Brand influencer probably isn’t a term you would use to describe Santa Claus, but he was one of the first characters used to endorse a product back in Coca Cola’s 1932 advertisements. Looking back, fictional endorsement encouraged the advent of celebrity endorsement and paved the way for influencers when social media marketing took off.
Today, 93% of marketers invest in influencer marketing, and 9 out of 10 believe it works. But, as it has for the last several decades, the format is evolving. Where influencer personas with larger followings have long reigned supreme, micro-influencers are taking over the scene.
Greater change has spurred from the 2020 global pandemic as consumers flock to new top influencers, coined lockdown micro-influencers, with a heavier focus on at-home activities like exercise, cooking, and education.
As with all marketing trends and strategies, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve so you don’t get left behind.
What Is a Micro-Influencer?
A micro-influencer is a person with 1,000 to 100,000 followers on social media. Compared to larger influencers, micro-influencers have a more specialized niche, and as a result, a greater connection with an audience that values their expertise. Their audience is also more easily defined and categorized.
And influencers, though people, are essentially a lifestyle brand. But because they’re still seen as individuals by the public, they’re more personable and trustworthy than a business – say your business. Audiences are more likely to hear them out, care about what they have to say, and act on it. Oftentimes, followers aspire to be like an influencer or use them for inspiration. This creates a great opportunity for brands to share their offerings with eager viewers.
Micro-influencers take these pros of influencer marketing and heightens the impact. As the industry continues to embrace micro-influencers, we continue to find that vanity metrics, like follower count, really aren’t the be-all and end-all.
The Benefits of Going Micro
If you’ve decided that influencer marketing is right for your business, micro-influencers could be a great choice for you. This is especially true if you run a small business, have a limited budget, or straight up like effective strategies. Here are a few killer benefits to going micro:
Niche Is the Name of the Game
Sure, micro-influencers have a smaller following, but it’s because they’ve targeted a niche with focused content or expertise in a specific area – hence the nickname niche influencers. And their audience, though smaller, is more dedicated and open to your message. This niche focus also makes it easier to find an influencer that aligns with your brand.
The bigger you get, the more popularity you absorb and emit, the harder it is to maintain your realness or authenticity. Followers see this, and it’s another reason why smaller influencers remain an authentic hit. They also partake in 22.2 times more conversations than others on average. They’re able to provide their audience with a personal experience that fosters trust – in them and your brand.
Cost-Effective Engagement and ROI
Studies show that the more followers an influencer has, the lower their engagement rate is. In fact, those with 1k to 4k followers have higher engagement rates around 4.5%, but once they reach more than 100k, the average engagement rate falls to 1.7%. This can be due to a combination of factors, but ultimately, higher engagement rates make for a more attentive, interactive, and conversion-ready target audience.
Not only does a smaller influencer’s audience equate to better engagement and ROI, but they’re cheaper to reach. Of the micro-influencers on Instagram, 97% charge less than $500 per post, and 84% charge under $250 per post.
How to Choose a Micro-Influencer for Your Business
Of the hundreds of thousands of influencers out there, finding one – let alone the right one for your business – can be overwhelming. It’s crucial that you partner with a micro-influencer that fits your brand message for the sake of your reputation and the success of influencer campaigns.
Discovering Your Options
Fortunately, influencers want to be found – it’s literally in the job description.
A great place to start when looking for options is to search social media hashtags related to your brand and see who ranks in the top-performing posts. People posting about topics and themes similar to your product or service are more likely to fit your brand and have an interest in working with you.
If you’re looking to find someone quickly, looking through your own followers is another great option for finding accounts that are already familiar with and interested in your business.
Still need to lengthen your list of choices before choosing? A simple Google search will bring up lists and databases of influencers that fit your needs. You can also hire an influencer marketing agency to help you throughout the entire process, but this option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Picking the Right Micro-Influencers
Once you have a solid list of micro-influencers to consider, you can start narrowing it down to those that best suit your brand and goals. Important factors to consider before making a decision include:
- Posting consistency
- Tone of voice
- Target audience fit
- Brand fit
Best Practices for Working With Micro-Influencers
When working with micro-influencers, you’ve brought an additional member to your team. It’s the beginning of a partnership that can become more valuable with time if nurtured right. Following certain best practices will help you to get the most out of your relationship and influencer marketing efforts.
The Process of Connecting With Influencers
Like any partnership, your relationship with a micro-influencer is one to build with care and purpose. As such, it’s considered best practice to start developing that relationship before you ask them to help promote your business.
Start by following their pages, engaging with their posts and conversing with them where they’re at. Only then should you reach out to them in regards to collaborating. You’ll have a greater chance of success if you email them directly instead of messaging them through social platforms. There are a host of influencer contact information collection tools available that can help you.
Decide on Compensation
It’s good practice to have an idea of how you would like to compensate your micro-influencers. You can, of course, pay with cash on a per post basis. Other options include sending them free products or offering discount codes to them and their followers. Which you choose to do will depend on your goals, budget and what the influencer requires.
Don’t Be a Control Freak
While it’s vital that influencers commit to posting what they promised, you should stray away from controlling the content of the post other than what it’s selling. You can give recommendations, but as long as the influencer you chose matches your brand, it’s best to give them creative control. Authenticity matters and their followers follow them for a reason.
Do Get Creative
About 93% of consumers reference user-generated content (UGC) when making their purchasing decisions, emphasizing the potential of working with micro-influencers. While standard influencer marketing utilizes UGC that’s shareable to your account and takes a product placement approach, you can get as creative as you’d like with your influencer tactics. Other ideas include:
- Platform Takeovers
- Contests or Challenges
- Guest Blog Writing
You can also search through your current UGC to find influencers for your brand. If investing in UGC, read our guide on how to make the most of it.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Influencer marketing is far from new, and some even thought it was on the decline, but with the advent of COVID-19, more people are turning online and following influencers than ever before. As users stay online and niche influencers gain relevance, brands are taking advantage of the chance to reach new audiences with a greater impact at an affordable rate. If you do decide to take your digital marketing to the next level with micro-influencers, make sure that you align your strategy with your goals and always reevaluate and adjust to continually improve results.