When it comes to promoting a brand or product on social media, it can be difficult to reach the masses of your target audience without a large following. This is why it’s common to see celebrities, athletes and other influencers endorsing various brands on their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. However, tapping into a following of potentially millions of people comes at a hefty price, pushing many brands to resort to micro-influencer marketing. While micro-influencers have a smaller number of followers than their celebrity counterparts, they are often regarded as thought leaders in their areas of interest. Here are some tips on how best to work with micro-influencers.
What is a Micro-Influencer
Before you can begin partnering with micro-influencers, you must first establish who they are and how to reach them. Unlike celebrities or other popular figures who might have millions of followers, micro-influencers are those with fewer than 100,000 followers on their social media profiles. While they could have as little as 2,000-3,000 followers, their influence over their audience is often greater than that of a more universally recognized influencer.
In fact, the smaller audience is one of the more beneficial aspects of working with micro-influencers. Let’s use Kylie Jenner as an example. With 191 million followers, Jenner is the epitome of a celebrity influencer. However, that network includes women, men and children of all ages. Some may be a fan of her cosmetics or fashion, while others could simply be following because she’s one of the most popular celebrities in the world. Delivering a targeted message to a group that large can be difficult, if not impossible. On the other hand, micro-influencers typically have a niche following that can lead to more direct engagement even without reaching as many people.
Quality vs. Quantity of Followers
When searching for a micro-influencer that could help you generate more brand awareness on social media, resist the urge to get fixated on the number of followers he or she may have. Who is following a micro-influencer is much more important than the size of his or her audience. The concept behind partnering with micro-influencers is that while their audience doesn’t include millions of different people, it does include attentive followers who are much more likely to be interested in your product or service.
Rather than focusing exclusively on the number of followers a micro-influencer has, take a closer look at their audience and engagement numbers. Tools such as Buzzsumo, Upfluence and Buzzstream make it easy to search for various micro-influencers based on keywords, engagement rate and their social media platform of choice. They can also provide insight into the demographics and location of an influencer’s audience to ensure that you partner with someone who can effectively reach members of your target audience.
Establish Relevance to Your Brand
Just because influencers might have similar audiences doesn’t automatically mean they will be the best micro-influencer to partner with your brand. It’s also important to ensure that they are relevant to your product or service. For example, let’s say you run a weightlifting gym and you’re looking for a fitness blogger to promote your business on their social media channels. You can’t just pick anybody with a good audience. Some might be runners or joggers, while others focus specifically on yoga.
The purpose of micro-influencer marketing is to reach a niche, targeted audience to ensure maximum engagement. Be sure that an influencer is relevant to your brand by studying the types of content she creates and shares, other brands that she has promoted in the past and any conversations she may be having with her followers. Also, compare hashtags influencers are using, and ensure these match to the hashtags your brand uses.
The value of reaching a specific audience with your product or service cannot be overstated. With a goal of branding Bentonville’s mountain bike trails and generating excitement leading up to the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit in 2016, our agency partnered with professional mountain bikers Tyler McCaul, Joey Schusler and Ryan Howard to produce high-quality videos showcasing the Oz Trails. In approximately eight months, Oz Trails gained 7,900 followers and reached 899,620 people from across the United States, including all major mountain biking communities.
Build a Connection
Regardless of their industry or the size of their following, influencers are much more likely to work with brands and organizations that they know, follow and respect. Instead of blindly firing off an email in hopes that micro-influencers will be interested in partnering with your business, try to build a connection with them first. Follow their social media channels, share their posts and engage in the comments to introduce yourself and establish your interest.
After you have proven yourself to be more than just another random follower, then you are ready to discuss a potential business opportunity. Be sure to include specific references to any content that the micro-influencer has created or shared. This will reinforce your interest and familiarity with his work, which is especially important if you’d like to continue working together or have him become a brand ambassador for your company.