In a world where 70% of consumers turn to social media before making a purchase decision, it’s no surprise that the world of Influencer Marketing continues to thrive. It’s no secret that brands are looking for an edge in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) in this saturated space. And I think we’ve found the answer: strategic collaborations with dozens of micro-Influencers.
A survey done in 2016 revealed some interesting facts about micro-influencers:
- They have 20x more conversations around purchase advice compared to their social relatives with a higher follower count.
- 82% of consumers who participated in that survey said they are highly likely to follow the recommendations of micro-Influencers.
“Many marketers today try to use celebrities as their influencer marketing solution, but they are missing out on a much bigger opportunity. Our research shows that real-life influencers who are passionate about what they are recommending have significantly more buying conversations, and consumers are more likely to act on their recommendations.”Brad Fay, co-founder, COO, and lead researcher of the Keller Fay Group.
Here are 5 things that you should know about collaborating with this up-and-coming human-driven channel.
What defines a Micro-Influencer?
Micro-Influencers are social media users with 1000 to 50,000 followers who foster engagement around their personal brand.
Micro-influencers are informed individuals with expertise on a particular topic, also known as “their niche”. Typically, they have a very engaged community of followers who rely on (and trust) their content. They’re able to create unique bonds with their audience because they share their lives, their passions, and their personal recommendations.
Aside from the obvious segmentation of industry: location, gender, etc. We can generalize micro-influencers based on the strategy of a brand:
- Creators — expert content creators with a like-minded audience. They’re creative individuals with a flair for creating intriguing content. Instagram is currently the preferred platform, with Tik-Tok as a close second.
- Engagers — their unique personalities give them the ability to build connections with their audience. Micro-influencers generate conversion while getting 10x more comments than the average macro-Influencer.
- Every man — this would be you, your co-workers, and me. People who use social media daily and influence a smaller group such as their acquaintances, friends, and family.
The Micro-Influencer Advantage
Authentic | Approachable | Relatable
Micro-Influencers are committed to creating high-quality and value-driven content for their audiences. They have authentic brands that are fueled by engagement, not profit. In fact, most Influencers believe that authenticity, engagement, and quality content are the keys to building community.
Large influencers produce polished content and may have an entire team working behind the scenes. In contrast, the content of micro-influencers seems more down-to-earth and real. They’re seen as regular people, as “one of us”.
They usually spend more time interacting with their audience than bigger influencers and are more invested in their community. There is a deeper level of trust in these communities that brands can tap in to.
In addition, micro-influencers are often motivated content creators who go above and beyond to impress their audience (and the brands they work with!).
A study made by Augure in 2015 reported that influencers are most willing to work with brands that help them grow a strong status as opinion leaders and develop their image. Besides the tangible motivators, make sure that you also help them achieve these key objectives, as it will lead to more engagement for your branded content.
Tips for Collaborating with Micro-Influencers
Provide Value: As touched on above, about 40% of micro-Influencers want to express themselves and only 7% join new platforms to make money. In other words, they expect brands to respect their voice and provide value when requesting to collaborate.
Hint: What does your brand stand for? Can you make this campaign stand for something larger at cause?
Include an Ambassador Program: An Influencer strategy may have different components based on goals and objectives (i.e., you may have a Giveaway on IG as part of your campaign). If you want to get the most out of your time and money, focus on building a long-standing ambassador program.
There are a few reasons why you’d want to ensure you’re preparing to find and keep the best performing Influencers for your brand.
- Economies of scale — as they gain popularity and grow, the value they provide in your collaborations exponentially increases.
- Humanization — building a tribe of ambassadors helps humanize your brand by layering tangibility and trust.
- Increased Impressions — After learning more about your brand over time, the increased impressions on an Ambassador’s audience increase the probability of action. This means that you will gain increased traffic from potential customers.
Scale Efficiently and Optimize: As micro-Influencers are smaller in terms of reach, you need to work with more of them to get desired results. This is where most marketers struggle, as the work and time needed to reach significant audiences diminish the campaign’s ROI potential.
Some challenges you may face:
- Payment options
- Following up
- Content concerns
Despite these challenges, continuously scaling your campaign is necessary to get the reach you need and it’s a great way to optimize your ambassador program. Think of your first collaborations as “try-outs” to invite an Influencer into your Ambassador program.
There are several ways to collaborate with influencers and micro-influencers are no exception. Because they are less expensive to work with, you can experiment with different strategies to find work best for you. It’s important to understand the performance goals and KPIs for each collaboration strategy. Doing so will make sure you can identify top-performing Influencers and enroll them in your Ambassador program.
Creator.co calls the output of collaboration strategies “ShoutOuts”.
Brand Announcements and News: This is where we partner with social media influencers to generate hype around an announcement or recent news that sheds a positive light on your brand. Scale your efforts using multiple micro-Influencers and have them share your company’s latest message.
Product Reviews: Having engaging reviews helps build trust and credibility in the minds of your consumers. Leveraging Instagram, YouTube, blog posts, and Tik-Tok are the ideal channels for customers to digest reviews.
Storytelling: This is more of a long-term strategy where an Influencer helps create an emotional bond between their audience and your brand. Storytelling works great when the Influencer can relate to your brand’s story and messaging. Compelling storytelling portrays to consumers what a brand is to an audience and, over time, will forge an intangible connection.
Giveaways: You can layer a giveaway within any of the above strategies. Giveaways typically lead to increased content production and engagement due to their gamified nature. They’re a great way to boost likes, shares, comments, and tags. Use Influencers to host giveaways and increase awareness and engagement around a new product or as a contest to generate more sign-ups.
Missions: The above strategies are focused on content creation and distribution, but Influencers are more than just great artists — the best ones can drive action. An Influencer mission requires the Influencer to motivate their audience to take action and may not necessarily be content-driven. IE to participate in a survey, to visit a brick-and-mortar store, or attend a local event.
Influencer Collaboration Tools
There are many Influencer collaboration tools, some are simple directories and some are full-blown CRMs. To determine the best tool for you and your team — identify the immediate constraints. Here are some tools that help marketing teams streamline and automate Influencer campaigns.
A specialty Influencer agency that works with brands to strategize collaborations and deploy campaigns using their technology platform by automating campaigns for brands. Creator.co allows brands to scale and automate campaigns with a user-friendly setup and go app, and you have a team dedicated to your success. Prices start at $395 / month.
Aspire is an Influencer CRM, allowing brands to contact many Influencers at scale. Used by large agencies and enterprises, they have a suite of useful tools to help build campaigns —the HubSpot for Influencer relationships. Prices start at $30,000 / year.
Influence.co is a database of Influencers, campaigns, and brands. It allows brands to search for Influencers and reach out to them individually to negotiate campaign opportunities. Brands can also post any campaign opportunities and wait for Influencers to apply. Prices start at $1000 / month.