Social media has changed the way many brands are marketing their business. Audience likes and comments have become the benchmarks that measure the success of a campaign, but trust is established through the relationships that brands have with industry influencers. Although many people assume that those with millions of followers are most influential, research is showing that micro-influencers are actually able to connect with their audience on a deeper level while generating greater engagement.
A micro-influencer is a person on social media who has between 10,000 and 500,000 followers. However, the New York Times has found that the “sweet spot” is no more than 30,000 followers, which are the most beneficial for marketers. The number of followers is not the only criteria, though. Success depends largely upon how engaged that audience is. You have far more impact from an account with 15,000 engaged followers than one with 30,000 inactive ones.
Followers of micro-influencers are typically in a very specific niche. They are deeply connected to them, seeking their advice and recommendations. Therefore, someone who has a loyal, active following could be very valuable for brand marketers who are targeting a specific audience. Each follower represents a real customer. This means that utilizing these influencers is the closest brands can get to word-of-mouth marketing.
Why Partner with Micro-Influencers?
There is a great deal of data that supports the power that micro-influencers have and how brands can benefit from working with them. According to one study by HelloSociety, they can increase a campaign’s engagement rates by as much as 60%.
Instagram is one of the most powerful channels for influencer marketing, and studies show that micro-influencers drive the best results on this platform. People with between 10,000 and 100,000 Instagram followers see 50% more engagement than those with more than 1 million followers. What’s more, they have 22.2x more conversions than the average Instagram user.
Social media is unlike any other marketing tool ever presented. It allows people who have never met in “real life” to feel connected. Incorporating influencers into your marketing strategy allows you to tap into that relationship. It designates one person with a trusting, engaged following to serve as an ambassador for your brand. This person tells 30,000 of their online “friends” about your product, and now they all want to know more about your brand.
Micro-influencers have a compelling way of drawing shoppers to a brand. One study found that 82% of people are “highly likely” to follow a recommendation that was made by one. Therefore, partnering with them is a smart move for brands that want maximum impact.
Key Strategies for Working with Micro-Influencers
1. Overlook Vanity Metrics
It is very important to understand that not every person who has thousands of followers is an influencer. Vanity metrics – like social media followers, likes, page views and subscribers – are those that don’t have a direct impact on your bottom line. When you are searching for a brand partner, look beyond these particular metrics. They can be misleading, and do not provide a clear picture of their effectiveness. While the number of followers may be an indication of their potential, don’t stop there – dig deeper.
Look at the engagement on their profile. Analyze the likes, comments, and shares on their posts. Pay close attention to their original posts, including video and photos. Is there engagement, and if so, how much? Are they responsive? You want to see activity, interaction, and relationship between the influencer and their followers because that is what will be transferred to your brand.
2. Check their Relevance
Relevance is another important attribute that you want to look for when selecting a partner. Do you share the same audience? Look for similar traits and interests among your followers and theirs. You want their audience to fit your target demographic unless you are reaching out to a new audience. A good influencer can help you expand your reach in new directions.
You can also evaluate other partnerships they may have. What are the products, services, and brands that they are mentioning or that they have worked with in the past? This will give you an idea of whether your brand aligns with their focus area.
Social media discussions will also give you insight into whether or not they would be a good fit. Browse their page, going back several months (at least) if you can. How do they interact with their followers and fans? What kind of discussions are they having? How much interaction is there between the influencer and the followers? Ideally, you want to see that they are interacting with their followers in a positive manner – indicating high engagement.
3. Establish a Connection
Once you have identified micro-influencers that you would like to work with, you need to establish a connection. Avoid diving right into a conversation about a collaboration. Instead, start building a relationship with them. Once you have a bit of a rapport, you can start that discussion. Just make sure you lay the groundwork by following them on their social media channels and being active on their blogs.
Like their posts and leave thoughtful comments to demonstrate your interest in their content. Once the influencer responds to you, be sure to provide a prompt response. The key is to build a relationship before you introduce the partnership.
4. Allow Creative Freedom
Once you have solidified the partnership, it’s important to give the influencer freedom to create engaging content. It’s a good idea to brainstorm and collaborate ideas to be sure your brand is represented properly, but avoid micromanaging. Your brand partner knows what content will best resonate with their audience and spark engagement. Content that is not authentic can drive followers away, leading to an unsuccessful brand campaign.
Micro-influencers are a growing force in influencer marketing, and brands can leverage them to attract shoppers and drive engagement. Relationship is a major component of all sales, and these influencers have already built trust with your ideal audience – which can then be transferred to your brand. Applying these strategies will lead to more engagement on your brand’s social media channels, as well as increased site traffic, conversion rates and overall success in your marketing strategy.