The Startup Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Influencer Marketing Environment

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Uday Deb
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Despite initial concerns, influencer marketing (and all marketing) has increased in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid19. Many industries, such as tourism and airlines, initially had to slash spending, but others adapted their models to survive the post-pandemic era. There is even some new life in industries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus.

Unlike influencer marketing in 2017, influencer marketing involves more than just finding people with a large social media following to promote your products. Today, it’s performance and purpose driven—both art and science.

Influencer marketing is expected to reach 2.85 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 8%. The creator economy market is expected to reach $104 billion by 2022. The Indian market is becoming more regulated and digital marketing budgets are growing significantly.

My experience with influencer marketing over the past four years has given me the following insights into how startups are thinking about influencer marketing:

The influencer industry is expensive

Clearly, it’s not a cheap medium. If you’re a new startup with limited resources, it can be challenging.

Create affiliated armies led by influencers

If you have a great product, either hire a partner or go it alone and try to create a very niche list of micro-influencers. Connect with 500 influencers. Tell them you want to ship your product for free. 100 will give you their address to send the product to. 30% of people will post because they really like the product. Influencers post because they love the brand and product. Build affiliations with as many people as possible.

Set goals for your influencer marketing strategy

When new marketers enter influencer marketing, they sometimes see it as a conversion strategy. No, that’s not right. It’s a brand awareness game. While this isn’t the end goal, if you compare your activity to getting a return for every dollar spent, you won’t achieve purpose-driven impact. The stronger the community you create, the better the ultimate reward will be.

One-time event is invalid

One-off social posts are a thing of the past. Long-term and true partnerships are now gaining traction. Brands, influencers and their followers are more likely to trust each other if the influencer is seen as a brand ambassador. So you can better engage with your audience, get more creative content, and get a bigger return on your marketing budget. A growing audience of influencers elevates your brand.

Content creators and influencers

The top 20 to 30 top influencers are easy to spot, and brands with big budgets are willing to spend money on them. These influencers are essentially like TV commercials between newspapers or TV shows or IPL matches, but finding your niche is key.

Create a newsletter for entertainment or education

The least successful influencer marketing campaigns are those in which brands impose their ideas on influencers. While influencers do it for the money, the end result is a boring sponsored post on their feed. It’s not about telling influencers what to do, but giving them a detailed profile that helps them understand and educate about the brand. The ideas should be open-ended so that influencers can get something out of them that works for their audience, because not all influencers are great creatives.

Video-only strategies are overrated

In today’s fast-paced society, you can eat anything, but aren’t we binge-watching 10 episodes? There are many advantages to using a short form, but it depends on the message you want to convey and the type of influencer you want to reach. It must be fun if not educational. These all work well when someone is consuming the content.

Treat influencers as brands and partners

Brands like Zomato and Groww have successfully co-created with influencers on their own channels. By 2022, we live in a world where kids would rather be YouTubers than astronauts. If you hire an influencer to create content for your YouTube channel or Instagram feed, your audience will think you’re cool and progressive.

Purpose-driven influencer marketing is on the rise

Our favorite influencers these days are those who represent something, not just talk about how good their life is, but provide us with value that is relevant to us. Brands should keep this in mind when developing their influencer marketing strategy.

The quality of comments and engagement metrics determine success engagement metrics are more important than followers. Ideally, we should check the comments of the last sponsored post in order to see how the sponsored post is performing on the influencer feed.

For marketers, the size of an influencer is often more important than their level of engagement.

Beware of Affiliate Marketing, Don’t Misunderstand It

Brands often assume that revenue sharing will attract influencers to partner with them, but that assumption is not true if you assume that an influencer’s audience buys everything they promote.

Viewers can tell if an influencer is promoting something that doesn’t generate value and is pushing the brand down instead of up

Podcast influencers will be more prominent in the future

The passive nature of audio makes it an excellent medium in today’s world. Influencer marketing is going to be a big deal considering we’re always busy and influencer marketing on podcasts is going to be a big deal for brands that want to maintain meaningful long-term connections with large audiences.

Final thoughts:

Startups must find a market-fit product early on and then build a strong community to promote their product, so using influencers effectively will help launch it as a great indie brand.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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