When it comes to engaging social media influencers, bigger is not necessarily better.
So, forget the Kardashians or Taylor Swift or even Oprah.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Enlisting micro-influencers—or individuals with between 1,000–10,000 followers on social media—to promote your brand can be one of the best marketing decisions you make, especially for a small or medium-sized business.
Let me explain why.
When a consumer sees a brand endorsement from a mega-influencer, it almost intrinsically feels like an ad. Whether it’s a Bachelor star pushing hair vitamins or a big-name blogger promoting the latest diet shake, more often than not, it comes across as inauthentic.
On the contrary, when you see someone with less followers giving a brand endorsement, it’s almost like a BFF is personally recommending the product.
In fact, studies have shown that we trust micro-influencers’ opinions nearly as much as our own friends’ and families’, according to this Forbes article.
Consumers are savvy, and recognize that people with smaller followings are sharing because they genuinely like a brand—not necessarily because they’re expecting a huge payout.
And this automatically makes their endorsements more credible and, well, real.
Friends, mark my words: Micro-influencers have a lot of clout, and their word-of-mouth advertising can be key [in virtually every industry] to successfully reaching customers.
Who exactly are micro-influencers? In addition to having smaller and more niche followings, these ordinary-people-turned-social media-rock stars:
- Are tastemakers, opinion-shapers and trend-forecasters
- Have an intimate sense of who they are and what they like
- Not only understand their audience, but respect them too
- Have a direct, personal connection with their followers
- Tend to serve up content they know will resonate
- Charge, on average, between $137 and $258 per Instagram post (Forbes)
But here’s the most fascinating part: The loyalty and engagement that micro-influencers inspire is proven to be higher.
A survey of two million social media influencers by Markerly revealed that once a social media influencer reaches a critical mass of followers, audience engagement begins to decrease.
For unpaid posts, Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about eight percent, those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers average four percent, those with 10,000 to 100,000 followers see 2.4 percent, while those with one to 10 million+ followers generate approximately 1.7 percent.
The comment rate follows a similar pattern.
In short, as influencers’ following continues to increase, their like and comment rates decrease.
And the reason is simple: Partnering with a social media celebrity may increase your brand’s overall exposure, but it doesn’t necessarily reach your target audience.
Based on Approach’s experience building micro-influencer campaigns and leveraging brand advocates on behalf of our clients, we’ve compiled our top tips for identifying the right individuals to partner with your company.
1. Determine which type(s) of social media would benefit your particular brand
Adweek tells us that Instagram is great for impulse buys (such as fashion and beauty products), while technology products are best explained in a blog or YouTube review. Choose micro-influencers whose social media channels best reflect your industry, products and customer—because this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
2. Target social media accounts that your audience tends to follow
Explore which Instagram and Twitter accounts or YouTube channels your current customers—as well as potential ones—frequent, and develop a spreadsheet of possible collaborators as a starting point. It’s also possible to purchase a database of influencer contacts across a variety of categories (location, age, industry).
3. Ensure the two brands align with and complement each other
This goes without saying, but focus on influencers who advocate comparable brands and/or products and whose content is similar to yours. His or her lifestyle and general tone should match how your company presents itself publicly, and both brands should share similar goals and objectives.
4. Find micro-influencers with high-quality content
In addition to using well-composed and high-resolution images, posts should be grammatically correct and include appropriate hashtags. What’s more, consistency is key—so find individuals who post regularly. According to CoSchedule, the ideal frequency includes one post per day on Facebook, one or two posts per day on Instagram and roughly 15 tweets per day on Twitter.
5. Select people who demonstrate deep engagement with followers
From your list of suitors, seek out individuals who quickly and courteously respond to comments and questions from followers and also actively follow and engage with peers. Keep in mind that if you choose to partner, their actions ultimately reflect your brand.
6. Pay attention to compensation guidelines
Each micro-influencer seeks a different form of payment for services. While some require a flat fee per post, others may request free product or promo codes. And those who are just getting started and looking to grow their followings may choose to serve as an unpaid ambassador.
7. Make sure ethics are top-of-mind
The FTC recently ramped up its enforcement efforts regarding disclosures on sponsored posts. To keep your brand on the up-and-up, choose only those influencers who adhere to these guidelines by providing clear and concise disclosures within their posts about brand relationships.
8. Leave it to an expert
PR agencies are fluent in software programs that help identify the right influencers, and we pitch influencers like we do media—often calling upon existing relationships that benefit the client. With vast experience negotiating influencer partnerships on the client’s behalf, an agency can help a company successfully navigate the micro-influencer waters and ensure the relationship is the right fit and follows the right strategy at the right rate.
To learn more about a small business that generated a big impact [and nearly 20 million impressions and 11,500 social media engagements] through the power of micro-influencers serving as brand believers, click here.