In today’s hyperconnected world, influencer marketing has become a key component for most marketing plans. While many marketers gravitate towards famous bloggers, vloggers, and mega-celebrities, for an influencer to be effective they need more than just a large number of followers of their social media account. Having the trust of their followers and the ability to drive those followers into action is extremely valuable, much more so than just the number of followers.
That’s where the micro-influencer comes into play. They may not have the huge social media following of big celebrity names and well-known bloggers, but the followers they do have are listening to their words, and acting on them. That’s important, because people are turning to social media more than ever for recommendations. In fact, in according to recent research, 70% of Americans have sought the opinions of others before making purchases, and 72% of those looked to their social media circles for these recommendations.
What is a Micro-Influencer (and why work with them)?
Simply put, a micro-influencer is someone with a respectable social media following, usually between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, that blogs or posts about a particular passion or niche. This niche could be anything; fashion, business, beauty, automotive, fitness, tech, travel, and everything in between. The combination of a specific, niche topic with an intimate social media following is human-to-human marketing at it’s best.
Working with micro-influencers can be beneficial for many reasons, including:
- Higher engagement: Studies show that as an influencer’s numbers rise, their rate of engagement with followers actually decreases. So while the content produced by micro-influencers may reach a smaller audience, that audience is much more engaged because the content feels much more personal.
- Authenticity: Consumers look for authenticity, and can spot a fake in an instant, rejecting or ignoring the content. To drive that point home, consider the consumer study shared by Forbes finding that 43% of millennials value authenticity over content when getting news. Micro-influencers naturally produce more authentic content and appear more sincere, making their content better received by consumers and in turn, more valuable.
- Affordability: The investment needed to hire one celebrity influencer and allow marketers to work with 15-25 micro-influencers to reach numerous demographics and geographical regions. This makes it a cost effective way to reach an audience, test marketing strategies, and evaluate engagement and results.
How to Find the Right Micro-Influencers
One size does not fit all when it comes to choosing micro-influencers. Identifying micro-influencers in your own social media campaign can be done by looking at these four areas:
Your own followers: Chances are you have micro-influencers already following your brand. Identify these followers who regularly engage with your posts and narrow down your list by:
- Refine your list of potential micro-influencers by eliminating those whose follower list and activity is less than your brand’s page.
- Analyzing posting habits. How frequently do they post? On average, how many likes and comments do they receive per post?
- Lastly, visit their profiles and interact with them by liking and/or commenting on their posts. This will help build a relationship for future collaborations.
Google: Run Google searches to find niche bloggers in your areas of interest by searching “top [industry] influencers on Twitter” or “top [industry] Instagram account”, etc. There will most likely already be lists for your industry. Run these searches on each social media platform to compile your list.
Hashtags and keywords: Use hashtags and keywords commonly used in your industry or related to your business or products, and you’ll find micro-influencers that have posted about those topics or keywords. But keep in mind, not all the results you get back will be from influencers.
To identify a specific user as an influencer, look at the following criteria:
- Engagement rate – Look at the user’s ratios of likes to follows. If there’s a large number of followers with a small amount of likes and comments, this user’s account most likely has a large number of inactive accounts following it.
- Content quality – Does the content seem genuine? Is it good? Are they using original, self-generated photos or stock images? Remember, authenticity is key, so original photos will be better received by consumers than stock images.
- Number of followers – While a micro-influencer won’t have a massive following, they should generally have more followers than your company’s profile page.
Specialty tools & networks: If all these manual searches have your head spinning, try using specialty influencer marketing tools or work with blogger networks. Although there is a cost involved with using influencer marketing tools, they can automate repetitive tasks, such as reviewing content and contacting influencers, track and monitor campaigns in real time, and make it much faster to find the most relevant influencers in your area.
When searching for the right influencers for your next marketing campaign, analyze their real influence by measuring their daily interactions, per-post interactions, and overall trustworthiness, not just their number of followers.