Having a celebrity endorse your product on social media is not a new concept, but the price of working with high-profile social influencers is a significant barrier for most companies. Instead, brands are increasingly turning to micro-influencers to share products with specific markets where they’ve gained popularity and trust. These micro-influencers may have as little as 10,000 followers, but those followers engage as much as if they knew the influencer personally. Working with micro-influencers is cost-effective and allows for a more genuine endorsement to the target audience.
To first find potential micro-influencers, make sure you have a clear definition of your audience. This may include determining which social media platform this audience is most active on, in order to determine where to look for micro-influencers (which may vary by platform). There are tools online to then find influencers in the space, but you can also try following several relevant hashtags and organically discover popular users. Pro tip: once you’ve found one micro-influencer, look for others in the comments. Many micro-influencers within the same community engage with each other, much like small businesses do. When evaluating good-fit partnerships, consider the following criteria:
- Does the micro-influencer’s core audience align with your target demographic?
- Is the micro-influencer’s audience actively engaged in the form of likes, shares, replies, and comments?
- Is the micro-influencer already a fan of the brand?
- Is the micro-influencer’s aesthetic similar to the brand?
Next, create a strategy to build, manage, and measure both organic and paid relationships with social influencers. I recommend the following steps:
Build an organic relationship.
For optimal results in courting influencers, it’s highly recommended to build a solid connection before pitching your partnership. Follow them on social media, engage them, and leave comments on their blog, to ensure that when you do approach them, the relationship is strong and they are familiar with the your brand.
Pitch a mutually-beneficial organic partnership.
What value-add can you provide the micro-influencer? Examples include free product samples, pre-written content or tailored images, and product/service giveaways or promo codes for their followers. These translate to value-adds for the micro-influencer’s followers, and therefore strengthen their trust in the influencer. For this reason, many micro-influencers are open to non-paid relationships as a growth tactic for their own activities.
Define your expectations for the micro-influencer. This likely includes a pre-determined number of posts or videos, as well as a product/service testimonial.
Measure and consider an ongoing (or paid) relationship.
The goal of micro-influencer initiatives is often to grow, engage, and convert your own followers. Therefore, some key ways to calculate the ROI include looking at the following metrics on days when the micro-influencer is posting:
- Growth in followers
- Growth in page likes / subscribers
- Website traffic increases
- Social media buzz (likes, mentions, shares, comments)
Additionally, any hashtags or promo codes should be unique to the influencer to track results directly to those posts. The same goes for a unique landing page that any links drive to.
Marketers are always trying to find ways to connect with their audience on a smaller and more personal level, and micro-influencers are a key channel for doing so.