Introducing, Angel Zheng, our new Marketing Coordinator here at Kashoo. Angel just finished her diploma in Business Marketing Communications and is our native influencer and blogger!
In the past couple of years, influencer marketing has taken consumers (and brands) by storm. With over 81% of shoppers making their purchase decisions based on online research and the ever-popular social media platforms taking over traditional media as news sources—it's no wonder that more than 50% of surveyed brands think influencers generate better customers than any other digital marketing effort.
So how do you decide whether influencer marketing is right for your startup? There are many questions you should answer before you make the jump. Is this method right for what I'm selling? What is the niche I'm trying to target? Who do my market consider trusted influencers? This article should answer those questions and more, and will hopefully give you clear insight on whether or not influencer marketing will work for you!
What is Influencer Marketing
Let's start off with the basics. What exactly do these two words mean? Influencer marketing is basically the method of promoting and selling products or services through people who have a high level of clout within a specific group or market.
Through blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, and other means of social communication, influencers are able to share content about products and services that they love for their audience to digest.
This content is often seen as more credible, likeable, and authentic than other forms of media.
How to Choose Influencers
In order to pick which influencers you want to work with, you have to get to know your target audience really well. Here are some questions you should be able to answer about your business first:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What are the demographic details?
- What social platforms, blogs, and news sources do they frequent?
- What content are they most receptive to?
The reason you need to understand who your customers are and what they want before you decide on a marketing tactic is because it will dictate which medium will best deliver your message and allow you to target organically, in a way that really resonates. For example, influencer marketing would NOT be a viable option for reaching a senior audience that rarely uses social media and still depend on traditional media for daily news.
The Difference Between Micro and Macro
With more and more influencers popping up each and every day, it is important to understand the difference between micro and macro influencers and how each of them would benefit your business in a marketing campaign.
Loosely defined, a micro influencer is someone with 1000–100,000 followers and a macro influencer is anyone with over 100,000 followers. But more importantly, what does this mean for your campaign?
In terms of raw number of likes and comments, a macro influencer will have more engagement than a micro influencer. By leveraging an account with high engagement and number of followers, you will be able to reach a large, broad audience. However, with the big numbers comes a big price tag. Often, macro influencers will charge 4-6 digit price tags for one campaign. For a startup or a small business, this is not ideal.
Due to the smaller follower-base and the highly engaged audience, the average engagement rate of a micro influencer is actually slightly higher (2.75%) than the average engagement rate of a macro influencer (2.65%). Not only that, micro influencers also reach a more targeted audience—meaning you can target your campaign based on age group, interest, and even location.
Studies show that these influencers actually participate in 22.2 times more conversations each week regarding recommendations on what to buy compared to the average customer. An Experticity study showed that 82% of surveyed consumers agreed that they are highly likely to follow the recommendations made by a micro influencer. Many of them build personal connections with their followers and are considered more relatable and easier to connect with than influencers with large followings.
Collaborating with a micro influencer could garner high ROI as well, despite their smaller reach. Most charge under $1000 per post with 97% actually charging less than $500 a post. With the smaller price tag, you could collaborate with more influencers with different audiences for the same amount of money as one macro influencer.
Regardless of what you spend on your Influencer campaigns, make sure to log the expense in Kashoo as a "Marketing & Advertising" expense to maximize your deductions for year-end.
What They Offer
Now that you have a few influencers in mind, what kind of campaign do you want to run? Depending on the platform your influencers are the most active (and have the highest engagement) on, you need to decide what kind of content you would like to release.
The most common partnership to have with an influencer who uses Instagram as their main platform is a sponsored post. From there, depending on each influencer, they may offer add-ons to amplify the post on other platforms or through Instagram Stories. In exchange, most influencers will accept payment either in monetary form or in the form of products and affiliate codes. Think of each influencer as their own business. You can create different negotiations with each one or extend the same offer to every influencer you work with.
Bloggers also make up a large portion of the influencer population. The benefit of using a sponsored blog post is not only the length and detail of content that can be included but also the longevity of the information.
Often, social media posts get high engagement right off the bat, but are no longer considered relevant once they have passed their time and moved deep into people's feed archives. Blog posts, however, are searchable and can be updated and made evergreen if desired.
Similar to Instagram, the most popular campaigns to run are sponsored posts. Bloggers will often request promotional codes from brands to offer to their readers as an incentive. Offering promo codes and affiliate codes to Bloggers can be beneficial to your campaign as it also incentivizes them to push for sales.
YouTube is another platform in which you can collaborate with creators to promote your product or service. However, you will likely have to pay more for content created by a YouTuber than a Blogger with the same amount of followers. Videos do hold the same information longevity as a blogpost, which means a piece of content relating to your company can be discovered long after it's post date. As with Bloggers, YouTubers also like to have the opportunity to provide their subscribers with a promo code so that their video is providing even more value.
How to Get Started
If you have a good understanding of your audience, have set clear goals for your campaign, and have a few influencers in mind—the next step is to reach out to the influencers. It is important to build a good relationship with the people you choose to collaborate with. Follow them on their platforms and engage with their content.
You can reach out to them either through a direct message on their most-frequented platforms or through email. Make sure your subject line includes keywords such as "partnership", "sponsorship", or "collaboration". This way, your message stands out as a business opportunity amongst all the other promotional messages they may receive.
From there it's all up to you and the influencer! Negotiate with the influencer for a campaign that works for both of you.
Once the campaign is running, don't forget to track your results. There are endless different KPIs that you could track with digital marketing so in order to know which ones you should track, you need to have clearly defined goals. From your data, you can then decide which influencers you would like to continue to work with and build a loyal partnership with.
And There You Have It! Influencer Marketing For Startups.
Although running a campaign with micro influencers won't break the bank like a traditional media campaign, you still need to ensure that using influencers as a medium is the best way to reach your customers. Learn about your customers, find out their interests and online habits, and research whether there are influencers on their frequented platforms. Make sure you have clear goals and measurement guidelines set up for your campaign; and build relationships with your chosen influencers. Follow these best practices and you'll soon discover all the benefits that influencers can bring for your business!