A major challenge for startups is competition. It is difficult for them to stand out online and to get their audience’s attention in the presence of many big brands. And because they’re startups, they often have limited funds and resources to spend on traditional advertising and marketing campaigns. This is why influencer marketing is a great choice for startups.

Influencer marketing can help startups reach and market their products and services to a bigger audience for a cost they can afford. By connecting with the right influencers, startups can run a cost-effective marketing campaign and achieve higher ROI.

Here are some facts that prove how effective influencer marketing is:

  • For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses get $6.50 in return.
  • Out of 86% marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017, 92% found it to be effective.
  • The recommendations of influencers are followed by 49% of consumers while making a purchase.
  • Influencer marketing has 11 times greater ROI than other form of marketing.

This is why small businesses are increasingly partnering up with influencers in the past couple of years. In fact, according to IZEA’s predictions, 2018 will be the year of startup influencer marketing.

In this blog post, we will see how startups can use influencer marketing to grow their business.

Find the Right Influencers

Influencer marketing can give your startup a kickstart and help you grow your business gradually. The first step towards this is to find influencers who are ideal for your type of industry. Tools like Grin can help you with this. The tool allows you to filter influencers based on category, social platform, engagement rates, and location. You even get their accurate contact information, which makes it easy for you to reach them.

When searching for influencers, your first priority should be relevance. Avoid focusing only on the following size. Instead of reaching a mass audience that may or may not be interested in your message, you should try to reach a small but engaged and relevant audience.

Start with Micro-Influencers

For a startup, it is best to work with micro-influencers who have a niche and loyal fan following, rather than running after big celebrities.

A micro-influencer has between 1000 and 100,000 followers who are very engaged. And because micro-influencers have a more targeted audience, that lets you target your campaign based on age category, location, interests, etc.

A study by Experticity showed that micro–influencers are engaged in 22% more buying conversations, (including product recommendations), than any other influencer. In fact, the same study found that 82% of people are highly likely to follow the recommendations of a micro-influencer. This is possible because micro-influencers are able to develop personal connections by engaging with their audience, which does not happen with macro-influencers who have much larger audiences.

Not just that, micro-influencers are pocket-friendly for startups. According to Influence.co, for every Instagram post, micro-influencers charge somewhere around $137 to $258, which is a lot less than what influencers with over 100,000 followers charge.

Start with Micro-InfluencersSource: Influence.co

Try Guest Posting for Influencers

Influential bloggers are always on a lookout for fresh content to keep their audiences engaged. Since it’s not always easy to consistently produce fresh, quality content, some may also accept guest posts. As a startup, you can reach out to such influencers and offer to write for them. This will help you develop a personal relationship with the influencers and tap into their networks.

Offer Free Products/Services in Exchange for Reviews

Startups generally have tight budgets and look for cost-effective ways to market their products. That’s why influencer marketing fits the bill. If you can’t provide monetary compensation to your influencers, look for those who will accept free products. You can send free products/samples to influencers in exchange for their reviews and recommendations. However, not every influencer would be keen on this type of partnership. So make sure you thoroughly discuss the deal beforehand.

Launch Social Media Takeovers

Takeovers are a popular tactic in influencer marketing. And startups can use them to promote their brands through the influencers’ voice. By operating and posting on behalf of the brand, influencers can garner their followers’ attention and thus increase brand reach and awareness.

If you are wondering how, let me give an example:

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority used  DJ Khaled “the king of Snapchat” to launch their VisitLasVegas channel on Snapchat and the results were impressive. Within two days, the channel had 400,000 + views and 25,000 interactions.

Launch Social Media Takeovers

Image via Twitter

Conduct Interviews/Co-Host Events

For promoting your startup business, you can invite influencers to company events and product launches. You can even interview the influencers, who are thought leaders, about their opinions. The goal here is to ensure that the influencers share the news and talk about their experiences with their followers. This will draw their followers’ attention to your new brand and possibly help you get new followers.

Engage Influencers with Affiliate Marketing

Although affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are two different marketing techniques, marrying the two can bring better results. While affiliate marketing works on the principles of direct revenue where you pay per sale or per lead generated, influencer marketing gives you wider exposure. When both marketing strategies are combined, you can reach a much larger customer base and generate generous returns on your investment.

Here’s how this can be done:

You can do some research to find influencers who have frequently created content related to your products/services category. After this, reach out to them with a win-win proposal; offering an agreed percentage of revenue for whatever sales they help drive for your brand..

The influencers mention and promote your products and services in their posts and you pay them for each conversion that comes through them. This is made possible with little or no initial investment and is a good option for startups looking to expand their business.

Glossier nails this tactic by turning everyday consumers into brand representatives. These reps are often micro-influential in the areas of makeup and beauty. They each have a unique URL, which they use for promoting a 20% off discount on first orders.

Engage Influencers with Affiliate Marketing

Over to You

Influencer marketing is popular among all types of businesses - from small businesses to major big brands. Businesses from all corners of the world are trying to harness the power of these internet superstars to promote their brands.

Are you ready to join the trendsetters?

Careful planning and execution of these influencer marketing strategies can help your startup grow despite a restrictive budget. Once you can achieve some level of success in improving your brand awareness through your association with influencers, you can think of scaling your business with a larger investment.

Keep coming back to us for more information and updates, and please leave your feedback in the comments if you found this post useful.

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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