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Influencer Marketing Strategies for Small and Large Businesses: Finding, Approaching, and Collaborating on Instagram



influencer marketing

If you’re a small business with an Instagram page, you may wonder how to get more IG followers who want to try out your product and support your business. One tool people use is influencer marketing. In the past decade, it’s become one of the best ways to reach the younger generation. Let’s look at what it is and the types of available influencers and tell you how to reach out to one.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a business deals with a popular social media user, e-celeb, or another prominent online figure to promote their products. This type of marketing is an extension of pre-Internet marketing techniques like celebrity endorsement, and it has existed in some form since the Internet came to be. However, it has exploded in the past decade with the normalization of social media and smartphones.

You may wonder why influencer marketing works so well. Here are some reasons why it’s so effective.

Influencer Marketing

People Trust Them

It’s because people like to buy products from people they trust. For many people who follow influencer accounts, they have a one-way relationship with the person who is posting content. They may look at their posts, videos, and Stories and interact with them. Sometimes, the influencer interacts back, increasing the bond of trust they have.

This is what makes influencer marketing even more powerful than a celebrity endorsement. A celebrity is more significant than life, but an influencer feels more relatable, especially if they are a smaller influencer.

The Influencer’s Audience May Intersect With Your Audience

There are many, many influencers online, each with a different niche. Some focus exclusively on a particular type of niche, for example, makeup. However, some influencers may not outwardly have a niche, but they may have an audience that shares many different things in common with your customer base.

If you pay an influencer whose niche fits your business, you are much more likely to see conversions than if you paid for a general ad.

It Can Be Affordable

With influencers, you must remember that not everyone has millions of followers. There are smaller influencers who still have an audience, and if you reach out to them, you may be able to cut a deal on a budget that fits your business. It doesn’t always have to create a hole in your pocket. Not every influencer is looking for a giant cut, so explore around and see what you can find, and then reach out and see if you can come to a deal that fits both of your needs.

Sizes of Influencers

Influencer Marketing

Let’s further expand on the sizes of influencers. Not every influencer account you will find has millions of followers. Some of them are smaller accounts. While they may not have as much reach, they may have a loyal audience, and if their niche matches yours, you can gain some loyal customers.

Currently, there are five types of influencers. Let’s look at them now.

Nano Influencers

These influencers have between 1,000-10,000 followers. On Instagram nowadays, this is not a big following, but people with a smaller following tend to have a more loyal group. This is because a nano influencer may interact with their audience more, and the lack of fame makes them approachable.

If you’re just starting, a nano influencer may be for you. They tend to charge less, and they’re much easier to make a deal with compared to a bigger account that may have a long line of people ahead of you. They also see it as mutually beneficial since they’re trying to grow as well.


These are accounts with 10,000-100,000 followers. While they may have many followers, they are still relatively unknown in the grand scheme of Instagram. They may appeal to a specific niche, and they are the top person in that niche. However, many micro-influencers are still easy to reach and have a loyal fanbase, and you can easily cut a deal with them.


These influencers have 100,000-500,000 followers. Here is where we start to get to the big dogs. If this influencer is in a small niche, they are at the top of their game. If their niche is more broad, they are still respectable. If your business has a bigger advertising budget and can wait a bit, you can still reach them, but it can be more challenging than the previous two.


Here is where we enter the e-celeb territory. Macro-influencers are well-known in their niche, with 500,000-1,000,000 followers. If you’re just starting, you may not have the advertising budget or the time to meet their demands, but as your business grows, a macro influencer may be what you need.


Finally, we have mega influencers. They have over a million followers and include some noticeable e-celebs. Sometimes, these mega influencers are so famous that they can be household names even to people who don’t use Instagram. An endorsement by them is highly coveted, can be expensive, and it can take a while to get a deal. But their endorsement is worth it when your business is on top.

Finding the Right Influencer

Now that you know about the many types of influencers, you should figure out how to find an influencer that is right for the job. If you put your money down on any influencer, they may not be the right fit, and their endorsement can come across as not genuine.

That’s why your business needs to find a good influencer. Let’s look at some ways you can do this.

Do Some Hashtag Research

Your business should already have a list of hashtags you should use for your brand. Ideally, you want to be niche-specific and not go too broad. Look at some of the hashtags by searching them on Instagram. What are the most popular posts?

When you look at a popular post, see who has made it. Do they post about your niche often? Do their likes and comments match up with your target audience? If so, you may have found the right influencer for the job.

Use Tools to Find the Right Fit

Besides searching manually, several tools online can help you find influencers based on your niche. They can take the guesswork out. Of course, they do have some disadvantages. For example, they may require you to pay a subscription fee, or they may show the big names only. If you’re just starting, these tools may not show you the nano influencers who may be more budget-friendly.

Do They Do Deals?

Just because they have many followers doesn’t mean they are an influencer account. Some accounts have their own branding, and they may not want to do a deal with you. However, they may be a good fit for your business if they have a history of promoting products.

Do They Have Good Engagement?

You may see an account with tens of thousands of followers and assume they are perfect. But follower count tells only one side of the story. If they have that many followers but only get a few dozen likes, they may be juicing their numbers, or they may have an audience who is uninterested in the content.

On the other hand, you may have an account with only a few thousand followers, but they have hundreds of likes on their photos. This means they have a deeply engaged audience who will be more than willing to try out your product.

Do They Have Contact Information?

Some influencers will make it easy for you to contact them by having an email for business inquiries in their bio. If so, then send them an email. If not, then you may want to message them on Instagram itself. If there is no contact information, ask in the comments.

How to Reach Out to an Influencer

We know that ice-breakers can be a little awkward. Even if you are a business, you may not know how to reach an influencer. Here are some ways to do so.

First, Know What You’re Going to Do

If you want a collaboration and reach out to an influencer, you may have shot yourself in the foot if you don’t know what you want. Ideally, you should know what product you’d like to promote and how you would do it. Do you want the influencer to make their own video? Be in yours? You don’t need every single detail figured out, but having a rough sketch can cement the deal. If you only have vague ideas, the influencer may go for someone else.

Engage With Their Content

You don’t need to be besties with them, but you should give them a follow and engage with their content a little. This establishes a relationship and shows that you legitimately care about your product.

Send Them a Message

If it’s an email, have your brand name and the word “collaboration” or have another attention-getter. In the message, sound enthusiastic, but also professional. Get to the basics. Tell them about the product you’re promoting and the idea for a collaboration. Inform them if this is a one-time-only deal or if there is potential for a long-term relationship.

Influencer Marketing

Have a Media Kit

One way you can quickly explain your product is through a media kit. This can be a PDF explaining what your product is, giving a brief history of your business, and adding other details you believe are relevant. This way, you don’t need to write the same email explaining yourself repeatedly.

Mention Compensation

All influencers, regardless of size, want some compensation for their work. They may want less or a free product if they are nano influencers. However, you should not come to the table lowballing an influencer just because they’re small. Give your budget, and say you are open to discussing the ad.

Wait for a Response

Now that you’ve sent them a message, wait for a response. Influencers, even micro ones, have a lot of inquiries, so wait.

If it has been a week, sending a follow-up email may be worth it. Your email may have been buried so a bump may help. If they are still not responding, you may want to look for another influencer. They may not be interested in your offer.

Set a Deadline

If they respond and the two of you work out a deal, great! Now, you should figure out a deadline. Not having some sort of deadline means that one of you may forget the collaboration. Have a reasonable deadline set for the influencer to promote your product. If there are setbacks, be sure you two have regular communication.

How Much Creative Control Do They Have?

You may also give the influencer some creative control, and you should. Many influencers can advertise your product in innovative ways. If you make it seem like they’re reading off a script, it seems more inauthentic, and people are less likely to try out your product.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right influencer for your brand can elevate its reach. Even if the influencer is small, if they have a large enough fanbase, you may be able to gain a loyal new audience. Research if the influencer is a proper fit, have a budget that compensates the influencer well, and have an idea of your deal. We hope this article was helpful to you.

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