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A startup company is one that’s in its infancy. These companies are typically younger than five years old and have a lot of potential for growth. People who form startups identify a problem and then develop a solution to help consumers address the problem. Often, parameters for defining a startup are unclear because these companies come in all shapes and sizes and encompass a wide array of industries.

Forbes identifies startups as companies with fewer than 80 employees that generate revenues less than $20 million. Others believe that “startup” is a state of mind not defined by any metrics. Regardless of what your company looks like, you may find that startup influencer marketing strategies are more effective than traditional ad campaigns.

How Influencers Can Help a Startup

The two most common reasons to use influencer marketing are to increase awareness of your brand and to boost sales. That means that you should get started with your influencer marketing campaign as soon as possible. Unlike traditional advertising, you want to have a relationship with the influencers you work with. This helps create genuine content across social media platforms regarding your startup.

Are you getting ready to launch your brand and introduce it to the world? Let influencers help. They have dedicated followings that trust them, which is what you need when introducing those influencers’ audiences to a new product or service. Many people — especially Millennials — turn to social media to see others’ opinions about new products and services before trying them out for themselves. Influencers help drive more engagements in a pleasing and natural way.

Types of Influencers

Choosing the right types of influencers is crucial to launching a successful marketing campaign. Macro-influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers (even millions) and would be great to work with to introduce your brand to the masses. But, if you’re just starting up, there’s a good chance that working with one of these influencers isn’t in your budget.

Don’t overlook the power of micro-influencers. These influencers typically have followings of 10,000 or less, aren’t working with agents and have tighter relationships with their followers. They’re trusted for brand and product recommendations, which means they can deliver quality over quantity. People view these micro-influencers as more relatable, accessible and authentic, so they’re more likely to pay attention when these influencers mention your brand.

How do you identify the influencers you want to work with? Start by identifying your target audience. Which groups of people do you want to speak to with your marketing campaign? Choose influencers that run in the same circles.

Searching for Influencers

The best place to find influencers is on social media. You’ll have to do some research to identify influencers that are the right fit for your brand. First, identify the social media platform that’s most relevant to your startup and your target audience. Next, narrow down a list of keywords or hashtags that fit with your brand or campaign.

Perform a search to see if anyone is already talking about your brand, and recruit them to partner with you on a campaign. Spread out and identify others who are talking about similar topics or using the keywords and hashtags related to your startup. Create a list of influencers and start making connections.

Influencer Marketing Campaigns

There are several ways that you can collaborate with influencers for marketing campaigns. Determining the best campaign to use greatly depends on your goals and the audience you’re trying to reach. Giveaways, affiliate marketing and sponsored content are some of the most popular avenues to take.

  • Giveaway campaigns are simple, effective and a fan favorite. These campaigns can foster exposure and growth in a short amount of time. Influencers use their social media accounts to announce the giveaway and direct traffic to your brand by requesting likes, follows and comments for chances to win.
  • Affiliate marketing campaigns promote products or services. Influencers redirect people to your site to generate sales. In return, influencers receive a commission for each sale made using a special code or URL. Whereas giveaways are a one-off, affiliate marketing campaigns are great for consistent brand promotion. Because the influencer makes more money for more sales, they’re likely to actively promote your brand.
  • Sponsored content is a social media post that an influencer creates specifically to promote your brand. You might pay a fee or offer free or discounted products in exchange for the post.

Other potential influencer marketing campaign types include brand ambassadorships, sponsored blog posts and social media takeovers. If you’re not sure which route to take, collaborate with your influencers. They know their followers and the types of campaigns they respond to.

Helpful Hints for Working with Influencers

When launching an influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to set a goal and a budget. Determine what you want to accomplish: expand reach or get higher engagements. By setting a goal, you can monitor the results and determine if the campaign was a success.

Making a post on social media might seem like an easy thing to do, but don’t expect influencers to do it as a favor. Have a budget and be prepared to spend it. Some influencers are willing to collaborate with you for a gift or a free product, but others rely on their social media channels for income.

Lastly, be sure to communicate with your influencers. Be clear with your voice and direction. Provide them with guidelines for each social media post to ensure they promote your brand in the way that you envision.