As influencer marketing solidifies and takes shape, many startups and small businesses have started leveraging it. At the same time, big businesses have joined the fray as influencers are becoming bankable and traditional marketing methods are losing steam. This presents a problem.
What, you ask?
In one word: competition.
Not only do big brands have more resources to pocket the best influencers, but 90% of them are also increasing their influencer marketing budgets year-on-year.
Startups have to work extra hard to make themselves visible to influencers and target markets. Even if they manage to hire their desired influencers, they find it challenging to extract ROI (return on investment) from influencer marketing, given the budget constraints.
Fret not. I have your back. In this post, I’m going to explain proven and affordable tactics of startup influencer marketing.
Let’s get started.
Super-Successful Startup Influencer Marketing: 4 Tactics
It’s quite clear that influencer marketing is getting popular among businesses of all sizes.
If you want to kickstart a resultful influencer marketing journey or accelerate your existing campaigns, the strategies below can help you. Take a look.
Don’t Obsess Over Follower Counts
Be cautious while picking influencers for collaboration. Don’t be swayed by large follower counts. Research proves that micro-influencers (those with 1K-10K followers) have 22.2X more “buying conversations” with their fans.
What does that mean for you?
Compared to high-tier influencers, micro-influencers deliver more marketing ROI and overall sales. That’s why cash-strapped startups should partner with nano- (with < 1K followers) and micro-influencers.
Sparkling water brand, LaCroix, started out small. They partnered only with micro-influencers to project an authentic, down-to-earth feel that millennial consumers love.
Instead of hiring professional influencers, LaCroix opted for loyal customers to enhance brand awareness. They created a branded hashtag, #livelacroix and encouraged their customers to use it in their posts. From all of the user-generated content the brand received, they picked followers who posted great content and had a decent following and engagement.
Then, they approached these fans with product vouchers in return for product awareness posts (like the one above).
Instead of focusing on follower numbers, pick influencers with deeply engaged followers. Give preference to influencers who have similar values, niches, and audience demographics as you. Doing so will ensure that the association looks natural and authentic, which fosters consumer trust.
Build Long-Term Relationships with Influencers
Once you find the right influencers, try to nurture and strengthen the relationship. Influencers who feel deeply connected with their brand partners work harder at promoting them. 99.2% of content creators like to endorse brands whose products/services they believe in.
Jo Malone teamed up with beauty blogger, Fleur de Force, who admitted to being a big fan of the luxury fragrance brand. She promoted their new product range on Mother’s Day free of charge! She went on to create a signature line of perfumes for the brand.
Work on establishing long-lasting influencer relationships.
In many ways, including:
- Send them free product samples to review. Give them a taste of your brand and receive free expert feedback in return. You might just earn a loyal, genuine fan in the process.
- Try to find common ground for conversation. That will help break the ice and also provide fodder for campaign ideation.
- Offer them monetary incentives for their services. Convert them into affiliates, (you can take inspiration from these formal programs), by giving assured commissions on all the sales and referrals they generate. To track attributions, provide each influencer with a unique, shareable link to your store or offers.
- Pitch them always-on campaigns rather than one-off deals. Regular income is a compelling hook for small-time influencers. Plus, consistent messaging has a top-of-mind effect on consumers, giving you a competitive advantage.
Provide Creative Freedom to Your Influencers
You should allow your influencers a free reign when it comes to content creation. While it’s fine to monitor your campaigns, don’t restrict your influencers with overly stringent guidelines.
It might hamper their authenticity (which is their hallmark). Influencers know the pulse of their audiences and speak in relatable voices. They have perfected the art of creating engaging content. They possess an inherent flair for subtle promotion.
In short, you can trust them to create content that your target audience will love and share.
That’s not all. If influencers suddenly start posting content that is out-of-character or blatantly promotional, they might lose credibility or get bad press. Plus, overbearing brand partners are a turn-off for 32% of influencers, according to the SocialPubli report I cited above.
Allow influencers to take over your social accounts for a day. Let them build rapport with your audience through interactivities like ask-me-anything sessions (AMA) and contests. In this way, they can lay the ground for two-way dialog that can culminate in real conversions.
Guest Post on Influencers’ Blogs
Many influencers have blogs where they publish authoritative guest posts. To get traction, they aggressively promote these guest posts on social media.
If you are able to reserve a regular spot on their blog, the free publicity can give your small business a big boost. Moreover, you can boast about it on your websites and social bios to boost your brand’s authority.
Don’t have the budget to hire professional bloggers? Worry not. Get help from pro-level editing tools like ProWritingAid and craft great content that your influencers love to share and promote.
Ready to Do Influencer Marketing Like a Pro?
Creative influencer marketing tactics like these can raise your business bottom line. And you can’t miss the fact that all of this is possible on a shoe-string budget, a dream-come-true for startups.
Can I help you with more information on influencer marketing? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always prompt with my answers.