Influencer Marketing for Startups with Sarah Fruy


Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming the go-to strategy for companies of all sizes. One recent survey found that 67% of respondents who budget for influencer marketing intend to increase their influencer marketing budget over 2023. And 23% of respondents intend to spend more than 40% of their entire marketing budget on influencer campaigns.

This increased reliance on influencer marketing is likely due to its demonstrable results. For example, according to a study by Nielsen, B2B influencer marketing leads to eleven times the ROI of traditional advertising. And another study found influencer marketing is eleven times greater than some types of digital marketing like banner ads.

In her most recent experience as VP of marketing at Linqia, an influencer marketing platform with managed services, Sarah Fruy has seen these benefits first hand. She says startups are increasingly turning to influencer marketing to bolster their marketing efforts and strengthen their products. 

“Influencer marketing has the potential to go viral. When you have a lean budget, that can be a really effective means to get your name out there in a way that can be very difficult and expensive to accomplish with traditional paid advertising,” Sarah says.

In a webinar for Founders Network on April 25, Sarah  shared how to leverage influencers to market your startup. The session provided an in-depth overview to help startup founders navigate this rapidly evolving form of advertising. 

To learn more about influencer marketing for startups, check out our video from the event, and see if you qualify for membership to join Founders Network.

Benefits for Marketing

Influencer marketing doesn’t require working with influencers with millions of followers. Startups can turn to micro-influencers, those with fewer than 25,000 followers and nano influencers, who typically have a few thousand. These influencers are often more affordable and tend to create highly targeted content on niche subjects, making them perfect for startups. And nano influencers actually have the highest engagement rates.

“When you’re working with influencers who are native to these platforms, they know how to leverage them,” Sarah says. “They’re going to have much better creative strategies and tactics to connect with audiences and make content that can take off and give exposure to your brand in ways that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish through traditional banner ads or other types of advertising.”

Benefits for Product Development

Utilizing influencers who specialize in niche subjects can also be beneficial for product development. Oftentimes these influencers are experts in their subject area and can help provide valuable feedback.

“Another thing that you can leverage influencers for is product feedback,” Sarah says. “When you find passionate advocates for your brand that are willing to speak out and discuss it on their platforms and use their notoriety to bring attention to your brand, they can also tell you features that they wish that it had and issues that bother them about the product. Influencers can give you some unique and specific advice on how to improve your products or services from the perspective of someone who is potentially a super user or at least a loyal customer.”

What to Avoid

Influencer marketing is effective because of the trust consumers have for influencers. According to one report, 71% of consumers trust advertising, opinions and product placements from influencers. Influencers are therefore wary of betraying that trust and value transparency so startup founders should aim for authentic messaging when working with influencers. 

“Authenticity is key when it comes to working with influencers,” Sarah says. “So making sure that they actually have experience with your product or services is essential. When campaigns are too staged, and you’re trying to feed people overly-scripted talking points, that’s where the creative fails. Regardless of whether your focus is on B2C or B2B, it’s really about finding influencers that are true fans of your brand, creating a relationship with them, and reaching shared audiences in an authentic way.”  

Sarah also shared insights on how to:

  • Select the right influencers for your brand
  • Build an effective content strategy
  • Develop a campaign brief for influencers
  • Negotiate with influencers
  • Manage influencer campaigns and community engagement

To learn more about influencer marketing for startups, check out our video from the event, and see if you qualify for membership to join Founders Network.

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