When and How to Use Influencer Marketing for Your Startup

When thinking about a specific brand of either food, clothes, beauty products or technical equipment and gadgets, we all begin to connect them with a certain celebrity or so to speak “influencer”. Moreover, they are often the first ones that we “consult” with when we want to purchase a product. Through their social media posts, photos and videos in which they unbox, test, review and use that product, we can easily make up our mind about the worth of that acquisition. 

As simple as it seems, this form of marketing implies some clear strategies and even sensitive topics we should consider when deciding to start an influencer marketing campaign especially for a startup. This huge industry has a lot to offer even to early-stage businesses as long as we know how to correctly approach it, so follow us through the journey of getting to know and use influencer marketing below. 

Statistics on the influencer marketing world-wide or in Europe

According to the State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report influencer marketing is considered to be a highly effective way of promoting a product, 51% of businesses preferring this campaign method to previous avenues of marketing. The industry was predicted to be worth $7.7 billion in 2020, 84% of businesses having endorsed a campaign that will be implemented within a year. 

On average, a dollar spent on influencer marketing can generate around $6 worth of publicity for a business. Besides all these great prospects, it’s also important to keep in mind the fact that influencer marketing is a complex system that is often instantaneously affected by changes in political or social trends, both occurring nowadays. 

The amount of people who follow influencers stagnated in the last year (50% in 2018, 69% in 2019, 68% in 2020), but influencer marketing can still be extremely effective if we keep an sharp eye on trends and pull a truly diverse set of influencers.

“The Central and Eastern European Influencer Marketing market will grow in sync with the European market, reaching EUR 250-350 million by 2025. The growth is based on the positive evolution of Social Media consumption which adds to a more general trend of moving the pole of gravity in advertising from TV and BTL media budgets to digital. ” says Florin Grozea, founder and CEO of MOCAPP 

More infographics about statistics on the influencer marketing world-wide, you can see here.

When is the moment to use it for you startup

A competitive business environment requires startups to implement influencer marketing strategies to grow and assert themselves within their market, but in which stage would be perfect to launch a campaign?

Of course, there’s a big difference between influencer marketing for startups or small businesses and large corps, especially in terms of the budget they have available and the approach. If large companies c-corps can run $100,000 campaigns without worrying very much about their budget, we can’t say the same thing about  startups and small businesses. Instead they have to be very careful when managing their available resources. But this fact can also lead to generating genius campaigns because they also have to get creative about how they conduct their influencer marketing campaigns.

Although social media influencer marketing is only recently becoming more popular, some young startup brands already mastered their strategy and built their entire brand around it. They managed to grow at a rapid rate by selecting the perfect influencers for their brand and creating fun and authentic campaigns which have generated organic content for their products. So huge budgets aren’t vital (depending on which category of influencers you want to approach), but you must have a very clear strategy and metrics funnel to monitor and be sure you don’t have a leaky bucket.

That being said, there’s no perfect timing for starting an influencer marketing campaign, but it depends on the needs (ex. if you are preparing to launch a new product, if you are a new brand that wants to enter the market creating buzz in Social Media or if you want to reach another segment of the public) and the strategy of your brand. However, it’s important that each company would take a closer look at what influencer marketing can achieve, where it falls down, and how you can do a better job with this latest form of marketing.

Good practices

In order to conduct a successful influencer marketing campaign, it must rely on both social and content marketing. The best social marketing works because it’s nothing more than a natural social interaction, and also the best content marketing works because the information is genuinely helpful.

The most crucial aspects are indeed the credibility and genuine authority established in the minds of the audience so put the product in foreground and make the influencer an communication anchor. Also, keep in mind that it is the influencers that built their keen audience, and they follow the influencer, not the brand. They care about their influencer opinion, so if your collaboration with him/her is not appropriate, they can walk away taking their audience with them. Influencers aren’t interested in doing influencer marketing solely for the money, they will be naturally protective of their reputation and the people who trust them.

Other elements that stimulates research, determine brand loyalty and relevance are:

  • digital events, substitutes for offline experience
  • experts presenting tech products/services open a door for a personal in depth research
  • being there for your consumers through a continuous and consistent communication
  • sharing personal inspirational stories
  • being relevant in the actual pandemic context
  • using multiple influencers
  • using in campaigns inspirational artists
  • products/service testing

Experiment first to see conversion and quality of users

Of course in the beginning you need to test this type of marketing campaign with smaller amounts or with one influencer in order to learn and see how it works best for your startup and then you could expand the collaboration or contract more influencers. One great way to do this is by opting for nano-influencers and using the performance-based payment mentioned in the pricing section above, a mention-for-mention agreement, guest bloggers invitations or by offering a free product sample.

Make sure the influencer know well your product, perfect is he is a user/client

While it’s the influencer’s audience that’s the ultimate prize, the target market for brands includes the influencers themselves. So we should consider curating or creating content that’s hand-picked to get the attention of influencers. 

By doing this you gain early access to their followers, you’re showing your face as a member of their community, adding to your credibility down the line, despite the fact that you’re not promoting anything to them yet.  Also, by doing so, when you do propose some kind of influencer marketing collaboration, they’ll already know you.

Flat fee + set a commission for successful for user on-boarded in your product

In case the influencer is not a user/client yet, you must make sure he understands properly your needs and his responsibilities so having a clear brief or a presentation folder is mandatory.

Moreover, regarding pricing, here’s a win-win arrangement that could make sure both parties are satisfied when signing a contract with an influencer. Setting up a payment system based on base fee and then reward on the performance of their posts is one of the best ways to protect your startup when closing a deal with an influencer.

This way, instead of paying the influencer per post regardless of outcome, the results that you define (for example, the number of people who clicked the link they posted) determine their final pay.

Have you yet considered giving influencer marketing a shot? Our influencer marketing guide will provide you more insights about the steps you need to follow to create a marketing campaign. You can subscribe to Startups League and you will receive the guide by email.

You will find out what influencer marketing is, how it is done, what to consider in selection of influencers, where to find them and how to approach them, what platforms to use for finding influences, all grounded by various examples of successful campaigns for startups and also examples of failure of implementation. 

And if our extended guide is not feeding your appetite for knowledge completely, you can also check MOCAPP’s blog for more tips and tricks.

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