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Startup Tips: Leveraging Influencer Marketing

Have you ever noticed that you’re more likely to buy something if a friend or colleague you trust buys it first? Whether we realize it or not, we are heavily influenced by trends and often make purchases based on what we think that purchase will say about us. For instance, if your edgy, popular co-worker buys the hottest new handbag, we may think that owning the same handbag will elevate our ‘cool factor’ at work.

In the marketing world, this notion is called ‘influencer marketing,’ and it’s been around for decades. While it once took a significant amount of time and money to create a large-scale influencer marketing campaign, technology has provided many small businesses with a way to leverage this incredibly effective type of marketing on a more modest budget. When looking for ways to grow your startup, you should definitely consider influencers.

How Do I Find Influencers?

New business consultants advise their clients to identify their ideal target market before they begin any marketing or branding efforts. In the process of identifying this target market, you will also identify a pool of potential influencers. Are you starting an online boutique that will attract college students and young women? A tech company that will release an app for teenage boys? Once you know who your target is, you can then identify where they are and what will make them respond.

In the marketing world, this notion is called ‘influencer marketing,’ and it’s been around for decades.

Young women are likely to spend time on Pinterest or Instagram, while teenage boys may be more apt to hang around newer platforms like Snapchat. You should get your marketing team involved in these platforms and interact with your target market. Get to know them and their likes, dislikes, and habits. Once you feel comfortable, you can start making offers to those that are most active on the respective platform.

How Do I Compensate Influencers?

Growth hacking tips to compensate influencers really depends on your product or service. Most of the time, you can compensate influencers without having to pay them a dime. For the above examples, you could give your boutique influencers free clothing, and ask them to take pictures and post on their social media accounts, or give free subscriptions to your new app and ask for user feedback.

If you find the right target market and take the time to get to know them, your requests will mostly likely be met with enthusiasm. Everyone loves to be in on a new project, especially if they can show off their involvement to everyone via social media.

How Do I Capitalize on My Influencer Marketing?

As growth hacking experts will tell you, you must have a plan for your marketing endeavors or your efforts will be wasted. Don’t stop after recruiting a few good influencers. Continue recruiting efforts while frequently interacting with your established influencers on social media. Promote their posts, pins, and blogs—even if they don’t mention your product or service. As your startup development efforts continue to evolve, find new ways to bring your influencers in on marketing plans and promotions.

Richard Reed

Serial demand generation and general manager with 15 years of experience in leading growth marketing and operations teams across the USA, Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe. I am passionate about driving user acquisition and conversion by developing innovative brand marketing strategies that connect the dots of market insights, user feedback and analytics.