaller influences with targeted audiences tend to get much better engagement rates than major celebrities. An audience that’s proven to tune-in is far more valuable than a larger audience that’s only half listening.

Of course, there are no sure bets with influencer marketing (or any marketing strategy for that matter). However, if you look for smaller influencers with targeted audiences and strong engagement rates, you’re much more likely to see a return.

Learn more about influencer marketing and choosing the right partner in this BuzzPlant blog post.

Have You Worked With an Influencer Before?
How was your experience? Would you do it again, and–if so–how would you go about the relationship differently?