An individual doesn’t have to have 100,000+ followers to be considered an influencer. Especially if you’re a small start-up company, it’s in your brand’s best interest to develop an influencer marketing strategy around influencers who have smaller but engaged social media followings.
What are micro-influencers?
Micro-influencers are active, influential social media users who have on average between 1,000-10,000 online followers. So while they’re the small fish in the social pond compared to macro-influencers (think the KarJenner sisters), their following is more engaged than the millions of followers macro-influencers have.
What makes micro-influencers different?
Four things make micro-influencers different and worth your efforts.
A micro-influencer has a more targeted following base. If you’re an eCommerce clothing store, you might reach a bigger pool of people with a macro-influencer, but you’ll reach a more targeted, engaged audience if you use a micro-influencer who’s a fashion blogger.
The engagement on a macro-influencer’s post tends to be likes and random comments saying, “I love you!” A micro-influencer has built a relationship with their audience. These followers aren’t just strangers liking their posts; they’re a close-knit community of friends who DM them to get more information about a product, comment with their experience about using that brand or a similar one and actually buy what they’re showing. Why? Because a micro-influencer has turned into their online best friend by opening their lives and hearts to these people, responding to their comments and messages and sharing their honest opinions about products, services, and tips they’ve used because they actually care about and want to help their like-minded online community of friends.
In the example above, watch brand Daniel Wellington partnered with micro-influencer Tiffaney Lau. With this one post, she got 554 likes and more than 40 comments from her followers—that’s an engagement rate of almost 14%. The average influencer engagement rate on Instagram for influencers with her following size (was around 4,000 at the time of this post) is 6.0%.
When you see a celebrity post about a product, your first thought is, “Does she actually use that?” We question them because there’s no trust or relationship there. But micro-influencers are trusted by their audience. Studies show that micro-influencers are 94% more credible, believable and knowledgeable and 92% better at explaining how products work. They’re never questioned. If they share a skincare product, even if the photo looks staged and they use #ad, you don’t question if they actually use and like said product.
If you’ve got a micro-marketing budget, then test the ropes of influencer marketing with micro-influences. Partnering with micro-influencers is cheaper than with macro-influencers, and you’ll get more bang for your buck. On average, micro-influencers charge between $150-500 per post, while macro-influencers can charge thousands of dollars per post—some even charge well over $10,000 per post or video.
Australian skincare company, Frank Body, linked up with a variety of micro-influencers — from beauty influencers to athletes, fitness bloggers and models — to bring product awareness to its coffee scrubs, body balms and glow masks. These micro-influencers posted photos on Instagram with Frank Body products using hashtags like #thefrankeffect and #frankpaidme as part of its influencer campaign. Even unpaid celebs got in on the action and said their post wasn’t an ad because they just loved the products.
Frank Body’s collab with numerous micro-influencers brought a ton of awareness to numerous audiences in numerous countries. It also earned them more than 350,000 Instagram followers in less than one year. Today, Frank Body is worth around $20 million, ships its products to over 100 countries and has 687,000 followers on its Instagram account @frank_bod.
How do you build a micro-influencer strategy?
Here are 7 steps to build and manage an effective micro-influencer strategy:
Step 1: Set goals. For any marketing strategy to be effective, you need goals—and I’m not talking the vague “we want to increase brand awareness” type of goals. Your goals should be specific and attainable, like increasing your Instagram following by 30% or increasing your total sales by X amount by the end of the year.
Step 2: Brainstorm campaign ideas. Once you know your goals, you can decide what kind of campaign you want to launch and what channels to use. You’ll also need to decide what type of micro-influencers correspond with your campaign and goals.
Step 3: Choose the right micro-influencers. Do some social listening. Find out who’s talking about your brand. Then, take a deep dive into them and their audience. Are their photos and videos awesome? Is their niche following the kind of following that will gravitate to your brand? Are their comments spammy?
Step 4: Write down potential collaboration details. Once you know the kind of micro-influencers you want, consider what your partnership will be like and how they’ll help you reach your goals.
Step 5: Pitch micro-influencers. Your pitch, whether in an email or DM, should be short and detailed. Greet them by name. Introduce yourself, and let them know what this is about right off the bat. Talk (but be brief) about your brand, campaign and its goals and what you can offer them. If you want a better chance at successfully pitching a micro-influencer, follow them on social media and engage with some of their posts before pitching.
Step 6: Finalize collaboration details. When a micro-influencer agrees to partner with you, hash out all the details with each influencer, from their type of posts to compensation, length of relationship, etc.
Step 7: Measure results. As the campaign is running, track its success. If things are flowing nicely, keep going and consider using them for more campaigns. If you notice your goals aren’t being met during, you might need to re-strategize with your influencer or let them go and find a new one(s).
There’s power in having the right micro-influencer strategy. It will deliver a message and brand mention to an engaged audience who trusts the messenger, and then produce a real ROI for your brand.