How To Find Influencers To Promote Your Startup

how to find real social media influencers promote startup business

If you’re trying to market your startup, you’re probably trying to get your name out there without spending a fortune. There are many strategies you can use to do this, but if you haven’t already looked into influencer marketing on social media, you should start. 

This strategy can provide various benefits, as long as you find influencers that align well with your startup’s brand and who connect you to your target audience. Keep reading to discover some of the benefits of influencer marketing, how to find influencers, and what to look for when choosing who to collaborate with on social media. 

Influencer Marketing’s Benefits 

In a survey of marketers, 90% of respondents said that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing. And it’s not rocket science to see why. Influencer campaigns can provide a variety of benefits to startups and small businesses, like: 

Boost Brand Awareness 

One of influencer marketing’s greatest benefits is the opportunity to raise brand awareness. By working with several nano and micro influencers (influencers who have fewer than 50K followers), startups can get their name out to a variety of niches, locations or demographics with social selling and social media marketing (SMM). 

Increase Content Creation 

As a startup, your employees are probably juggling a lot of responsibilities and wearing multiple hats. You might not have a dedicated content team, or even a dedicated content creator. The big burden of social selling and digital marketing might even rest on your shoulders as the startup founder or CEO. Influencer marketing can help you out with this, as influencers who collaborate with you will be producing content that you can then republish elsewhere. Just remember to get their OK to repost their content work to avoid complications. 

Reach A Wider Audience Of People Interested In Your Brand 

Another benefit of influencer campaigns is that they connect you to a larger audience, and to people who may not find your brand or products otherwise. To reap this benefit, you have to understand your buyer personas well, so that you can prioritize finding influencers who will help connect you to people who fit them. 

Build Trust And Loyalty 

Working with influencers builds brand loyalty and trust. In fact, research shows that 61% of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member or influencer on social media, while only 38% trust recommendations from brands. So, when an influencer promotes your products, people are more likely to believe them. 

With respect to loyalty, long-term partnerships are particularly good for this, as followers see their favorite influencers consistently promoting your brand. This reinforces the idea that the influencer likes your products. It also helps followers get familiar with your company. 

Adjustable Prices 

As we mentioned above, working with nano and micro influencers is a great way to raise awareness of your brand. And the best part? With nano influencers, you can usually collaborate in exchange for free products alone. With micro influencers, some may request a fee for their services, although this should max out at a few hundred dollars. 

With influencer marketing, you get to choose how much to invest in each influencer. Just remember that as a startup, you’re not going to be able to pay for Kim Kardashian to promote your brand. But as long as you’re realistic about what you can and can’t offer, you can find influencers to work with, which brings us to the next section. 

How Your Startup Can Find Influencers 

When you're ready to start searching for influencers, you have three options of how to do this: 

● Search for influencers on social media 
● Use an influencer marketing platform 
● Hire an agency to find influencers for you 

As a startup, realistically, you probably won’t be able to afford to hire an agency. Their rates are very expensive, and if you’re running small campaigns with just a few influencers, it might not even be worth it. 

If you choose to search directly on social media, you won’t have to pay anything extra. However, finding the right collaborators will be more labor-intensive, as you’ll have to search manually and you won’t be able to see all the details about their profiles unless you request their internal performance data. 

An influencer marketing platform is the middle road. You have to pay a subscription to access this software, but it lets you tailor your search with filters and provides analytics about influencer profiles. This means you don’t have to waste time requesting metrics from individual influencers before making the decision about who to recruit for your campaign. 

What To Look Out For When Choosing Influencers 

When analyzing influencer profiles, there are a few important things to watch out for. This is why it’s so important to either use an influencer marketing platform or request performance metrics from influencers before signing them on to your campaign. 

Follower count isn’t the most important thing here and is often regarded as more of a vanity metric on social media. Instead, pay attention to other metrics like growth, engagement rates, and audience metrics. 

Follower Growth 

Look to see how an influencer has accumulated their followers throughout time. Is their growth slow and steady, with new followers appearing bit by bit? Or is it spiky and uneven, with lots of dips and peaks? 

social media influencer growth rate measurement

The former shows healthy, organic growth. This takes time, but these followers are more likely to stick around. The latter option could potentially show fake followers. 

First check if the influencer has recently gone viral or hosted a giveaway, both of which are logical explanations for sudden bumps in follower count. But in the absence of a rational explanation, dig deeper to see if the influencer’s audience looks authentic. 

Engagement Rate 

Engagement rate is a formula that can show you the level of interaction between an influencer and their followers. When followers are interested in content, they’re more likely to like or comment on it. 

Engagement varies by network and follower range. So don’t compare Instagram influencers and Youtube influencers, and don’t compare influencers with 10K followers and those with 1M. 

Extreme engagement can also show you instances of influencer fraud. Very low engagement tells us that either people aren’t interested, or the influencer bought fake followers (who don’t actually interact with content). Sometimes it just means the influencer posts too often or never replies to comments. On the flip side, suspiciously high engagement probably means that the influencer bought fake likes, comments or other interactions. This can be confirmed by checking the accounts liking or commenting on posts, looking for very generic comments and bots or automated accounts.

social media influencer engagement rates analysis

Audience Metrics 

Don’t assume that an influencer is a match because just they fit within your target audience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that their followers do too. Check the demographics of their followers, like age, gender, country, language and interests. A California-based influencer may only really have one third of their audience located in the United States. It's all about focusing on your target market.

social media influencers audience location analysis

Audience Authenticity 

In addition to audience demographics, look into the authenticity of the influencer’s audience. Do they look like real people, or bots? As influencers can easily buy followers nowadays, you could end up wasting your limited marketing budget on bots if you’re not careful. Almost all public accounts have some bots and spam accounts following them, but nearly all true influencers only have a limited percentage of spammy followers. Consider both percentages and quantities when determining which social media influencer gives you the most marketing for your money.

social media influencers authentic followers ratio real following vs spammy bots

Top Takeaways On Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy that can offer many benefits and can be adapted to your business and budget. The only caveat is to approach influencer discovery in a thorough and analytical way, searching for influencers who can help you work toward your startup’s goal. Finally, don’t forget to analyze influencer profiles so you don’t end up with unpleasant surprises. Do your due diligence on social media influencers before paying the piper! 

Social Media Influencer Marketing Conclusion 

Hopefully, by getting this far, a few of your initial queries about influencer marketing have been answered. It’s pretty simple really to amp up your online influence on social. However, to ensure that you are creating the most effective campaign, you need to spend time understanding your goals and doing a little bit of research. Social media usage is only going to increase over the coming years, and with that comes the rise in influencer marketing. So, we would suggest that you get started on your first social media influencer marketing campaign sooner than later!

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, & Blog Outreach Services