Gordon Glenister breaks down how to select and work with influencers as a climate tech startup

In 2022, influencer marketing was a $16.4 billion industry and it’s due to 5x to reach $84.89 billion by 2028. This phenomenal growth is down to just how effective it is; influencer marketing content delivers 11X better ROI than traditional marketing tactics.

Why? 92% of consumers trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising.

So for climate tech startups that need to make every dollar count, quickly spread the message and attract clients, a carefully targeted ‘guerrilla’ influencer marketing approach could deliver more and cost less than a PR campaign.

Influencer marketing expert Gordon Glenister is the author of Influencer Marketing Strategy and a columnist on influencer marketing for the London Evening Standard.

He stumbled into the industry “by accident” – “I couldn’t find a book that explained influencer marketing, so I wrote one and started the UK influencer industry with my business partner.”

In this Green Techpreneur episode, he breaks down how to select and work with influencers as a climate tech startup.

How do you judge whether an influencer is a good match?

Look for shared values and engagement

What’s important to your business? Does that reflect well in the type of content that you’re seeing from that individual?

Another thing to look for is their level of engagement. How responsive are they to their followers? And are they good at creating a conversation and growing their audience?

Look into the relevance of their followers, where they’re coming from, it’s not about numbers, it’s about quality.

Are they working with your competitors?

The last thing you want to do is work with an influencer who’s working with all of your competitors day in day out. That’s not going to make you feel special within your own brand.

Ask for their media deck

The first thing you should do before engaging them is to ask for their media deck which is equivalent to a CV, you want to know how they’ve grown their audience, what their level of engagement is, what type of campaigns they’ve worked on before.

Focus on long-term collaboration

Understand what sort of success criteria you want, but also what the influencer wants. There’s a reason we use the word collaboration because that’s exactly what it is. It’s about actually joining at the hip because there are two things that an influencer wants: one is a reward for the work that they’ve done, and also anything that sustains and grows their audience. So look for how you can create and help them with exclusive content, opportunities to come to your events, or something where you could bring them onto a panel.

The more you brief the influencer and help them with understanding the markets in your area, the better. You wouldn’t hire a salesperson and say ‘off you go and do your best,’ you would properly brief them.

Don’t think transactional

Don’t think transactional, like ‘should I employ an influencer for one post?’ Think about the bigger picture and be creative and involve them. Think about ‘how can I help you? We’re a startup we don’t have huge amounts of money, but what I could do is I have this, I have that, and I have this’ and the influencer may say ‘wow, that’s super cool. I can do some really good things with that.’

How can you co-create an immersive experience?

Oxfam brought influencers to one of their big hub centres and showed them the entire back office system of what they do when clothes come in the recycling centre. They gave them a complete, ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience, and that got huge amounts of engagement on the influencers content and on Oxfam’s engagement as well.

“I believe in immersive content. If you’re talking about climate change, can you go somewhere together? Think about the impact you want from this. You can do some amazing things with influencers.”

What types of content campaigns benefit from using influencers?

  • Co-created content
  • Podcasts
  • Inviting the influencer onto your podcast
  • Sponsored posts and videos
  • Competitions and contests
  • Tik Tok has been great for challenges
  • Tutorials and reviews of your products/services can be really successful
  • Social media takeovers – hire an influencer to work with you on your social media campaign
  • Anything where there’s a sense of momentum, and it encourages others to get involved

How do I measure the success metrics of an influencer engagement?

Set your goals and objectives right at the start. Influencer marketing is not a silver bullet, sometimes people think, ‘I’m gonna work with this influencer and pennies are going to come down from heaven’. That’s not the case if their audience doesn’t know your brand, and that is why long-term partnerships can be a really effective way to engage with influencers.

What advice would you give to climate tech startups on growing their own audience?

Go for slow, consistent growth and authentic content

We engage with emotion, more than any other attributes. So you want your customers or your target prospects to really feel that that you give a damn about this.

Slow, consistent growth and relevance in your content is hard. Don’t get me wrong. It’s harder to build an Instagram following right now than it ever was before. But if you are consistent in your posting, if you use reels and video content, if you bring your authentic self to the channel so people can really feel, you’ll see growth.


Look at the content that works for your competitors

Deliver content based on what you know works, not what you think works. Before you accelerate your content plan for 2023, look at 10 of your competitors that are in a similar industry to you.
Look at their last 10 posts on whatever channel you want – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook – look at the type of content and note down what reaction they’re getting, put that into an Excel spreadsheet. Do that with 10 posts with 10 competitors and look at what is working best.

Who is your role model?

My biggest influence is Sir David Attenborough.

Articles are important, but in a multimedia world, podcasts, videos, photos, those are ways to really grab emotion and draw the audience in a bigger way. It’s those moments, those images, those metaphors that grab emotion that are going to create influence.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

Your brand is what people say about your business when you’re not in the room.

What do you do when it’s time to unwind after work?

Badminton is my passion when I get a moment and I enjoy having dinner with friends. I live close to 5 lakes which is a bird reserve, which is lovely to walk around on a lovely day. It’s so important to keep positive and do different things.

If you could teleport yourself into the future, and be anywhere, doing anything, where would you be and why?

When I was in my early 20s, somebody said I should be on stage. I love presenting but I’ve never worked in theatre or on a film and I’m getting closer and closer to that space now, so I think the future is going to be something in television or in film.

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