Are you a small or medium-sized business that is struggling to reach customers via social media?
If so, the people you need to look for aren’t necessarily those with hundreds of thousands of followers and profiles in major daily newspapers. The superstars of social media have plenty of reach but are rarely the most cost effective option. They can choose offers from corporations with massive marketing budgets – not an option that small businesses can consider.
Instead, small businesses should focus on what are known as “micro-influencers.” This doesn’t mean they have tiny reach and no authority. It means that they have reach out of proportion to their relatively small fan bases.
Some Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook users have the ability to project their content to networks that go well beyond their followers. They also gather communities around them full of engaged users who hang on their every word. Micro-influencers generally have the smallest reach, but they also have the highest engaged reach and are mightier in numbers. More importantly, they’re generating authentic conversions among like-minded consumers, individuals with shared connections to the micro-influencer that are far more powerful than the superficial engagements and conversions you may get from a paid advertisement, blog, or impersonal public endorsement.
— Scraawl (@Scraawl) September 28, 2016
Micro-influencers may be on their way to massive fan bases, but during their ascent marketers can exploit their rising popularity at relatively low cost. Here’s how to find micro-influencers and harness their marketing potential. According to a survey conducted by Augure, 84% of companies plan on working with a social media star in the next year, while 81% of brands that currently use influencers as part of their marketing strategies claim they were satisfied with campaign results.
Locate the Ideal Micro-Influencers for Your Campaigns
What makes a micro-influencer stand out from the mass of social media users? Well, they will generally have between 1,000 to 90,000 followers. Within this range, social media users tend to have big and better engagement rates. When follower numbers rise to over 100,000, engagement rates drops which means that enlisting 10 micro-influencers is usually more effective than a single user with more followers.
The easiest way to locate this type of user is by using influencer marketing platforms. These platforms allow you to search across multiple social media platforms using metrics like engagement, industry segment, and number of followers. They are tailor made for small businesses who need to have an agile influencer marketing strategy in place quickly. You can also keep track of Twitter or Instagram hashtags in your niche to find out whose posts attract the most retweets, but this is more laborious. It makes sense to use tools that can do the heavy lifting for you.
When using Scraawl, you can use the influence discovery feature to identify top influential users and hashtags mentioned around your brand as seen below:
With Scraawl’s community detection feature you can discover and analyse the relevant communities that are formed around a user or your brand. You can dive deeper into the results and really understand exactly what this influencer might mean to your brand and how far their reach travels:
How to Manage Micro-Influencers to Get Results
When you have come up with a list of micro-influencers for your project, you need to connect with them. You can contact them via social media messages or their email addresses (if they make them available). However, take care over the content of your approach.
Influencers will probably be keen to work with you if there is a natural fit between your products and their videos, blog content, or photos. Make sure they know exactly what you are promoting, the selling points you are seeking to focus on, and key information like price, where to buy, or payment options. Some background on who you are and what your brand stands for is also helpful. Finally, be sure to offer the product itself, and ensure that it is shipped as quickly and reliably as possible.
Remember that influencers need to trust your brand. They have to show so much enthusiasm for your products that their followers will rush to make a purchase of their own. Enthusiasm like that is hard to feign, and in an environment that runs on authenticity, people can spot when they are being given a pure sales pitch. If influencers are excited by your products, they will also engage with future marketing campaigns. This can develop into long-term, fruitful relationships that can deliver consistent customer engagement for your brand.
What About the Drawbacks of Micro-Influencers?
All of this sounds great, but using micro-influencers to promote products isn’t risk-free. For one thing, it’s very hard to predict which micro-influencers will stay the course and continue to post solid content on a regular basis. Many influencers drop out of their regular posting routines unexpectedly, leaving their partners in the lurch.
— Scraawl (@Scraawl) September 24, 2016
This leads onto another major problem – control. You can’t easily pin micro-influencers down with contractual obligations or sign long-term branding deals like you can with Kim Kardashian-style social media stars. Each influencer can go off script and damage your reputation at any point, or they might forget to include the right promotional material in their content. Then there’s the cost of finding and contacting micro-influencers. For some campaigns, you may need to juggle twenty different users across multiple social media platforms, while finding the right people in your niche can be time-consuming too.
The Right Way to Use Micro-Influencers as a Marketing Tool
These problems should not dissuade you from reaching out to small-scale influencers. Any drawbacks associated with micro-influencers can be dealt with by planning micro-influencer campaigns, creating shareable content, choosing people who genuinely believe in your products and using influencer marketing platforms to keep track of everything you do.
However, it pays to be aware of the potential risks involved. Have damage control policies in place should influencers cause controversy. Thoroughly check influencers before you contact them and provide them with everything they need to become effective partners. That way, you can easily convert a crowd of micro-influencers into a marketing goldmine.