Much had been written in recent years about influencer marketing and micro-influencers. Many clients ask whether this is (still) a worthwhile investment of time and money.
Companies that approach marketing from a strategic vantage point — and understand the importance of integrated marketing communications and maintaining a positive reputation online — appreciate influencer marketing. According to Nielson Consumer Trust Index, “92% of consumers trust influencer marketing.” Influencers are people who have the power to impact purchasing decisions because of their relationship with their audiences, their expertise, or valued opinions.
According to an AdAge article that ran this week, “Micro-influencers (which CreatorIQ defines as content creators with followers in the 10,000 to 99,999 range) and nano influencers (1,000 to 9,999) consistently have the best engagement rates, particularly on Instagram. Brand marketers, according to the survey, are increasingly showing a strong preference for such smaller-reach influencers vs. so-called mega influencers with a million or more followers.”
However, on rare occasion have we witnessed an influencer campaign delivering significant direct sales benefits.
Micro-influencers are a subcategory of influencers, obviously with smaller reach, but who are much easier to work with and do not require big-dollar partnerships. While most, if not all, large influencers require payment, which can cost thousands, micro-bloggers and influencers are generally open to creative (free or low-cost) partnership opportunities.
If strategically implemented, an affordable micro-influencer initiative can give a boost to your online reputation management, SEO, and content marketing efforts.
What you should know about micro-influencers
The benefit of working with micro-influencers is you can reach a smaller, but highly relevant following. According to Forbes, “This tight-knit group of followers may be more likely to want to buy products that are being marketed by someone they feel they know or who seems more exclusive.” But, again, don’t do it to boost sales unless you’re looking to be disappointed.
Micro-influencers are far more flexible and authentic — and much less demanding. As said, reaching their audience can be free or may require a product sample or small stipend. They typically won’t price gauge. Regardless, it’s smart to set aside a small budget in case it’s needed to reach your target audience and support your SEO efforts, especially if there’s added value, as mentioned in the “tip” below.
These influencers can be bloggers, well-regarded writers for trade publications and websites) accomplished consultants, industry analysts, or anyone who is well regarded and has a following. They also encompass key opinion leaders, subject matter experts, clinicians (doctor, nurse, veterinarian, Ph.D., etc.), professional speakers, association executives, conference managers, advocacy group reps, and authors. When they talk, people listen.
There are several software tools we use to find micro-influencers, though it’s important to note the number of bloggers in certain industries or segments may be limited. That’s why it’s smart to research tradeshow speakers and subject matter experts to round out your list. Attending events is one way to identify micro-influencers. Consider attending industry conference/tradeshows and get to know the keynote speaker and presenters (research them in advance and follow them on social channels).
3 reasons micro-influencers matter today
- This category of influencer can strengthen your social reach
When working with micro-influencers, it’s important to establish a relationship with them before sending pitches. Most people wouldn’t open spammy email from a stranger, and the same mindset applies to social media. Through engaging with them, they will become familiar with your organization. Social media enables the sharing of articles, viewpoints, industry news, trends, and information that center your positioning and your strategic objectives. Leave comments, build rapport, share what you like about their posts, and share and re-tweet their views. This way, when you do reach out, the interaction will be authentic.
- Online reviews are VIP: micro-influencers impact an organization’s reputation online
Perception is what matters most. When businesses in a B2B environment and consumers in the B2C world search online for the products and services they require or want, reviews inevitably appear. Securing numbers of micro-influencer reviews and write-ups can go far to managing an organization’s image online. After obtaining positive reviews, it’s important to synopsize, optimize, syndicate, and promote them through social and link building.
When a micro-influencer talks about your company, it can also go far to build thought leadership, increase positive social references (which people often review as well), and support organic search optimization.
- Their articles can give a boost to your content marketing
If a micro-influencer you are working with reviews your product/service or mentions your company in a positive light, you can repurpose their content in email marketing campaigns, on your social (including your blog), for search marketing, and other stakeholder communications.
When leveraging micro-influencer reviews/references, be sure to create unique content for each channel, which should help with your overall search engine rankings.
It’s important to remember that micro-influencer content does not have to be too polished. It should look and feel authentic or organic – not overly produced.
Tip: Hire an industry expert to write an article for your blog or website and pay them a small stipend to do so – regardless of the size of their social following. This infuses your site with fresh, quality content that can help your SEO – and the article can be sent out in an email marketing campaign to your database and posted to your social media channels. You can ask the influencer to share a synopsis of the article on their social channels with a link to your blog or website. As you can see, this approach supports content marketing, SEO, and your social strategy. Due to the modest stipend, this expert may also be open to mentioning you at a conference they’re speaking at or writing about you on their blog in the future.
For more information on micro-influencers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (201) 957-7156 x 202