As a small business it is tough to find your audience on the social media. Hence it is a good idea collaborate with allied industries influences and bloggers. Collaboration usually means you can come together to grow your business awareness, increase followers or even promote your products.
Collaborating with allied industries
Now as a small business you would be networking with people from your field and allied industries. For example – if you are an event planner you would have contacts with musicians, bakeries, makeup and beauty services etc.
You can leverage these connections by either having a joint project online or running a contest.
So you could have a Valentine Day contest where people follow your pages, submit a quote of love, or share some valentine Day photos. The one with the maximum votes would get a hamper from both of you or maybe a discount coupon that is valid for a year or even vouchers for next purchase.
Such a contest, will help both the brands boost exposure as both of you will be promoting each other and your followers will know about other brand. As you are promoting a business your followers are more likely to trust and buy from the other brand. Apart from this you could even have an understanding with the allied businesses, where if someone books services through them then a special pricing is offered to them.
So for example if you are a local gym, you could have a tie- up with health food brands or restaurants specializing in healthy or diet food. Show the present gym membership card and avail a 30% discount. And vice versa, where regular patrons of the restaurants or food brand get a discount on the yearly gym membership.
This approach works well with digital products as well. So your email marketing could have offers for the services of allied industries and vice versa which will help in reaching the broader more targeted audience at a faster pace.
Collaborating with influencers
Apart from connecting with industry experts, micro influencers have known to help a brand reach a wider audience quickly. If you have an expert on board then his promotion of your brand or deal will get you better ROI but it will also be cost intensive. However if you cannot get 1 mega influencer try connecting with many micro influencers. These micro-influencers are easier to connect and at considerably less cost.
Such connections work well on social media namely Instagram and Facebook.
Here is an infographic by POSist that will help you understand the full potential of influential marketing
Apart from asking them to promote your product or service, you could collaborate with them for a sponsored contest on a giveaway.
In this scenario the contest is run by the micro influencer, and you will be collaborating as a sponsor of the contest. As the micro influencer is in your niche, the audience base is more likely to be relevant to your brand.
If you are a brand dealing with kids products then your best bet is going to be mommy influencers.
Collaborating with blogger
While this is similar to micro influencers the biggest difference here is that we expect the bloggers to review the product or service. Hear the -blogger is sharing his personal experience and recommending the brand.
Many bloggers also do a contest or a link party thereby blurring the lines between influencer’s and bloggers. Many a times bloggers also double up as influencer’s or they are so passionate about a topic that they are a brand in their niche. In such situations, they will cross promote your brand all over the social media as well and hence the kind of collaboration with them might be different. In such collaborations the brand and the blogger need to come on some kind of agreement and hash the terms of their association.
The thing to note for small businesses is to identify these joint collaboration options and nurture them for a long term marketing goal. The reason I take this separately from influential marketing is that these kind of collaborations are mutually beneficial. Both the parties are gaining in terms of exposure, brand likes, footfalls to the virtual assets and branding.
The above mentioned collaborations are mostly a one to one partnership or a business to business partnership. Another way of joint collaboration is connecting with a community that is relevant to your business. There are groups on Facebook and G+ which are targeted to a specific industry or cause or even likes. These communities too can be a great option for collaboration.
Joint Collaboration with groups
These groups are either private or public. As a business, you will have to identify the admins and connect with them to understand their policies in terms of collaborations. A few groups are open to collaborations while a few prefer being paid to feature your products or services. If there is a parenting community, you could connect with them to see if their community would be interested in reviewing your product / service and mentioning the same on their personal profile on Facebook or G+. You could even offer a special discount only for the group members or even offer them a voucher.
If you have a community on your website or an email list, you could even offer the groups an option to be featured on your group for a similar opportunity on their group. It really depends on what is it that both of you are looking to get from this partnership.
Joint collaboration are a great way to connect with your target audience in a regional or national landscape. Every startup or small business should give due diligence to joint collaborations as they have the potential to make the brand viral without burning a hole in the pockets.