90% of customers trust this more than ads

90% of customers say they trust recommendations from friends more than the adverts they are served. Getting other people to recommend your brand is a really effective way to gain new customers, and bearing in mind the direct expense of ads it can be more economical too. In this blog we take a look at influencer marketing strategies. You will learn what is working for the hottest brands using social media to increase their visibility online and grow theirs through the posts shared by influencers. It’s an easy, fun and low-cost way to hack growth.

Social media enables brands to reach anybody. It is arguably the most exciting technology for entrepreneurs since money began. As a technology, it is a noisy place where the quality of the content is a currency, and a place that is relatively tribal and unruly in that millions of folks may follow an individual and yet reject the household brand names as spam. The balance has tipped away from businesses towards individuals, so approaching social media as a place to advertise your products directly might not get the reaction you’d hoped for. Instead, you can be a bit more tactical.

Influencer marketing is a secret weapon which roughly translates as ‘sending freebies to people who have a boat load of followers on social media, then asking them to post about it on their account in return.’

The big advantage of influencer marketing is credibility and attention: It is not an advert, it is a recommendation. And the followers already have an affinity with the individual they follow, so they are on site from the beginning when they are introduced to your product. It’s good for the person with all the followers too, as they get something easy to post about, not to mention free stuff. Where to start with a project like this? It helps to break it down into small achievable goals.

What you want to achieve

Before you start reaching out, set yourself a goal for the project. Common goals for this type of marketing are to increase your website traffic or sales. This makes sense, but great salespeople know that sometimes you have to sell to the next step. That’s why you might go for a test drive first, before buying a car – rather than the salesperson just ask you to buy the car. Our recommendation is to use influencer marketing to build more followers. Ask the influencer not to recommend your product, but to recommend your brand generally and to follow you. This is also better on the influencer, as the content is less salesy. You can then work to make your new followers permanent fans and loyal customers.

Keep it on-brand

Only approach people who are aligned with your brand values. An off-brand influencer will likely be targeting the wrong audience. In our experience, we see that very small changes in the relevance of the target audience really swing the results of a campaign. It would be better to get a handful of people posting about your brand who are really relevant, rather than hundreds who are only slightly relevant. This is good for the influencer too, as it’s easier to visualise a post being relevant if the product reflects their values.

A cycling clothing brand would want to work with people in the cycling world who have large followings. The followers of this account are interested in cycling and would be likely to buy a cycling t-shirt.

Before you reach out, highlight the main themes your brand are built on – this could be a list, Pinterest board or mind map. When you’re researching people to reach out to, have this material in front of you and target people who are hyper-relevant.

Instagram provides one of the best opportunities for influencer marketing because it is so easy to find them. Enter one of your brand themes into the hashtag search and Instagram will return posts that have the most engagement.

#cycling shows all the recent posts which have the most engagement and you can always navigate to an influencer from this search.

Set yourself a goal of targeting 25 influencers in your first week of this marketing campaign. You might succeed in exchanging a post for a product between 10% and 50% of approaches – depending on how relevant your content is to their audience.


Youtube is another platform for influencer marketing which provides a huge opportunity. Video bloggers can reach millions of people in one single video. It helps to think of Youtube as the second biggest search engine after Google – the content stays around for a while, so your results may last longer if you’re working with vloggers. To find people to approach, search keywords relevant to your brand and look at the top channels – then approach the channel owner.

What are you going to send?

Make sure you write a personal email each time, you’re going for quality over quantity. Explain why your brand is relevant, make the terms of your exchange clear and pick the products that are the most relevant. Resist the temptation to send a whole collection, one or at max two of your best tees or tops will do. You can send a picture in your approach email and message too, to see if there’s an interest before you commit to sending a product. Keep it clear, friendly and simple. Tell them the story of your brand and the incredible story of your products.

Get them to tag you, use your hashtags and add a call to action that meets the aim of your project. This could be ‘grab yours now at’ or ‘give @yourbrand follow’. Or, if you’re targeting bloggers, make sure they include a link to your store, this will help to optimise your store for SEO.

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And remember, you don’t need to pay people to do your marketing, it’s as simple as offering them a tee or two.

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