Micro-Influencers: Who They Are and Why They Matter to Brands and Marketers
Michael Quoc posted this article
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
advertisement - ad·ver·tise·ment (noun) - a public notice; especially : one published in the press or broadcast over the air
Before the internet, media was scarce; people had few options and media outlets had the power to push advertisements onto viewers. Today, media is ubiquitous and choices are abundant - it's actually attention which has become scarce - so advertisers are having a harder time pushing ads in front of consumers. Better personalization and targeting are helping, but in particular with younger users, the push model of advertising faces an uphill battle when it comes to driving conversions and conveying a brand message.
Some statistics illustrate where we're headed:
- 32% of internet users will use an ad blocker in 2017 (eMarketer)
- 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads. (Nielsen)
- Teens say that their favorite YouTubers understand them better than their friends (Google)
No wonder 75% of marketers are now using influencer marketing. Influencer marketing represents a new pull method of advertising - by partnering with voices that consumers already trust, brands can pull people into their brand message through authentic storytelling and creative content development. Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept but is quickly becoming a de facto part of the digital marketing mix.
What are micro-influencers?
These days, the term "influencer" has become synonymous with "celebrity," with digital influencers such as PewDiePie and Huda Kattan garnering larger followings than even their mainstream counterparts. Sponsorships and collaborations between brands and these influencers have become highly visible events with multi-million dollar budgets. And for many large brands, influencer marketing has been a huge success.
But how about smaller brands, with smaller budgets? Fortunately, there's a wide range when it comes to influencer audience sizes, and that's where micro-influencers come in. Although exact definitions vary, generally, think of micro-influencers as digital influencers with a total audience size of between 1,000 to 100,000 followers.
MooglyBlog is a popular blogger and social media influencer who falls into the micro-influencer category.
When it comes to engagement, though, smaller is actually better. Makerly recently published a study which showed that influencers with smaller followings actually have higher engagement on their posts, when compared to larger influencers. In fact, influencers with between 10,000 to 100,000 followers are 4x more likely to get a comment on a post than "macro-influencers" (larger influencers) with 10 million followers.
Advantages of working with micro-influencers
As noted above, micro-influencers tend to have greater engagement on each of their posts than macro-influencers. This means their engagement value per follower tends to be higher than for larger influencers.
According to Makerly's study, influencers with 10 million followers have a like rate per post of 1.6%, while micro-influencers with 1,000 followers see a far higher like rate of 8.0%.
Topical specificity and authority
Micro-influencers are more likely to be posting about specific, niche topics. Many are experts in their topic and have loyal followings of people who share a passion for the same topic. When it comes to micro-influencers, you can find fly fishing bloggers, cosplay Instagrammers, and vegan cooking YouTubers.
If your brand fits a niche interest, these micro-influencers can be a huge asset in your marketing mix. Not only will these micro-influencers be more likely to be personally interested in your product, their audiences are more likely to be receptive to your brand, and the influencer's recommendation is more likely to be seen as authoritative and authentic.
Larger, macro-influencers are in huge demand - everyone knows who they are, and brands large and small are fighting to work with them. So not only is it hard to get their attention, once you do, their prices are often sky high (large influencers with 5 million followers can command fees of $100,000 per post). For many startups and smaller brands, macro-influencers often don't make sense from a budget perspective.
Micro-influencers are not as well known, and although many do receive a high volume of requests, they are easier to reach and often charge much more reasonable rates.
Personal relationships with followers
Micro-influencers are more likely to have real, personal relationships with a higher percentage of their followers since many influencers start out with their friends as their initial follower base and grow from there. As influencers grow larger, they know fewer of their fans personally, often leading to a more arms-length relationship.
Micro-influencers by nature will also have more time to interact with their followers, responding to more of their comments and fan emails than macro-influencers can budget. This also gives them a more intimate relationship with each follower, potentially leading to greater engagement and value placed on their recommendations.
Perceived as more authentic
Macro-influencers are increasingly resembling commercialized media companies, with agents, press kits, and running frequent, highly visible brand collaborations. Conversely, micro-influencers are more likely to be doing what they do purely out of love of doing it. Some may not even approach their posting as a business at all. Their recommendations may carry greater weight as real and authentic among their followers.
How to find micro-influencers
Hashtags are a great way to find people via their posts based on specific topics. Try more specific hashtags, like #frenchcooking or #cookingforone that matches your niche, instead of more general ones like #cooking. Social networks which most actively use hashtags include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Bloglovin is a large community where bloggers share their latest posts. It's a great way to find bloggers on virtually any topic. People are very active there, and the site is easy to search. Just follow bloggers who catch you eye, and build a relationship from there.
Buzzsumo is a powerful marketing tool which gives you access to thousands of bloggers and social media influencers. You can pull together lists of influencers in virtually any topic, and export them to a spreadsheet to conduct outreach. You can also search by post or content type, to see which influencers have the top performing content in terms of likes and shares, for any keyword. Buzzsumo is great for finding micro-influencers since their platform covers even small influencers.
Your follower list
There are probably micro-influencers within your own social media followers right now. They are prequalified as interested in your brand, so you just need to search through your followers and identify people with larger followings who might make sense for a partnership.
A good old-fashioned Google search is another great way to find micro-influencers. Depending on the niche, you can easily find lists or directories of blogs or influencers per your interest, and just find them by keyword.
How to work with micro-influencers
Focus on relevancy
In a world with infinite choice, relevancy is king. Influencers are being approached with offers every day, so why should they choose to work with your brand? The more closely your brand or product aligns with their interests (and what they post about) the more likely they will be to want to work with you.
Additionally, greater relevancy lends greater authenticity and credibility to an influencer's recommendation of your brand. You may also pay less, or even nothing at all if the influencer truly loves your product.
Think of your online niche as your digital neighborhood, and influencers as your neighbors. Some may come and go and others you'll see again and again. Rather than approaching influencer marketing with a transactional mindset, think with a long-term growth mindset. Get to know the influencers you work with, and let them get to know you and your brand. Often the lasting, enduring relationships are not only more enjoyable and personally rewarding, they can have the largest impact on your business.
Follow and engage with them
Prior to going in with a formal request, follow each influencer on social media, engage with their posts and engage them in conversation. This helps you better understand their personality and interests so you can determine their fit with your brand. It also helps you approach them with a more personal request which is more likely to get a positive response.
Offer personal discount codes
Giving each influencer their own official promo code giving their followers a discount at your store lends them an additional level of credibility as an ambassador of your brand. Influencers will appreciate the association with your brand, as well as the chance to offer a perk to their readers. Discounts codes also can greatly increase the conversions you see from an influencer campaign, providing an additional incentive to buy.
Lead with what's in it for them
This is Sales 101, but when you do approach an influencer, make sure your message is tailored to their needs, not yours. Don't make the very common mistake of crafting an outreach email that essentially describes your product and focuses on your key selling points. Influencers sift through dozens of requests per day and are far more likely to tune into an email that speaks to something they care about, something they need.
This post originally appeared on the ZipfWorks blog.
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