Influencer marketing is one of the most prominent digital strategies of today. It is estimated that 57% of marketers have dedicated budgets for fueling this activity and many others are likely to awaken to its potential soon.
And no, this is not just another fad, but a proven, highly-effective method for setting your brand apart. Some of the leading corporations of today, such as Adidas, use it to cut through the online noise and build trust. They are well-aware that micro-influencers have a profound impact on the digital marketing landscape, as they serve a trusted sources of information and opinion benchmarks.
They are also more approachable and relatable than influencers with millions of followers. Hence, they profoundly impact consumer purchase decisions and online behavior. Even small businesses stand a chance to disrupt big players and make big waves with their help.
Quality over quantity
The first question that arises is who are micro-influencers exactly?
This term is interpreted somewhat freely and depending on who you ask, it involves different follower numbers. We are going to refer to micro-influencers as distinguished online personas with anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on social media. Those beyond the upper threshold belong to the realm of macro-influencers. Now, you might be wondering why to limit yourself to cooperate only with the first category.
Well, micro-influencers’ strength does not lie in numbers and reach, but quality of relationships that they foster with their niche audience. They also tend to be experts with deep roots in their local ecosystems. They are in touch with some of the biggest names in branding design and other reputable business organizations, which gives them an additional edge in terms of impact.
Engagement wins the day
So, the main reason to opt for micro-influencers is the high engagement rates they enjoy. Influencers that attract larger cohorts struggle to match such figures. The outcomes of micro-influencer-driven campaigns also exceed what you can achieve with other marketing channels. The good news as well is that micro-influencers are a more cost-effective channel than macro-influencers— they simply charge less.
But, what do you get for your money? Well, let us say that 67% of micro-influencers share direct product recommendations and influence consumer behavior through them. They capitalize on the first-hand knowledge on products and access to special promotions and offers. And believe it or not, 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase as a result of an influencer’s recommendation.
That is why paying a few hundreds of dollars for a sponsored Instagram post from an influencer makes financial sense for online brands. A sponsored blog posts can cost significantly more, up to $1,000, but if you think that is too much, think twice. It too can pay off multiple times over! By connecting with micro-influencers, you can basically skip the tedious stage of building your own audience base from scratch, piece-by-piece.
You are able to make a big impact on the bottom line and bring in clients relying on those who already have an established reputation.
The search process
Brands may choose to focus on individuals capable of delivering the best results at lower costs. But, there is more to it. Namely, you should try to find micro-influencers with whom you will be able to build organic, long-term relationships. Or to put it in other words: the key to unlocking the full potential of micro-influencer marketing is to find people with followers who are actually interested in what you have to say and offer.
Things can get a bit tricky in practice because the right micro-influencers are harder to pinpoint than more popular online personas. You can start the search by defining key characteristics you want micro-influencers to have: location, profession, number of followers, and engagement rates. The latter indicator, as we already pointed out, is your guiding light. It is measured in social signals— likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc.
Beyond that, seek authentic thought leaders in their respective niches that will be able to tell a story about your product/service. There might be some influencers who are already fans of your brand and your product/services. You can find them by monitoring social media conversations about your brands. Setting alerts for mentions is a smart trick to utilize, although you can also perform branded keyword and hashtag searches.
Making it work
Once you find micro-influencers, you need to reach them out via email and other tools. This process can also be time-consuming and tedious….unless you employ automation tools. They take the efficiency to the next level and allow you to get in touch with way more influencers. Just do not lose a human touch in the process.
Also, make it clear what you want: a one-off promotional boost or collaboration on campaign in the long run. It is usually a good idea to opt for the latter and gain consistent and recurrent brand exposure. Once that is sorted out, there is one last step: to entice micro-influencers to promote your brand.
There are many ways to go about this, but usually, brands start following influencers and showing appreciation for their content. Then, they send free products and invite them to share their personal opinion. Ideally, their products solve a particular problem or address a pain point for an influencer. He or she is ready to assume an important role in forwarding the branding goals and marketing campaigns.
To make it happen, refrain from blatantly bombarding people with sales pitches. Add value to people’s lives before asking them for anything. That is the way to convert them into your brand ambassadors. So, do not cut corner and stay true to who you are. You should be able to achieve better brand visibility and awareness in a highly crowded online world.
Micro-influencers are winning over consumers far and wide. They can be found in virtually any sector and most of them are eager to work with the brand. There is still a great deal of untapped potential in this area, so you might want to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. Put together a micro-influencer strategy for success in 2018 and beyond.
Nurture genuine mutually-beneficial relationships with those who are able to connect with your values and mission. Leverage their strong bonds with followers and prioritize engagement rates instead of the total number of followers. That way, you effectively increase campaign ROI while lowering total marketing spend at the same time.
It is time to tell your compelling story and unfold the self-fulfilling prophecy of success.