Using Micro-Influencers in 2018 [4-Step Guide]
As social media becomes more intrinsic to marketing, so too has it brought around new ways to attract, reach and influence an increasingly wide customer base. And micro-influencers are making things much easier.
Landing a celebrity to wear or promote your product was once the PR scoop of the century. Now the rising profiles of social media influencers have made reaching wider audiences that much more accessible.
But as bloggers and vloggers have risen in number and following, including them as part of our marketing strategies has become the norm. They’ve started to become celebrities in their own right. With the ability to demand more money for their influence and time.
So, as a small business, how are you going to get your foot on the influencer ladder?
This is where micro-influencers come in.
Micro-influencers are celebrities in their own right, but with a significantly lower number of following. Micro-influencers are those with followers between 5,000 and 25,000. This is as opposed to macro-influencers who have 25,000 to 100,000 followers, and top influencers with more than 100,000 followers.
Flipping the Funnel: Micro-Influencers as the Next Gen Influencer
But do micro-influencers work as well as their counterparts with a larger following?
The short answer is definitely.
The long answer has a lot to do with how consumers are becoming increasingly savvy to traditional marketing tactics.
Usually, it would make sense that the more leads you generate, the more sales you will gain. By targeting macro-influencers, you are marketing directly to their large followings, presenting you with a large number of leads to potentially convert further down the line, or, further down the funnel.
However, marketing isn’t just a numbers game.
Although macro-influencers do have a lot of followers, which may see your brand, the likelihood of them actually engaging with it is relatively low. Influencers, like Kim Kardashian, with more than 10M have a rate of 1.6 percent interaction with their posts, which continues to drop as the follower count rises.
This is because consumers know that these celebrities only engage with these brands due to paid sponsorship, and as such, are less likely to trust their recommendations.
With micro-influencers, this funnel is flipped.
Micro-influencers have a small but highly-engaged, targeted following (top of the funnel). Their followers often relate to them, and their lifestyle, on a personal level — rather than just an aspirational one. Making their followers much more likely to not only engage with their posts on a regular basis, but actually follow their recommendations through to purchasing.
In fact, 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow a recommendation by a micro-influencer. Micro-influencer campaigns also have 60% higher campaign engagement rates than those with much larger followings.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
It’s not the size that counts, but how you use what you’ve got.
- Higher Engagement – As opposed to the 1.6% engagement rate of influencers with 10 million followers, micro-influencers have an average engagement rate per post of 8%. This higher engagement is extremely valuable across social media, especially if you want to convert a lead into a buying customer.
- Cost-Effective – Surveys show that those with 2,000 to 100,000 followers charge between £98.35 and £185.21 per post, but that number goes up as soon as they hit 100,000 followers (almost £287.14 per post). This is as opposed to £107,676.06 to £179,459.63 of much bigger accounts.
- Reach a Niche Demographic – Micro-influencers are more likely to attract and engage with a niche audience. They then get a following who is genuinely interested in the content they post, rather than voyeuristic followings of celebrities.
- Authenticity – Because of this, micro-influencers come across as more authentic. They appear to believe in the products they’ve got, and integrate them into their lifestyle for utility rather than money — resulting in much higher rates of conversion.
Actionable Strategies to Start Working with Micro-Influencers
Given the power they have to push your brand in front of a more qualified audience, micro-influencers are a valuable addition to your campaigns. Although trends come and go in this industry, we mean it when we say 2018 is the year of the micro-influencer.
If starting to work with micro-influencers sounds overwhelming, here are some actionable strategies to get you started.
Turn Customers into Advocates
One of the key things that drives the success of micro-influencers, and something we’ve already briefly mentioned, is their authenticity. It makes sense then, that the most effective types of influencers are those who are existing fans of your brand. Their followers are already aware of their love for your products.The most effective types of influencers are those who are existing fans of your brand. Click To Tweet
These types of micro-influencers will be even more influential as their content will be just like the rest of your everyday customers, meaning their content — and your products — are especially relatable.
A study conducted by Olapic that found that 56% of respondents were more likely to purchase products after they’ve seen them featured in a relatable or positive photo from other customers.
Brands like Glossier, and Australian online retailer Billy Sixes, have managed to successfully promote their brands by turning everyday customers into valuable brand reps. And in the case of Billy Sixes, simply by studying their Instagram followers, identifying those with the right number of followers (15,000), and reaching out to them for photo shoots — one campaign reached an audience of 200,000 purely from influencer posts.
Even better is that it’s likely you won’t have to put in a huge amount of effort to convince them to become an advocate either.
Other strategies to find influencers include:
- Use Hashtags – Hashtags are a really valuable tool to find influencers who are operating within your target demographic and industry. You can use these on sites like Instagram and Twitter to access pools of potential influencers. And the more specific to your brand you get with your hashtags, the better.
- Automate It – Tools like BuzzSumo or Klear can help cut the time looking for influencers and provide you with a ready-made list.
Have Micro-Influencers Tell a Story
If you really want to get noticed on people’s social media streams, a simple product photo ain’t gunna cut it. If you want people to really engage with and become aware of your brand, and by that we mean go out of their way to notice your product and research your brand, your influencer needs to create a strong story around your brand and product.
A unique story, told as part of your influencer’s ongoing narrative, will reach and resonate with far more people. Whether it is a review of their experiences using your product or service, or a personal story sharing how your product has alleviated a pain point — the more personal a story is, the more believable it becomes.
Foster Long-Term Relationships
Creating ongoing campaigns, in which you return to the same influencers, builds up trust in your brand in both your influencer and your customers. What this means, is that your influencer is more likely to promote you above other brands. And their followers begin to build up trust and positive associations with your product — converting them into repeat customers.
Keep in touch with your influencers and they could open up even more opportunities for you in the future.
Have a Multi-Channel Approach
Take, for example, Rinck Advertising’s campaign for Daily Cocktail and Wholly Guacamole. They reached out to bloggers who have a strong Twitter and Facebook following, and whose blogs contextually fit their campaign.
When these bloggers published new content, they promoted it on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Some even provided blog giveaways. That is a lot of exposure for a couple of brands investing in the right bloggers. This campaign eventually resulted in Daily Cocktail and Wholly Guacamole reaching millions of people.
Since micro-influencers promote their own brands, partnering with them means your brand can benefit from their following on various platforms.
Allow for Organic Content
We understand that your brand image is precious, but it is important that you don’t micromanage your influencer’s content. As the more authentic their content is to their own voice, the more relatable, and believable it appears.
Give your influencer’s guidelines, but try not to restrict them in how they promote you.
E.L.F cosmetics have had a great track record in successfully utilising micro-influencers to grow their audience. And they’ve done so, largely, by letting the influencers they use create their own content.
Last year, E.l.f. Cosmetics brought 50 beauty bloggers — all of whom had an average of 1,500 followers — to San Francisco and allowed them to pick new products. These individual influencers then created and disseminated unique content across their channels. Doing so drove the brand’s ethos of authenticity forward — alongside a 25% increase in Instagram followers.
The Early Brand Gets the Best Influencer
Audiences are becoming increasingly skeptical of social media marketing. Micro-influencers are an effective way to harness the power of social channels. All without damaging your brand reputation, or sinking your resources.
Micro-influencers can provide you with better results. However, setting up and running a micro influencer campaign does usually require more time and effort on your part. For sustainable results, you should work with multiple influencers at one time. Just ensure that you keep a focus on detailed metrics to track your KPIs.For sustainable results, you should work with multiple influencers at one time. Click To Tweet
Micro-influencer marketing is quickly going to become the worst kept secret of the marketing industry. You want to get a head start on those early leads? Get searching before your competitors snatch them up.