Before the advent of the Internet, influencer marketing was not considered a viable option for the vast majority of business enterprises. While major corporations had the budget and reputation to turn celebrities and stars into brand ambassadors, cash strapped entities simply did not have such options. However, with social media now firmly entrenched, this has all changed and now influencers are not reserved to those who are celebrities. Whether you are an Instagram user who posts your artistic creations to small audiences or a blogger with thousands of weekly page views, the opportunities are limitless.
Taking time to create an influencer marketing strategy or looking to established brands for inspiration can establish credibility, quickly increase your brand awareness, and even create new clients- all of which should have a significant impact on your bottom line. According to research by influencer marketing platforms, more than 60% of marketing companies are now planning to drastically increase their influencer strategy budgets. But if you are a startup, where do you begin? Well, here is how your startup can leverage influencer marketing as follows:
Have an open mind
When you are establishing your influencer marketing strategies, having an open mind can have unexpected and great results. Considering morals, personality, and looking beyond immediate associations can widen an influencer’s relevance for various products and brands. This means that while it may be viewed as business sense for a food-based business to target food bloggers, you do not have to be restricted by this. Another influencer, say a sports personality, may better reflect your brand personality in a more effective way than someone in the same industry.
In order for a startup to effectively use influencer marketing, it needs to define its values. When you first get your enterprise off the ground, it may be easy to brush aside things that do not seem urgent. This may often include fine tuning your brand (determining belief system, brand ethics, and tone of voice), but without believing in and knowing your core values, influencer marketing may be in vain.
Influencers can be traced real time to allow better decision-making.
Research strategies of major brands
By researching how established brands and large corporations use influencers, you can draw inspiration for your own influencer marketing strategies. An excellent case in point is the multinational Tyson Foods. Considering that there are about 4 million women in the U.S. blogging about motherhood, the company encouraged these mom bloggers to turn chicken nuggets into Christmas-themed decorations over the holiday season. With women bloggers responding enthusiastically, the corporation’s name spread through social media and blogs, resulting in a 42% increase in sales whilst gaining almost 8 million impressions.
Do not dwell on follower count
While most major brands are still happy to pay the Taylor Swifts of the world huge amounts to tweet about their services and products, many are moving away from this tried-and-tested tactic. While Internet stars and celebrities with the biggest audiences have an obvious appeal, it is becoming increasingly obvious that audiences are not everything.
Influencers with audiences of between 1 and 10 million followers often have an engagement rate of about 1.66%, which increases to 4% for those who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. The figure is even higher at 8% for those who have less than 1,000 followers. For a startup, the biggest celebrities are obviously out of reach, but you need not fret approaching those with the biggest audiences who you cannot afford.
Reach out and share enthusiastically
In influencer marketing, the Holy Grail is, undoubtedly, to make an influencer so enthusiastic about your product that they promote it for free and naturally. You can do this by inviting your influencers to use your services for free in exchange for talking about you on their platforms, or sending them your products to review. This approach works wonders if you focus on building genuine and honest relationships with them. Therefore, comment on their blog, retweet their work, and send concise, open, and warm emails (as influencers tend to be very busy).