How Startups Can Use Influencer Marketing to Grow Their Business (Updated October 2018)

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

With new startups popping up every other day, a major challenge that startups face is competition. It gets difficult for them to stand out from their competitors including other startups as well as the big brands.

In fact, a majority of startups fail during their initial years due to limited funds, competency, and resources. To avoid being a part of this large majority, you should focus on smart working.

In order to make your startup grow, you need to attract people, engage them, and convert them into loyal customers. And the best way to acquire new customers is to leverage startup influencer marketing.

Influencers have large audiences who trust them and therefore, they can get people to trust your business. By partnering with micro-influencers, you can drive the best results through cost-effective startup influencer marketing campaigns.

In fact, you can also boost the conversion rates of your ads by using influencer content.

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Startup influencer marketing has helped many new businesses reach and engage their target audiences effectively. That’s why startups are increasingly focusing on influencer collaborations.

Let’s take a look at the most effective ways in which startups can use influencer marketing to grow their businesses.

Find the Right Influencers

Startup influencer marketing can help boost your business’ visibility, reach, engagement, and overall growth. 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.

Encourage Creativity From Influencers

People trust influencers for their authenticity and expertise. A majority of influencers spend a great deal of time crafting their best posts that will resonate well with their audiences. This includes everything from ideation to creation and publication.

You should understand that influencers know their audiences best. They can create authentic, high-quality content that their audiences will love.

In order to drive the best results from your startup influencer marketing campaigns, you should provide influencers with creative freedom. They have a unique talent to make brands fit naturally into their posts.

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. As micro-influencers have a more targeted audience, they let you target your startup influencer marketing campaigns to specific audiences. This can be 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.

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. You can then launch profitable startup influencer marketing campaigns to 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 startup 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 Visit Las Vegas channel on Snapchat and the results were impressive. Within two days, the channel had 400,000 + views and 25,000 interactions.

Twitter startup influencer marketing

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

Glossier nails this startup influencer marketing 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.

Glossier startup influencer 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 startup 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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