Alaska Small Business Development Center

Using Influencers In Your Marketing Mix

September 22, 2016

Do you ever question why some social media posts go viral while other – nearly identical posts- play to crickets? The answer is often Influencers. Influencers are individuals who have the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. On social media sites, Influencers often use both personal pages and business pages to connect with their audience and have a devoted fan base. This means that their posts have a much higher organic reach than traditional business pages and some very impressive engagement results.

In short, Influencers are the Rock Stars of the social media world. They can help you:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Build Brand Loyalty FAST
  • Target a very specific niche


How to find Influencers:

They Work For You

If your target market is local, your employees may actually be micro-influencers on their personal social media profiles. For example, a retail store will have limited success on Snapchat or Instagram with a business account. However, if you allow your employees to try on some of your newest styles and ask them to share a picture with their friends and some info on where to find it- your ROI will most likely skyrocket.

They Want to Be Found

They are the people that your business is already following and interacting with on social media on a regular basis. If you have a local market, look for local Influencers while a global market expands your Influencer pool to those with a much larger following (although they may also be more difficult to connect with). The perfect Influencer is also already a Brand Advocate for you. The best way to dial in to these Advocates is to monitor your social media mentions and Google Alerts for your business name.

Additionally, there are a myriad of search engines that specialize in helping you connect with potential Influencers.

2 can help you find local news outlets and Journalists that report on your Industry

There Are Tools To Help You is a tool that can help you identify and track your Influencer relationships. Although there is a monthly fee, it can help you easily track the ROI on your Influencer marketing campaigns and allow you to determine if it’s working for your business.

Additionally, LinkedIn is a free way to find highly connected and engaged Influencers in your industry. Use the search tool to input your industry and connect with potential Influencers. Follow their company page and engage with their public posts. Additionally, join any groups they may belong to and start engaging people there. It’s important not to start selling right away- join the conversation and add value before making any ‘asks’. Once an Influencer accepts your request, you have the ability to message them privately. This will allow you to start cultivating that relationship.

You can use a similar strategy to connect with Influencers on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Just make sure you are connecting on platforms that your target market uses frequently.

How to Engage Influencers:

As we mentioned before, the first time you interact with a potential Influencer should not be an “ask”. You should be communicating with them regularly, sharing their public content and highlighting any unsolicited content they create about your business. Here’s an example:


I posted this picture on Instagram and used the tea brand name as one of my Hashtags. Trade Medicinals was successfully monitoring brand and product mentions and hopped right on to respond to my post. They didn’t ask anything more, just let me know they were listening and engaging.

Once you’ve built a rapport and you have a pretty good idea that they are brand advocates, reach out to them and ask them to support a specific campaign. Depending on who you’re engaging, this will look different. If you’ve only ever met your Influencer digitally, offer to compensate them through shout outs, discounts or financially. If your Influencer in an employee, allowing them to use their phones at work may be repayment enough.

Engaging Influencers isn’t a new idea; it’s basically word-of-mouth rebranded and is an incredibly effective way to increase awareness for your business. To learn more about Influencer Marketing, check out Kissmetrics ‘Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting’.

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