Influencer marketing has been on the rise over the last couple of years, replacing organic search as the fastest growing online customer acquisition method. Using top social media influencers, such as bloggers, vloggers and those with large followings on Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms has grown exponentially with the greater adoption of those platforms. Word-of-mouth and connecting people based on interests has always been an effective way of marketing, and digital capabilities are a natural extension of those tactics.
What is a Micro-Influencer?
Within the influencer realm, there are many types of social influence. One type is the micro-influencer, who is defined as someone with social followings that range between 1,000 to 100,000. Such users are especially effective to brands because of their specific interests and appeal to niche audiences. In addition, they have managed to find a “sweet spot” in terms of engagement.
Studies have shown that once web influencers have surpassed a certain number of followers (greater than 10,000), they tend to see a decrease in overall engagement rates. Comments, likes—everything goes down once more and more followers are amassed. Those with around 1,000 followers or less are likely to still receive interaction from at least 8% of their fans.
Along with their higher engagement rate, micro-influencers are usually less expensive for brands than their more well-known counterparts. Keep in mind that 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow recommendations made by a micro-influencer compared to 73% based on recommendations from average people.
Micro-influencers have become champions for everyday products and services that people wouldn’t necessarily discuss in length with friends or family. They have 22.2 times more “buying conversations” than the average consumer every week, and their recommendations are more direct and specific to the interests of those already following them. In many ways, they are the top influencers, and not because of inflated followers.
3 Micro-Influencer Characteristics to Consider
Before jumping into the influencer market, there are a few things your brand should consider. First and foremost, why does your brand want to use influencers in the first place? Sales may be the ultimate end goal but it’s important to have realistic expectations and specific goals.
Perhaps you’re a new company wanting to build brand awareness, or have a product in need of reviews and testimonials to bolster credibility. Or maybe you want to move specific pieces of product fast, and would like to go the route of promotional codes and discounts? Whatever the reason may be, have a specific goal in mind that you can measure against when judging campaign success.
When beginning to search through an influencer network, look at the context of each influencer. Do they create photos that speak to the feel of your brand? Is their voice a reflection of the lifestyle and ideals your brand hopes to represent to its audience? This influencer will essentially be an advocate and representative of your brand, so make sure the niche they speak to would build a connection between their followers and your business.
Reach and accountability are two other aspects to consider when evaluating micro-influencers. With regards to reach, you’ll want to gauge their klout, and how active they are – not just with their own followers, but other brands and influencers on the platform. Actionability is a result of how much influence they actually have over their followers.
People choose to follow these individuals, and they’ll continue to follow if they perceive enough value in doing so. Browse through comments to get a feel for whether individuals are regularly asking for more information or insight into where they can purchase items the micro-influencer is touting.
How to Find the Right Micro-Influencers for Your Brand
Turn to the Fans
Finding Instagram influencers that best speak to your brand’s goals from a business perspective can seem like a daunting task with the sheer number of individuals to choose from. If you’re not already utilizing a CRM system to help aggregate all this information, consider doing so. Using a tool to gather information on your audience will help when trying to grow that audience to new heights.
Your current fan base is a great place to start since you already know a connection exists. They’ve shown interest in your brand, so why not turn to lookalike audiences and additional related interests to help draw connections among others just like them?
Browse through fans’ liked pages on social media, and use common interests to help shape audience personas to target. If any of your existing fans and followers themselves have large followings on social channels, consider it an added bonus.
Reach out to them personally and begin by suggesting an exchange of product for a social post or review. From there, you can build out a more robust program should the relationship prove mutually beneficial.
Hashtags exist for the sole purpose of making content on social networks searchable and accessible. Using free Instagram analytics tools can help simplify your micro-influencer search process. Use keywords relevant to your business to help pinpoint conversations that will lead you to your target audience.
When choosing a hashtag to research, make sure it’s specific enough to reveal actionable results. For example, if you’re a plus size clothing brand, a hashtag search around #plussizefashion would likely yield better material than just #fashion alone. Running this kind of search on Google will yield results from many sources, including Twitter and Instagram. Searching directly on those platforms or through platform-specific third party tools can be more efficient.
Connect With Local Bloggers
Networks like Instagram have essentially become blogging platforms for those looking to curate content. These networks also serve as add-ons to further promote and bring blog content to life. Bloggers in your geographic area can be a great resource for local businesses.
Specific keyword searches that include location are a good starting point. Following the previous example, instead of “fashion bloggers in LA”, a more specific search like “plus size fashion bloggers in LA” would yield the desired niche results. There are free tools available to measure SEO for each blog, which is an important indicator if visibility and engagement. In addition to these techniques, you can turn to platforms designed to help you find the right influencers for your brand.
When used effectively, influencer marketing provides authentic, trusted, far-reaching, and affordable brand advocates who can help connect your products to the customers most likely to purchase.
Be selective when looking for people best suited to speaking on behalf of your brand and remember these words from Jay Baer, “True influence drives action and not just awareness.”