The dream of every startup and small business owner is to be able to get their products or services to as many customers as possible and make profits in the process. This requires some planning and an effective marketing strategy. According to statistics, only 40% of startups are profitable.
Influencer marketing is one of the most engaging ways to get the attention you need for your startup. It involves partnering with people who have a large following on and off social media to get them to promote and advertise your business to their audience.
Influencer marketing may seem strange and daunting for budding entrepreneurs and startups, but it could run seamlessly with the right tips. We’ll cover all the important aspects of influencer marketing for startups to get your business on track for success.
Who Is an Influencer?
An influencer is someone with a large audience of fans whose opinions or purchasing habits could be affected in a specific way. Such individuals could be anyone, such as celebrities or regular people, whose thoughts or ideas are valued and supported.
Influencers have become more popular in recent years thanks to social media. They can help startups increase sales or gain popularity amongst their target audience. Influencers exist for every niche you could think of. Research shows that there are over 4 billion people on social media accounts. So, regardless of what your brand or startup represents or provides, there is an influencer out there with an audience for your marketing campaign.
What is Influencer Marketing for Startups?
Influencer marketing refers to marketing through the use of social media by tapping into an existing fanbase. This type of promotion for startups makes it easier to engage your target audience to know, like, and trust your brand because someone they already know, trust, and value their opinions is endorsing your product. Although influencer marketing could be effective, it is essential to note that it may be better strategy for some early-stage businesses.
Before you decide to go into influencer marketing for your startup or brand, it is important to carefully consider your niche, target audience, and your budget. For example, if your target audience includes Gen Z and millennials, Instagram or Twitter influencers could be useful to your business. That said, let’s explore the types of influencers you could engage.
According to Morning Consult, 50% of Millenials trust influencer product recommendations.
Types of Influencers
Influencers hold a lot of marketing power. According to a survey, 49% of customers rely on influencers to recommend products. Another study showed that 74% of people on the internet make purchasing decisions based on what they see on social media. There are different types of influencers, but they could easily be grouped into three:
Micro-influencers are social media users with a tight-knit following who have the potential to boost your startup’s engagement rate. They could be average consumers or rising celebrities that have managed to garner an audience’s attention within a specific niche or topic.
Micro-influencers don’t always have the highest number of followers. Instead, they have an engaged audience that trusts their opinions because they sound authentic and relatable. Micro-influencers usually have about 500-15000 followers on their social media accounts.
Having a micro-influencer for your startup could be an excellent choice, especially if you’re working on a tight budget or are new to influencer marketing.
A macro influencer is one with an existing large audience on social media and other platforms. Macro influencers can help draw attention to your startup and give a solid customer base. These influencers are usually celebrities or social media personalities with long-standing relationships with followers. Employing their services can go a long way to building trust with your target audience.
However, macro influencers can be expensive to hire. Such influencers are usually highly sought after and may have other marketing deals. Macro influencers with a thriving fan base could be excellent investments, especially if you want significant growth in sales and popularity for your startup. So, hiring such a person could be an excellent investment if you are a large startup.
Nano influencers are another excellent option startups could explore. Nano influencers are people on social media with a small but active audience. These influencers are unique and helpful to startups because they focus more on a single niche.
Startups can convert potential customers into regulars with a nano influencer because they can help people become familiar with the brand by building trust. Also, Nano influencers are ideal for most startups because they are affordable.
Glorium Marketing Advice: If you work in B2B, consider your niche’s specifics while choosing an influencer. For instance, if you developed an innovative tech solution and want to promote it to some large enterprises, you should probably look for a reputable expert in this field trusted by your knowledgeable audience. For instance, this can be a former company CEO who is no longer involved in operations. Still, as a board member, he can focus on the visionary side, strategy, and developing his personal brand. If he often talks about innovation, that’s your choice. You can suggest he test your solution and share his impressions with his audience. An essential aspect of this cooperation is that he constantly communicates with his followers and can answer their questions about your solution from the expert standpoint, raising engagement in this way.
Another option can be a tech journalist or blogger, always looking for something new. Such people are passionate about what they write and will share the information about your solution if they find it interesting enough and innovative. Check out who their followers are, as well as the readers of their editions. If they match your target audience, that’s a perfect fit.
Types of Influencer Marketing
There are multiple ways influencer marketing can be done. However, the main idea involves getting an influencer to draw attention to your startup or products. Some of the standard methods of influencer marketing include:
A sponsored post is one of the easiest and most common ways to go about influencer marketing. It is any content posted on social media that contains an advertisement for a brand or product.
Using a sponsored post means an influencer gets to endorse your startup publicly for all their followers to see. The influencer shares content about your business on their social media pages, often including a call to action. Also, influencers typically post about their regular use or interaction with a brand, which gives your brand more validation.
Contests, Prizes, and Giveaways
These fun ways draw attention to startups because everyone loves a freebie or a gift. Giveaways or contests can reach a large audience, and influencers usually offer only products or services that their followers are interested in.
Just like free stuff, discounts also attract new customers. Also, you can easily track its effectiveness via referrals or affiliate links specific to influencers. Discounts are more effective when combined with sponsored posts.
Influencers can be made brand ambassadors for startups, especially if they fit the brand’s image. This gives you value for your money alongside other advantages because it provides long-term influencer marketing for your startup, unlike other strategies. Below are examples of brand ambassadors:
Partnering with influencers for product reviews can help build trust with potential customers. When an influencer shares their honest opinion about your product, followers are more likely to trust your brand and consider purchasing it.
This involves partnering with influencers who will earn a commission for every sale made through their unique affiliate link. This incentivizes influencers to promote your product and can increase sales for your brand.
Guest blogging is a great way to get your brand in front of a new audience. You can partner with influencers who are experts in your industry and have them write a blog post for your website. This not only provides valuable content for your audience but it also helps build credibility for your brand.
This involves allowing an influencer to take over your social media channels for a day or a week. This allows their followers to engage with your brand and can help increase your social media following.
Action Plan for Implementing Influencer Marketing Strategies for Startups
Whatever type you choose, follow these steps:
Have a Plan
First off, you must begin your marketing campaign with a plan. A plan can help any startup set clear, achievable goals with ways to achieve them. Without a plan, it is easy to get distracted, mismanage resources, or even lose the motivation to see the startup succeed. So, for example, you can plan to check the number of new followers every month to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign.
Get to Know Your Audience
Another critical step in influencer marketing is to take time to research your target audience before you get started with your campaign. At this point, you’ll need to consider what they’d need or want, where you could easily reach out to them, and other helpful information.
One of the best ways to gather detailed customer information is to use buyer persona portraits. The portraits could contain details such as hobbies, location, role, and gender. When you understand your audience more, creating content and providing services they appreciate becomes easier.
Create Appealing Content
Creating content that captures your audience’s attention is another effective marketing strategy. Once you’re familiar with the needs and preferences of your audience, you can get started making creative content that resonates with them. Also, it is helpful to remember that your brand has a better chance of succeeding if it stands out from the competition online and in real life. For example, your brand can be in the fintech but could focus more on tackling issues such as high transaction fees.
Promote Your Content
Even though you have an influencer in your corner, it is still necessary for you to promote your content. You could do this via different ways, such as social media platforms, paid advertisements, and email marketing. You could choose one or multiple methods, depending on what works best for your brand and goals.
Work With a Budget
You must keep tabs on your expenses because it would help you judge if your influencer marketing strategy is going as it should in terms of return on your investment. This way, you can decide if you should change influencers, hire more, or come up with a new strategy. A budget also helps you determine how much money you can pay an influencer, ROI, possible outcomes, etc.
Interact With Your Audience
The success of your startup depends on your audience and customers. So, you’ll need to engage them frequently once they show interest in your brand. It goes a long way to show them that you are paying attention to what they’re saying and to respond to their inquiries, comments, or questions on time. Engaging your audience adds a human touch to your marketing strategy, allowing you to convert criticism into value through feedback.
Sending gifts to influencers you want to work with is one way to get their attention and build a relationship with them. This can be inexpensive to carry out.
What To Avoid When Going into Influencer Marketing for Startups
While influencer marketing can significantly improve the chances of your startup becoming a recognized brand, it can also go badly if there are no proper strategies in place.
Here are a couple of mistakes you need to avoid ensuring your startup benefits from your influencer marketing campaign:
Using One Influencer
It isn’t always a great idea to put all your eggs in a single basket, and this is especially true with influencer marketing. It is a common mistake for startups to seek out a single influencer with a large audience to promote their brand. This is because the number of followers might not translate into influence. Also, the sole influencer might have other products or services that they’re paid to advertise.
So, it is more reasonable to engage multiple influencers to reach a broader range of audience. However, it is also important to work with your budget.
Engaging an Influencer with the Wrong Audience
Another mistake you should avoid is engaging an influencer whose audience isn’t suitable for what your brand represents. It is easy to get carried away by how large an influencer’s audience is or their influence level.
You may have heard about wasting money on campaigns that fail and bring no results. So, before launching it, you should know exactly who you are targeting and create your buyer persona’s portraits. A Buyer Persona refers to a flexible profile that represents the buying behavior of an individual in your target audience. It is based on real-life data and reflects the dynamic nature of people, as well as the evolving needs of your business. To maintain its relevance, it’s recommended that you revisit and update your buyer persona at least a few times a year. Make sure that your influencer’s followers are your buyer personas.
However, it is important that you only engage an influencer or influencers within your niche and with the right audience for the best results. Imagine you are a pet brand, but you hire a tech influencer to help with your marketing campaign. That’s most likely never going to work out the way you need it to.
You may have prepared some excellent content, but if it’s not well-tailored to suit your audience, it will be ineffective. So, the best way to handle your content is to work closely with the influencer to come up with content that his followers will trust, but with your message being passed across.
Another mistake startups could make is having high expectations that don’t match their budget and marketing campaign. The quality of influencers and the effectiveness of your marketing campaign depends largely on the budget you have set aside. The average business makes $650 for every $100 spent on influencer marketing. Such statistics can help you manage your expectations.
Sometimes we hear a story like “I wanted to sell 1000 washing machines to 500 influencer subscribers”. That is not the case. The conversion rate can’t be that high, especially during your initial campaign. Set realistic goals and don’t get disappointed as much.
Why Is Influencer Marketing Important for Startups?
Influencer marketing has become more effective over the years thanks to social media, and this can help startups accomplish their goals easier than other methods.
Although the ultimate goal of influencer marketing is to boost sales, there are other reasons why it is important for startups, such as:
As we mentioned earlier, what every startup seeks to benefit from influencer marketing is increased sales. Statistics already indicate that brands could earn up to $650 for every $100 spent on influencer marketing. This means that the number could be higher for your startup depending on how much you invest in influencer marketing and the effectiveness of your campaign.
Social proof is another significant reason why influencer marketing is important for startups, regardless of the niche. It is human nature to desire to fit in amongst peers or community, and this often means that the actions of others are copied. This means that when potential customers see that influencers and other people are interested in your brand or product, their interest is piqued.
Influencer marketing leverages social proof for results because followers trust the judgment of their favorite influencers more than other people. Additionally, the level of social proof an influencer has isn’t always dependent on having a huge audience, as a micro or nano influencer can have lots of social proof without having millions of followers.
Your Message Gets Directly to Your Audience
To record more sales and gain popularity for your start-up, you must be able to deliver your message directly to your audience. Influencer marketing makes it easier to connect directly with your audience as your message reaches them on the platforms they frequently use.
How To Use Influencer Marketing for Your Startup
Influencer marketing isn’t too complicated to get started with. You could simply follow these simple steps to set it up for your rising business:
Choose the Right Social Media Platform
Before settling for an influencer to help out with your startup, it is important to figure out the best platform to showcase your business on. While some brands stick to one or two social media platforms that suit their needs, you can decide to build a solid online presence on all the popular platforms.
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are best for sharing photo and video content that reaches users around the world. The users belong to almost every age group, but the most active users are between the ages of 18-34. However, if you’re more interested in promoting your startup with just video content, YouTube and TikTok are excellent choices. Also, LinkedIn is excellent if you’re targeting a professional audience.
Create Brand Guidelines
Although influencers are usually given free reins to be creative about representing and promoting your brand, creating some brand guidelines is a good idea to ensure that things stay on track.
Such guidelines can highlight the kind of content you feel represents your startup, the frequency of posting, and so on. The general idea is to be on the same page with the influencer on what your brand voice and representing your brand should be like.
How to Find Influencers for Your Startup
Once you’ve settled on what platforms you want to work with and create your brand guidelines, the next thing is to find influencers that meet your requirements. For beginners, this could be a tough task. However, some free or affordable tools can help you find the kind of influencer you want, such as:
This platform allows users to find people sharing the most popular content by searching a keyword or phrase. This tool is perfect for startups looking to use influencer marketing to grow their brand. You can easily find the trending content and the person sharing it all from a beginner-friendly interface.
Klear allows you to find influencers within your network. It also allows you to filter results based on various factors, such as follower counts. Klear also allows you to see demographic information about their followers.
This platform is perfect for startups because it allows you to filter influencers based on your budget as well.
The platform offers over 200,000 verified influencers ready to boost your brand’s reach with detailed analytics and reporting. From Facebook to TikTok, Twitch to Pinterest, this platform has got you covered across all major social media platforms.
Our next recommendation is Discoverl.y. This platform gives you access to view all the people within your network, and the mutual friends you may have with influencers. Discoverl.y is easy to use and lightweight. You simply need to add the Chrome plug-in to get started.
Grin offers an extensive variety of influencer marketing solutions that aid in the discovery and management of partnerships. In addition, Grin provides various digital marketing tools to support branded content, affiliate marketing, and public relations.
This platform is primarily focusing on influence marketing for kids-oriented businesses. Who are the best marketers in this field? Of course, influencer moms. They are perfectly aware of parents’ needs and know what options they are looking for their kids. So, they can be great advisors and brand ambassadors for businesses suggesting products or services for children.
Reach Out to Credible Influencers
Once you’ve decided on which influencer matches your preferences, you can go ahead to contact them through direct messages on social media platforms, emails, or phone calls. This step may sound easy, but it is important to do enough due diligence to ascertain you are making the right choice for your startup.
Influencer marketing continues to grow and evolve; it is already changing the traditional way people interact with brands. As a vital marketing tool, startups stand to benefit a lot from influencer marketing as long as it is used properly.
So, go ahead and get started today and see how it works for your business. If you follow this guide and pay attention to the steps, you can watch your customer base, and sales grow faster than expected.