You’ve established the core elements of your business: you’ve created a website, developed your brand identity and have a strong social media presence. Now, you’re ready to watch the world benefit from the products and services you offer - which means you’ve got to have a killer marketing strategy.
While there are many ways to promote your brand successfully, implementing an influencer marketing campaign is a savvy idea - especially in this digital era. Influencer marketing is the act of harnessing the power of individuals with a large social media presence to recommend products or services and sway the opinions of their followers. It’s like the word of mouth of the digital media world - and it’s a super effective marketing tool for business owners and entrepreneurs at any stage of their development.
What most business owners might be surprised to find out about influencer marketing, is that when it comes to choosing influencers as ambassadors to your brand, bigger isn’t always better.
Enter: micro influencers.
These days, the heroes of the influencer marketing world are a specific group known as micro influencers. Micro influencer marketing is proving to be just as successful, if not more successful, than big-time celebrity influencer campaigns.
So, what are micro influencers and why should you use them to promote your business? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about micro influencers and how they can be a macro asset to your brand.
What is a micro influencer?
Micro influencers are individuals who have a slightly above average following on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter - we’re talking in the 1,000-10,000 followers range. Although the numerical definition varies among experts, the important thing to understand is that micro influencers are exceptionally valuable because of their knowledge, passion and authenticity. They have their finger on the pulse of what's trending in their respective industries, and their audience in the palm of their hand.
Why use micro influencers?
A micro influencer can make a powerful impact on their target market because they’re considered bonafide experts in their field. But here’s an obvious question: why use someone with a smaller social media following to promote your brand? Well, it turns out that when it comes to social media marketing, being too popular is not always the best asset.
Because micro influencers connect with a tight-knit fanbase - compared to the large followings of macro influencers and celebrities - they can associate with their audience on a deeper level by engaging more frequently with personalized and authentic content.
Here are a few more reasons why micro influencer marketing could be a successful strategy for your brand:
In contrast to their celebrity counterparts, micro influencers spend copious amounts of time gaining trusted followers who are in love with their content and expertise. They’ve already done the majority of the work when it comes to targeting audiences. So, whether their area of expertise is food, travel, art, sports, etc., you can be sure that a micro influencer’s audience already has a special interest in their field - a luxury that is not guaranteed when working with macro influencers.
Social media users treasure frequent interactions with influencers. Since a micro influencer’s audience is manageable, the level of engagement with their following is high. And engagement is gold when it comes to measuring social media marketing performance.
In one case, individuals with 1,000 followers generated 85% higher engagement than those with 100,000 followers. An influencer who engages with their audience by commenting, liking, and sharing content will appear more available than macro influencers without sacrificing their authoritative essence. As a result, micro influencers will have more trusted relationships with their followers, which means that they (ergo, you) will receive some recognition in return.
Micro influencers are everyday people - and you relate to everyday people way more than you relate to celebrity influencers like the Kardashians, right? Since micro influencers build their audience one-by-one and harness loyal relationships with their audience, followers tend to think of themselves as peers rather than fans.
This means a lot when it comes to the psychology of the consumer and conversion rates. When making purchases, most people will be more impacted by the recommendations or social media content of friends and family, rather than celebrity influencer content. By exhibiting genuine qualities and humanizing the brands they promote, micro influencers are seen as authentic users in the eyes of the public.
It goes without saying that choosing to work with a micro influencer is a more affordable decision than using a celebrity macro influencer to promote your business on social media. Most micro influencers will work in exchange for free products or services, while others charge a fee. However, it will be a fraction of the cost of celebrity endorsements.
How to discover the right micro influencers for your business
Unearthing the right micro influencers to work with takes time and effort, but it can be fun and enlightening research to do as a business owner. Most businesses tend to find influencers on their own by browsing through their own social media channels. For example, you can check out our list of up and coming influencers who are paving the way in various industries and niches. Here are some strategic factors to keep in mind when looking for the right micro influencer superstars for your business:
Similar target audience
Defining your target audience is the foundation of good marketing. Do your market research and take the time to define the details of your ideal audience, such as age, location, gender, occupation, spending habits and interests. After you’ve done that, you can look for micro influencers who share a common target market so that your message will reach the right people.
The right social platforms
Micro influencers run the gamut of the social media world, concentrated on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and more. Get to know these social platforms and think about which is the best fit for promoting your business. Whether you’re promoting a product, restaurant, blog, or service, try to imagine where your content will look the best, make the biggest impact, and where you can find your target audience.
When you’ve decided which target audience you are going for, and where you’d like to be promoted, you’ll start looking for micro influencers whose content marketing style and vision aligns with your own. Be picky and choose micro influencers who use attractive visuals, captivating language, and are overall entertaining and informative.
Followers are the new social currency. When you work with micro influencers, you are opting for users with a “modest” following, but do make sure the individuals you consider have at least 1,000 followers. The more followers your influencers have, the more traffic they will bring you.
This can’t be emphasized enough: engaged influencers are the best influencers! Get a hold of micro influencers who interact with their audience on a regular basis. This means lots of views, likes, comments, and shares - especially from the audiences that you are attempting to reach.
Keep it real
Pro tip: beware of fakes! Your selection process should be rigorous and weed out faux micro influencers by looking out for things like bogus metrics and followers gained “overnight.”
Third party tools
Third party search tools like Heepsy, Buzz Sumo, or Klear can automatically match you with micro influencers who have the right potential to promote your brand. If you’re low on time and don’t have a marketing manager who can take these steps for you, these tools are the perfect option for discovering relevant micro influencers.
Working with micro influencers
You’ve done your research, and now you have a wish list of micro influencers who you’d like to work with. How do you start working together from here?
Reaching out to potential micro influencers
Reach out to the individuals on your list one-by-one and inquire about their interest in working with you. Propose a plan that makes sense for both of you in terms of goals, content and compensation. Some micro influencers might post about your brand in exchange for free services or products (a word of advice: never ask a micro influencer to pay for the products they are promoting), while others will expect to be compensated monetarily for their work.
Setting goals together
Set goals for your collaboration together. Are you looking to increase sales? Do you want to bring more traffic to your blog? Perhaps you want to gain followers on your own Instagram account or more subscribers to your YouTube channel? Whatever your marketing goals are, make sure your micro influencer is on the same page. This way, they can adjust their content and calls-to-action accordingly, and you both can clearly discuss the progress of your campaigns.
When it comes to content, let micro influencers “do their thing.” Keep in mind that micro influencers truly love and believe in the products that they promote. On top of all that, they are experts in their field and know how to create smart and original content. The wisest move is to give micro influencers creative freedom to tell the story of your brand in a language their audience trusts and understands.
Developing long-term relationships
It’s important to have a transparent relationship and clear line of communication with the micro influencers you work with. Create a working contract that establishes expectations before you begin. As your work relationship develops, give honest feedback and discuss your progress together so the two of you are in sync.
Pro tip: don’t let your relationship stop behind-the-scenes. Engage with your micro influencer online by commenting on their posts, answering questions of users, and “liking” their content.
Examples of brands using micro influencers successfully
Here are some examples of brands who are using micro influencers and successfully implementing them into their marketing strategies:
Audible audiobook brand teamed up with micro influencers on Instagram and YouTube in order to increase sign ups to their site. Using influencers from a variety of backgrounds, the focus of their campaigns is to show off how diverse audiences can enjoy and benefit from Audible’s services.
Micro influencer Dan Rodo, known for his “on-the-go” lifestyle and creative content, joined Audible’s micro influencer team by posting a fantastic image of him cleaning his home while listening to a book on Audible. The post received close to 1,000 engagements and naturally integrated the brand’s convenient features into Rodo's lifestyle and creative content while satisfying a target audience.
Over the past few years, the classic soda brand has teamed up with travel and food influencers to create fresh content for social media. In addition to sponsored ads, Coca Cola used hashtags like #CokeAmbassador to promote the brand in areas where it is less popular. Each “ambassador” posted images of themselves with Coke and created an authentic narrative surrounding the signature drink.
Sporting apparel company Under Armour joined up with inspiring health and wellness micro influencers to create content on Instagram’s IGTV. During the Covid-19 lockdown, they produced a campaign titled “Healthy At Home” in order to provide followers with workout resources and support during isolation. This campaign worked because the influencers collaborating with Under Armour were already fitness gurus - and it’s no wonder their audiences loved seeing what they were doing to stay in shape while remaining home alone.
Cosmetic brand LUSH makes organic micro influencers out of existing customers by reposting their content throughout the company’s social media channels, using the hashtag #FirstLookLushies.
LUSH community manager, Sabine Schwirtz emphasizes the impact of encouraging real influencers in the beauty and makeup sector who truly love their products. “The influencers we work with are posting something because they actually love something. I think our audiences can see the difference.” says Schwirtz. This LUSH campaign is a good example of using a loyal client’s social media real estate for marketing leverage.