Small businesses are at a huge advantage when it comes to reaching target audiences in a more authentic way, as smaller brands can easily be perceived as more genuine and “human”. Large corporations have to invest hefty sums in their marketing campaigns to form this type of connection with potential customers. Still, reaching target audiences and gaining their loyalty is no easy task for small businesses either. Ultimately, forming the desired bond with audiences requires a strong brand identity and a social media marketing strategy that relies on authenticity, trust, and engagement.
That’s where the concept of influencer marketing comes in, and it is significantly shaping the way brands are structuring their marketing campaigns. Influencers can be bloggers, YouTubers, or just people with a strong social media presence – the point is that they have a wide following. Their engagement with brands has created a lot of hype, but this hype seems reserved only for grown brands that can afford to pay Internet celebrities to endorse their products.
However, a smart marketing strategy means rethinking tried-and-tested concepts in order to fit your circumstances. It’s all about scale. Just as there are smaller brands, there are smaller influencers – a perfect fit. But there’s more: micro-influencers can be of higher benefit than mega-influencers. We’ll explain why in this article, as well as how to go about micro-influencer marketing as a small business. First, let’s start with the right question:
How Small is Micro?
As the title suggests, micro-influencers have a smaller reach than large-scale influencers; that means a smaller community following and a more specialized niche. For example, they can specialize in makeup or simply share their travels regularly with their followers on one or more social media platforms.
The audience size of what would be considered micro-influencing is not precisely defined. They can have anywhere between 1000 and 100 000 followers on a single platform, though some argue these numbers can even double. There are some general recommendations that smaller brands should opt for Instagram influencers that have a following in the range of 1000 to 10 000, and in the case of Twitter, the range can be wider – up to 20 000.
These are just guidelines, however. Regardless of the number, the main differentiating factor is that micro-influencers have a more modest following compared to large-scale influencers, thus they have stronger engagement with their audience. It is exactly this type of engagement that makes them so effective – which brings us to the next part.
The Benefits of Working With Micro-Influencers
According to a study by Markerly, an influencer marketing company, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) decreases as an influencer’s number of followers rises. Having a smaller following, micro-influencers have a stronger community – they’re more “quality-driven”. They have a more active audience and know how to get a response from them, often asking for their followers’ opinions and communicating with them via comments or even direct messaging. This makes for a stronger relationship with the audience than a mega-influencer can manage.
Targeting a More Relevant Audience
Micro-influencers aren’t spread too thin. They gain the reputation of being experts in a certain niche as they center their social media presence on a particular interest. People who are also interested in that niche follow them, making a very specific audience base. Because of this, when you find a micro-influencer whose interests have a strong relevance to your brand, you’ll be able to present your business to the exact audience you should be targeting.
In short, you’ll have high-quality leads, as you’ll be presenting your product to people who are already interested in it. This is especially beneficial to small businesses that don’t have the time and resources to generate high-quality leads effectively.
Gaining Consumers’ Trust
A survey by Collective Bias, an influencer marketing research company, presents the following data:
- 60% of its respondents considered recommendations, either by a blogger or a social media post, before deciding to purchase a product.
- 30% of consumers were more likely to buy a product if it’s endorsed by a non-celebrity than a celebrity.
- 70% of surveyed Millennials claimed they prefer non-celebrity endorsement.
What can we take away from these statistics? Inarguably, consumers trust the recommendations made by micro-influencers, who’ve gained the trust of their audience as experts in their niche. Moreover, micro-influencers cultivate a sense of community where everyone is gathered around a genuine interest, which ultimately builds a trusting audience base. A micro-influencer who genuinely appreciates your brand will make his or her sentiments evident to this community of people ready to follow their lead.
It comes as no surprise that influencers with a larger following charge more than micro-influencers. On Instagram for example, someone with up to 10 000 followers might charge around $75 to $250 per post, whereas those with over 100 000 followers will charge at least $1000. Basically, when partnering with a micro-influencer you will be paying less while getting a highly relevant and engaged audience base.
How to Pick the Right Micro-Influencers to Collaborate With
So far, we’ve had some pretty sound reasons why your small business should jump on the micro-influencer bandwagon. But how do you get started?
Finding the right person to partner with can be very tricky and time-consuming if you choose to do it manually – that is, by searching pages, people, hashtags, or YouTube channels by a keyword related to your industry. Doing this type of thing requires knowledge of the social media landscape, so it’s highly recommended to seek help from experts. You can gain a steady advantage in your search by seeking advice from any reliable social media marketing agency because these types of companies are well acquainted with all kinds of influencers.
If you have a decent social media presence on any platform, preferably Instagram, another thing you can do is have someone go through the list of your followers and pick out micro-influencers from there. This is also apparently time-consuming and you might end up with zilch, but if you’re up for it, it’s a “manual” option that could be worth a try.
Narrowing Down the List
Once you do have a list of potential micro-influencers to work with, it’s time to narrow it down to find the right fit. Here are some tips:
- Check out their posts and observe how they engage with followers. Remember, high engagement is one of the biggest benefits of working with micro-influencers, and it’s more important than numbers.
- Try going local if possible. If you’re a local business, it’s only logical to partner with somebody whose social media presence is strongly related to your community. This could give way to a very fruitful collaboration with a highly engaged, community-driven audience.
- Think about the values of your brand and look for micro-influencers who express similar values. This is important for any business, but especially for smaller ones. Naturally, the main focus when narrowing down your list will be the relevance of their niche to your brand, but finding this mutual understanding is the next step that will help you decide.
With your list narrowed to just a few potential partners, you’re ready to reach out to them via email, DM, or comments. Keep in mind that micro-influencers are dedicated to making their endorsements genuine and authentic, so sending them your product to try and see if they like it is common practice to kick things off.
Perfect Strategy for SMBs
We can agree that the current social media atmosphere is the ideal ground for micro-influencers and small businesses alike. When the two partner up together, a very effective collaboration based on mutual benefit can kick off. The influencers will cultivate their online presence within their community, while the brands can gain the trust and engagement of a highly relevant audience. And the best part is that this marketing strategy is definitely a very cost-effective one, which is especially important for a business with a limited budget trying to gain momentum in the marketplace. So if you’re looking for more inspiration or proof, just scroll through your feeds and you’ll see the power of micro-influencers at work.
Larry is a tech writer with DesignRush – a new digital destination to offer inspiration and overview of the current design and technology trends. Larry has several years of experience in creating content for the web, usually on topics centered around web design and development. To stay updated with Larry’s latest posts, you can follow him on Twitter.
All the images have been taken from Unsplash.com