How Influential are Influencers for your Business?

Woman Beauty Vlogger. Video Clip by Smartphone Sharing on Social Media. Fashion Blogger Make-up Artist Live Cosmetic Makeup Tutorial. Girl with Visage Brushes
Image source Marina Morozova via IStock Photos

I quite literally would scoff if someone mentioned the word influencer. I have worked with groups of tweens and teens in the past, all with dreams of becoming an “influencer.” When asked what they want to do when they grow up? Becoming YouTube famous is the typical response.

I read horror stories of “influencers” trying to rip small businesses off by asking or demanding free products in exchange for “promoting” them to their followers.  Or refusing to pay restaurant bills because of their “influencer status.” (because we were so honored to have served you your chicken caesar salad.) The power and threat of a bad review for a business if you refuse free products or services to an influencer is nothing less than extortion. 

Yet, when I take a hard look at myself and my social media habits, to my shock and horror, I too am being influenced by “influencers.”  In essence, everyone who uses social media, and follows someone else because you like the content they produce is being influenced by an influencer.

I follow a few moms on TikTok. I like their content and think they’re knowledgeable. I trust their opinions on the products they use in their videos. I have been influenced. (I know you’re probably thinking, well duh,) but I just never thought of it that way.  I like and follow people I respect and think are knowledgeable and even considered experts in their field. I never thought of the term influencer as interchangeable with expert. To me, the word influencer always left a bad taste in my mouth. It was synonymous with the words entitled and lazy.

So now that my views and beliefs about influencer culture have been blown open, how important is it to get someone with a strong social media presence to endorse your business in order for it to be successful through social media?

According to Digital Marketing Institute

49% of consumers rely on recommendations they have seen through social media channels.

And that 66% of marketers now have an influencer budget. The amount of money being allocated to influencer branding is more than is spent on organic search, paid search and email marketing. Influence marketing is set to be a 13 billion dollar industry in 2022.  

If someone has genuine content, sharing their ups and downs and trials and errors, I’m learning from their experiences, expertise and mistakes therefore I feel a sense of trust in their content. When they use a product organically in their posts (most often videos) I take that as a trusted recommendation.  For example:

Here is a TikTok video from a mom I follow who makes videos of her kids cooking from a young age using a Montessori-inspired kitchen she created. After watching it, you better believe I bought the same kitchen from Ikea, and retrofitted it to be a functioning kitchen with the same water pump and fridge from Amazon.  From other videos she’s shared I have also purchased the same kid-friendly knives, kitchen tools, and soap dispenser.

This other video of a mom who has a large family so her videos are of cooking meals in bulk, (which for some reason I find fascinating.) Someone commented on her fridge in one of the videos, so she is a post just about what her fridge looks like. We are in the market for a new fridge and this is the one I am buying, based on her video alone. No other reviews needed (from someone who has a paid subscription to Consumer’s Report).

For all I know, this is purposeful product placement from a paying brand! But when the product and creator are merged together organically, it’s not a hard sell and my brain isn’t triggered with warnings of this being a sales pitch.  In this instance, I don’t believe that Ikea was actually paying for product placement, but if they were I wouldn’t know the difference. When done right, this is such a smart tactic, especially for start-ups. Advertising is being disguised as organic content.

What are the benefits of aligning yourself with an influencer?

  1. Build stronger relationships with your target market
  2. Acquire better customers
  3. Aligning your brand with a creator with the same values creates trust with customers.

Like any marketing tactic, you need to develop a strategy. What does an influencer marketing strategy look like? Here are a few strategies for a startup business:

With TikTok offering a creator fund to US content creators, making it is easier for someone to make a career out of being a content creator. Is it as likely for Canadians to have the same success and therefore the same drive to be an “Influencer?” The influencer landscape in Canada is only just starting to grow. Canadian and International brands are wanting to tap into the Canadian influencer market. According to Marketing News Canada, The most lucrative platform for Canadian creators is Instagram. Studies show, whether doing it part-time or full-time, people who treat their personal accounts like production companies have the most potential to be successful influencers and attract brands.

My two cents, if you have a brand or a small business, now is the time to connect with Canadian influencers. The market is growing fast and once big brands align themselves with Canadian content creators, you may not be able to afford to work with one, and investing in Influencer marketing seems like a strategy worth looking into.

If you could choose one person you follow on social media, who would you pick to align your brand with?

Do you have aspirations or being an online influencer yourself?

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Social Media Ads, to Pay or Not to Pay, That is the Question.

Businessman using a computer for analysis  SEO Search Engine Optimization Marketing Ranking Traffic Website Internet Business Technology Concept."
Image Source Istock

How much budget should be invested in social media? To most small or independent businesses the arrival of social media as a marketing tool must have been outstanding. Finally, a tool that had massive reach potential with no cost.  However, do you find that you are getting the reach and exposure you thought you would organically? Are you putting in hours and hours of content creation with little yield? Should businesses invest dollars toward their social media marketing?

I wanted to take this week’s blog opportunity to take a look into if budgeting for social media actually makes a difference. And if so how much should you allocate to really make it a valuable marketing tool?

What advertising options are available?

Facebook and Instagram: Advertising on Facebook or Instagram can be done through Meta Ads Manager. Through Meta suite, your ads will run across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Plans range from beginner to advanced advertisers and you have full control of targeting your audience by selecting parameters such as interests, gender, or location. You can start and stop your advertising at any time and have access to post insights so you know what is working well and what isn’t.  In Meta Ads, choose what your advertising objective is and they will formulate a plan for you providing you with an abundance of tips and resources for what an ad would look like both in content and visually. 

Image Source from Meta Ads Manager account setup
Image Source from Meta Ads Manager account setup

Budgets for Facebook and Instagram are managed through Meta Advantage campaign budget and you can choose between a daily budget limit and a lifetime budget. (The latter would be active for your entire campaign run)

TikTok: Image Source TicTok Ads Manager For short-form videos, much like Meta Ads Manager, the TikTok platform has TikTok Ads Manager to manage your advertising needs. A suite of tools gives you access to fully designed templates to aid in full-screen, immersive audio ad creation. TikTok will target your ads by location, interest, or behaviour. There are a number of entertainment and news apps within the TiKTok family that you can also place your ads on depending on your marketing goals.  With TikTok, there is a daily advertising minimum of $50/ day.

Image Source TicTok Ads Manager

Twitter: Customizable to your budget there are no minimum ad spends with Twitter. Like the previous two platforms, the Twitter ad centre helps with ad creation, works with you to develop your campaign objectives, reach and frequency, and manages dates and budgets. Twitter Business boosts that it will connect your advertising with today’s trends, through news topics, and conversations. One advantage is that it will also allow you to keep track of your competitor’s movements by monitoring specific accounts, industries and communities.

All the platforms are similar in the advertising tools and the flexibility they offer. They all have free advertising resources to guide you through the marketing process as well as paid ad campaign managing capabilities. So is it worth paying for more? According to a blog article on The Manifest

Brands that don’t advertise on social media risk falling behind. With

92% of small businesses investing in social media.

Does paid advertising make a difference?

As with all advertising, you should be focused on reach and frequency. Reach is how many people see your ad and frequency is how many times they see it. If you want to see faster results, paid social media will get your ads in front of a targeted audience who is interested in your product faster and at a higher frequency than organic posting is able to. Manifest found that the social media algorithms make it statistically improbable for your post to organically find its way to anyone’s feed outside of your friends and family in any meaningful way. So if you want to increase your reach you need to pay for it to ensure you have a guaranteed spot in someone’s feed.

It offers tremendous flexibility in targeting your audience. As noted above, paid advertising is available on all social media platforms and each platform has its own unique way of delivering content to viewers. You have the flexibility to choose what platform your audience engages with and then allows you to target them further by different preferences. Therefore, your ads are seen by the most relevant audience to your product or service and are more likely to engage with your business.  

It is also an affordable means of advertising. Even if you do choose to pay for ad space, it’s a far more affordable option than traditional media. Further, even if some platforms have a minimum daily ad spend, it’s usually on a pay-per-click basis. Therefore you only pay for those truly interested in your product and follow through on the call to action provided in the post.

Some social media platforms can allow you to retarget social users who’ve already visited your website. So you can reach existing customers and entice them with your latest product offerings. Facebook does this by installing the Facebook retargeting pixel on your website.  

How much should you allocate?

Hubspot’s article: Paid Social Media: Worth The Investment?  shares that businesses are preparing to spend nearly a fifth of their ad budgets on social media advertising in 2021 with Buffer saying The industry average settles between $200 to $350 per day. That said, you can spend as little or as much as your budget will allow. The goal is to spend what you do have wisely.

Some strategies that can help you spend wisely are to

  • Spend money in areas you lack expertise. Pay someone else to do what you cannot. (stage photos, create graphics, build a brand visual identity.)
  • Spend money on what takes the most time. Analyze how much time you spend on social media and on what tasks. If scheduling posts takes the most time then invest in a social media management system. If coming up with creative content takes the most time, invest in software like Canva or Promo.   
  • Invest in your education. There are tons of free helpful blogs, webinars, ebooks, online communities, and recourses available at your fingertips.

Do you think your business would benefit from paid social media?

Do you think it’s worth the investment?

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Meta- A Must Have In Your Social Media Toolbox

Smartphone display with logo of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps in hand against blurred META logotype on white monitor background: Tallinn, Estonia - October 29, 2021
(Image Source)

What is Meta?

Meta is a free social media management tool known as Meta Business Suite created by Facebook. You can use Meta to schedule posts and engage with comments and messages on your Facebook and Instagram channels from one spot, eliminating the need to toggle between both apps to keep on top of your channel activity. Further, Meta can be used easily from either your mobile or desktop interface. If you are currently using a personal account to post for your project or business, consider creating a separate business page so that you can utilize this tool.  

Meta Requirements

In order to use Meta Business Suite you first need have a Facebook business page and an Instagram business account.  Then link both accounts together in the Meta Business Suite.  For a step-by-step guide to setting up your Meta Business Suite check out this article by Social Media Examiner.

How Meta Changed the Way I Manage My Social Media

Four days into my job, we hosted a signature fundraising event and I was asked to manage our social media channels for the day. (Essentially engaging with anyone actively posting, tagging or commenting to us throughout the day.) I spent half the day struggling between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, trying to keep up with everything. Then my boss told me to download the Meta app. Since I was already connected to our company’s Facebook and Instagram pages, it took only a couple of clicks to link it all together, on the spot.

I’m not exaggerating when I say my mind was blown at how simple it was to access literally everything for both channels in one spot.

Key Benefits:

  • Create posts and choose to either publish, save in draft or schedule for later
  • Easily compare metrics from each post to see how they are performing

Screen Shot of Meta Business Suite notification toolbar.  Green arrows pointing to notifications from viewer's interactions with your page.
  • Get notified when someone has liked, commented or shared a post on any of your channels or through messenger direct.
  • Create auto replies for after hour engagement

Screen Shot of calendar view on Meta platform.

See all your posts in a calendar interface

Screen Shot of post from similar businesses as viewed on Meta Business Suite platform.

View posts and stories from similar content/ businesses for inspiration for your page (recall the 80/20 rule)

(Image Source Angela Endicott)

How to Use Meta?

Ok, so you are set up and have both your business accounts connected, now what? Watch this video below from Stewart Gauld who will walk you though a step by step video covering the navigational tools within Meta and how to use them.

(Image Source Stewart Gauld)

These are just some of the useful tools I have discovered through using Meta Business Suite that have made my social media management easier to maintain. There are so many more amazing tools Meta Business Suite offers. When you have some free time dive in and check out things like Business Tools, E-Commerce Management, Brand Manager, Ads Manager and more.

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How Do You Gain Trust in 280 Characters or Less?

Person using a social media marketing concept on mobile phone with notification icons of like, message, comment and star above smartphone screen.
(Image Source)

It resonated with me in reading this week’s module that a strategic element for gaining new followers is to craft posts that are approachable and trustworthy, in order to be authentic to your audience. This had me questioning; “how can I curate more authentic content so I will come across as more trusting to increase my following?” And how the heck do you do that in 280 characters or less? In theory, this seems like a relatively easy concept; in practice not so much.

Am I posting content regularly? Check

Am I engaging with people who interact with my account? Check

Am I using reels, and GIFS and video to try to be more engaging? Check

Am I seen as an authority in my field? (I post on behalf of a hospital) Check

So if I’m doing these things and my followers are still sitting at 0.008% of my potential audience pool what am I doing wrong? How can I get more out of this amazing marketing tool? How can I build trust in my platforms and grow my reach? Here are four strategic concepts that I discovered that might help answer these questions.

1. The 80/20 Rule

According to an article written by Social Post, follow the 80/20 rule.

“80% of your content should be informative and non-promotional, while the other 20% can talk about your brand or product.”

As an advertiser, this goes against my nature and seems like a wasted opportunity to promote. but I get it. So let’s try it.

Key Take Away: Posting credible content that is of benefit to your audience makes you seem less spammy when you do post call to actions.

2. Utilize Social Media Management Tools

One of the main points I keep coming across to build trust, is posting thoughtful content regularly. The solution? Manage your social media channels using a free social media scheduler like Hootsuite.

(Image Source Hootsuite Via Youtube)

Well, the truth is, that is really time consuming, and not always realistic. If you posted on your four most common channels, as I do (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) once a day, every day (excluding weekends); and it takes you 30 mins to craft each post, that’s 10 hours a week! That’s more than an entire day of your work week dedicated to social media marketing. That’s not including engagement, research, following and liking other people, posting informational content that isn’t promoting your business.

Using Hootsuite is essentially like having a personal assistant for your social media. It takes the work out of posting. You can link all your accounts, schedule posts months in advance and the algorithm will recommend what time of day to post based on engagement levels. Most importantly, it tracks your social media analytics in one spot so you can access downloadable reports to compare what posts are preforming and how your channels compare to each other.  Once I understand my data, I can replicate what is engagement my current audience and rinse and repeat.  

Key Take Away:  Make posting regular content super easy by utilizing a free third party social media manager site like Hootsuite. If I data mine to get current followers to engage more with my content, then they will share it. In my mind, a share is just as good as word of mouth advertising.

3. Create a Link Post Instead

In an interesting article by Kevin Lee, via our module two course reading, Facebook conducted a study citing

“When sharing content on Facebook, the choice is often between sharing as a link and sharing as a photo. It would seem the best results will come from links.”

So what does that look like? The second photo is an example of a post that I would create for work. I am guilty of thinking this is the norm. But, it seems in order to be seen as more credible (and therefore more trustworthy and authentic) link posting is the way to go.

A screen shot of a linked post on facebook
A screenshot of a Facebook post showing a graphic and a block of text with a call to action.
(Image Source Angela Endicott)

Key Take Away: Don’t always post an image, video or GIF and then write some block text that includes a link to my call to action. When possible post the article to our website first and then share it.

4. Don’t Overuse Hashtags

There isn’t much about the hashtag I actually understand. According to our module two course material,

“A hashtag allows you to include your tweet as part of a larger discussion…, or for [you] to create a discussion about [your] campaign exclusively.”

I’ve seen posts that include a dozen or more hashtags. This seems excessive. Me being no real expert on the matter, who am I to judge. Research via data from TrackMaven, shows that with Twitter,

“a sharp drop in engagement for tweets using anymore than two tags.” Further they found that “ hashtags with 18 characters perform best on Twitter.”

Likewise on Facebook, “one is the optimal hashtag use with character length up to 20 performing well.“

Key Take Away: Anything more than this comes across as spammy and therefore not worth engaging with.

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Is anyone already using any of these strategies? Comment below if any of these have worked for you or if you might consider trying them the next time you post.


Adaask. (Photographer). February 18, 2022. White hashtag sign symbol on red speech bubble stock photo (digital image). Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Bamrung, Chatree. (Photographer). Social Media [digital image]. Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Bokij, Alexandra (July 4, 2022) Module 2- Content Writing for Social Media and Web. (Lecture Notes). Retrieved July 11, 2022 from

Hootsuite (January 19, 2022). How to Use Hootsuite | An Overview of the Hootsuite Dashboard. Retrieved July 15, 2022 form

Hutchinson, Andrew (Oct 21, 2016 ). New Report Looks at Optimal Hashtag Use of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Lee, Kevan  Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Post: Exactly What to Post to Get Better Results. Retrieved July 14, 2022 from

McGrath,Louisa 10 Surefire Ways to Build Trust on Social Media. Retrieved July 13, 2022 from