A simple guide to influencer marketing for startups

Unlock the power of influencer marketing for startups. Boost brand awareness, engage audiences, and maximize ROI.
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Table of Contents

Influencer marketing is not just for big brands with big budgets. 

As a startup, you can absolutely benefit from using influencers to get your brand in front of more people. 

Influencer marketing may sound complicated, but you don’t need to have a marketing degree or millions of social media followers to get started. Once you know the ins and outs (and the hows and whys), you can work with influencers to make an impact with the right people at the right time and within the right budget. 

In this simple guide, we run through the basics of creating an influencer marketing strategy, building relationships with the best influencers for your startup, and gaining visibility within your target market. But first, let’s define what we mean by influencer marketing…

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Influencer marketing for startups: a simple breakdown 

‘Influencer marketing’ means collaborating with people who have sizable social networks to promote your product or service. 

Influencer marketing offers you access to a huge array of users across multiple platforms. You can customise who you target, how much you spend, and how significant your reach is by simply choosing the right influencers and platforms. This type of marketing also helps you bypass one very big and obvious obstacle – the time it takes to build your own social media presence. 

Why influencer marketing is important for startups

While you’ll still need to work on building your own social platforms, influencer marketing can speed up the process by creating awareness of your startup and connecting people to your business. An influencer with an established audience offers you instant visibility. Plus, strategic influencer marketing will nab you visibility with niche or key audiences. If your product is targeted at a specific group of people, then a well-known influencer in that niche can talk directly to thousands of potential customers. 

Crucially, you can also benefit from the trust the influencer has built with their followers. In other words, if a follower trusts an influencer who’s promoting your startup, they’re more likely to trust your brand, even if they’ve never heard of you before. 

There are even more benefits to using influencer marketing, including: 

  • You can get really impressive results by using an established influencer with a proven track record
  • By using the right content and approaches, influencer marketing could boost your SEO
  • There’s a sense of value and authority associated with a trusted influencer, which reflects onto your brand

Choose the right influencer 

If you choose the right influencer, they’ll bring authenticity to your partnership and marketing. As the saying goes, ‘people buy from people’. Influencers who use your product or service and then offer relevant insights provide genuine value to your brand. They’re basically sharing in-depth customer testimonials to people who’ve never heard of your brand. To capitalise on this, you need to work with influencers who respect their followers and won’t compromise on their principles. 

Micro and nano influencers have audiences ranging from 1,000–10,000 followers and 10,000–100,000 followers respectively. Macro influencers usually have audiences ranging in the millions and are often celebrities with an ardent fan base. 

Micro and nano influencers are not as expensive as macro influencers. They’re also less demanding, more likely to engage with you personally, and usually very authentic in their audience engagement. While they have smaller audiences, they often connect with them far more than macro influencers are able to, and work hard to keep them happy. 

As a startup with a limited budget, it makes sense to work with smaller influencers with a good track record of brand partnerships, as they’ll work closely with you to promote your product and help you get the most value from your strategy. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t aim high and send your products to a macro influencer. Just remember that they may charge you a lot of money before they talk about your product or may just ignore you completely. 

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Find the best influencers for your brand

When there are hundreds of thousands of influencers spread across numerous platforms, how do you find the ones that best fit your brand? You have a couple of options. You can try a scattergun approach – spending a few days scrolling through each social media platform and contacting influencers you like the look of. Or, you can try a targeted approach – using our CAST tool to find recommended influencers who have followers in your target market, and who align with your campaign objectives and brand values. 

How to plan your influencer marketing strategy

There are several key steps to ensuring your influencer marketing strategy is as successful as possible. It’s worth checking out our in-depth guide to influencer marketing strategy, where we cover everything you need to know. But for now, here are the highlights:

  •  An always-on strategy is vital. This means having a regular and consistent flow of marketing activities throughout the year to ensure potential customers see your brand numerous times
  • To achieve the above, create a well-thought-out social media marketing calendar
  • Actively adjust your campaign approaches based on responses so you’re always optimising your reach and engagement
  • Have clearly defined goals that outline what you want your influencer marketing strategy to achieve. This can be sales, engagement, or brand awareness, for example
  • Learn as much as you can about your target market so you can choose the right influencers and have the right conversations
  • Make your conversations as relevant as possible – don’t try to sell fishing hooks to a vegan audience for instance
  • Get to know potential influencers by researching them, their audience, their conversations, their relevance, and their reach. Do they behave in a way that resonates with your brand? Are they the right fit for your budget? (If you don’t have time for indepth research, use a platform like Vamp)
  • Build a relationship with each of your chosen influencers so that your marketing goals become a shared win. They should understand what success looks like to you, and you should be able to rely on them to achieve your goals in the way that works for them
  • Set out clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs), and measure results against solid metrics. This keeps everyone on the same page

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What are your influencer marketing goals as a startup? 

Do you have clearly defined goals? These are, as mentioned above, an important part of building a solid influencer marketing strategy. 

Some of the goals you may have as a startup could be to: 

  • Build your brand – using key influencers and the right engagement tactics, you can create your brand from scratch and be really creative. This is an amazing opportunity to see how your brand resonates with your target market without emptying your pockets to pay for an expensive marketing campaign.
  • Explore new markets – consider using influencer marketing as a way to find new customers for your products and services, beyond the markets you’ve already identified. Sometimes a micro influencer will talk to a wider audience than you had mapped out for your business,  leading to unexpected traction and growth.
  • Grow your business – and leads with an authentic and established influencer who really captures your brand and your vision. 
  • Improve sales – don’t forget to use metrics, analytics, and tools to assess how well an influencer campaign is working so you can fine-tune your approach. 


Eight top tips for startups using influencer marketing 

You now have a good idea about how much you can achieve with a clearly defined influencer marketing strategy and the right influencer on your team. Your startup will thrive in the influencer space if you build relationships and pay attention to the basics.

Still, you probably want more tips and tricks (who doesn’t), so the following actions will add extra spice to your startup’s influencer strategy:

  1. Let your influencer be creative – as this is how they gained followers in the first place. Give them space to share your products and services in their own way. You did the work, you chose them because they were a good fit, now trust them to do their job. If you’re too prescriptive, the influencer’s followers will soon pick up that something is different and so be less likely to engage.
  2. Start at the beginning – The old saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step has never been more relevant than in influencer marketing. Slowly build your campaigns and influencer relationships so you can learn from each engagement and strategically grow your market awareness.
  3. Consider creating your own targeted content – with the influencer’s approval, which takes pressure off them but also gives you more creative control.
  4. Be realistic – you may not have roaring success with your first campaign, but that isn’t necessarily the influencer’s fault. This type of marketing can be a slow burn, so have realistic expectations and keep on engaging. Remember, the key to a successful campaign and strategy is consistency.
  5. Get to know the different influencer marketing channels – and find out which ones work best for you. Are you going to shine on Instagram or would your solutions work better on TikTok or Facebook?
  6. Learn more about social media analytics – and the tools you can use to track your campaign performance and see how well your strategy is working. Ensure you have key social media metrics in place to help you track your success.
  7. Boost your content – consider bolstering your influencer marketing strategy with an Instagram advertising strategy.
  8. Let Vamp do the hard work for you – Our platform consolidates all your creator interactions into a single console, making it far easier to collaborate with influencers. We also have smart pricing options that are a perfect fit for startups wanting to explore influencer marketing before going all in.

Get started with Vamp today (we have a package to suit every budget).

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