Using influencer marketing to scale your early stage startup

By Arjun Sondhi, Managing Director BMC Global Services (Digital)



As an early stage startup it is essential that you get your product/service in front of your target audience from the start. However, that is easier said than done. Yes, we exist in an era where it has never been easier to connect with your target consumer. However, the decrease in barriers to entry has increased competition and made it harder than ever to stand out from the competition.


We are going to explore why influencer marketing should be used by brands, looking to scale their reach and build meaningful relationships with their target audience.


Why is influencer marketing important.


Influencer marketing has rapidly become one of the most used growth marketing strategies by businesses of all sizes but in particular for early stage startups. In the early days of launching a business people are not aware of your product and if they are aware, they are sceptical about the legitimacy of your business. Most consumers are scared to try something new that has not been vouched for by a friend or a reliable source. This is where influencer marketing comes in.

Humans by nature are known to follow others and if one person gives their backing to a product, then it is likely others will follow.


So if you are an early stage startup, promoting your product via influencers is one of the most effective methods to scale your business. Having respected individuals promote your product and vouch for your business, provides credibility for your brand.


Sourcing influencers


- Brand values


Sourcing the right influencer(s) is the most important element of creating a successful influencer marketing campaign. In order to connect with your target customer, you need to identify influencers who align with your brand and represent your brand values.


- Platform


It is important to source influencers that are knowledgeable and prominent on the platform in which your target audience sits. For instance if your startup is B2B focused then you should partner with influencers that have large followings on platforms such as LinkedIn.


- Size of following


Traditionally businesses would use celebrities or influencers with huge social followings ( > 100,000). However, they discovered that the fans of these influencers weren’t as engaged as influencers with smaller followings. The result of this discovery was the birth of micro (10000 – 100000) and nano (1000-10000) influencers. These influencers have a lot smaller followings but their audiences are more engaged and likely to purchase a product based on their recommendations.


Managing influencers


Finding the right influencer that exists on the right platform is only the first step. Managing influencers is really important in ensuring that the campaign is successful. Rather than leaving your influencers to create their own creative, it is vital that you provide your influencers with a thorough brief about your brand and the story you want to communicate.


It is then important to create a series of key performance measurements and quality control checklists that will ensure your network of influencers are constantly aligned with the brand and achieving the desired results.

Scenario:


Startup: Early-stage startup that builds CRM database for Fortune 500 SaaS companies.

Target audience: C-level executives at Fortune 500 companies.

Influencer profile: Tech Entrepreneur, CEO of SaaS company, Journalist of tech companies.

Influencer platform: LinkedIn

Influencer content: Creation of blogs that highlight the key value achieved by the CRM. I.e. discussing the benefits of using the CRM such as efficiency and how being more efficient will improve your business.


Case studies:


1) Fiji water

Fiji water partnered with fashion blogger, Danielle Bernstein to create an influencer marketing campaign offering 8-minute workout videos with Bernstein and personal trainer Eric Johnson.

The campaign was intended to demonstrate Fiji’s commitment to hydrating those who want to look and feel good.

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