How to recruit your brands super-fans organically for your startup

There’s no denying that high-profile influencer marketing, when executed well, can drive a mass of traffic and word of mouth hype. But now thanks to ASA laws, influencers now have to be transparent when working with brands on these campaigns, which can leave customers feeling unsure as to whether an influencer is being authentic. As a result, a brand's reputation can take a massive hit. 

Thankfully, there’s a way to get the benefits of an influencer campaign, at a fraction of the cost and risk for startups (promise!). While many larger brands have been competing for the well-known household influencers, they’ve often been overlooking their most cost-effective creators and super fans.

Some of your most highly engaged consumers are right under your nose, all you need to do is find them. This might sound like a lot of work especially in the early stages of your startup, but fortunately cutting-edge community technology is on hand to make this job a cinch.  

Who are your super fans?

Initially it may seem daunting and unclear as to who your startup's super fans may be. Not to mention why these influencers / enthusiastic creators would willingly work with you to promote your brand for what seems like a small return. It’s easy to view influencers as people who are only willing to be seen with your brand if the price is right. The key to harnessing the power of micro influencers or super fans is by knowing and selecting the right influencer for you and your brand / startup.

If you can find people who already have an existing positive relationship with your brand, they are more inclined to be inspired to work for you and create an authentic response with your customers that is likely to leave a positive impact on them. Research shows that more than 50% of consumers want a brand to tell them what type of content to create and share (Merkley & Partners).

And if you identify the right fans, your most engaged creators will happily produce user-generated content for you organically, reviewing and showcasing your startup in an authentic way. Research from Nielsen shows that 92% of consumers trust earned media more than traditional media. So, what’s stopping you from getting started?

Once appropriate super fans have been found that resonate with your startup, many larger brands already have separate, integrated brand communities up and running in order to engage them. Marketing trends show that brands using community marketing believe that this style of marketing is making a huge difference to their bottom line, with 80% of marketers indicating that building brand communities has increased traffic (Hubspot).

What’s more, once a community of creators has been established, many marketers find that this kind of community flourishes with very little intervention. To hit this magic sweet spot, community technology is key, but don’t worry it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

How to identify them through community technology

Your startups super-fans are often right underneath the nose of your marketing team - they just need to be discovered using purpose-built tools. These are organic advocates who are posting about you using your hashtags, @ mentions, tags and don’t necessarily have to be 'insta-famous'.

Rather than relying on consumers finding and using third party apps such as Facebook, cutting edge community technology allows brands to tap into the rich pool of super fans content that is naturally occurring on their own hashtags and @ mentions. Brands can use smart AI technology to identify micro influencers and enthusiastic creators by checking in regularly and seeking out those who are posting positive sentiments and meaningful statements about your startup that resonate with your brand message. Once found, the seamless interface allows brands to easily invite them into an exclusive community experience, where you can establish and nurture partnerships to get great content and drive conversions.

When it comes to approaching your super fans you’ll often find that because they already love your brand, they can be motivated to create without money, leading to a more sustainable and meaningful partnership long term.

Most community platforms encourage community members to sign-up, therefore nominating themselves. But the more organic and authentic way to do this is to leave it to the brand to select individuals based on what they are posting organically. This is proof they are true advocates.

So what’s stopping you from getting started and recruiting those all-important super fans for your startup?!