Social media influencers are in high demand, with household brands courting them to become advocates and promoters of their products. But high demand for these influencers also pushes up the costs of using them - as a way around that, small businesses looking to use influencer marketing are increasingly turning to micro influencers.
Like celebrities, influencers with readymade audiences are difficult to engage. Micro-influencers, however, are more approachable, and affordable. They also often have the added benefit of better engagement with their audiences than their high-profile counterparts.
Credibility and trust sway consumer buying and purchasing decisions, and often, micro influencers have more on both fronts with their individual readers or audience members.
For small business owners, the challenge of building such trust with your target audience is time-consuming, but it is also vitally important in this hyper-competitive environment.
What is a micro influencer?
A micro-influencer is someone with a following of anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 people. This can be on any platform, and many have their own blogs and websites.
Micro-influencers are focused on a targeted niche, and as noted, often come with the advantage of high audience engagement, since their follower numbers are smaller, and thus, easier for them to engage with more often.
Having smaller audiences also means the cost to compensate them is also generally significantly lower than celebrities and high profile accounts.
Where do you look for social media micro-influencers?
The first place to look is your own “backyard.”
Sift through your social media platforms and your blog. Check and see who's commenting and sharing your content. Sometimes these people are micro-influencers.
Now, if a micro-influencer is engaging with your brand, that person is already plugged-in to your target audience. Also, it’s likely they’re already predisposed to your brand, and familiar with your products, which will save time trying to persuade them to work with you.
When you do reach out, be sure to be polite and thank them for following you and interacting with your content. Be sure to follow them on their social channels and participate there - they will appreciate your taking notice and being active.
Whatever you do, don’t begin your dialog by bluntly asking them to participate in your influencer campaign. No one appreciates being sold to, and micro-influencers are no different. Be polite, it goes a long way.
Look for quality content
Quality content and integrity are paramount.
Here’s what I mean by that - does the influencer produce quality content (video, photos and blog copy)? Think of it from the point of view of your brand - is the influencer someone you want to be associated with? Do they produce content you want your company to be associated with?
For example, if you're a family-friendly brand, look to see if the micro influencers use profanity or engage in inappropriate behavior. Do they conduct themselves well and are they a good fit?
Be mindful of congruence and engagement
If you find a micro-influencer that's a huge pastry connoisseur, for example, but your business is about following a sugar-free diet, then they’re probably not the right influencer for you, even if they are engaging with your content.
Not only should they produce the kind of content you want to be associated with your brand, but they should get good engagement with their followers - remember, engagement is far more important than reach.
Check to see how often your targeted micro-influencer posts, and how much reaction it gets in the form of shares, comments, and likes.
The more a micro-influencer engages with their audience, the more influential they are with them. Frequency is good as they are more likely to be considered credible, relevant, and up-to-date with the audience’s needs and concerns. This is what you want.
Once you weigh relevance and communication styles, you’ll want to narrow down your micro-influencers by reach.
How to find micro influencers quickly and easily
An effective strategy for finding the right kind of micro-influencer for your business is using hashtag search features, particularly branded hashtags.
If you search #YourBrandName, you’ll be able to find people who are already engaging with your brand (if they are). This is a simple and straight-forward way of finding out which micro-influencers are already talking about you - these are some of your best bets, as they're already acquainted with your business and will be easier to persuade over influencers who aren’t familiar with you.
When you’re ready to expand your search, you can try hashtags for topics relevant to your brand and products. Simply type your hashtags into the Instagram search bar and a range of choices will pop up.
Let’s say, for example, your business is in the healthy food space. You’d simply type that hashtag into the Instagram search bar:
Another way to find micro influencers is to use influencer databases - some are free, simple and easy. They also provide the added bonus of statistical data on the influencers too.
For example, Scrunch is an easy to use platform which enables you to find micro-influencers quickly. You can also filter them based on category.
In the example below, I put in a search for influencers who cover the topic of marketing:
Some of the statistics Scrunch offers includes audience size, the social platforms the influencers use, the approximate cost to have them create content for you and the topics they post about.
These are all provided with the free version - more advanced statistics are available when you subscribe to the pro version.
Another platform to try is Tinysponsor. This tool focuses on micro-influencers, and enables businesses to find and collaborate, regardless of location or social platform. You can even pay the influencers through it.
When you visit Tinysponsor simply click on the “continue” button and set up your brand profile, then start searching.
Tinysponsor even allows you to search ready-made packages, influencer by influencer or in bulk, by platform, price, city (so you can get local) and tags, so there are lots of options to choose from.
You can add the packages to your cart, define your goals, then checkout. Sponsorships are confirmed by each micro influencer, and funds are held in a protected account.
This enables you to collaborate directly with each micro-influencer on your sponsorship. Once delivered and approved by you, payment is instantly sent.
Anyone of these methods and tools is sufficient to quickly find micro influencers relevant to your business.
The hardest part is getting started, but once you do, you’ll be able to find influencers on demand.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective forms of gaining mindshare with your ideal consumers quickly and effectively.
Because of their high engagement rates and cost-effectiveness, most small businesses can leverage this strategy anytime they want - but keep in mind this critical point: The size of the audience is not as important as the engagement. You want to see an active audience.
Even influencers with very small audiences can help you boost your brand’s authenticity and standing. Now you can outmaneuver larger competitors, because you can connect with an already targeted and motivated audience which will skyrocket your brand.