The emergence of micro-influencers has had a unique effect on advertising. Traditionally, the number of followers and therefore, reach of a publisher impacted their appeal to advertisers. Now, brands in search of more commercially viable audiences are turning their attention to smaller, more targeted platforms.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of influencer culture and micro-influencers in particular. We’ll discuss the financial implications this strategy might have on advertising budgets, and when it’s beneficial to use it in campaigns. Let’s get to it!
Influencer Culture: What Exactly Are Micro-Influencers?
Influencers grow their followings by sharing valuable content and niche expertise with their audiences on social media. They are trusted as experts in their subject matter, which is why they’re able to drive sales for brands by recommending products and services.
In other words, an influencer has ‘social influence’ over the choices or behavior of their followers. While the most popular—appropriately termed ‘mega-influencers’—have followers numbering into the millions, micro-influencers work on a much smaller scale.
Although there is no consensus on the exact follower count range for micro-influencers, estimates place it under 100,000. These affiliates are typically characterized by small but dedicated audiences, high engagement from their fanbase, and specialized niche content.
While a partnership with a mega-influencer does mean more eyes on content related to your brand, the amount of interaction and connectedness between an influencer and their audience is often more valuable. Micro-influencers enable advertisers to execute more targeted campaigns with tailored messaging, which are typically more effective.
Partnerships with micro-influencers also tend to be more appealing from a budget standpoint. Follower counts affect the cost of working with social media influencers so you can often spend less money for more targeted campaigns by working with smaller accounts.
There are several examples of brands that have successfully worked with micro-influencers to boost awareness and engagement on social media. For instance, La Croix grew its Instagram following from 5,000 to 77,000 by partnering with lifestyle bloggers who shared cocktail recipes featuring the popular beverage on Instagram.
When Is It Beneficial to Include Micro-Influencers In Your Campaigns?
In short, micro-influencers can benefit just about any type of marketing campaign you might want to run. They’re particularly attractive to brands with small advertising budgets or very specific target audiences, but there are very few (if any) scenarios in which partnering with a credible micro-influencer would hurt your business.
Some popular types of campaigns to pitch to micro-influencers include:
- Product reviews: You can send influencers samples of your merchandise to review for their followers.
- Discount marketing campaigns: Influencers can share exclusive coupon codes with their followers to drive sales.
- Contests or giveaways: Offer prizes influencers can pass on to their followers who like, comment on, or share their posts.
You can also ask influencers to post using a certain hashtag as part of a larger social media campaign.
4 Key Tips to Making the Most of Influencer Culture
To make the most of influencer marketing and the unique influence culture, you need a complete understanding of your target audience and their buyer journey. Once you have a solid grasp of who you want to market to, consider the following tips.
1. Find Influencers Who Are Relevant to Your Niche
Since micro-influencers tend to have niche audiences, it’s important to do your research before extending an offer of partnership. You want to make sure that your potential affiliate’s followers are high-quality leads who fit your target persona.
It will take some time and effort to find influencers who can give you the best Return On Investment (ROI). However, there are a few methods you can implement to get started:
- Use keyword searches to find accounts that regularly publish posts related to your industry.
- Search hashtags related to your brand to find people who are posting about your products and services.
- Go through your own social media followers and look for accounts with high engagement.
In essence, this boils down to finding influencers whose interests overlap with your brand’s. Then you can reach out directly and present your partnership offer.
2. Work With Multiple Micro-Influencers to Reach a Wider Audience
It’s often possible to partner with dozens of micro-influencers for the same cost as running a campaign with a single mega-influencer. In addition to saving some money from your budget, this can help grow your audience.
Collectively, the micro-influencers you work with could have more followers than a single mega-influencer. This means that prioritizing these types of partnerships could help you get your campaigns in front of as many or more leads, while still keeping them highly targeted.
Additionally, many brands have more than one target audience they want to appeal to. Micro-influencers in multiple sub-niches can help you reach all of them with ease.
3. Verify Influencers’ Authenticity Before Launching Campaigns With Them
Unfortunately, there are many aspiring influencers on social media and other platforms who attempt to boost their careers by paying for followers, likes, or even comments. It’s important to verify potential partners’ credibility before overpaying for underperforming campaigns that will only be ‘seen’ by bots.
Instead of focusing on the number of likes a post has, look for quality engagement—meaningful comments and responses. If the comments section is full of emojis but doesn’t have many thoughtful opinions or questions from followers, the account probably isn’t reaching as many people as it seems to on the surface.
Even if there are meaningful comments on many of your potential partner’s posts, it’s also smart to consider whether they tend to respond to their followers. Influencer marketing relies on publishers building trust with leads, so it’s smart to assess whether they seem capable of succeeding in this area over the long run.
4. Provide Quality Materials for Influencers to Promote Your Brand With
When it comes to creating influencer marketing campaigns, it’s wise to provide at least some materials for your partners to use to create their promotional content. At the bare minimum, you should send samples of your products or a free trial of your services for them to review for their followers.
You can also provide banners or graphics they can use to promote your brand on social media or their websites. This enables you to control the look of the campaign content so that it matches your own brand identity.
Some brands provide scripts or specific points partners should cover in their social media posts or video reviews. This is useful if you want to ensure certain features are highlighted. However, be careful not to be too heavy-handed and to leave room for influencers to personalize their content.
Micro-influencers rely heavily on the trust they’ve built with their followers to maintain their accounts. If a post comes across as too ‘salesy’ or inauthentic, not only is your campaign less likely to perform well, but your partner may be risking their future revenue.
Micro-influencers can be a huge asset to your marketing strategy. Not only can you save money from your advertising budget, but you can also create more targeted campaigns. To get started, seek out multiple authentic and credible accounts with under 100,000 followers each. You can then reach out and offer paid partnerships with them, and send samples of your products for them to feature in a post or story.
Have you worked with influencers on any of your campaigns? Tell us about your experiences with influencer culture in the comments section below!