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COVID-19 Small Business Grant brings Influencers and SMB’s Together

Sailun Tires

Small businesses aiming to make it through the constraints of COVID-19 may find a solution under their customers’ nose– and staring back from their screen.  Shine Influencers, an influencer talent agency announced a $100K grant for small businesses to connect to the power of influencer marketing.

The grant is designed to help 10 small businesses across North America partner with their roster of social media influencers. The goal is to help small businesses see the value influencers can offer by taking the pressure off marketing.

“Our talent plays an important role in providing relatable examples on how to manage family, friends and work during this pandemic as well as providing businesses an opportunity to market their products and services to a captive consumer audience,” said Jess Hunichen, co-founder of Shine Influencers. 


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If you’re going through hell just keep going – Winston Churchill 🚲

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Mandatory shutdowns have forced small businesses to get creative with how they provide their services.

From workout studios offering online classes to retail stores offering curbside deliveries, businesses are finding new ways to operate. This marketing grant offers businesses the rare opportunity to expand their audience when many are scrambling just to keep their existing clientele.

Influencers often focus on highlighting their penchant for fashion, travel, beauty or health and use their built-up caché to promote products that appeal to their audience. A shared experience of government-ordered self-isolation has been an increase in screen time. For influencers, that’s translated to an increased audience–an opportunity Hunichen aims to seize.

“We know through our talent pool that there has been a 20% average impression increase during the COVID Stay-at-Home directive,” said Hunichen.


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Quarantine Self Portrait 🤷🏻‍♂️ Real talk: I never thought I would enjoy my own company so much bc I’ve always thought of myself as the biggest extrovert of life. BUT, I’ve realized that there is an introvert side of me that needs some serious attention. 👀 I’m starting to realize and differentiate between shit that is worth worrying about and shit that is NOT worth it. Certainly not there yet, but trending in the right direction. ____________________________________________________________💪🏼 Plus, you guys can literally do anything right now and have ZERO FOMO. That’s such a win win. This isolation should push you to do things that you previously de prioritized due to fomo lol _____________________________________________________________ Lastly, shout out to homie @mixroom1six for our haircut on IG Live. Feeling fresh baby 😉

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Many associate influencers with women, but Hunichen describes how men are uniquely positioned to influence spending power, “a 2019 Instagram survey showed that only 16% of male influencers are posting sponsored content compared to 84% female. Being more of a rarity in the social landscape, successful male bloggers can have incredible power when it comes to motivating consumer behaviour, as they stand out in a sea of female-led content.” 

“Interestingly, male social talent doesn’t automatically equate to having a high male audience

–more commonly it’s female followers who are seeking a different perspective on gender-neutral products and services, or, being the key decision-maker in their household, they are looking for insights on products for a male in their lives,” said Emily Ward, co-founder of Shine Influencers.

The uncertainty caused by the pandemic paints a grim picture for small businesses who don’t find a way to adapt. As for influencer, Ashkan Hobian, he says “I’m proud to be a part of an agency that is coming together as a collective right now. Small businesses are a huge part of our local economy and I want to see them not only come out of this, but come out strong. My hope is that businesses can use this grant to really experience the power of influencer content.”

“I’ve worked with a lot of brands, large and small, local and international and I’m excited to be able to do what I can right now to support the little guy,” said Reza Jackson, another influencer from Shine Influencers’ roster.


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