Four Things Influencer Marketing can do for a Startup Brand
How user-generated content and brand advocates can support your marketing needs
Let’s be honest — influencer marketing is nothing new (and, if I can so myself, it’s definitely here to stay). It can be effective in so many ways: from growing your online community to finding or connecting with customers on social media, or even generating branded content for your brand.
I know, you may think I am biased since I run a platform helping wellness brands and influencers fostering relationship and work together online. If anything, creating Whole Influence got me more excited about the idea of influencer marketing on the whole.
Even if performance is still something that marketers are struggling to quantify since the metrics are still unclear, UGC (user-generated content) is outperforming brand-created content, showing that being able to witness your products in real life is as essential as your next photoshoot.
This article is not for the ones who are already sold on influencer marketing.
No, this article is for brands who still feel intimidated by influencer marketing.
How do you know if influencer marketing is right for you?
Here are a few pains points we have seen brands having when producing content that can drive more conversions, and some of the needs of brands.
You want your brand to be relatable
I talk a lot about this in my book, as I believe understanding the science of influence is essential. Brands have a relatability issue. This is where introducing them to a trusted, familiar face might be all it takes to get sceptical consumers on board. It all comes back to persuasion and influence.
We are influenced by peers and strangers hundreds of times each day. Because of social networks and our new way of consuming and digesting news the choice is diluted, and clarity can be compromised.
We’re influenced by others in everything we do, even if we’re not aware of it.
From imitating someone to doing the exact opposite of someone else just to be different, others are always guiding our actions. Underneath it all, it’s all about the simple, subtle ways that others affect our behaviour.
An influencer can provide this: a recognisable figure with a built-in following who applies their story to your messaging.
In an event setting, for example, influencers can act as journalists, documenting your events and working to build anticipation with photos, videos, and Tweets. With the help of influencer coverage, your event becomes “real” and feels more relevant to consumers.
You are looking to widen your audience
Yes, influencers can help you amplify your audience — yet, not all influencers were created equal. Whilst doing marketing research for our platform Whole Influence, we asked a poll of 500 health and wellness brands how highly do they rank the quality of their influencers’ audience over the quantity.
We ran the same survey two years in a row, and the results were fascinating: in 2018 30% ranked quantity and quality on almost equal grounds, whilst in early 2019 the same survey saw 75% of brands ranking quality of followers over quantity (based on 500 brands surveyed in 2018 and 2019, Whole Influence).
All I am saying is, you have two options.
You can either manually check the quality of influencers, or use a platform that has a benchmarking system to make sure the influencers you choose will be talking to real people.
We applied the benchmarking principles adopted by ROHWI (the register of health and wellness influencers) to any new applicant for our very own platform, and were surprised about how many people we had to turn down. The benchmarking principles include engagement rate, follower growth behaviours and media value, among other markers (8 in total).
You are looking for new creative ways for people to use your products
This is where I love influencers — it’s not a pay per fame solution (or at least it never was for me). Since Instagram tested its “hiding likes” features, the way we see influencers and what they bring to the table has changed. To me, it’s the chance for content creators to showcase how they interact with a product they love and create engaging, compelling and overall pleasing content.
Influencers offer a fantastic insight into the needs of your target market because they are a part of that audience.
So influencers acting as designers for your brand (on Pinterest, for example) can guide you in creating new products they know will resonate with consumers.
You are looking to create more buzz around your events
There are a few ways to use influencers to promote an event, from inviting them as speakers, panellists or entertainers for the night, to having them share their event across their social channels.
It’s essential to pick the right influencers to suit the size and audience of your event. For some events, “micro-influencers” may be the best route to go for, as they have a much more targeted audience, are easier to invite and more likely to share their experiences and involvement in the event.
By not forcing, but instead encouraging attendees to check in on social media with incentives and engagement, you’ll be able to organically harness their influence.
The key is encouragement.
It’s good practice to create an event hashtag as a way to streamline all of the posts into one feed for post-event resharing and engagement.
Okay, I am sold. What’s the next step?
Back in the early days, brands would allocate huge marketing budgets for just one celebrity or macro influencer to promote their brand — when I tell our brands that celebrities were the first influencers, this really helps them understand how influencer marketing is not that new concept after all.
Thankfully, today, the rise of micro-influencers has made influencer marketing affordable for everyone.
We count as micro-influencers content creators with between 1k and 100k followers on their social media accounts — which makes their services much more affordable and ensuring a much closer relationship with their audience.
With over 320 new platforms and influencer marketing-focused agencies in 2018 (State of Influencer Marketing, 2019), it’s easy to find the right tool or platform for you and get started. Make sure that you know how influencer marketing can support your brand be heard, and be open to a new way to be persuaded online.
If you do not have the time to go DIY, or you are looking to supercharge your strategy, outsourcing may be the best solution. For good or for bad, the industry is now booming with different platforms and solutions that can appeal to both parties — however, decision paralysis may happen in these cases.
Every new solution swears to be the most incredible influencer marketing platform or the next best influencer marketplace.
What is an Influencer marketing platform?
Influencer marketing platforms are full-service solutions that allow brands (and agencies) to run influencer campaigns from A to Z. These tend to be relatively small (quality over quantity) and will usually provide high support level — however, it can be hard for influencers to join the platforms (and the price tag for brands is much higher!).
Most platforms allow brands to easily communicate with influencers as well as creating contracts and reviewing content, all the way to payment (again, it does depend on the individual platforms). Analytics such as impressions, media value, and other metrics allow brands to gather insight and apply learnings to future campaigns.
What to look for:
- A clear and effective signup solution for influencers looking to join the platform
- An easy to use and reliable analytics and ROI solution
- Very clear communication system and payment terms
Influencer marketplaces tend to be software that either collect or list influencers across social media (this can either be via invite or via an agency affiliated). Brands can then filter through thousands of influencers by demographics such as gender, content type or location.
Do not be fooled by the name: if you come across an influencer database or network, chances are they will be also marketplaces. Influencer marketplaces aim to provide brands with as many search results as possible — we currently have 1k+ wellness influencers on Whole Influence.
If a brand chooses influencers solely based on follower count, for example, you may end up with either load of opportunity or none at all, regardless of the quality of content. Going for smaller marketplaces with better brands that reflect your interests will save you time.
What to look for:
- A basic vetting system for influencers
- Insurance of real followers and engagement check
- Tools necessary to manage all aspects of influencer relationships
This could feel overwhelming at first — I am saying this as I was once there myself. Ultimately, the best option for you is to do your research and go with trusted sources and get started with your influencer marketing journey.
My name is Fab and I am serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact with their influence. Sounds like you? Check how you can join my Book Club and get monthly inspiration hacks from me.