How to use influencer marketing for startups?
How can startups use influencer marketing to grow their business? Here’s everything you need to know about influencer marketing for startups, and how to get started on your journey.
When you’re growing a startup, marketing is essential. A solid marketing campaign will help raise brand awareness, make you stand out from your competitors, and encourage your target audience to buy your product or service.
One of the hottest marketing strategies at the moment is influencer marketing. By getting trusted and high-profile people to talk about your startup, you can find brand-new customers for your products.
In fact, influencer marketing is so big right now; it’s a $16.4B industry!
If you’re new to the world of influencer marketing, we’ve put together this guide to help. We’ll talk about what influencer marketing is all about and how you can use it to boost brand awareness.
- What is influencer marketing for startups?
- Why is influencer marketing so important for startups?
- Examples of some successful influencer campaigns;
- How to carry out a successful influencer marketing campaign;
- In summary: influencer marketing for startups is a great way to promote your business.
What is influencer marketing for startups?
Influencer marketing for startups is when a brand works with an influencer (often referred to as a content creator) to promote its products or services. This is typically done through social media posts and online blogs. The aim of the game is for the influencer to encourage their followers to find out more about the brand in question.
Who can be an influencer? Most people think of celebrities and sporting heroes when they imagine influencers. Celebrities typically command a lot of money per post, with famous stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylie Jenner getting up to $1m per sponsored post they put out.
However, the good news is that there are lots of different types of influencers out there. As long as someone has a high-quality, engaged audience that trusts what they say, they can help promote your startup.
Why is influencer marketing so important for startups?
Influencer marketing is all about harnessing the power of social proof. By getting influencers to talk about how great your product or service is, their followers will be encouraged to try it for themselves.
Four out of five people have bought something through an influencer recommendation, so it definitely works!
Influencer marketing works as it doesn’t feel like ordinary marketing. With people ignoring pay-per-click ads and fast-forwarding adverts on their TVs, businesses need a way of engaging with customers. Influencer marketing for startups feels more informative and casual, like a cozy chat with someone you trust.
Influencer marketing for startups is a cost-effective way of reaching a lot of new customers, which is ideal for a startup that might be on a tight marketing budget. 89% of marketers say the ROI on influencer marketing for startups is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
Examples of some successful influencer campaigns
Businesses large and small have used influencer marketing to significant effect over the past few years. Here are some examples of our favorites.
- Gymshark. Sportswear brand Gymshark was one of the first to use influencer marketing to grow when it was starting out. The business recruited social media stars, sending them free sportswear to wear during their workouts. The business now has an army of ‘Gymshark Ambassadors’ that help promote the brand;
- Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts harnessed the power of TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, who has over 143 million followers on the platform. The company launched two drinks named after the popular influencer, who promoted them on her profile;
- Backcountry. Backcountry isn’t a large company, but it’s important to talk about the smaller influencer campaigns as they can be just as effective! The outdoor clothing brand hosted a four-day getaway for a selection of influencers, where they did mountain biking, rock climbing, and yoga. Followers could check out the getaway using the #FindYourBackCountry hashtag.
How to carry out a successful influencer marketing campaign
If you decide to carry out an influencer marketing campaign for your startup, research is vital. Success or failure will depend on who you target and how hard they work to promote your business.
It’s essential to plan ahead, especially if your launch is time-sensitive. Finding the right influencer takes time, and you don’t want to be promoting your Christmas-themed mobile app in April!
If you’re pushed for time, there are influencer agencies out there that can find influencers for you to work with. However, in our experience, it’s easy enough to do yourself.
Here are some of our top tips to ensure your influencer marketing campaign for startups drives results for your business.
1. Understand your target audience before you start
Before you start to email prospective influencers, you need to know which audience you want to target.
You should have done this when you created your business plan or lean startup plan, but if not – have a think about which demographic you want to reach out to.
By knowing who you want to buy your products or services from, you’ll have a better idea of which influencers are the best fit for the job. You’ll also know which social media platform will bring the best results, whether that’s Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest.
2. Know your goals
You need to know what you want to achieve from your influencer campaign. This will affect the influencers you use, as well as the content you ask them to put out.
Think about whether you want to:
- Increase sales
- Find new customers
- Grow existing customer loyalty
- Encourage app downloads
Think about the other marketing channels you use and how they fit in with your influencer marketing goals for startups. Everything should come together seamlessly.
3. Think about which influencers you want to use
It’s important to know what type of influencer you want to use in your campaign. Take the time to review potential influencers on your social media platform of choice. Look at:
- The niche they are in
- How many followers do they have? Remember that an influencer doesn’t have to have a lot of followers to provide value. Brands use micro-influencers (those with less than 100,000 followers) ten times more than mega-influencers (those with more than a million followers)
- Who they worked with before
- How much engagement do they get on their posts (likes, comments, and shares)
- What they typically post about
The bad news is there are a lot of spam accounts out there; it’s estimated that 1 in 10 Instagram accounts are fake. Look carefully to make sure your prospective influencer is genuine – check out who is following them and how they engage with people who comment on their posts.
4. Decide your budget
The influencer you work with will need the incentive to post on your behalf, so you must decide how much money you can offer.
How much money should you provide? There isn’t a hard and fast rule. Different influencers will charge different amounts, and it might be the case that you offer different influencers varying amounts of money for the same output.
Many digital marketers have a rough rule of thumb of $100 per 10,000 followers. However, the final rate will vary depending on timescales, how much content you want, and how in demand the influencer is. Most influencers will have a rate card so you can see what they charge for specific content. For example, a video might cost more than a photo post as there is more planning and production involved.
Your startup might not be in a position to offer money. Instead, you might provide free products in exchange for publicity. This is fine; however, be prepared for some influencers to say that they will only work with you if they are paid.
5. Put together a clear brief
Some businesses like to give the influencers they work with free reign over their campaign, while others prefer to provide exact instructions to follow. Both ways of working are fine, but the important thing is to offer an easy-to-understand brief. Think about what you’d like the influencer to do, what you want to achieve, and the messages they need to convey.
That way, you’ve got less chance of an influencer going rogue and causing problems, which can lead to bad publicity. For example, Terrie McEvoy came under fire for rigging a competition on her Instagram profile in 2015, giving two prizes away to her friends.
6. Reach out to your influencers
The next step is to get in touch with the influencers you want to partner with. Always pick a couple that you want to work alongside just in case some don’t respond or turn down your offer.
Always send an email if you can – most influencers will mention their email address on their account. Sending a DM through social media can be risky as the influencer might not receive it.
Take the time to send a personalized email, saying what you like about their feed and how you think you can work together. This will increase the chances of them reading and responding to your message.
Seasoned influencers will be able to show you examples of previous campaigns they were involved in and the engagement they got as a result.
Don’t forget to put a message on your social media platforms saying you’re looking for influencers to work with. Put together a short form using a builder like Typeform, and you can collect the details of people that might be a good match for your campaign.
Finally, keep a log of all your correspondence – we recommend creating a spreadsheet where you can list who you contacted and when. This will ensure everyone on your team is in the loop.
7. Measure statistics
It’s essential to measure the success of your campaign so you can see what worked and how many new customers your influencer found for you. Try to avoid ‘vanity metrics’ like likes and comments, as while these numbers can be significant, they won’t tell you a lot about the campaign’s success.
The easiest way to determine how well a campaign has done is through a unique discount code. Your influencer can share this code on their post so you can see how many people bought your product or service because of them. Alternatively, monitoring hashtags can show the reach of an individual campaign.
If you’re working with bloggers, a campaign URL will let you track how many people visited your website.
This will help you determine if you want to work with a particular influencer again in the future.
Don’t forget the rules!
Before you create your campaign, you need to understand the rules surrounding influencer marketing disclosure in your country. Influencers must identify any ‘paid for posts’; otherwise, both you and they could get penalized. This could include putting a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored at the start of a post, or verbally saying that a video is an ad.
This guide from the Federal Trade Commission will apply if you’re in the US, while this guide from the Advertising Standards Authority will tell you what you need to know if you’re in the UK.
In summary: influencer marketing for startups is a great way to promote your business
We hope this guide has given you an insight into influencer marketing for startups and how you can use influencer marketing to launch your business. No matter whether you’re large or small, there’s an influencer out there that is ready to work with you!
Want to know more about digital marketing strategies you can use to promote your startup? This guide will help.
And sure, you might need a technical partner for your startup.
Want to know how to get eyes on your business? You are launched can help
We’ve been working with startups since 2014, helping them launch their business ideas and get noticed. Whether you need a little extra help with your business plan, marketing strategy, or pitch deck, our team of experts is here to support you every step of the way.
Contact us today for your consultation and see how we can help get you launched.