Influencer marketing, the celebrity endorsements of the social media age: now a staple of many brands’ digital marketing strategies. An influencer is just that—a social media power user with a dedicated following that regularly consumes the products in the content they create (or so we hope)! According to a survey by eMarketer, promoting goods and services through influencers is going to continue to rise in popularity: 70% of surveyed US brands and agencies believe budgets for it will increase this year and 89% of respondents agree that influencers can instill positive feelings about a brand. It can be easy to spot the most popular people for this task. With millions of followers on their social media accounts and with Instagram as their main stomping ground, these seem to be the people that matter.
It’s not all about follower counts, though. Sending products and paying for posts for influencers to ‘gram can be costly. Luckily, there are users with audiences that can be just as dedicated, even if they don’t have followings in the hundreds of thousands. Welcome to the world of the micro influencer.
What Puts the ‘Micro’ in the ‘Micro Influencer?’
|Influencer @lucakohlle has over 11k followers|
Micro influencers are brand advocates with “a deeply engaged, niche audience,” distinguished from mainline influencers by having follower amounts of 1,000 to 50,000. You can find them being involved in many different industries and having varied types of target audiences, and they may not immediately be associated with any brand or business on their own. In a way, micro influencers are a way to return to the roots of the concept before regularly-paid and partnered influencers were the name of the game for Instagram: ordinary people that others find interesting, and that brands just happen to find interesting too.
Because of their lower follower counts, these users can engage more closely with their audience as opposed to more mainstream influencers that most likely won’t even get to read most of the comments and responses to their posts. As a result, they seem more trustworthy—and since they are more niche with narrower focuses, their audience is more invested and engaged in what they post too.
How Do You Reach Them?
|Influencer @hannahdonker has over 30k followers|
You don’t have to go very far to find interested parties to work with. A brand would want to be associated with an influencer that shares its values and maybe already uses its products and services or expresses an interest in starting to. Forbes gives a tip: where else are you likely to find these other than in your account’s own list of followers? Other than that, you can also employ social media listening by inputting your branded hashtag and other keywords relevant to you in Instagram’s search function.
When you find your chosen influencers, start expressing interest in their content first before messaging. “Like” a handful of their most recent posts and leave a few comments. Build a positive rapport with them from the get-go to make the process of establishing a working relationship easier. When you’re ready, send them a direct message (or email) and begin the conversation!
PRO TIP: Wondering what you should look for in influencers? This ultimate guide from Inzpire.me goes through the 9 criteria to look for and shows you exactly how to find influencers on Instagram.
Why Your Marketing Campaign Needs Micro Influencers
Are micro influencers really worth the investment for marketing initiatives though? Look at it this way: with micro influencers, you’re really looking at the quality of their followers, not their quantity. Not only does a brand need to shell out more to be given a slot on a mainstream influencer’s Instagram feed, but those with smaller followings are more trusted by their niche audience. Marketing campaigns using micro influencers have boasted 60% higher engagement on their campaigns while being 6.7 times more cost efficient.
|Influencer @accidentalinfluencer has over 48k followers|
Brands and small businesses can also gain an edge if they go local. While they may be more difficult to find, using a micro influencer from your business’ surrounding local community can be a win. After all, 50% of mobile users visit stores within one day after using local search, and having a known local talk about what’s fresh in town will get more people interested in seeking your brand out. Keep an eye out for what’s trending in your community!
Finding the right people to involve in your social media marketing strategies can be a challenge, but if you open your mind beyond the biggest names in the content creation business, you can potentially strike gold. Just one carefully-chosen brand ambassador won’t be enough for a full marketing campaign, so searching for multiple individuals is key. It might take a bit of work, but the time investment will pay off in the long term once the micro-influencers you’ve worked with build a lasting relationship with your brand—and consistently post about it. In the meantime, continue to post eye-catching images onto your Instagram account and make sure your social media pages are optimized for directing traffic to your website.