Influencer marketing is going from strength to strength, and with the 2019 industry predicted to grow to more than double its size since 2017, it doesn’t show signs of stopping.
But while it may be deemed one of the most effective ways of reaching a target audience in today’s modern market, the influencer marketing industry is also one of the most expensive.
For example, influencers with around 1 million Instagram followers can command £10,000 for a single post, so unless you’re a large-scale corporation with a sizeable marketing budget, a groundbreaking influencer campaign is probably out of your price range.
However, this doesn’t mean that influencer marketing is completely off the table. In fact, there are many reasons why engaging with ‘micro influencers’ can be a highly effective way of building brand awareness amongst your target audience, without blowing the budget.
What is a micro influencer?
A micro influencer is someone who doesn’t have millions of followers, but has more than a regular user – around 10-100k seems to be the agreed industry average.
Research conducted by Markerly suggests that influencers who have a following of between 10k – 100k people offer “the best combination of engagement and broad reach”. This is because their audience, while condensed, is highly engaged. Take Chrissa Benson’s @physicalkitchness, for example. Whilst she may only have 81.2k followers – a modest figure in the world of influencers – they are all genuinely interested in her meal prep hacks and fitness advice, trusting her counsel as they would a friend.
Why does using a micro influencer work?
There are several reasons why working with micro influencers is such an effective way of connecting with your target audience:
As humans, our desire to feel like we belong to a tribe or specific group of peers is instinctual. It’s why you can only identify as either a Blur fan or an Oasis fan, why there’s a British Water Tower Appreciation Society, and why getting to sit at the back of the school bus with the cool kids was a badge of honour.
We’re hard-wired to crave acceptance and a sense of belonging to a specific network of similar people, and being part of a micro influencer’s community of followers ticks this box.
Tried and tested evidence
Consumers are far more likely to buy a product or service if they have some sort of guarantee that it will ‘do what it says on the tin’. Employing a micro influencer to offer a tried and tested review of your product, or better still, to post a video clip of themselves actually using your product or service, will give your brand greater credibility and foster a deeper brand loyalty than a simple advertising banner alone.
Celebrities and mega influencers are considered god-like, whereas a micro influencer is more human and relatable, and therefore easier for consumers to connect with. Product endorsements from micro influencers feel more like a recommendation from a friend than an advert from a corporate marketing team.
How can micro influencers enhance your marketing strategy?
A micro influencer is far more likely to have the time and resources to give your product or service the honest review and promotion it deserves.
Two way street
Micro influencers are as keen to elevate their own brand and grow their following as much as you are, so they are likely to be far more amenable than a mega influencer who’s inundated with desperate sponsorship offers.
People buy from people
It’s a bit of a tired cliche, however there is truth in the old adage that people buy from people, so having a familiar face that is already held in high esteem by your target audience can only benefit your brand.
What’s more, where as big time celebrities have a reputation for settling for the highest bidder, micro influencers are generally considered less fickle, and therefore their following are more likely to believe that their endorsement of your product or service is authentic.
One thing’s for sure, a micro influencer will definitely come with a more affordable price tag than those with a seven figure following. For the £10,000 you’d be spending on a standalone post from a top-level influencer, you could employ several micro influencers and probably end up getting your brand in front of the same number of eyeballs any way.
Depending on their own agenda, some micro influencers will even be happy to promote a decent product free of charge (they’ll definitely want a free sample, but how else are they going to give an honest review?).
Micro influencers make influencer marketing accessible to all businesses and operations, regardless of size or budget. And while the bigger players are chasing the current A-list names and stumping up colossal endorsement fees in the process, you can focus on building a strong working relationship with the micro-influencers of the world who generally have a far more loyal and attentive audience.
Where can I find one?
As with any successful marketing strategy, you need to start by getting to know your audience inside out. Consider concepts such as:
– Regional concentration
– Affordability/ disposable income
Social media habits
– Where do they spend most of their time – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram?
– When do they engage with social media – morning, evenings, after 10pm, weekends only?
– What hashtags do they use and engage with?
– Are they impulse buyers, or do they revisit a product several times before purchasing?
– Do they make purchases at a specific time of day – evenings, lunchtime, weekends?
– Are they influenced by discounts/ loyalty schemes?
Once you’ve nailed this stage, you can start scouring the market for your influencer. Here are three top places to start:
1. Start close to home
Take a look through your existing followers, either manually or via your usual analytics platform. You may find that the ideal candidate is already engaging with your product, which will mean they’ll be more willing to work with you, plus their content will be far more authentic as they already believe in your brand.
2. Listen in to your social activity
Sometimes the best way to really understand the behaviour patterns of your target audience is to see it with your own eyes.
Spend some time analysing the online conversations surrounding your brand, the types of products/services you offer, and niche topic areas that could be relevant to your brand or industry. Pay particular attention to:
- Keywords and hashtags used
- The terminology, slang phrases used, and tone of voice
- What type/s of content they are engaging with the most i.e. open questions, images, videos etc
- How they are interacting with your competitors/ other brands in your industry
Once you know how and where your target audiences hang out online, you’ll be able to identify the types of influencers they interact with most, and therefore who is most likely to provide the connection between your brand and the people most likely to convert.
3. Use an online tool
Earlier this week, Browser Media Account Manager, Will, posted a handy blog post about the top 100 influencers to follow, according to BuzzSumo’s influencer reports. If there’s room within your budget to invest in an online tool to help you find the right micro-influencers, it can often be a far quicker route than researching manually.
BuzzSumo is not the only platform out there, TrendKite and Influence.co are just a couple of examples that offer a similar tool, so it’s worth shopping around to find an interface and functionality you prefer.
Pros and cons will vary depending on your chosen platform, but the vast majority of these tools will allow you to conduct filtered searches to discover ideal influencers within your niche market. Once you’ve cherry picked a few front runners from your search, you’ll be able to assess their suitability further by analysing stats such as their follower count and engagement rate.
When it comes to influencer marketing, sometimes routing for the underdogs can lead to the greatest return, yet working with any influencer, regardless of their size, requires constant communication and development. As well as ensuring your influencer is still relevant and having the desired effect, it’s important to ensure that anyone acting as an advocate of your brand adheres to your company’s agreed brand standards in order to ensure a professional and consistent online presence is maintained.