The first impression that some businesses make about influencer marketing is that it demands tons of money. Of course, startups usually don’t have a huge marketing budget as their safety net, so influencer marketing can seem out of reach. This common misperception can keep newly launched businesses to collaborate with influencers. So, is there a way for startups to use influencer marketing? Of course there is. The trick is to simply adapt the strategies to your needs and budget.
Influencer marketing is not just about teaming up celebrities with millions of followers. It is about finding an individual with dedicated followers whose word means something. Getting some leverage is especially important for startups which is why influencer marketing is just what you need. Take into consideration that 4 in 10 Millennials say their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends and 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. What influencers can provide you is a support that will get people to start noticing you. If you are ready to give influencer marketing a try the following strategies are designed for startups.
Set Your Goals for the Campaign
Start the campaign with a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Setting your goals will make the campaign more targeted. Not to mention that it will help you find the right tools that will boost the campaign's success and yield the best influencer campaign ROI.
Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve with influencer marketing?
Here are some top goals of influencer marketing:
- to improve brand advocacy
- to expand brand awareness
- to reach more targeted audience
- to increase sales
- to drive leads
- to improve customer satisfaction
- to grow loyal customers
The goals also help you choose the channel for content distribution that will make the best impact on the audience. Any decision you plan to make within the influencer marketing campaign will depend on your goals.
Your campaign goal is the headstone of your influencer marketing campaign, and only a clear and reasonable goal can lead you to the success.
Startups should never start an influencer marketing campaigns without objectives. You don’t want to lose valuable time and money on irrelevant campaigns without clear goals. Startup marketing
Collaborate with Nano and Micro-Influencers
Nano and micro-influencers are just as important in the influencer marketing world as macro-influencers. To clarify how influencers are segmented into these categories, here are all the types:
- Nano-influencers – from 1,000 followers to 10,000 followers
- Micro-influencers – from 10,000 followers to 50,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencers – from 50,000 followers to 500,000 followers
- Macro-influencers – from 500,000 followers to one million followers
- Mega-influencers – over one million followers
An influencer with hundreds of thousands and millions of followers may have a huge reach but nano and micro-influencers outdo them in engagement. Engagement with followers is highly beneficial since it helps influences to establish a closer relationship with the followers. A closer relationship means more trust.
For example, if 10 followers see a sponsored ad by mega and nano-influencer, 4 out of 10 will buy the product that mega-influencer recommends and 7 out of 10 will buy a product that nano-influencer recommends. This should come as surprise as nano-influencers are more relatable, the products they buy and use are more in the price range of their followers, and they interact with their followers regularly.
Users see nano and micro-influencers’ posts as friendly suggestions rather than paid promotions. As the Guardian article suggests, “You’re far more likely to book a holiday on the suggestion of a discerning friend than some random celebrity”
Big brands with big budgets have recognized the potential of influencers with fewer followers which is why there are more and more examples of prominent brands working with micro-influencers.
Nano and micro-influencer will make more relatable content and engage with followers' inquiries about your products. In addition to being less expensive, they are perfect for startups.
Search for Influencers Who Like Your Type of Products
The choice of influencer can be the hardest to make because it is the most important. Choosing the right partner for influencer marketing can skyrocket your campaign. That is why you need to show complete dedication to this process.
As you won’t be spending a lot of money on this campaign, you need to find a different way to attract influencers. If influencer already uses the type of products you offer or is already your customer, the collaboration will be easier to close.
Start by looking into your user-generated content. You might find that there is an influencer among your customers. A person who has already tried out your product and loved it will be more open to different incentives (those that aren't money-related).
In case there is no one who is competent for your influencer marketing campaign in your customers' list, move on to competitors. Check out their followers and you might find the perfect influencer who would like to give your product a try.
You can also search for influencers by entering a hashtag related to your products or heading to groups dedicated to such products. There are two reasons why it is relevant to find an influencer who is interesting in the type of product you offer. First, you'll have a better chance to reward them for their effort by giving them a product rather than paying them. Second, the campaign will be more genuine which is crucial. The audience can see right through fake recommendations.
You can search both your brand name and competitor brand on SocialBook to get insights including:
- YouTube and Instagram posts tagged with your brand or competitor name
- How trending is the keyword you searched.
- Related keywords of this brand.
- How many YouTube and Instagram influencers posted for this brand and how is the performance in the last 30 or 7 days.
➡️ Try search your brand, your competitors, or the industry leader brand on SocialBook, and learn from the top ones.
Even if you plan to pay an influencer to collaborate with you, these methods of searching should still be your priority. Find someone who will honestly love what you have to offer and their followers will notice their truthful excitement about your products.
Welcome an Influencer in Your Blog
Do you have an active blog? If you don't, this is the time to start one. Blogs are a great source of traffic. In fact, businesses that blog get 97% more links to their websites. By providing relevant, informative, and engaging posts, you’ll attract people on your website. Once they finish with the post, they would probably take a look at what you have to offer.
Gaining more attention with a blog seems easy and straightforward but don't expect results overnight. Besides providing people with amazing content you could use a little push. This push can come in the form of an influencer.
You should have a guest blogger that falls in the influencer category to the guest blog. Reciprocate the favor and you'll help each other reach out to new audiences. Find a blogger who is still establishing its status in the influencer industry so they'll be happy to get some exposure for your blog.
Another way in which you can utilize your blog is to interview an influencer. Find an influencer whose opinion is relevant in your niche and do an interview with that individual. They will probably be excited that someone is interested in their thoughts on a specific topic. If you don’t go into too many details, the influencer probably won’t expect any reward.
Hosting an influencer in your blog will help with building trust. Startups don't have a lot of satisfied customers and testimonials to back up their good work. Your company will seem more credible if the audience comes across influencer's posts or interviews on your website.
Allow Influencers to Get Creative
You might be new to the whole influencer marketing scene but influencers aren't. Maybe they haven't done tons of brand collaborations but they are the creative mind behind the content that attracted thousands of people to follow them on social media.
Let influencers express their creativity in your campaign. The best method is to give some guidelines and goals you want the campaign to achieve and then allow influencers to create the content. You should do a final check before the post is published but the creative part should be done by the influencer. Influencers know best what type of content will resonate best with their audience.
Taking complete control over the content will out shadow the influencer. Their followers will recognize that the voice isn't influencer's and the post will lose value. The content's authenticity is essential for a productive campaign.
The influencer can engage in emotional storytelling, quirky jokes, honest recommendations, or make your product a part of their daily routine. It all depends on their usual style and the product that your brand offers.
In a campaign with Headspace (a mindfulness and meditation app), Collette Wixom opened up about her personal struggles. Such honesty could never be achieved if the campaign was directed by the brand.
Build your startup's credibility by allowing influencers to recommend your product in their own way. They should know how to introduce your product without turning it into an ad or commercial.
Make Influencers Your Affiliates
Affiliate marketing will help you get the attention of influencer’s followers without risking to lose money. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to pay influencer until the purchase is made. The way it works is that an influencer shares a link on their profile that will direct users to purchase your product. Only after the user makes a purchase through that link, the influencer (affiliate) will receive a certain percentage.
You won't have to risk investing in a campaign that won't pay off. Giving up a percentage of the sale is worth it if the campaign will increase the number of purchases. Since you need to increase the number of customers to get your brand out there, this is an efficient way to do it.
Influencers will be more motivated to create content that will sell if they know that a certain portion of the sale goes into their pocket. They can add the affiliate link on their social media profile, blog, YouTube channel, or wherever they find fitting.
Think of affiliate marketing with influencers as welcoming an online salesperson to your team. The difference is that influencers are respected among the followers and the chance that their effort will be successful is higher.
To make the offer even more attractive, add a special discount for users who click on the affiliate link. This is what most brands do because influencer's followers feel more special when they feel that the influencer is enabling them to get the product at a lower price.
Track Metrics and Results
Keeping up with the results of your influencer marketing campaign will provide you with a better understanding of efforts that are profitable and those that are not. Being new to the whole influencer marketing community leaves lots of space for mistakes and wrong directions. While you can’t ensure an error-free campaign, you can learn from your mistakes.
Track all the metrics of your actions to get insight into what works with your target audience and what doesn't. The data will give you clear and credible information on your campaign and what you need to change. For performance reporting and KPI tracking you can use platforms like SocialBook that are specifically designed for influencer marketing.
Update your campaign based on the results to maximize the impact of influencer marketing. If you notice that a specific influencer is benefiting greatly from your brand you might consider turning your collaboration into a long-term partnership. However, you don't want to make such big decisions without realistic indications that your collaboration is effective.
Tracking the metrics and updating the campaign should be a routine in your influencer marketing strategy. Take precautions from the very beginning and make smart decisions that can turn your startup into a well-known brand.
Influencer marketing is one of the most trending methods of marketing. This is why influencer collaborations are the best choice for startups that are trying to make a breakthrough in this competitive world. Spreading brand awareness on your own can be risky and challenging. Influencers can be the asset you've been looking for to minimize that risk and improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
Create and plan your influencer marketing strategy carefully and thoughtfully. Remember that each aspect of the campaign needs to be adapted to your brand. Influencers will provide you with much-needed support but it is still up to you to justify the trust and expectations of influencers’ followers.