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Three Alternative Tips for B2C Owners Who Cannot Afford Influencer Marketing These three alternatives are thus for those who do not have influencer marketing budgets, but want to derive the reward of influencer marketing.

By Ali Faagba

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Much is being said about influencer marketing. And there is no reasonable denying that this marketing trend is the next sure bet for business owners. Even marketers are swearing on its potency to drive sales.

But what alternative is there if you can't afford an influencer? More on that in a moment. But should you have any doubt as to why you need influencer marketing, just take a look at these figures:

  • 51% percent of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing. - Tomson
  • Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online consumer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing. - Tomson
  • 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months. - eMarketer
  • Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they've made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer. - Twitter
  • 47% percent of online consumers use ad blockers. - Digital News Report

There you have it. By now, you know why influencer marketing has become an indispensable tool for businesses. But then you go over your budget again, and it is still not within reach. After all, influencer marketing is costly. But I've got good news for you: there are vibrant alternatives for influencer marketing. And I'm just about to make them clear and doable.

1. Target millennials In 2015, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the most populous generation. And with such development comes a huge shift in purchasing strength. A large number of individuals from this generation aged 18-34 now have families of their own, run personal businesses, and occupy important positions at several organizations. This makes them an important part of decision units wherever they are. If you are a B2C seller looking for whom to sell too, there is no way you can rule them off, ever.

Now, how do you reach millennials without an influencer? The simple thing to do is to understand what millennials would do before buying. Here are some basic things:

  • Millennials read online reviews before buying a product. To market to them you will need: a blog, SEO, a unique voice, data and a captivating use of visuals. The importance of using visuals is another blog post entirely. Just keep that in mind.
  • Engage them on social media. Millennials say they love to interact with brands on social media. You sure don't need another special research to prove they are the highest social media users, do you?
  • Give them a voice. Millennials love to participate, express and pull social change. Always collect User-Generated Content and post it where they will see it. Ask for their reviews and inputs. The more of that you have, the more of trust you can garner. Millennials are avid readers. Give them something to devour.

Related: In Defense Of Influencers: The Importance Of Protecting Your Personal Brand

2. Make Instagram your forte In March 2017, over 120 million monthly Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad. Needless to say, these are leads which eventually became conversion and ultimately became sales.

There seems to be no short of reasons as to why this platform is a good alternative. Another data, from WordStream, shows that 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post. Today, Instagram has become so advanced that almost every tool you need is now available.

So, when I say use Instagram strategically I mean do the following things:

  • Post five times in a week. That's how much big companies are doing it. This amount of data could only mean one thing: It works. Stick with it.
  • Post with hashtags. When posting for advertisement, never forget to use a hashtag. This data shows that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. It is just one tactic out of many
  • Tag places. Never miss the opportunity to reach more prospects with this simple step. Posts with location have been shown to get 79% more engagement on Instagram.
  • Create Instagram stories. Since its inception, 35% of Instagram users are creating and using videos via stories. Your competitors are using it. Why not you?
  • Use filters. This will create an identity for your brand. One that is unique to you. 60% percent of top brands are using the same filter for every post. Aren't they your competitors? You just learn another thing that works for them. It can work for you, too.

Of course, to do all these effectively, it would be appropriate to hire a social media manager.

3. Create your own influencer When thinking of influencers, we are always thinking of omnipresent superstars like Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, and others with massive fan bases. But you may have to rethink it.

Influencer marketing is a balancing act between reach and relevance. While paying those big celebrities with huge fan bases can bring unlimited exposure, if their personality does not match your brand, it's an exercise in futile. It is why influencers are categorized into two: micro-influencers and macro-influencers.

When we say micro-influencers, think of people with 10-90,000 followers. You would find many of them are very connected with their followers. Many of those who fall in this category did not get there by being celebrities or planning to be influencers in the first place. They were just random guys who knew how to share affection (or good stories) and make people rally round them. With time, followers start developing some association with them and voila! They are influencers.

Now, this is not to say it is an easiest thing to do. But it is a possible thing to do. With time, vision and right strategy you can build an online followership around your brand.

Logan Paul. Tai Lopez. Ramon Berrios. These are not names you hear every day. Even if today they have millions of followers on Instagram and elsewhere, the story of their humble beginning serves as a testimony to how far anyone can go.

Know the buyer persona of your target customers, use the "relevance" above, and snatch their attention to yourself.

By and large, influencers are just people who others respect and love to listen to. If you have a long-term goal, you can as well create an influencer of your own. This may take time, but the reward is all worth it.

The last word

Keeping pace with new marketing trends is one thing. Having enough resources to be part of them is another. In this competition-saddled world where high masters -Google, Linkedin, Facebook and others- call the shots, it would be impossible to rush into every trend, especially if you are just starting out. But knowing what has worked and still works can always keep you in market pending the time you get the resources you need. These three alternatives are thus for those who do not have influencer marketing budgets, but want to derive the reward of influencer marketing.

Related: Let's Get Legal: Determining Contracts For Your Brand's Influencers

Ali Faagba

CEO, Content Mints

Ali Faagba is a writer, digital entrepreneur and the CEO of Content Mints. He helps businesses get around marketing and financial hurdles. He tweets at @contentmints.

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