The science is in and the word is out: micro-influencers are better brand boosters than their millionaire-follower peers.
The main reason is that micro-influencers (we’ll call them MIs) have quality social relationships — there’s a genuineness about them and their interactions — while celebrities (1M+ followers) and macro-influencers (500K-1M) hang their hats on having heaps and heaps of followers alone.
“Market research conducted by the Keller Fay Group has found micro-influencers are considered 10% more knowledgeable about a product than the general public. The likely reason for this is that micro-influencers have a loyal group of followers who relate to them on a similar level to friends and family, who trust in their word and want to listen to what they have to say.”
More than this, MIs are experts at natural conversational engagement. When a follower tweets back at them or comments on their Instagram post, chances are that the micro-influencer will respond openly and helpfully.
Kyla Brennan, the founder and CEO of social media marketing firm HelloSociety, puts it thus: “Engagement goes down once you reach a certain threshold of followers…You might get eyeballs, but they won’t be eyeballs that care.”
Put it this way: how often you think Kim writes back?
Because of these quality relationships, MIs have greater like and engagement rates, meaning companies that enlist the help of these knowledgeable and trusted “social-lites” consistently see sexy results.
So how do you enlist them? How do you reach out and convince them to enthusiastically and authentically spread the good word about your brand?
Remember: another term for micro-influencer is niche-influencer. These people are specialized. Not everyone with a followership under 100K is ideally suited to vouch for you. You need to do your homework.
Choose your micro-influencer wisely. Identify the MI or MIs a) whose interests and expertise align with your offerings; b) who engage with their followers, and; c) whose promotional practices mirror your brand’s values.
Media databases like Agility are a perfect place to start looking. With nearly 800K influencers from around the world — along with their contact info, their social media account info, and their latest tweets so you can see what they’re saying and how they’re saying it — easily searchable and all in one place, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Shane Barker — digital marketing consultant, influencer specialist, and co-host of micro-influencers: a micro-webinar — advises you begin your interaction with your chosen MI by commenting, liking, and/or sharing their social content.
This shows that you appreciate their work, and that you’re willing to spread it. And equally as important, it will put you on their radar.
Once that initial contact has been made, Barker urges you to avoid reaching out via social media, and instead use a tool like the Agility database to email them directly.
“Although I can’t say that social media messaging doesn’t work at all, it tends to work less effectively. That’s because these micro-influencers get tons of messages from followers and brands alike. So your message could get lost in a sea of other messages.”
Now that you’ve got their ear, how do you win them over?
Easy. Lead with what’s in it for them.
But one big “don’t” in the list of dos and don’ts we go over in our webinar is, “Don’t assume that they’ll work for free products alone.”
Instead, Barker recommends you simply provide them with creative freedom.
“Influencers want to be valued for their ability to create content and not just for their reach alone. So you need to make it clear from the start that they will get the freedom to create unique content for your brand in their own voice.”
His view is backed up by studies like The State of Influencer Marketing from Crowdtap and Bloglovin’s 2016 Global Power of Influencers, which both found that micro-influencers highly value the ability to express themselves creatively.
So let ’em.
(And, of course, be prepared to dole out some cash. Micro-influencers are cheaper than their celebrity counterparts, but they still need to eat.)
These partnerships won’t just stay peachy on their own; you need to work to maintain a good relationship with your micro-influencer.
Some ways to do just that:
- Provide them with sufficient compensation; the last thing you want is a resentful MI
- Be genuine in your praise of their promotional content (and not just of the stuff they do for you, either)
- Reward them for exceptional work
- Give them feedback; fill them in when their posts result in any type of spike for your brand – they’ll love to hear about the impact they’re having
- Send them access to exclusive deals and products before anyone else; they are your special friends, after all
When it comes to micro-influencers, a modest number of followers translates into a hyper-engaged audience. They’re walking, talking proof that bigger is not always better.
In this case, numbers actually do tell the whole story – and the story goes like this: fewer followers means truer followers.
The bottom line is that MIs build brand awareness, increase conversations, and drive buying behavior. More and more they are the oracles who proclaim a product or service’s worthiness. The trick is getting them to turn their golden gaze upon your brand.
Check out micro-influencers: a micro-webinar to get the entire scoop on how to do exactly that.