Influencer marketing is a cost-effective strategy making it perfect for any startup.
The good ol’ celebrity endorsement. Its not so much what people are saying about your brand but who is saying it, wearing it, using it.
Anyone with a fashion line is happy if an A- lister like Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet to her movie premiere in one of your dresses. We must assume that every Jennifer Lawrence fan is going to want one. A predicament we all wish we were in.
What better way to reach your audience and share your story then leveraging Influencer marketing?
I know what youre thinking. How am I going to get my product or service in the hands or on the body of a Jennifer Lawrence type without breaking the bank?
Times, they are a-changing.
Influencers are not exclusive to celebrities like movie stars, athletes and rock stars. There are new influencers in town and a different kind of celebrity. Influencers have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, and relationships. The hope is not only to build awareness but to drive sales. Its the new word-of-mouth marketing, the latest celebrity endorsement and it’s a cost-effective strategy for any startup.
Its social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat etc. that gave life to a new breed of social influencers that have huge followings on various topics. They are credible and hold the esteemed authority to their audiences because they are the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) in their fields.
For example, if you have a travel related service, someone you may want to contact is world traveler and social media superstar Jay Alvarez. He has over 2.7 Million followers on his Instagram, 440,000+ subscribers on his YouTube channel and 84,00+ followers on Vine.
The 5 Cs to leveraging influencer marketing for your Startup:
Take a step back and figure out how your customers are making purchasing decisions and who theyre relying on when making those decisions. Choose from a variety of influencer types ranging from bloggers, journalists to industry experts, socialites, and social media celebs, etc. The question you need to ask yourself is who are the individuals that will reach your target market? Even if you can get Taylor Swift to endorse your service, that doesnt mean she will be the most effective.
If youre selling a computer software and your audience is women ages 35-55 as popular as Taylor Swift is, your message will fall on deaf ears. Look at the fan base. Its not a priority for them to have millions. Go for quality over quantity. A leading influencer for your brand could be one that fits well with your brands style with 25,000 followers (not considered high) on Instagram but also has the powerful engagement. Understand this, what matters most is the influencers fans intentions and not the influencers popularity.
Narrow down your search of influencers that you think best suits your brand, follow their work, like their posts and leave comments. Not only will you get to know if the influencer is truly a good fit but youll also get onto their radar. This is a good time to figure out how you can help an influencer do their job and benefit your brand at the same time.
By observing them, you may find similarities that you would never know existed otherwise. For example, a discovery that the influencer, like yourself, is on a mission to end world hunger. Make this an opportunity to combine efforts creatively and contribute to the cause.
Now that you determined who is appropriate for your brand, its time to reach out to them with an offer. Email them on how you can work together and how its mutually beneficial. At all costs, avoid sounding like an ad by ensuring you sound authentic in your approach. There are many ways to compensate them and it doesnt necessarily have to be monetary. An exclusivity may do the trick, or it can be as simple as offering them a sample of the product or a free service to test out and review.
If sales are the end goal, then consider offering commission, especially if you can track the sales theyre bringing in. Its not always a monetary proposition. Its possible that they dont feel your brand is a fit and may not respond. Dont be discouraged. There are plenty of influencers to go around.
You have to let them know what youd like them to do for your brand. Provide them with the messaging, the tone, the hashtags and, of course, the link to your website. For example, if your business is an organic makeup line, send samples to your favorite green beauty influencer and ask them if they can post a makeup demonstration using your makeup to their YouTube and share a giveaway on their Instagram. Perhaps, theyve got interesting ideas and you can co-create the content.
If it doesnt come across as authentic, it can backfire. The key is to provide content that aligns well with the influencer’s image and values. The desired results – increase in website traffic and makeup sales.
Nurture your new-found relationship by continuing to share their content, engage in conversation and utilize their expertise whenever opportunities arise. Dont forget to give them a shout out on your social media platforms on a job well done.
Dont hesitate to give them VIP treatment because you never know, they may end up becoming your biggest fan, consumer and brand advocate.
Not convinced yet?
According to a poll conducted by Tomoson a promotions firm, marketers rated influencer marketing as the fastest growing online customer acquisition tactic, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing. They also found that 60% of businesses are planning to raise their influencer marketing budget within the next 12 months.
So, what are you waiting for? #GetInfluence