While it was once every brand owner’s dream to have a celebrity promote or wear their product, nowadays power has shifted towards the collective influential potential of social media influencers. Whilst social media and YouTube have produced their own celebrities there exists a whole ecosystem of influencers and devoted followers.
Welcome to the world of micro influencer marketing.
Why are micro-influencers so important?
Social media has been an important component of digital marketing for some time and although 38% of marketers will invest up to £35,000 into influencer marketing this year, too many small and medium-sized businesses are failing to capitalise on this powerful marketing avenue.
While it is true that top influencers have tens of millions of followers and can command substantial fees in return for access to their audiences, connecting with micro-influencers provides even the smallest businesses with the opportunity to access the power of social media influence.
Micro-influencers can be viewed as those who have loyal audiences or followings of between 5,000 and 25,000 people. Although this might initially appear less impressive than the often 100,000+ strong audiences of top influencers, never underestimate the power of micro-influencers. Numbers don’t always add up to engagement at the end of the day.
Audiences now have a much greater understanding as to when they are being directly marketed to and are becoming increasingly cynical towards traditional marketing techniques. Although you might think that macro-influencers will present you with a greater number of leads, influencer marketing should never be viewed as a simple numbers game.
Although influencers with larger audiences will put your brand in front of a greater number of people, the likelihood of large numbers of those people actually engaging with your brand is low. Kim Kardashian, for example, has more than 10 million followers, however her posts only have a 1.6 percent interaction rate. This is because consumers understand that prominent celebrities often only mention particular brands because they are being paid to do so, which affects levels of trust so considerably that many simply choose to overlook sponsored content altogether.
The micro-influencer landscape, however, is very different. Although audiences are markedly smaller, they are highly engaged and often extremely loyal. Followers can often personally relate to a of micro-influencer’s lifestyle and, as such, the relationship is based on understanding rather than aspiration.
As many of 82% of consumers state they have or would follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation and micro-influencer marketing campaigns regularly experience engagement rates that are 60% higher than macro-influencer campaigns.
One of the best things about micro-influencers is that they know their audience inside out and consistently place their needs and interests at the forefront of every sponsorship decision they make. As authenticity is critical, seeking out influencers who are already fans of your brand is an excellent place to start. Their audience already know how much they love your brand, so any collaboration will immediately feel natural and real. You also shouldn’t have too much trouble convincing them to partner with you.
Australian retailer Billy Sixes transformed a selection of its existing customers into valuable brand representatives by looking at their Instagram followers. After identifying a small group of their customers who had around 15,000 followers and inviting them to attend photo shoots, one of their campaigns reached a very impressive 200,000 consumers.
Tap into the power of storytelling
With social streams overflowing with content, ensuring that your sponsored content stands out is hugely important. Often a simple photograph isn’t going to attract the attention you want but encouraging your micro-influencer to share a compelling narrative with their audience will resonate with a larger percentage of their audience, which will be mutually beneficial.
From reviewing their experience with your services or products to retelling a personal story detailing how your business has positively impacted their life, there are a variety of innovative and engaging ways to pursue micro-influencer sponsorships. Remember, giving your influencer the space and freedom to share a personal story that doesn’t feel manipulated will always generate more brand awareness than providing rigid guidelines to which they must adhere.
The power of micro-influencer marketing is only going to increase, so now is the time to start pursuing your influencer strategy to stay one step ahead of your competition.
Steve Hill is the Director of Bag Workshop, a leading UK supplier in promotional bags and custom branded bags. Having worked in marketing for over a decade, Steve stepped aside to found three separate companies supplying bespoke marketing products under the Wurlin Promo umbrella. You can connect with Wurlin and Bag Workshop on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.