Are You Tapping Into the Power of Micro-Influencers?
December 19, 2017
By: Kelly Spors
Most business owners know the value of having well-known people using their products or services — and celebrity marketing has been around for a long time. But thanks to the dawn of social media, there’s another type of person you can engage in your marketing —the "micro-influencer."
Micro-influencers are people with a significant — though not massive — social media network on sites such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. They have 1,000 to 100,000 followers, not the 500,000-plus followers many celebrities have. (For example, consider the difference between following a Grammy award-winning performer compared to, say, that local musician who posts great photos and interesting bits about the local music scene.)
For businesses, there can be benefits to tapping into these less-famous social media mavericks: Micro-influencers actually have much higher rates of engagement on social media than celebrities, according to a study by Markerly, an influencer marketing firm. “The key finding of our data is that as an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) with followers’ decreases,” the company wrote. “Those with less than 1,000 followers generally received likes on their posts 8 percent of the time. Users with 10 million+ followers only received likes 1.6 percent of the time. There is a clear downward correlation between follower sizes and post likes.”
In other words, micro-influencers with smaller-yet-still-significant social media followings can often provide a better ROI for the businesses that engage them to promote products and services.
Building a Micro-Influencer Marketing Program
As micro-influencer marketing goes more mainstream, it’s not as difficult to create a marketing strategy that incorporates it. Here are some tips:
Find the right influencers
It’s important to find people whose social media activity focuses on topics aligned with your business — and who have the right amount of followers. A small food company, for example, might look for influencers who are home chefs and regularly post photos of foods they prepared. A sporting goods store may look for athletes. You can find these micro-influencers simply by searching on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for people who use certain hashtags — as La Croix, a sparkling water company, did. Two other strategies: Look for people already following your business on social media who have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers or find local bloggers who write about the right topics. For instance, the site BuzzSumo helps companies search for micro-influencers.
Understand the cost benefits
Micro-influencers tend to charge far less than celebrities for promoting brands or products. While a celebrity can charge upwards of $75,000 for a promotional Instagram post, micro-influencers may only charge $75 for an Instagram post, less than $300 for a blog post, or even accept free product or services in exchange for their promotion.
Engage them wisely
You have to be smart and strategic about how you form your approach — as these individuals may never have been approached about this type of arrangement before. You will want to write an email that explains why it’s beneficial for them to engage with your brand (without doing too much of a hard sell—which may turn them off). Consider writing an introductory email or direct message (if you prefer to reach out via social media) that explains why you like their social media accounts and would pay them to help you promote your company. You don’t have to offer too many specifics in your email—short is sweet—but provide enough information about your business and why you think partnering with them makes sense. You can then invite them to discuss the partnership in more detail over the phone.
Micro-influencers can be an effective way for businesses to get the word out about their products or services, but you need to be thoughtful and strategic about how you do it. It makes sense to spend time thinking through your micro-influencer marketing strategy before embarking on it.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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