How to use friends to influence people.
Under the Influence
You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed. One moment you’re breezily liking pictures of cute goats, and old flames. The next, you’re entering your credit card info and a fresh graphic tee will be landing on your doorstep in 3–4 business days.
It’s OK, you’re not alone. There’s a reason why marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned an average of $6.85 in media value for every $1 they spent on paid media.
But with celebrity mega-influencers like Kylie Jenner charging upwards of $1,000,000/ sponsored post, the barrier to entry for marketers with small budgets and niche products can seem insurmountable.
The concept of influencer marketing is not a new one, however, a new trend of hyper targeted ‘micro-influencer’ marketing has entered the social media scene, allowing brands to leverage the ROI power of influencer marketing but with smaller budgets, and while targeting more niche audiences.
In this guide, you will learn:
1). The unique value of micro-influencers
2). How to find the right micro-influencer for your brand
3). How to effectively use your micro-influencer to achieve your goals.
Generally speaking, micro-influencers are those with between 10–100 thousand followers on their social channels, tending to appeal to a more niche audience. Think — plus-sized yoga personality vs. general fitness account, or celiac-friendly recipes vs. food blogger.
For many, the biggest appeal of micro-influencers for most brands is their affordability. 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram charge $500 or less per sponsored post, and 84% charge $250 or less. Depending on what your budget looks like, you can hire a single micro-influencer at low cost, or multiple for the price you would pay for a single ‘macro-influencer’.
Not only are they cost-effective, micro-influencers are arguably more enticing because of the close relationship they have with their followers. Studies show that the greater the following an account has, the lower their engagement rate is — with micro-influencers providing an excellent mix of engagement and reach.
Micro-influencers also bring to the table an established level of trust with their following. 82% of consumers polled said they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro influencer.
Where to Find and What to Look for in a Micro-Influencer
Research and Evaluation — Estimated Time You Will Spend: 3–4 hours
Where to look
1) Check your followers
If you already have a bit of following built up on your social channels, you may not have to stray too far from your own page to find your next micro-influencer.
Check your followers and see who’s liking and commenting on your content. If you happen to find a micro-influencer among your established audience then you know they are already engaged with your content. It’s likely they admire your brand which would make persuading them to work with you a much smoother experience.
Give them a follow and reach out with a polite message. Show them you appreciate their support and that you would like to consider working together to create sponsored content.
If they decide to work with you, they already have a solid understanding of your brand’s voice and values.
2) Use hashtags
If you’re established following isn’t giving you the results you need, try searching hashtags.
A great place to start is by searching, #[yourbrand]. If you find influencers using this hashtag then it’s likely they are already familiar with your business.
From there, try other hashtags relevant to your niche. If you’re running low on ideas, check posts with the hashtags you already searched for to find more, or use a tool like Hashtagify.
3) Get local
Depending on your business, there may be a lot of value in finding a micro-influencer that has carved out a niche in a particular geographic area.
If you’re looking for influencers who’s niche is in the same region as your business, you can start by checking Google for blog posts mentioning your business or Instagram and Facebook posts using your business’s location tag. [If you haven’t already set up a Google Alerts tag for your business, this is a great way to stay up to date with and participate in conversations regarding your brand.]
4) Check competitors
If you know the social channels of your competitors (and you probably should), this can be a great way to find potential influencers to work with. Employ the same strategies you did when checking your own followers. There’s a good chance that if they like your competitor, they’ll like you too!
5) Use tools
If you tried all the above methods and still are having a hard time finding potential content partners, consider using a tool. Tools can be extremely effective ways to find micro-influencers that fit your niche but they often have their platform or most valuable features locked behind a paywall.
Some tools you can explore are:
What to Look for in a Micro-Influencer
First and foremost, the most important factor in deciding on a micro-influencer to pair with is congruity — or how well their brand aligns with yours. As we already covered, a key benefit of pairing with a micro-influencer is their ability to reach an audience that will find value in your brand. If their audience doesn’t fit your niche, it doesn’t matter how affordable they are or engaging their content is — your marketing efforts will fall on deaf ears. The best sponsored content is content that you can’t tell is sponsored. When surveyed, only 30% of people said that posts labeled with #ad or #paid seemed inauthentic but 59% said that posts that are inconsistent with the rest of an influencers feed seemed inauthentic.
Just because an influencer has amassed a sizable following doesn’t necessarily mean they are producing content that your brand wants to be associated with. When you pair with an influencer your brand becomes associated with their — for better and for worse.
For example, if you’re a family friendly brand, pairing with a micro-influencer who uses a lot of profanity or shares content that could be perceived as controversial might not be a good idea — even if they fit your niche.
61% of women said content that doesn’t feel genuine would deter them from engaging with sponsored social posts. Avoid teaming up with influencers who spam their feed with content that they are obviously promoting just for the money. You want your sponsored content to fit in seamlessly with theirs, not just get lost in the noise.
Although micro-influencers on average have a more engaged audience, it’s always best to double check yourself. Many of the tools mentioned above should calculate an account’s engagement for you, but if you don’t have the budget for a tool you can always do it manually.
The formula is:
((Likes + Comments)/Followers)*100 = Engagement %
For example — if an Instagram photo has 6,960 likes, and 150 comments, on an account that has 43,000 followers, that photo has an engagement rate of 16.5%
((6960+150)/43000)*100 = 16.5
The average engagement rate on Instagram is 3%
Ask for analytics
It’s important to always ask to look at the data behind the influencer you’re about to partner with.
Your target audience may be — women, living in Los Angeles, between the ages of 22–28. You find what you think is the perfect influencer, a 24 year old woman, living in Bel-Air, with an up and coming fashion account. You eagerly connect with her to set up a partnership but think that you should double check her analytics just to be sure. She sends you a screenshot of her numbers, only for you to discover that the majority of her following comes from 12–18 year old boys in Eastern Europe.
Be sure to ask for screenshots of their account analytics before finalizing the deal. They should look something like this:
Multiple Influencers = More Work
Although you may see better results from hiring multiple micro-influencers as opposed to a single macro-influencer, it’s important to factor in your time and not just your budget. Building relationships, vetting potential partners, and finalizing content strategy all takes time — the more micro-influencers you work with, the more time this will take.
Consider bringing on a marketing apprentice to avoid spreading yourself too thin.
How to Work With Your Micro-Influencer Effectively
Mobilizing and Tracking — Estimated Time You Will Spend: 6–7 hours
Set expectations upfront
Be sure to lay things out clearly before the campaign is underway. Doing so will protect both yourself and your potential partner from any fallout regarding miscommunication or unequal expectations.
Does your influencer want to be compensated with money, products, or both? If they are new to monetizing their following, they may be okay with receiving free products as compensation. If they are a seasoned veteran of the influencer game they will probably have a set idea for compensation in mind. Be sure you are both on the same page before any posts get made.
Same goes for content. You don’t want sponsored content being put out that goes against your brand’s identity, so make sure you both have a solid understanding of what your expectations for content are.
How much do you pay your influencer?
The general rule of thumb is $0.01/follower on Instagram and Snapchat, and $0.02/subscriber on YouTube.
If the influencer has experience creating sponsored content they may have a business package they can provide you that outlines their rates — don’t be afraid to ask!
Track your KPIs
Likes and comments are great, but they don’t pay the bills. Be sure to not focus too much on vanity metrics and keep the goal of your campaign in mind. Are you looking to drive traffic to your website? Grow your social following? Increase sales of your product?
Consider making a unique URL, landing page, or coupon code for each influencer you’re working with so you can track the success of their campaign more accurately.
Tell a story
You can tell your influencer how great your product is, they can tell their followers how great your product is, but if your sponsored content reeks of advertising it can hurt your conversion rate and lower the level of trust your influencer’s audience has for them.
There’s a reason the audience is following your influencer. They feel a connection to them in some way. If you structure your content in a way that seems natural, like your product is being used by the influencer because they genuinely value it and not just because they are being paid, you can tap into the influencer/audience relationship more effectively.
When looking for product recommendations, 49% of respondents said they relied on influencers — coming second only to friends at 56%.
Leverage their established voice
Don’t get too bogged down in writing the perfect copy for your influencer. You’re coming to them for a reason. Have a discussion with them and be clear about your expectations but don’t be afraid let them take over when it comes to creating content.
Don’t focus on just one channel
Often times influencers will have more than one social channel that you can leverage. It may cost a little extra, but having influencers post sponsored content onto all their channels can ensure that you are maximizing the reach of your content.
Build long-term relationships
Maintaining a long-term relationship with an influencer can have huge benefits. The continued support from an influencer can be a testament to the quality of your product. It fosters a feeling of authenticity and contributes to conversations and word-of-mouth referrals.
There is also a lot of potential for growth with micro-influencers. Building a relationship with a micro-influencer as they growth can put you in a favored position down the road.
All of this takes time. The more micro-influencers you work with the more time it takes to foster and maintain relationships. If you plan on working with multiple micro-influencers, consider bringing on a marketing apprentice to help you out.
Micro-influencers are a powerful partner when it comes to sponsored content. They allow you to target niche audiences, are well trusted, and allow you to deliver authentic, engaging content —all at very low cost.
When it comes to partnering with micro-influencers, successful marketers know where to look, what to look for, and how to get the most out of their new partnership.
Total estimated time you will spend: ~10 hours
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