If you want to start any business the one thing you need for success is marketing. It’s the life blood of getting your material out there. Now while there have been many forms of marketing over the years, the most recent and upcoming is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing takes its name adeptly from the premise of an influential figure or organisation promoting your product on your behalf, based on the fact that they have ‘influence’ in their industry and will hopefully push sales.
We are at a new age where the product isn’t the only thing that can promote the business you’re selling. Having people that have the power to sell your products for you is a market in which both parties will win: the influencer gets the material and promotion that they want relative to their audience and the business gets the promotion and visibility it needs. The best part is that you don’t have to limit yourself to celebrities; there are thousands of influencers that startup businesses can use to get their product noticed and selling.
History of influencer marketing
You wouldn’t think it but influencer marketing has been around for a long time, going all the way back centuries. The main influencers were powerful political figures like the pope and royalty. Their word that the product they were using was good led to others buying and using the same products and materials they used as well. This kind of advertising has influenced not only the favoritism of certain businesses by upper-class figures, but also in modern culture. The best example is the Coca Cola advert that used Santa Claus to promote their drinks with the added features of changing his style to suit their needs, the rest being history.
The turn of the millennium sparked the golden age of influencer marketing with the introduction of social media. Websites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram opened the doors for thousands to gain followers and establish their own following which for any business could be used for promotion. What was once the opportunity for royalty and high class citizens, now businesses rely on the new age with millennials to see which products stand the test of time with them.
Influencer’s vs Social media channels
For any start up business wanting to get a foothold in the marketing today, social media is a given. It’s a source that isn’t the largest selling point for a company but s one you cannot afford to not have. Influencers from Instagram and YouTube are those who have large followers all across the globe and with a fan base that is ever more loyal to what their heroes have. The best example is Roman Atwood, a YouTube star and vlogger who promotes his brand Smile More across his many media platforms including his own channel and Instagram page. On his videos he is sponsored by companies such as dollar shave club, a shaving company, in order to get his involvement into the company and the products that they sell. Those who go to conventions like the London business show to get their company noticed are not as near close to the numbers that those who watch one of Romans videos where he plugs a company.
Interestingly, a survey of over 2000 Instagram users showed that 81 percent use Instagram often with 48 percent saying they use it every day which are numbers that show how powerful social media influencers are. These are people who are not unapproachable like some celebrities and for any startup company, would be considerably less expensive to get them to promote their company and the campaign they want or the service they provide. Social media has paved the way for influence marketers to start form their ground up with their own company and gain the loyalty of many fans of said influencer. The more interesting and beneficial aspect is that while some companies use most of their budget on one celebrity that will drive a crowd, you can bring in multiple influencers form social media to promote the company with the possibility of more eyes.
How to get started in influencer marketing
Now while is easier said than done about what influencer marketing can bring to your startup company, where to get started is another thing on its own. There is a easy way to get started in influencer marketing which involves research and trust. The first step is finding the person who has the relevance and reach you want. The influencer needs to be someone who can each a large enough following to your liking. The more people, the more expensive they might be, which is why social media is useful in this area of searching.
Additionally, the influencer also has to know your promotion is useful to them and something they can use that is legitimate. The best type of influence marketing is ones that the influencer and the audience have a genuine need and connection for. This gives them the drive to promote you in a way that will get your company on the map. The next stage is finding the person who can promote you in the way you want to, bad advertising isn’t the best way to get your name out there so find someone whose method of promoting is one that best suits your needs and style. It’s always best to make the connection with your influencer close because trust is vital. You need to remember that the person you are dealing with has a following that looks up to them and trusts them like any business out there, so the best way is to ensure they can trust you.
In the end, the power of influencer marketing is growing more powerful every day, with many more gaining followers. It’s important that startup businesses get a hold on that power and don’t let go, for all you know, one person might bring your company the attention you want with their influence. It’s what can make a product viral or a campaign fall from grace.