11 Ways Small Businesses Can Partner With Influencers

How has your small business partnered with influencers? Give your best tip for other SMB looking to partner with influencers?

To help small businesses develop partnerships with influencers, we asked successful business owners and marketing professionals for their best insights. From being supportive to partnering with other brands to save costs, there are several tips that may help small and medium-sized businesses adopt the best approaches to partnering with influencers.

Support your influencer

We mainly partner with food and nutrition experts on Twitter and Instagram to help us generate sales for our Candida diet program. The key to a successful influencer partnership is providing a supportive environment for the influencer to succeed. This means understanding every aspect of their content creation process and looking for ways to make it easier for the influencer to do their job. This could mean anything from giving them equipment, paying for transportation, accommodation and meals, to assigning a small team that can help them get the job done more efficiently.

Lisa Richards, The Candida Diet


Show you are aligned with the influencer

If you are looking to partner with an influencer it’s more than just a simple connection, they need to know that you align with them. So what does that look like?  At CLARAfi, we’ve worked with influencers in the world of startup and small business services because we have the synergy, the knowledge base and, of course, the track record to show we have focus. Share your track record; use examples of past posts, events and collaborations. Be present first and foremost. Then, check your channels to see if you have any mutual connections, a warm lead is always better than a cold pitch. If you don’t have any or you are just getting started, then it’s best to focus on the platform itself. Go to where your influencers live, be sure you are supportive, present and contributing like-minded content. One of the easiest tools we have today is collaboration via social media & community platforms and, believe it or not, we are all looking!

Adam Griggs, CLARAfi

Reach out and be prepared for any outcome

I know this may sound too easy, but sometimes it is, as long as you have the right mindset. Firstly, it is important to understand every influencer you like may not like your brand/products, so be prepared for that, but a lot will! You have to be ready for whichever outcome. Most influencers have an email address attached to their bio because they are also like you, looking for interesting brands to partner with, which translates to content for their followers, so reach out! Send a personalized, well-thought-out email, introducing your brand and offering free products in return for a shout-out. It is literally that simple. At this point, some influencers will share their rates to post your item, and some will do it for free. Bear in mind, with free partnerships, some influencers may get your items and still not post, but a lot will, which will be a win/win for you both.

Joy Orah, ÚCHÈ By Amber

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Audit your influencer

Key piece of advice: Audit your potential influencer first. There are a few programs you can download similar to Hype Auditor that allow your business to audit potential influencers that you wish to work with. You want to make sure that the influencer’s message is in line with your brand, and if they are even slightly controversial, your products could be questioned. Make sure the person you work with, is someone you are confident will promote your product well and won’t cast a negative light on your products.

Evan McCarthy, Sporting Smiles

Look for unexposed micro-influencers

One of the best influencer marketing strategies for small businesses is to look for unexposed micro-influencers to promote their products. You want to work with influencers whose audience is yet to be exposed to products/services like yours for maximum results. Look for accounts with 3000 to 30,000 followers and ask them to work with you.

Targeting an unexposed audience will always bring better results, and you are more likely to strike a good deal with influencers who haven’t worked with a similar brand before. The best way to find such influencers is by looking at hashtags, influencer platforms, social media community groups and blogs.

Ian Kelly, NuLeaf Naturals

Feature influencers on your socials

Feature the work of influencers in your niche on your Instagram and other socials. Doing so serves multiple purposes. First, those that follow said influencers may discover you when you link to their favorite people/brands. Second, those same followers will likely then follow you too! Lastly, sometimes even popular influencers will be so flattered that they’ll reach out to see how you can partner with them further to help both of your businesses.

Erin Banta, Pepper

Make the collaboration creative

If you’ve found an influencer you respect and trust, give them some creative freedom in the execution of your campaign. When it comes to working with influencers, it’s always best to maintain a two-way collaboration because they have some knowledge from their prior experience. Yes, it’s necessary to give them an in-depth look into your ideas but after this, let them take the reins and enjoy some creative control. This way, the content you produce is unique and at the same time, appeals to both your audiences.

Igal Rubinshtein, Home Essentials Direct

Provide a unique value to the partnership

Everyone can offer influencers cash where usually the highest bid wins and is not the most cost-effective marketing. Instead, consider providing limited or full access to your product or service for free. This way they can receive something that not many do. As an added bonus, they get to know your products or services much better so it’s much easier to promote them as well and make the promotion more authentic. We have partnered up with multiple influencers on multiple channels and give them free access to our website personalization tool for some regular promotion. This has worked well since marketers who follow influencers also love our product.

Teemu Raitaluoto, Markettailor

Set realistic expectations and lend support

If you’re looking to partner with influencers, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind: They’re not going to be able to do it all. You have a lot of work to do on your end as well. You need to be able to provide the right tools, and make sure that your product or service is represented accurately, while also making sure that you’re setting up the right expectations for your influencer.

Do your research before approaching an influencer. Find out what they like, who they follow, what their interests are and why they love those things. Then make sure that your brand is represented accurately in that context so that when they post about it on social media, customers will get an accurate representation of what your brand stands for and how it makes them feel. 

Finally, make sure that you build up trust with your influencer from the beginning so that when they post about your brand, it doesn’t feel like it’s just another sponsored post—it feels natural and authentic.

Michael Green, Quick Cash Homebuyers

Set up a comprehensive influencer contract f

We partner regularly with influencers to market our clients’ products and to increase their visibility in their respective sectors. Before you begin working with an influencer, have a duly signed contract that clearly stipulates what is expected of each party involved in the partnership. These expectations entail the deliverables of the contract, deadlines, content quality and form, as well as agreed-upon compensation and scope of work. This contract should also outline what constitutes a breach and the consequences of breaching its stipulations.

Dan Barrett, Adwords Nerds

Partner with other brands to save on costs

Small businesses can save on influencer costs by splitting with partner brands. Cohosting events, contests and influencer trips with other brands opens your business up to larger marketing opportunities than you would otherwise be able to afford. When you choose noncompetitor brands, you’ll still enjoy the full benefits of the collaboration without losing any of the potential market share. Go further than a partnership and build a small business super group, collaborating to create an extraordinary, multi-influencer event that makes a deep impact on your audience.

Brian Dechesare, Breaking Into Wall Street

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