Who are Micro-influencers?Micro-influencers are influencers with a much smaller following than celebrities and mega-influencers. But they have more engaged followers in a specific niche. According to Forbes, micro-influencers can have a following in the range of 10,000 to 500,000 followers. According to SnapApp, this number varies from 1000 to 10,000. Since there are differing opinions on the followership of micro-influencers, let’s say an average number is between 10,000 and 100,000.
Why are Micro-influencers a Better Choice for Small Businesses?Here are some of the factors that make micro-influencers a better alternative for small businesses:
They are More AuthenticSince micro-influencers are regular people who post about their interests, they are perceived to be more authentic than celebrities. People are more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by someone they trust or consider authentic. The same is true for brands. According to a survey conducted by Stackla, 86% people consider authenticity as an important factor in deciding which brands they like and support. Brands can build that trust and authenticity by associating with influencers who are trusted by their followers.
They are AffordableSmaller influencers charge between $75 to $3000 per Instagram post, depending on their followership. And celebrities can charge as much as $550,000 per post. The difference between the cost of hiring a celebrity/large influencer and a small influencer is huge. Micro-influencers are 6.7 times more cost-efficient than large influencers.
They Have Higher Customer Engagement RatesMicro-influencers have more engaged audiences because they post about specific topics that their followers are interested in. According to a Markerly study, influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers have the best combination of customer engagement and reach.
They Have a More Targeted AudienceBecause micro-influencers write about specific topics, people who follow them are interested in those topics. Local micro-influencers can further streamline the audience by geography, hence are a better choice for small local brands.
They are More AccessibleIt is easier to collaborate with micro-influencers than with celebrities, as smaller influencers themselves seek brands to collaborate with. With small, local influencers, it is often as simple as reaching out to them on social media to discuss collaboration. Here is an example of a small influencer, actively seeking collaborations:
How to Find InfluencersThe first step in running a successful local influencer marketing campaign is to find the right influencers for your brand. For small businesses, it makes sense to collaborate with local influencers, who post about topics in your product niche and who can reach a local audience. Here are some tips to identify the right local influencers to promote your small business:
Look into Your Existing Subscriber BaseThe first place to start looking for influencers is to check your brand’s followers on social media. Identify people with more than 1,000 followers, who have a genuine interest in your brand and are actively talking about similar products or topics. In the following example, look at the company’s existing followers. One of their followers has a follower base of more than 3,000. The company can collaborate with her to promote their brand, as she already is a fan, and posts about relevant topics. Influencers who are already interested in your brand are more likely to become brand advocates. For example, if you’re a restaurant, find local food bloggers who have subscribed to your channel or have talked about you on social media.
Search Using Specific HashtagsTo find influencers in your product niche, try searching for people using hashtags relevant to your product and brand. Sift through the posts with relevant hashtags and identify influencers that are relevant for your brand. Try to include the name of your city or country in the list of hashtags, to find local influencers. For example, if you have a food business in New York, searching for #newyorkfoodblogger will give you more targeted results.
Use Influencer Search ToolsIf you do not want to spend a lot of time to search for social media for influencers, you can always use tools like UNAMO Social Media, which not only identifies influencers but also tracks social media performance. The tool breaks down the influencers list by social media channel and also tracks popular keywords and topics. Next, assess the engagement rate of various local influencers by looking at the likes and comments on their posts using the tools like Shane Barker’s Instagram Engagement Calculator.
Vet Your InfluencersAfter you generate a list of influencers, you also need to evaluate them and pick the ones who resonate well with your brand. Let’s take a look at some of the factors to keep in mind before selecting influencers:
- Make sure that their personality and style align with your brand values and messaging.
- From a list of relevant local influencers, select the ones who precisely fall under your product niche.
- Check for the authenticity of their content.
How to Leverage Influencers to Grow Your Small BusinessCollaborating with local influencers can help your brand in myriad ways. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways for small businesses to partner with local influencers:
Enhance Your Social Media PresenceLocal influencers play an important role in increasing your social media presence. They can increase your brand mentions, share your social media posts, and even create content for your brand. Here are some ways in which influencers can improve your social media presence:
Through Brand Mentions and Sponsored PostsThey can mention your brand and use your brand-specific hashtags in their post. Influencer Jessica Lynn’s post about Hunterdon Brew generated curiosity among her followers and they asked her where she bought it from. Sponsored posts are the posts that influencers are paid to share on their social media pages. Sponsored posts are estimated to grow from 12.9 million in 2017 to 24.2 million in 2018, according to the previously-cited Influencer Marketing Hub study. Here is an example of a sponsored post, in which Snacksack collaborated with influencer Rylee Hall to promote its food subscription box:
By Generating Brand-Related ContentYou can also use micro-influencers to generate social media content as part of a campaign. For example, Spotify asked micro-influencers to post Instagram pictures of their Discover Weekly feature in use. They got over 29,000 likes and comments on 13 creator posts with a budget of $5-7K. Another way to use influencers to generate social media content is to ask them to do something new with your product. For example, LaCroix Sparkling Water is a brand that relies heavily on local influencer marketing. They encourage customers, social media followers, and influencers to post pictures of their products in use and create new recipes. The brand’s Instagram page is filled with images of followers using the products: A creative way of getting influencers to generate content for your brand is a social media takeover. In a social media takeover, brands provide influencers access to their social media pages and ask them to create content. In the example below, influencer Bridget Freeman her takeover for Bulk Nutrients’ Instagram story, where she will post about a fitness event:
Posting About Brands’ Private EventsOrganizing events is a good way to engage multiple influencers at the same time. This not only allows you to find people that are interested in your product but also helps generate organic content. Beauty company, Benefit Cosmetics, threw a launch party for their new BADgal BANG mascara in February 2018. The brand invited ~250 guests, including influencers and press, to create a buzz around the product. A lot of influencers attending the event simultaneously posted about it on social media, using the hashtag #BADGalBang. As a result, the hashtag trended globally on Instagram and Twitter.
Reach More Customers and Grow SalesUsing several local influencers, small businesses can reach a targeted audience who can be converted into customers. Social media posts and influencer recommendations have the power to sway customers to buy certain products and services. According to the previously-cited Stackla study, 57% millennials have made travel plans after being influenced by a social media post. Also, 56% millennials tried out a new restaurant after seeing a social media post. Brands use one or more of the following ways to drive traffic to their brands:
Use Influencers to Tag Your Brand or Provide Product Purchase LinksInfluencers can add a link to your brand’s website on their posts to drive traffic. They can simply tag your brand on social media posts to drive traffic to your social media pages. In the below example, YouTuber, Michelle Tapia, posted a makeup tutorial video, using several products. In the description, she provided purchase links for the products she used in the tutorial. This is may directly lead to sales growth and hence is a good idea for small businesses.
Provide Influencer-Specific DiscountsAnother great way of using micro-influencers to drive traffic to your site and grow sales is to provide influencer-specific discounts. Several brands provide influencers coupon codes that they can share with their followers.
Build Brand CredibilityGetting local influencers to provide honest reviews of your products can help you build brand credibility. Some brands also provide free samples to bloggers so they can provide an in-depth review of their experience of using the product. You can collaborate with influencers to review your products on various social media channels.
Boost Your SEOAccording to OptinMonster, the quality of backlinks is one of the top ten factors that Google considers while deciding the website’s rank. Using influencers to post links to your website on various social media platforms can improve your backlink profile. This strategy is more effective if influencers have their own websites or blogs with high domain authority. We have already discussed how influencers post links to drive traffic to your website. But there is another way of getting backlinks to your website, called guest blogging. This involves writing guest posts for other websites or blogs. Several brands collaborate with reputed blogs and websites to generate high-quality backlinks to their website. Brands can collaborate with influencers for guest blogging in two ways:
- As a brand, you can ask to post on the websites and blogs of relevant influencers.
- Alternatively, you can invite influencers to post on your brand’s website or blog.