Here’s a closer look at how to identify potential micro-influencers in your industry, and key considerations if you want to add them to your marketing toolbox.
What is a Micro-Influencer?
Micro-influencers are niche opinion-creators and thought leaders who are respected, trusted, engaged and connected within a very specific audience. Typically, these connections are based on social media and online engagement, but they can have valuable offline relationships, too.
Before there was the Internet or social media, a micro-influencer was the people you’d see in person every day. A micro-influence may have been the girl in high school whose fashion others wanted to emulate. Or it could have been the class president who had a knack for turning the student body into fans of a band before they are widely known. The fact that the micro-influencer is perceived as a “normal person” whom others are drawn to and aspire to be like is what makes their opinions valuable.
In digital terms, online audiences perceive a micro-influencer as credible, trusty-worthy and inspiring. The micro-influencer isn’t “off limits” or a celebrity. Collaborating with micro-influencers who are connected with the audiences you want to reach can be a fast-path to building brand awareness. It is also a great way to build trust for your business.
Why Micro-Influencer Recommendations Matter
The number of social media followers or online subscribers is far less than important than the level of trust and engagement they’ve built with your target audience. Micro-influencers typically have between 1,000 and 50,000 social media followers; a micro-influencer who has considerably more followers may be perceived as less credible by the people you want to reach, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
In a study conducted by Wharton School, marketing professor Dr. Jonah Berger and the Keller Fay Group, 82% of respondents surveyed said they were highly likely to follow the recommendation of a micro-influencer. In the same study, 94% of the respondents said they perceived a micro-influencer as credible and believable.
Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends 2018 report revealed that 55% of respondents surveyed said they discover products that they eventually buy on social media. Of those, 78% saw the product on Facebook, and 59% originally saw products they bought on Pinterest and/or Instagram. Your target audience will determine which specific social media networks could prove most beneficial to your micro-influencer campaigns.
How to Find Micro-Influencers for Your Business
Consider people you currently know.
Do you have loyal customers who leave you glowing reviews, or have a tendency to refer you to others? An employee who has referred several other quality recruits, or posts accolades about your business and how much they enjoy working at it? Do you have an industry colleague who often shares or “likes” what you publish online? All may be potential micro-influencers who can help further your brand awareness.
Search online and on social media by a keyword or topic.
Identify five or more terms, keywords, phrases or buzzwords that are topical and relevant to your industry, and/or the products and services you offer. Type each into the search fields of various social media channels and search engines to see what results. A person who regularly shares information or perspectives on the topic might be a micro-influencer connected to your target market.
Identify goals and possible compensation.
Establish your specific goals to determine fair compensation to offer a potential influencer. You may want to compare to what you’d spend on a more traditional marketing tactic to reach the same goal. For example, if you’d invest $20,000 for a targeted direct mail piece intended to gain 500 new customers, offering several micro-influencers connected with your target audience a few hundred dollars to write a series of social media posts might reach the same audience for much less. The average paid Instagram post for a micro-influencer related to modeling, pets and fitness cost $306-$434 each, while lifestyle posts cost $172 on average, according to a recent analysis by Influence.co.
Allow creative freedom.
Within reason, trust a chosen micro-influencer to know best how to connect with their followers. Posts that are authentic to each micro-influencer’s unique brand and voice often can be the most effective. The post’s imagery and text should support your brand’s values but convey a sense of authenticity. Micro-influencers in the U.S. are required to disclose that the relationship is a paid sponsorship; however, it should not feel like an ad
Invest in consistency.
Like any form of marketing, repetition may be required before a micro-influencer’s message resonates with the audience. Whether you use micro-influencers on an ongoing basis, for a limited period of time, invest in more than one engagement to increase the chances that your message moves your target audience to learn more about your business.