How Influencers are Changing the Startup Landscape

August 11, 2016

7:00 pm

The age of big endorsements is coming to an end. As access to information and content increases, so does the desire for authenticity. Millennials are increasingly resistant to ads and are known for brand loyalty. It’s important for startups to find a way to connect with them quickly and grab that brand loyalty early on in the consumer journey. That’s where influencers come in handy.

Micro-influencers in particular are reshaping the way companies engage with potential customers. Before considering how; let’s take a moment to define the nebulous “micro-influencer.” A micro-influencer can be a person or organization with an engaged following who has a particular voice in their digital communities. Oftentimes, micro-influencers have less than 10k followers on any given platform.

Because they serve a very specific audience, they are able to draw more attention to the brands they align with. When a micro-influencer offers an endorsement it feels more organic, as if they found something exciting and they want to share it with their audience.

I sat down with Jac White, founder of Savoteur, a global network of micro-influencers, to find out more.

“Savoteur is a global digital publishing company, and we utilize over 200 micro-influencers to provide valuable travel content and information for our readers. It’s not just about driving traffic to a particular brand for us, it’s about creating meaningful experiences by sourcing the knowledge and expertise of these local mavens.”

The following are the ways that White sees micro-influencers shaking up the market.

Increase in Brand Loyalty

As consumers become more brand loyal, there is immense potential when it comes to working with micro-influencers. Most of these individuals already have a personal brand and voice that their audiences are engaged with, and loyal to. Attaching your brand to that influencer could funnel their hard-earned audience to your company.

In order to maintain a sense of authenticity to grab that loyal audience, be sure to allow the influencer to talk about your brand in their voice. That is why you are working with them, for their reach and the voice they have with their audiences. In a way, this is the democratization of branding, allowing the people who use them to define them. And in a way, that is the best possible marketing there is.

Marketers used to imagine how users would feel about their products, now they empower users to brand the products themselves.

Say Goodbye to Macro-Influencers

“When you find the right micro-influencers, you have to spend less time coaching them on how to represent you,” White explained.

With the right micro-influencers you will have brand ambassadors that do good work for your image even after your campaign is over. Also, as a rule, people have become wary of celebrity endorsements. Unless that celeb is an expert in the field, there is no reason for the consumer to take their recommendations seriously.

Increased Engagement

Engagement is not the same thing as loyalty, but it is similarly valuable. Loyalty means the consumer is not going to a competitor. Engagement means the consumer is liking, sharing, and conversing with the brand. Plus, the audience that is exposed to your brand is that much more likely to engage with your product/service.

“In my experience, micro-influencers get 50 to 100 percent more organic shares than macro-influencers with over 100k followers.”

Curation of Consumer Experiences

While brands partner with micro-influencers for sponsored posts, in the near future there will be an increase in like-minded micro-influencer communities that will curate different kinds of experiences for consumers.

“At Savoteur, our network of micro-influencers creates a suite of travel recommendations and hacks that our audiences have come to love. More and more micro-influencers will begin to band together to create new brand experiences tailored to their audience’s interests.”

Eventually, most brands will catch on, and the micro-influencer movement will change as different platforms are saturated with sponsored content. When that happens, firms will need to get creative and hustle to make new ways of getting noticed in social networks.

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Sheila Eugenio a tech enthusiast and Digital Marketing Consultant. Sheila has consulted with several mediums to large businesses on how to position their brand and attract the right audience.

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