The image shows a beige and gold themed digital poster with text that reads: "Navigating the Influencer Universe: A Straight-Talk Guide for SMEs and start ups," attributed to It features the word "INFLUENCER" prominently.

Navigating the Influencer Universe: A Straight-Talk Guide for SMEs and start ups

We get it—you've heard enough about the power of influencer marketing, seen brands ‘go viral’ and sell out products overnight, and you know its something you should add to your marketing arsenal. But you’ve also heard the scare stories of campaigns going wrong! So before diving headfirst into the realm of influencer partnerships, it's crucial for you to consider several key factors to ensure a successful and mutually beneficial campaign. 

1. Assess Your Social Media Presence first

Before you even think about influencers, let's dissect your social media game. Your profile isn't just a digital snapshot; it's a strategic masterpiece. We're not talking about just aesthetics; we're talking about a seamless brand narrative. That clickable link in your bio? It's not a suggestion; it's a mandate. And have you set up tracking links so you can see how much traffic is coming from your social media? It's also important that either you or someone in your team is actively managing your social media accounts, responding promptly to comments and questions. An engaged and responsive online presence not only enhances your brand image but also complements the influencer's efforts, fostering a more interactive and authentic connection with the audience. 

2. Go beyond just numbers

It's crucial to move beyond superficial metrics like follower count and delve into more meaningful data. Small business owners should familiarise themselves with the basics of influencer marketing metrics, including engagement rate, audience demographics, and content quality. 

Look for influencers whose engagement rates reflect an active and involved audience. Analysing the quality of content is equally important – it should align with your brand's values and resonate with your target audience. Consider the location of the influencer's followers, ensuring that they align with your business's target market. If you only ship to Australia, its not very helpful to engage with an influencer who has a high US following. Also, think about brand alignment. If your brand has values of sustainability & craftsmanship for example, you wouldn't collaborate with an influencer who is regularly promoting fast fashion brands like Shein. 

3. Really, deeply understand and define your target audience:

Understanding your target audience goes beyond broad demographics. Start ups and SMEs should create detailed personas that provide a nuanced understanding of their customers. Consider factors such as interests, hobbies, pain points, and aspirations. I find it helpful to even name them - Katy, 27, eats at Tottis on the weekend, aspires to own a Celine handbag, saves to go to Europe every summer, works in PR and lives in Bronte, gets her news from TikTok and Pedestrian, etc etc. Know your target audience like a close confidant. What keeps them up at night? What sparks joy? This detailed knowledge allows you to identify influencers whose audience closely aligns with your ideal customer profile. 

A deep understanding of your target audience not only helps in influencer selection but also guides the creation of content that resonates authentically with your customers.  

4. Collaborate strategically - make it a win-win

For a successful influencer campaign, you must approach collaborations with a mindset of mutual benefit. The partnership should be a value exchange where both parties gain, and it should feel organic and authentic. It shouldn't feel too ‘forced’ or advertising; that's not what resonates on social. 

Clearly define your expectations, desires, goals and communicate them transparently to the influencer. Then work together on ways that could mutually benefit your audiences. Perhaps you want to grow your newsletter subscribers? Perhaps the influencer could run a great giveaway or online webinar that people need to sign up to get access to. Or you want to drive traffic to site? Maybe they can suggest stories with swipe up links to make it easier to get straight to your site than an in feed post. 

Involve the influencer in product development or co-create content that feels genuine and authentic. Remember, they know their audience, and probably the platform, best! Building a strong and lasting relationship with influencers can lead to ongoing partnerships, providing continuity for your brand's presence in the influencer's community. 

I know it sounds boring, but by investing time and effort into this groundwork, its much more likely that your influencer campaigns will not only boost brand awareness but also foster genuine connections with your target audience. 

So take the time to ensure your social media pages are primed for collaboration, understand the nuances of influencer metrics, define your target audience in intricate detail, and approach collaborations with a strategic mindset. 

In the evolving landscape of digital marketing, influencer collaborations can be a cost effective game-changer for small businesses willing to navigate the terrain thoughtfully and strategically. 


Taryn Williams is the founder of #Gifted, a platform that helps brands and influencers to connect for contra (unpaid) collaborations. With over 5,000 influencers Australia wide, its used by businesses like Go-To Skincare, LVLY, H&M, Estee Lauder & Accor Hotels. 




***Disclaimer. Please read!!***  


This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice. 


All rights reserved. © Foundd Legal Pty Ltd 

Explore our legally legit templates!