Influencer Marketing 101
Most of us follow social media accounts belonging to people we don’t know. I don’t personally know Kim Kardashian…do you? Didn’t think so. However, I do happen to know her favorite shade of bronzer, the tea she drinks to maintain her famous figure, and the vitamins she takes to keep her hair looking flawless day after day (BTW, they’re from @sugarbearhair). Ahh, the power of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing involves a collaboration with prominent online individuals to draw attention to a brand or the products and services offered by a brand. While there’s several ways to define the term prominent, in the influencer marketing realm, it often means:
- Celebrities: athletes, movie stars, musicians, etc.
- Leaders of key interest communities: for example, a well-known designer of a popular fashion label, or a chef of a well-respected restaurant
- Digital natives: individuals who may not be well-known in celebrity or interest communities, but who are adept at creating and distributing content to a sizeable amount of followers
Macro vs. Micro: Which Type of Influencer is Right for You?
Do you have a $1,000,000 budget? If not, Kim Kardashian isn’t for you. But chances are you have a decent budget to work with, and good news – there are tons of influencers out there just waiting to endorse your brand!
But first, what’s the difference between a macro-influencer and a micro-influencer? If you guessed follower count, you’re right on the money (no pun intended).
Micro-Influencers generally have between 10,000 – 100,000 followers. This isn’t a strict number, though. Many brands choose to leverage individuals with way less than 10,000 followers, it all depends what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach.
The 2017 State of the Creator Economy (SOCE) yearly report found that two-thirds of marketers had a stand-alone budget for influencer marketing, and that one-third had a budget of more than $500,000. Budget aside, micro-influencers are a highly affordable option for industries of all sizes. Take a look at the average rates below, provided by the SOCE.
- Sponsored Facebook Update: $46
- Sponsored Photo: $62
- Sponsored Video: $228
- Sponsored Tweet: $32
- Sponsored Pin: $48
- Sponsored Blog Post: $238
Micro-influencers don’t have massive followings, but they do have a lot of reach and influence in a particular niche. Check out this blog post by IZEA to see top micro-influencers for every industry.
The Value of Micro-Influencers
Using micro-influencers may seem counterintuitive. Why would you seek out someone with a smaller following to promote your brand?
Better Engagement Rates: Markerly studied Instagram engagement and found a surprising trend: As an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases. In its analysis, Markerly determined:
- Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time
- Users with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes at a 4% rate
- Users with 10,000-100,000 followers achieved a 2.4% like rate
- Users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time
More Targeted Audiences: One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make when implementing an influencer marketing campaign is selecting the wrong influencers. Because celebrity (macro-influencers) have such a large follower base, it’s likely to be diverse. On the other hand, it’s safe to assume that followers of micro-influencers share the same interests, which in turn will yield a high rate of engagement.
More Affordable: A smaller audience = a smaller price tag. Brands often work with more than one micro-influencer to maximize reach, but even 100 micro-influencers would cost less than a single celebrity endorsement. (Tip: brands may even be able to compensate them in the form of free products). Need to see it for yourself? Check out the average price per post, gathered by Marketing Technology Insights.
More Authentic: Micro-influencers are real people, so their content is too. They are often more relatable than big-time influencers, and their content can feel more authentic and personal.
Finding the Right Micro-Influencers for Your Brand
Hashtag Searches: The easiest way to find relevant micro-influencers is through a hashtag search on Instagram or Twitter. These micro-influencers will be more inclined to work with your brand as they’ve shown a genuine interest in a topic related to your industry. Not only that, but they have a dedicated audience of their own who are also engaged.
Search Locally: There are two easy ways to find regional micro-influencers: google search & location tags.
- Performing a Google search will allow you to find bloggers in your area who are active in your industry. Once you’ve identified potential micro-influencers, browse each influencer’s blog, website, and social media profiles (whatever is applicable) and consider whether their audience and style align with your brand.
- Enter your city or town into the Instagram search bar and look at the People, Tags, and Places Look through the top posts for any content that looks relevant to your product or service.
Look to Your Existing Followers: Your social media followers most likely follow you because they’re genuinely interested in your brand. Your biggest assets may only be a click away. Too many followers for a manual search? Use a program like SocialRank to organize your followers by those with the biggest followings. (P.S. – this company offers discounts for small businesses).
Use a Micro-Influencer Agency: If you don’t have the resources to find micro-influencers manually, there are tons of agencies available. Here are a few agencies that will work with your brand wherever you’re located: Gnack, BzzAgent, Influenster, PostForRent.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
You know that timeless saying, “if your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you jump too?” In this case, yes…with both feet, maybe even head first.
Influencer marketing is a social media trend that is showing no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re part of a small business or work with the conglomerates of the world, I encourage you to leverage this evolving form of brand and product promotion.
Just remember – don’t be swayed by high follower numbers. Bigger isn’t better (unless you’re in Texas). A micro-influencers follower base might be small, but they’re loyal and interested in what that influencer has to say. Paying for a post or two will go a long way with those users.