How much does it really cost to work with a social media influencer as part of a digital marketing campaign? And, is there a way to start doing influencer marketing without breaking the bank?

Influencer marketing is no longer a social media strategy used by only a few companies to grow their businesses. In fact, it’s estimated to grow to be a $16.4 billion industry this year, with more than 75% of brand marketers allocating budget for collaborations with social media influencers.

Keep reading to learn more about social media influencers and get five proven tips for working with them free of charge.

Who are influencers?

Types of influencers

Social media influencers are grouped according to how many followers they reach through their accounts:

  • Mega influencers and celebrities: 1M+
  • Macro influencers: 100K–1M
  • Micro influencers: 10K–100K
  • Nano influencers: 1K–10K

Influencers get their name because they are influential, usually within a specific industry. They are authoritative people (and even sometimes computer-generated personas) who regularly share content that gets attention. Social media influencers have the power to persuade their fans and followers to take specific actions based on their recommendations.

Influencer marketing can lead to big business when done right. It is more than just taking a selfie and posting a pun-filled caption. A strategic social media influencer partnership can be a powerful marketing tool if the person you are working with is credible and has loyal followers who match your target audience.

The benefits of working with nano influencers

4 perks of nano influencer partnerships

Some of the most common reasons that companies like to collaborate with social media influencers with smaller followings are because they typically offer:

  • Greater diversity
  • More flexibility
  • Greater ROI
  • Lower risk
  • More audience engagement
  • Greater authenticity

In the following guest blog post, Amra & Elma cofounder Amra Beganovich—a top social media influencer with over one million followers across her channels—reveals what you need to know to find the right nano influencer partner to drive engagement and help your company reach its marketing goals.

Named as a top digital marketing expert by Forbes, Business Insider, the Financial Times, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, and Wall Street Journal, Beganovich develops and manages advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, LVMH, Procter & Gamble, Uber, Nestle, HTC, and Huawei.

Here are her budget-sparing tips for using social media influencers to spark conversations, drive engagement, and get noticed by new audiences.

social media influencer Amra Beganovich
Social media influencer Amra Beganovich

Working with influencers for free

The most famous influencers are often thought of as a new breed of “celebrities” because they have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, but you can implement influencer marketing as part of your next campaign by partnering with influencers with any amount of followers.

Consider working with nano influencers to build brand recognition and improve your product’s notoriety. They may not have tens of thousands or millions of followers, but this type of social media influencer still holds power and offers quality advice to their fans/followers.

The following five ideas for leveraging nano influencers should help you boost your content marketing efforts.


Create campaigns that include giveaways

Since many nano influencers attend events like product launches and conferences, you could set up a collection of products that fans can win by entering an online giveaway hosted by the social media influencer.

Alternatively, you could ask a nano influencer to feature a product in a video or host a giveaway for their followers.


Invite social media influencers to post content on your behalf

Some brands have had influencers create content featuring the brand’s products or services. According to Berina Karic, a marketing content manager at Top Influencer Marketing Agency, having an influencer post videos or photos could be as simple as asking them to snap photos at an event and share them with their followers. Your social media influencer partners can also use one of your products in some way or offer insight based on their experience with your brand.

Companies can also get creative and ask for footage from an event or thoughts about a new offering before it is distributed widely. In turn, you could re-post these updates from the social media influencer to amplify their reach. If you’re doing this, be sure that the terms of engagement are clear so there is no confusion about the relationship between your business and the influencer.


Offer samples

Social media influencers love to get new things, especially if it’s something they’ve wanted or needed for a long time. If you’re launching a product that fits into a social media influencer’s niche, consider sending some out for them to use or give away in another capacity (see #2). This is also an excellent way to gain social proof on launch day.


Sponsor events hosted by nano influencers

If you want to engage with an audience of people who are more likely to become customers than followings of other kinds of influencers, run an event and enlist nano influencers as hosts. Not only will these social media influencers’ involvement and endorsement lend credibility to the event, but it will also make them happy. After all, they’d like to meet your team in person, too, and have the opportunity to grow their brand.


Create campaigns that highlight a social media influencer’s expertise

Do you have a section on your website, like a blog, where you discuss topics related to your business? Why not feature a nano influencer in an upcoming article. Craft questions (with your social media influencer partner’s input) that tap into their expertise and invite them to respond in a social media post or video.

This is also a good way for fans of the social media influencer and followers of your brand to discover each other. When writing up content about an influencer, be sure to include a bio at the end with links to their social profiles.

Just as you wouldn’t send a celebrity to an event where they aren’t likely to make a big splash, it doesn’t make business sense to work with a nano influencer if their following isn’t a good fit for your target market.

Why shrewd companies work with nano influencers

Social media influencer marketing doesn’t guarantee success, but it will bring results with thoughtful planning. Campaigns are more likely to get the results you need if your influencer partners are genuine and share your values.

Remember: just because someone has a small number of followers doesn’t mean you should dismiss a social media influencer entirely. These nano influencers may be the right way to help you access another group of prospective customers who would be predisposed to hearing about what you have to say (and in a way that’s easier on your budget).
—Amra Beganovich

Brand evangelism and nano influencers

Making a trade or providing non-monetary compensation for help promoting a product or service is a practice that has been around for ages. The good news is that an exchange of products or services for coverage is well-known to potential social media influencer partners you hope to work with.

This acceptable business practice has been around for ages, even before the dawn of social media. Think magazine food critics who get to enjoy a free meal in exchange for a write-up or movie columnist who enjoys a free sneak preview screening to draft a review.

How to find the right social media influencer to work with

Beyond looking at any potential lists you may have already had available, one easy way you can find potential social media influencers to join forces with is by searching hashtags that match your target audience’s pain points. (Don’t forget to look at related hashtags, too, for nano influencers!)

After vetting any social media influencer accounts with potential (and weeding out bots with fake followers), think about which of these options would be the best fit for your campaign and your needs before reaching out with an offer.

If you are interested in learning more about this modern way of using social media to connect with customers but aren’t sure how to get started, TBH Creative can help you make a plan for successfully collaborating with social media influencers to reach your business goals.