In today’s digital age, social media has become a powerful marketing tool for small hospitality businesses. One of the most effective ways to reach new customers and build brand awareness is through influencer marketing. Influencers are social media personalities who have built a loyal following and can influence their followers’ purchasing decisions. By partnering with the right influencers, small hospitality businesses and small tourist cities can increase their visibility and attract new customers.
However, finding the right influencers for your brand and budget can be a challenge. With so many influencers out there, how do you know which ones are the best fit for your business? In this post, we’ll provide you with tips and strategies for finding the right influencers for your small hospitality business. We’ll cover everything from identifying your target audience to negotiating with influencers and measuring success. So, whether you’re new to influencer marketing or looking to improve your current strategy, keep reading for some valuable insights.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves partnering with influencers to promote your brand or products to their followers. Influencers are typically individuals who have established credibility, authority, and a large following in a specific niche or industry. They can be bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, or any other type of social media personality.
Influencer marketing works by leveraging the influencer’s social media platforms to create content that promotes your brand or products to their followers. This content can take many forms, including sponsored posts, product reviews, guest blog posts, and more. The idea is to tap into the influencer’s reach and influence to amplify your brand message and connect with new customers.
Some examples of successful influencer campaigns in the hospitality industry include:
- Airbnb’s #LiveThere campaign, which featured social media influencers showcasing unique experiences in Airbnb properties around the world.
- The Infatuation’s #EEEEEATSCon event, which brought together social media influencers, foodies, and chefs for a day of eating, drinking, and networking.
- ABSOLUT Vodka’s #absolutplanet campaign, which partnered experiential events with social media influencers and bloggers to create and share content about the brand’s devotion to sustainability.
- Denver’s #BasecampDenver campaign, which isn’t technically an influencer campaign, but does show off the fantastic potential for a user-generated program of videos around your city.
- Fresh Restaurant’s #FreshRestaurant campaign, which featured social media influencers sharing their favorite vegan dishes.
For small hospitality businesses, influencer marketing can be an effective way to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and generate buzz. For example, a boutique hotel might partner with a travel blogger to showcase the hotel’s unique features and amenities. Or a craft brewery might work with a beer influencer to create a sponsored post or video featuring their latest brew. By partnering with influencers who align with your brand values and target audience, you can create authentic and engaging content that resonates with potential customers.
How to identify your target audience
Before you start selecting influencers to work with, it’s important to identify your target audience. Knowing who your ideal customers are can help you find influencers who resonate with your brand and can help you reach your desired audience.
Why is it important to identify your target audience? Identifying your target audience helps you:
- Create more relevant and engaging content that speaks to your audience’s interests and needs
- Tailor your marketing efforts to the specific preferences and behaviors of your audience
- Find the right influencers who have a following that aligns with your target audience
- Measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by tracking engagement and conversions among your target audience
Small hospitality businesses may have different target audiences depending on their location, niche, and offerings. Here are some examples of different target audiences:
- Millennials who are looking for unique and authentic experiences
- Foodies who are passionate about trying new and exciting culinary creations
- Luxury travelers who value high-end amenities, personalized service, and exclusive experiences
- Families who are seeking affordable and family-friendly activities and accommodations
- Adventurers who are looking for outdoor activities and adrenaline-fueled experiences
Social media insights and analytics can provide valuable data about your followers, such as their age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors. This information can help you understand who your target audience is and what they are interested in. Here are some steps to use social media insights and analytics to identify your target audience:
- Identify your social media platforms – determine which social media platforms your target audience is most active on.
- Use the analytics tools available on these platforms to gather data about your followers, such as age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors.
- Analyze the data to identify patterns and trends among your followers.
- Use this information to create buyer personas – detailed profiles of your ideal customers that include information about their demographics, interests, goals, and pain points.
- Use these buyer personas to guide your influencer selection process and tailor your marketing efforts to your target audience.
How to find appropriate influencers
Once you have a clear idea of your target audience, the next step is to find influencers who can help you reach and engage with them. Here are some effective ways to find influencers:
- Social media platforms – Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are great places to start looking for influencers. You can use hashtags and keywords related to your industry to find relevant influencers who align with your brand and have a following that matches your target audience. You can also use social listening tools to track conversations and identify influencers who are already talking about your brand or industry.
- Influencer marketplaces – Influencer marketplaces like AspireIO, Upfluence, and Influencer.co are online platforms where you can connect with influencers and access their profiles, audience demographics, interests, and engagement rates. You can use these marketplaces to find influencers who match your target audience and collaborate with them on campaigns.
- Industry events – Attending industry events like trade shows, conferences, and networking events can be a great way to meet influencers in person and learn more about their work. These events give you the opportunity to connect with influencers and build relationships that can lead to collaborations down the road.
When evaluating influencers, it’s important to look beyond just their follower count. Here are some tips for evaluating influencers based on their audience, content, and alignment with your brand:
- Audience demographics – Make sure the influencer’s audience demographics align with your target audience. Look at factors like age, location, gender, and interests to ensure a good fit.
- Engagement rate – An influencer’s engagement rate is a measure of how actively their followers engage with their content. Look for influencers with high engagement rates, as they are more likely to drive meaningful interactions and conversions.
- Content quality – The quality of an influencer’s content is an important factor to consider. Look for influencers who create visually appealing content that aligns with your brand aesthetic and messaging.
- Alignment with your brand values – Make sure the influencer’s values and messaging align with your brand. Look for influencers who share your values and can authentically promote your brand to their audience.
By carefully evaluating influencers based on these criteria, you can find the right influencers who can help you achieve your marketing goals and connect with your target audience in a meaningful way.
How to negotiate with influencers
Once you have identified influencers who match your target audience and align with your brand, it’s time to approach them with collaboration proposals. Here are some tips for negotiating with influencers:
- Reach out with a personalized message – Personalization is key when reaching out to influencers. Show that you have done your research and explain why you think they would be a good fit for your brand. Be clear about what you are looking for in terms of collaboration and what you can offer in return.
- Be transparent about compensation – Be upfront about compensation from the outset. Influencers need to know what they will be receiving in exchange for their time and effort. Discuss compensation models that work for both you and the influencer.
- Negotiate rates and terms – Negotiation is a normal part of any business transaction. Be prepared to negotiate rates and terms with influencers to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement. Be respectful and professional throughout the negotiation process.
Here are some common compensation models for working with influencers:
- Flat fee – A flat fee is a set amount of money paid to the influencer for their work. This model works well for one-off collaborations or campaigns with a set deliverable.
- Commission – A commission model pays the influencer a percentage of the sales or revenue generated through their promotion. This model works well for collaborations where the influencer’s promotion directly leads to conversions.
- Free products or services – Some influencers may be willing to collaborate in exchange for free products or services. This model works well for collaborations where the product or service is highly desirable to the influencer’s audience.
By being transparent and respectful in your communication and offering fair compensation, you can build strong relationships with influencers and achieve successful collaborations that benefit both your brand and the influencer.
Measuring the success of your influencer campaign
Measuring the success of your influencer campaigns is essential to understanding the return on investment and making informed decisions for future collaborations. Here are some key metrics to consider:
- Reach – Reach is the total number of people who have seen your influencer’s content. This metric can help you gauge the potential impact of your campaign.
- Engagement – Engagement is the number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) that your influencer’s content has received. This metric can help you assess the level of audience interest and involvement in your campaign.
- Conversions – Conversions are the actions that your audience takes as a result of your influencer’s promotion, such as purchasing a product or booking a reservation. This metric can help you determine the direct impact of your campaign on sales and revenue.
- Brand awareness – Brand awareness is the level of recognition and familiarity that your audience has with your brand. This metric can help you assess the overall impact of your campaign on building brand awareness and recognition.
To track and analyze your results, you can use various social media analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Hootsuite. Some tips for tracking and analyzing your results include:
- Set clear goals and KPIs – Before launching your influencer campaign, establish clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to achieve. This will help you track progress and measure success.
- Monitor metrics regularly – Regularly monitoring your metrics can help you identify trends and make adjustments to your campaign as needed.
- Compare with previous campaigns – Comparing your results with previous influencer campaigns can help you identify areas of improvement and optimize your future collaborations.
By tracking and analyzing your metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns and make data-driven decisions for future collaborations.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for small hospitality businesses to increase their brand awareness, engage with their target audience, and ultimately drive more sales and revenue. To maximize the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns, it’s important to find the right influencers who align with your brand values and have an engaged audience that matches your target demographic.
In this post, we’ve provided tips and strategies for finding the right influencers for your brand and budget, identifying your target audience, negotiating with influencers, and measuring the success of your campaigns. By following these best practices and tracking your metrics, you can make informed decisions and optimize your influencer collaborations for maximum impact.
We encourage you to start experimenting with influencer marketing and share your experiences in the comments below. Remember, building strong relationships with influencers takes time and effort, but the payoff can be well worth it in terms of increased visibility, credibility, and sales for your small hospitality business.