Influencer marketing is increasingly popular, but well-known influencers can be both costly and ineffective for certain brands. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are an effective way for businesses to connect with new audiences.
But what are micro-influencers and how can you leverage them? Partnering with micro-influencers can feel overwhelming. Before you craft your influencer marketing plan, review this guide to leveraging micro-influencers to benefit your brand.
What are micro-influencers?
Before digging into micro-influencers, you might be wondering what exactly an influencer is. Unless you spend a lot of time perusing social media channels, you might not be familiar with this marketing trend.
Influencer marketing is an offshoot of affiliate or referral marketing. An influencer is someone with a solid social media following who shares products or services they use to drive business for their favorite brands. Common influencers include celebrities or high-profile socialites. The number of followers an influencer has will determine what type of influencer they are.
There are five different types of influencers:
- Mega-influencers, or celebrities
- Mid-tier influencers
Micro-influencers are influencers who have anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 followers on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, though the numbers may be higher for some. They have highly dedicated followers who genuinely look to them for insight into the best products or services in an industry.
With micro-influencers, quality is more important than quantity. While influencers may have a significant number of followers, you want to work with micro-influencers who produce results for your company.
How you can leverage micro-influencers in your marketing campaigns
As with affiliate marketing, you can use micro-influencers to enhance your marketing campaigns. Not only do they spread the word about your products, but they add an element of social proof—people trust their favorite influencers like they trust their friends and family.
Rather than just choosing a micro-influencer on a whim, you need to have a strategy for how they’ll “influence” your marketing campaign. Excellent ways to leverage micro-influencers include:
- Social media partnerships: almost half of the world’s entire population is on social media, making it one of the most proliferate ways to share information. In Q3 of 2019, that number grew by 9.6% where the population only grew by 1%. Social media is here to stay.
- Product or service collaborations: micro-influencers contribute to 22.2 times more discussions every week about product recommendations compared to the average consumer. That means they’re a prime opportunity to get people talking about your brand.
- Video reviews or testimonials: reviews and testimonials are critical to the success of most companies, but they can be even more powerful with micro-influencers. Reviews, for example, contribute to 98% of software purchases.
Micro-influencers typically don’t pay to sponsor their own posts, so their following is organic. This makes them a lucrative investment potential.
How you can form partnerships with micro-influencers
If you haven’t spent a lot of time reading through social media posts from influencers, you’re probably a little unclear on where you need to start. How do you even find micro-influencers? Why would they want to work with your brand?
Fortunately, it’s not as overwhelming as it seems. With a few tips, you can start the process of finding the best micro-influencers for your brand:
- Review social media posts: If you have a social media presence, you might have people who are already qualified to work with you. Review the interactions on your own social media posts and check out any posts that others might have tagged you in to find potential partners.
- Check out relevant hashtags: Hashtags are an effective way to market products on social media, but they can also help you find micro-influencers. Influencers often have their own hashtags, though they know the benefits of using their favorite brand’s tags.
- Follow industry leaders: Your competitors and leaders in the industry can help you find the right micro-influencers. See how they leverage influencers in their marketing campaigns, then see if there are any potential candidates for you to contact.
Building a partnership with a micro-influencer takes a level of trust and sincerity. You want to give them a reason to work with you, so consider what you have to offer them.
Examples of businesses that successfully work with micro-influencers
If you’re still unsure whether influencer marketing is right for your business, some of the top brands in the world use micro-influencers to advertise their products.
Choosing micro-influencers to represent your brand can be challenging. How do you know which people are a good fit for your product or service? Consider how people use your products. Hydroflask, for example, has different kinds of buyers: general customers and people who spend a lot of time outdoors. By focusing on micro=influencers in the outdoor industry, they can more effectively target new customers.
Pro tip: Get creative with how you approach targeted audiences. Notice that a potential micro-influencer routinely comments or tags your company? Check out some of their posts to see if they fall into a niche market you can capitalize on.
2. La Croix
In most cases, micro-influencers receive some form of compensation for their efforts. The most common way brands approach this is to give them a discount code that tracks activity and gives them some percentage or a flat fee per purchase. Other brands, like La Croix, take a different approach. La Croix reaches out directly to micro-influencers or individuals that post high-quality photos with their products and they post those to their Instagram (with permission, of course.)
¸Pro tip: Ultimately, this should be a mutually beneficial partnership. Your brand benefits from reaching qualified new leads and micro-influencers benefit from the income and exposure they get from your brand. Think about what you have to offer a micro-influencer.
You might be wondering why big brands would use micro-influencers. Don’t they have the marketing budget for ads? Well, 45% of people in North America use ad blockers, and the average click rate for a banner ad is a measly 0.06%. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, can earn an average of $5.20 in revenue for every $1 you invest. The top brands can earn up to $20 per $1 in influencer marketing spending.
¸Pro tip: As with any marketing channel, you need a plan to measure your results. You also need a plan to measure the results of your micro-influencers. This can help you narrow down target markets, other influencers, as well as how to use influencers in the future.
4. CVS Pharmacy
You might not think micro-influencers work for your brand or industry, but the truth is that there’s an influencer market for just about everything. There’s also a micro-influencer for just about everyone. CVS Pharmacy works with influencers of all sizes, but they also use the same approach as La Croix by sharing posts from their loyal customers and their furry friends. Pet accounts can be an inoffensive way to include micro-influencers in your campaigns.
Pro tip: Your demographic information might help figure out the right micro-influencers for your brand. Look at the age, location, and ethnicities of your customers and look for influencers that represent your customer base.
Best practices for working with micro-influencers
Working with micro-influencers is like working with any other partner: Both parties have expectations and obligations to keep, while maintaining their respective brands. There are, however, some best practices for partnering with micro-influencers.
Follow these simple guidelines when building your influencer marketing program:
- Implement a cross-channel approach: When your micro-influencers post on Instagram or other channels, spread them on other social media platforms to boost their impact.
- Give influencers creative freedom: Outside of standard requirements, don’t box your influencers in with restrictive campaign ideas or a long list of posts they need to generate for you.
- Compose a simple marketing contract: A contract is critical for both your brand and the micro-influencer, so write a contract that offers protection and security for your business.
Micro-influencers are your partners; they aren’t your employees. That means your partnership with them might be different than with people who work for your company.
Micro-influencers offer a unique opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reach new audiences and grow their brand. They’re inexpensive, yet yield significant ROI with the right approach. Before you start your influencer marketing plan, review these key takeaways:
- Micro-influencers already have their own “brand” and following, so look for influencers with a niche focus.
- You can build partnerships with potential micro-influencers by connecting with followers on social media platforms.
- There are micro-influencers in virtually every industry; you just need to research how your competitors use them.
Micro-influencers provide a genuine approach to connecting with people while spreading the message about your brand.
Want to know how you can better leverage your micro-influencers? Campaign Monitor has the tools you need for email and cross-channel marketing campaigns.