Modern marketers are realizing the value of micro-influencers more than they ever have in the past. This, in large part, is because they tend to have more dedicated audiences. Engagement to follower ratios peak at about 1000 followers, and campaigns that leverage micro-influencers deliver 60% better engagement, on average, are 6.7x more cost-effective, and result in 22.2% higher conversion rates.
So, what's the best way to work with micro-influencers to enhance the performance of your campaigns and take advantage of their small, but loyal audiences?
Here are some tips.
1. Listen For Your Brand, and For Competitors
First things first, you want to make sure that you're ready to pounce on any opportunities which appear, as they do. If a micro-influencer is already out there mentioning your name, you should be prepared to get in touch quickly with a follow-up.
And on top of listening to micro-influencers mentioning your own brand, you should also include your competitors, and any keywords that are especially relevant for your business.
There's no template for response to brand mentions, but here are a few things to keep in mind with your follow-ups:
- Your goal should always be to take the conversation somewhere productive - a simple “thanks for mentioning us” isn't going to accomplish that.
- Any outreach should be mutually beneficial, with a primary emphasis on specifically how you can benefit the micro-influencer in question. Whether that means receiving a product for review, taking part in a podcast interview, or writing a guest post for your blog, the benefits for them should be transparent and obvious.
- The conversation must go deeper than a tweet or Facebook comment. Direct messages and emails will likely be necessary, in order to take the conversation in a productive direction. By all means, supplement your communications with social media posts, retweets, etc., but remember that these are not the main course.
- Your outreach should flow naturally from the brand mention, and be a custom response to it, including the goal of the outreach itself. If you approach them with a template contact form, you're less likely to receive a response.
2. Find The Right Kind Of Micro-Influencer
Most of the influencers you'll end up working with will likely not be mentioning your brand naturally before you reach out to them - especially, if you're a small brand or startup. For that reason, choosing from the targets - the ones to reach out to and the one to pass on - will be an integral part of your strategy.
While not strictly necessary, we recommend using tools like BuzzSumo or HYPR to simplify the process, since the search capabilities of social media sites are very limited, and Google's link-focused rankings aren't the best at identifying social media personalities based on the social media followings and engagement.
As a general rule, you'll want to keep your searches limited to influencers with audiences somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, as, once outside of that range, you start to see a drop-off in audience engagement.
Start by searching for influencers who cover topics as closely related to your products and services as possible, then broaden out from there.
In addition to high engagement rates, you'll also want to look at their audiences first hand, to get a more nuanced idea of how good a fit they are for your promotions.
3. Promote Micro-Influencers
The simple value of reciprocity is often understated in these discussions - while merely promoting micro-influencers without taking any other actions is unlikely to be the most effective way to leverage them, it's undoubtedly a crucial part of the process.
Influencers will be much more willing to work with you if you start by going out of your way to promote and flatter them, as well as take part in their conversations.
Here are a few pointers:
- The goal here is not to directly promote anything related to your brand, but to promote the influencers themselves, so that they'll be more interested in working with you.
- Retweet influencers who say something that aligns with your brand values, and try to do so in a way that avoids following the trends. You want to promote undiscovered tweets. Take the time to add your own text to the retweet, and consider sending several retweets with a shared hashtag to draw attention to a specific message.
- Mention micro-influencers or embed their messages within your content.
4. Take Advantage Of Sponsored Posts
While it might not seem like the “inbound” thing to do, sponsored posts with micro-influencers can be incredibly powerful - but it's important that you approach the method carefully.
First, it's important to clarify what we mean when we're talking about sponsored posts. Typically, it's enough to send the product for free to an influencer so that they can review it for their audience - but keep in mind that, by law, they are required to disclose that they received the product for free.
In some cases, a micro-influencer may also expect payment. You'll need to tread carefully here, making sure to obey disclosure laws as well as ensuring that you don't violate their audience's trust.
Before deciding to sponsor a micro-influencer, take a look at any sponsored content they've done in the past.
Did they review the product fairly? Do the comments take the sponsored content seriously, or does their audience seem upset by the inclusion of sponsored content?
From a financial perspective, this is an area where it's better to test the waters first, before diving deeper. Work with a few highly targeted influencers before you embark on any large campaigns. Results will be different in every industry, and what works for one audience won't necessarily work for another.
5. Encourage User Generated Content
85% of users find visual user-generated content more persuasive than photos posted by brands themselves.
Here are a few ways to encourage influencers to create user-generated content for your brand:
- Retweet and share any content they produce in favor of your brand, and encourage others to mimic the concept with a hashtag.
- Invite micro-influencers to take photos for your Instagram pages and write content for your blog.
- Embed social media content from micro-influencers within your blog posts and other content.
- Ask open-ended questions on your platforms and invite micro-influencers to join in the conversation.
- Launch a user-generated content contest on your social media platform of choice. Make sure you follow the rules of the platform in question, which generally rule out contests based entirely on number of shares or other native features.
Micro-influencers have a more direct connection to their audiences than any other type of personality on the web, today. They are more relatable than celebrities and brands, and they tend to have very loyal, trusting fan bases.
And while a strategy based on micro-influencers means you'll need to interact with more contacts than if you were to put the focus on big platforms, the impact tends to be more direct and long-lasting. Incorporate these charismatic people into your social media strategies and you'll likely achieve results that wouldn't otherwise be possible.