Influencers are, to a lot of us, an enigma. They seem to have grown out of ordinary people who use the internet in a way that gains them popularity and allows them a platform to influence (get it?) their followers’ decisions. In a less-gory way than Lord of the Flies, people inevitably flock to leaders. So, it’s no wonder with over 4 billion people actively using social media, that there are influencers and those who look up to them. Instagram stories are their conch shell.
There are some internet users that have an affinity for influencing and some that have worked very hard for the platform they have. Almost every day, there are new influencers cropping up and new ways for them do their influencing. If you’re on Twitter, you’ll have seen the viral tweets coming from normal, unverified accounts, that inevitably – once the tweet has reached a certain amount of engagement – create a thread underneath said tweet that advertises certain products like salt lamps. Influencer marketing is not limited to Instagram and Twitter, it can be on all platforms.
With 89% of companies saying that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels, influencer marketing is something to greatly consider. So, let’s jump in to uncovering the mist that surrounds influencers and how they can be used for startups of any size and not just the big-name ones.
First, we have the Mega Influencer. Unlike the other influencers we will get into, mega influencers are more famous than they are experts of a niche. However, if you’re looking for someone to make a big splash for engagement, these are the way to go. The most notable mega influencers are people like the Kardashians and perhaps those who have appeared on Love Island. Though use of these will mean your startup is exposed to a wider audience, they don’t always translate to more customers (and they cost a lot).
After mega, we have Macro Influencers. They’ve grown their influencer status through social media, rather than having celebrity status. They’re usually bloggers, vloggers, models, podcasters and pretty much anything in-between. Sure, they have a smaller reach than someone like Kylie Jenner, with their follower counts being from 100,000 to a million, but if you’re looking for startup awareness and to turn those followers into customers, a macro influencer is a more attainable goal.
The latest influencer-type (which sounds like a new species of Pokémon, doesn’t it?) that’s been cropping up more recently are the Micro Influencers. They have the smallest following – 1,000 to 100,000 – but possibly the mightiest, as they tend to be more invested. This smaller audience tend to have more specific interests, which is great news for startups that cater to a niche. With micro influencers, their audience are more likely to trust them and in turn, they are more likely to trust them when it comes to a product or service, they believe in.
You probably have an image in your mind of what kinds of content an influencer would create when it comes to marketing. We’ve all seen those Instagram stories from celebrities who are telling us about a product they love and use all the time when they clearly have never seen the product before in their life. Or, they’re endorsing a startup they have no affinities with (Kendall Jenner and Pepsi springs to mind). More recently, there has been a rise in brand deals featured on YouTube. Some of them make sense, like an MUA advertising their affiliate links with a makeup company. Others make less sense… like a comedy YouTuber partnering with a mobile game. It is hard to take those seriously.
So, how do you steer clear of that? The three Rs of influencing may be of some help here.
Relevance. A simple, yet integral part of any marketing strategy. You have to make sure that the influencer you reach out to already shares content that relates to your industry and their audience is one that aligns with your target consumer group. As mentioned above, it will be hard to take any campaign seriously if it has someone who does not have any relevance to your niche.
Reach. How many potential customers could you reach by working with this influencer? What kinds of people make up their follower base? This is where you’ll consider what type of influencer you want to work with: mega, macro, or micro, (there should be another R added here and that is research).
Resonance. How much engagement can this influencer create that is relevant to your startup? Working with smaller influencers are the trick here as if they create content that is under your niche already, it is certain that their audience are at least a little bit interested in it as well. Usually, when it comes to influencers with a smaller follower base, they tend to be more dedicated and engaged in what the influencer creates.
If you take the time to work with the influencers, there is no end to the possibilities you can come up with to take your startup to the next level. Like yourselves, influencers are professional creatives and are the best resource in knowing what makes their audience tick.