As a startup, it can take time to determine where your marketing efforts are going to get you the best return. With small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) often launching campaigns with limited staff and budgets, it makes sense to explore influencer marketing for startups.
There’s a reason influencer marketing spending continues to grow, with experts predicting the tool to account for nearly $5 billion in market spending by the end of 2022. If you’re in charge of influencer marketing for a startup company in 2023 and looking for some advice on how to set goals, find content creators and measure results, read on.
1. Determine your goals
What do you hope to accomplish for your brand with an influencer marketing campaign?
It helps to think of your influencer campaign as foundational steps that eventually lead consumers to become buyers and brand advocates, the latter of which develops trust, product awareness and exponential marketing down the road.
Consider these five influencer marketing goals and the long-term advantages they may provide:
- Website traffic
- Lead generation
- Brand awareness and advocacy
- Increased social media followers and engagement
Don’t skip this step. It will help narrow your search for influencers, inform your legal contract, and measure campaign results.
2. Identify your target audience
Before you begin your search for business influencers, you need to identify who your target audience is. Start by referencing your buyer persona. Based on research, customer data, and informed speculations, who is your typical customer? For example:
- How old are they?
- Do they identify as male, female or something else?
- What social media channels do they use most?
- When and why are they online?
- Are they driven by emotion? Results? Recommendations?
- What format do they prefer for content?
When you have a keen understanding of who your current customers are, you can look for content creators who can reach similar demographic and behaviors.
3. Find the right influencer
Finding TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube influencers can feel overwhelming, especially if your marketing team reps a brand in a saturated industry, such as beauty or fashion. But with relevance and engagement at the forefront, you can start your search on each platform using the following techniques.
Search your company’s social media followers
If you’ve already got built-in brand advocates, or at least prospects or satisfied customers interested in staying connected to your brand, chances are they already know and like your products or services. A bit of digging should help you determine if they have the potential to serve as an influencer for your next campaign.
Use hashtags to find industry-specific influencers
Head to the social media channel where your potential customers spend the most time and see who uses relevant hashtags in their posts. Then review the user’s posts, engagement, original content, and bio to discover if they have any experience as an influencer.
Use an influencer marketing platform
There are a variety of free and paid options available to help you narrow down your brand’s search for influencers. While the free databases can be helpful for startups with a limited budget, it’s worth the investment to upgrade to a more robust, paid tool.
With a comprehensive suite of tools, like those offered by IZEA Flex, you get not only detailed creator profiles but also campaign metrics, social listening tools, content collecting and measuring, and integrations with services like Google Analytics.
4. Create a solid contract
A well-written contract solidifies the parameters, expectations, and rights of the campaign while still providing creative freedom to the content creator.
The contract should include the type of content, where it will be published, when, and how frequently, but the bulk of your legalities will cover things like:
- FTC guidelines
- Branding requirements
- Intellectual property content rights
- Grounds for cancellation or termination
Be sure to get your brand’s legal expert to approve everything before you send it to the influencer.
5. Measure your results
Because you set campaign goals long before you even started your search for an influencer, your brand can now determine if your efforts paid off.
Depending on the key performance indicators you’ve chosen, the post-campaign analysis should be able to tell you if the campaign was a success through some of the following:
- Promo or coupon codes used
- Branded searches
- New shared followers
- Reach and engagement
- Website traffic/click-throughs
- Lead generation
While a direct return on investment may be measured by comparing sales revenue from the campaign to the marketing investment, that’s only one component of the goals you set.
Instead, evaluate the importance of the groundwork you laid with your first influencer marketing campaign. The takeaway lessons can help ensure that your next attempt—with the same influencer, someone else, or a combination of the two—will be even more beneficial.
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