The word is already out! Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. Yes, you heard that right. And, almost half of those are coming to Instagram every day.
In growth marketing, the rule of thumb is:
“GET THE EYEBALLS TO YOUR PRODUCT”.
But I tried something else, I tried to go to a channel where the eyeballs already were A.K.A Instagram.
I am an early-stage startup founder of a startup called Da Vinci Club, a universal platform to ignite kid's curiosity and attention. This also means that I barely have any capital to deploy for a huge ad-spend. The experiments that need to be run for me to AB test or see any results would be long and expensive.
So, I started doing a lot of market research and saw something interesting. There is a phenomenon of ‘Instagram influencer’ which so many of you are already aware of. These are people who have a following that makes their decisions based on what the influencer suggests.
It’s remarkable to see how a picture on Instagram says a thousand words. Now I don’t want to go into the intricacies of how I built a community of over 1000 influencers and a pipeline of 40,000 users using Instagram. But I did create a framework of the step by step approach that I took. This can be used by any early-stage B2C (direct to consumer) entrepreneur out there.
If you are trying to figure out how to get the right influencer for your business and grow your users and revenue then follow this:
CASE STUDY: On-demand Beauty Service.
Let’s take an example:
Hypothetically, you are the founder of an ‘at the door - beauty service’. You started this business because you were a working woman and could not find something at your door-step on demand. As a professional woman on the go, this was really hard. Since you couldn’t find any solution out there, you created it yourself.
Now you are trying to find the right influencers to grow your users and revenue.
Step 1: MAKE
You can use multiple apps out there to find the right hashtags around your offerings. I use the following apps for this:
So after using these apps, you get hashtags like:
- Beauty Blogger: with over 14 million followers.
- Beauty Addict: 2 million followers.
- Working Woman: Half a million Followers.
Step 2: FOLLOW, OBSERVE and ENLIST
- Follow these hashtags and over the next week see who uses these hashtags.
- Save their posts if you think you may forget.
- Observe who gets good engagement. There may be people with only a 1000 followers but have over 200 people engaging with their posts. These accounts are influencers too.
- CAUTION: Most times we want to go for influencers who have a million followers. The problem there is:
- They may not engage with you as they already have bigger brands.
- Their audience may not be engaging as much.
- They will be very expensive which means your CAC (Customer acquisition cost) goes really high.
- Now make a list of all these influencers. Start with only 20. Use a CRM to maintain each of these influencers.
- Each of them is going to take a lot of back and forth and you want to make sure you have all the information about each deal in an organized way and at your fingertips.
- I use pipedrive because it’s free for founders for 6 months and then super cheap and very easy to work with.
Step 3: CRAFT
This is so important and I feel most entrepreneurs fail here.
Your story is not only important when you are pitching to an investor. It is especially important when your customer can see it.
So craft your story in about 5 lines or 50 words.
‘I am the founder of Easy Beauty’. I started this business because as a working woman, I couldn’t find something at my door-step on demand, for my beauty needs. As a professional woman on the go, this was really important. Since I couldn’t find any solution, I created it yourself.’
Step 4: REACH OUT & BUILD
Now that you have your story and the influencer you need to reach out, go ahead, DM them or email them.
Chances are only one in 10 would respond to you. Keep your message clear and concise. Have a clear offering for the influencers. Remember, they spend a lot of effort and time on their work too.
INFLUENCERS' TIME IS NOT FREE. Please value that.
Congratulations! The influencer responded to you. Now build a connection with them.
Any influencer that I have worked with have shared a similar passion as mine. It was wonderful chatting with them and listening to their story and sharing my story with them. I see influencers as business owners too and really value their service.
They want us to be authentic and honest. I have been late on my deadlines multiple times because as a startup founder, things get delayed and stuff happens but they have been kind and considerate to me. I think it was because of the connection we built.
Step 5: TRACK
DATA DATA DATA. Nothing trumps this. How do you know if an influencer’s post is actually working? Give them specific links to track the growth through these links.
Continue working with influencers who show results and move on from those who don’t. They may not be the right influencer for your business.
Step 6: ASK
Now is the time to ask the big ask. Ask for referrals from the influencers. They can be other influencers or their friends who could be your future users. If they really like your product and working with you, they will help you out.
Lastly, since they used your product, they too become your users. Ask them for feedback. Do individual interviews, surveys and online group discussions to know what is good and not good in your product.
Congratulations! And Repeat!
You have found the right influencer for your business, now go ahead and repeat the process and start building a community.
Hope this brings clarity to you and, all the best in getting the right influencers. Reach out to me if you have specific questions.