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Hey Sifted Reader, 

This week we’re asking how companies use influencers to persuade people to part with their cash: 

  • Global influencer marketing manager at Bolt Liisa Ennuste gives us her top tips on how to work with influencers
  • We look at ‘finfluencers’ — do they actually have any impact?
  • Rachael Corson, cofounder of Black hair care brand Afrocenchix tells us choosing the right influencer is vital

And, as ever, loads more. Enjoy!

 Amy and Anisah 🧡

\How to

Work with influencers

Liisa Ennuste is global influencer marketing manager at Estonian mobility unicorn Bolt, which started working with influencers way back in 2017. Before joining Bolt last year, she was a brand manager at Nike. Now she oversees Bolt’s 130+ ‘ambassadors’ in 20 markets around the world — and has figured out how to do so with minimal resources; she works in a two-person team.

Make your influencer marketing as scalable as possible. The Bolt Ambassador Programme is a long-term effort; we partner with most of these influencers for a long period of time. We use a tool called Modash to find and evaluate influencers in every market and get their contact details, then do outreach. Get solid benchmarks on costs, so you know when approaching an influencer what would be a fair cost of the collaboration for you — and them. You need to be able to estimate what you’d get from it in terms of reach and cost per impression — and figure out if it’s worth it. Once you have that overview, it’s much easier to compare influencer costs really fast. 

Create solid metrics and KPIs to manage performance. Make sure you can compare your influencer marketing activity to other marketing channels. You can’t look at it in isolation; you need to understand whether it’s the right source of growth for your company. Track and measure everything. Number of conversions is the key metric, then CPA (cost per acquisition), CPM (cost per impression), reach and ROI (return on investment). It’s not entirely accurate to compare to other channels, as influencers are talented creators (not just advertising channels) and so cost more, but you need to be able to make some kind of comparison to make a justified investment.

Figure out what’s the best platform for you. For us, Instagram is the best so far; in terms of conversion, it’s still performing super well. TikTok can be super lucky — we’ve seen some good results in terms of reach, but we’re still testing.

Use data to choose which influencers you work with. Look at their audience stats; for us, it’s very important that their audience is local and preferably based in big cities, because that’s where our customers are. We look at engagement rates, the quality of their content, how many partnerships they do with other brands. We want to see how much we’d stand out or whether there’s a promotion every day. Get insights from your local team, or from people who know the local influencer scene. Ask them to vet profiles and suggest other influencers. You need to make sure they're right for your brand and that your values are aligned.

Source ‘niche’ talent for specific campaigns. When the first round of restrictions eased in London, we did a small influencer campaign called ‘Bolt Holes’. We contacted different photography-driven travel and lifestyle influencers to share their favourite bolt holes in town, travel there and take pictures. We’re currently working with micro influencers in our African markets to talk about safety; it’s a very complex subject and we want to have this super authentic conversation with their followers. 


\A message from our sponsor Zendesk

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Zendesk is offering new startups with outside funding and fewer than 50 employees free access to their customer support software, training, onboarding and expert advice, as well as the chance to engage with their community of founders.

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\On the Subject of...


🏦 Digital banks for influencers. Being a professional TikTok can be more of a slog than you’d think — especially when it comes to getting paid. But now a squad of new fintechs, including UK-based XPO, have launched to help influencers get paid much more speedily. Sifted’s Isabel Woodford spoke to some influencers to find out why that’s such good news.

💰 Meet the ‘finfluencers’. Digital banks have jumped on the influencer bandwagon — but do fintech influencers actually have much… influence? Find out in this piece from the Sifted archives.

🎰 "It’s all down to the campaign". Rachael Corson, cofounder of Black hair care brand Afrocenchix, explained to Amy why it’s so important to carefully match influencers to campaigns. “If you treat influencers like slot machines, you’ll be sorely disappointed.”

🔗 Blockchain for influencers. Immediate payment, not needing to be too sales-y and control over personal brand are some of the reasons Gen-Z influencers want to market themselves on decentralised platforms (one from 2018).

💸 Influencer pay gap. Black influencers are paid less than their white counterparts — how can the industry ensure fair pay across the board?

\People Moves

Sustainable materials startup Spinnova has a new chief sustainability officer. The Finnish startup, which is currently gearing up for commercial production of its 100% biodegradable fibre, is promoting Shahriare Mahmood from his role as sustainability director.

Sarah Kocianski has left 11:FS. After three years at the fintech consultancy, where she presented the Fintech Insider podcast and headed up the research team, she’s joining Founders Factory.

Vidya Mani has joined Nuri as CTO. She joins the Berlin-based crypto bank (previously called Bitwala) from Silicon Valley-based fintech Ripple.

Got any people intel you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear it... 😉 

\Smart Reads

1) Is the future really all about the metaverse? Games company Niantic doesn’t think so. They’re betting on a world where technology is a part of our world — not a replacement for it. 

2) Business and design books by non-white males. VP design and innovation at Ad Council Ariba Jahan’s call out on Twitter has had some great replies.

3) Do your people feel psychologically safe? Team effectiveness is highly dependent on how safe people feel at work. But how do you measure something that feels so intangible? 

4) Two years in the life of a CEO. Sam Corcos of healthtech startup Levels opens up about what his role actually entails — including a bucketload of graphs illustrating his use of time. 

5) Save the world. Workplaces can make radical choices to stop global destruction — we need to organise from within to make this a reality. 

Read something you think everyone else should too? Send it on over to Anisah.

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Does your company have multiple Instagram accounts? 

Amy Lewin
Deputy Editor

Get in touch with her at
She loves a bit of reader feedback.
Anisah Osman Britton
Founder at 23 Code Street

Get in touch with her at
She loves to hear about the latest in startupland.
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