It seems like everyone is working with social media influencers these days. It’s almost impossible to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed without seeing a sponsored post of some sort.
Influencer Marketing can significantly improve marketing strategies for businesses in many ways. In fact, many companies experience 11% higher ROI from this type of marketing over any other digital tactic. However, with great influence comes great upfront costs. Some big names can charge thousands of dollars per post, making it seemingly impossible for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) to compete.
This is where a micro-influencer could come into the mix. These accounts typically have a smaller audience, ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 followers. However, engagement and conversion rates of these figures tend to be far higher than for larger influencers. Furthermore, 82% of customers report that they are “highly likely” to buy a product recommended from a micro-influencer. With post costs typically well under the $1,000 mark, partnering with a micro-influencer can be a highly profitable sales channel for SMBs.
Here are five simple tips to keep in mind when searching for the best influencer to represent your brand.
Know Your Customers Inside and Out
It is absolutely imperative that the micro-influencer you partner with matches up with your audience. In order to ensure this, you must have a concrete hold on the demographics and makeup of your own customers before you go start cold calling influencers.
The best way to give your audience what they want is to research, track, and analyze their behavior. Creating customer profiles that break up your audience into segments can really help your team get into the mind of what the audience wants to see. These can easily be made from the data that your marketing team has on file.
For starters, your store’s POS system can prompt buyers to create accounts during their initial purchase.
Once they’ve created this, their actions can be tracked and recorded with each transaction, and this consumer data can be used for greater insight into the purchasing habits and interests of customers. They can see the general ages, spending habits, and even location data for more precise audience profiles.
Additionally, by using customer analytical tools(such as Facebook Audiences or Twitter analytics) you can break down the current interests of your audience to help you identify influencers whose testimony is would most likely make an impact on your customers.
By collecting this information and transforming it into related customer profiles, you can truly begin to understand the types of people who are drawn to your brand. Once your audience has been established, it will be far easier to find the micro-influencers who fit into similar categories.
Have a Budget Before Doing Outreach
Though the returns from a micro-influencer campaign may be great, the initial cost per post can be a little steep. Micro-influencers actually have the highest cost per engagement rate, compared to mega-influencers and social ads. While the average is still under one dollar per interaction, this can certainly add up, especially if an influencer generates high engagement rates on their posts.
Of course, it is impossible to predict the exact return from a post when working with an influencer for the first time. However, it is still important that you take a look at the account’s typical returns to gauge whether or not a partnership would fit into your marketing budget.
Firstly, you must have a specific goal in mind before determining the budget and influencer. What kind of return would be considered successful? 10% increase in conversions? 25% increase in social followings?
Once you have a goal in mind, take a look at each influencer’s past campaigns to see what levels of engagement they received. You can also use tools, such as the Instagram Influencer Earnings Calculator, to see whether the influencer’s price per post is reasonable for the ROI.
Understand the Influencer’s Entire Brand Story
Thanks to social media, every single person has the ability to establish their own brand these days. Influencers are figures who have found a way to capitalize on their own personal brand by finding and connecting with people who share the same interests or passions, just as your company (hopefully) has, too.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that your product or brand sponsorship will be a proper fit with an influencer’s overall story.
There are many factors to take into consideration when matching up brand stories. Take a look at an influencer’s feed. Notice the color scheme, styling elements, and general focus that their content revolves around. While their style certainly does not have to be an exact match for your brand, it should be a logical fit so their promotion seems truly genuine, rather than blatantly promotional.
Give Influencers Creative Freedom
Influencers, in general, are where they are today for a good reason. They found their niche market and were able to build a following with their content. Chances are, they know what they are doing. Therefore, it may be best to fight the urge to maintain creative control over the campaign and allow the micro-influencer to take the reins.
Remember, 83% of consumers are more likely to trust product recommendations from influencers over traditional branded advertising. Letting your micro-influencer have more say on the creative aspects of your campaign will help the post(s) fit better into their brand story.
One of the best examples of this is American Express’s #MyAmex campaign, which followed six influencer’s stories to show how they used their credit card. This generated some truly great content while promoting the card’s premier benefits, such as racking up airline miles through everyday purchases. By allowing the influencers to stay true to their own brand, create their own content, and share their personal story, the message was more genuine and connected with audiences on a deeper level.
Plan with the Long-Term in Mind
An influencer is an advocate for your brand, and therefore, your partnership with them is a relationship that can be profitable for years to come. After all, these micro-influencers are creating connections with audiences by engaging in conversations sparked by your brand.
Before you head into a partnership with a micro-influencer, consider what their motivations are. According to Bloglovin’s report, these accounts are highly focused on building loyal, engaged audiences and furthering their own brand recognition – not necessarily to just make money.
This report also found that the majority of micro-influencers promote less than five brands a year, meaning that each partnership is highly strategic and important to them. Additionally, working with the same influencer again and again will help to increase brand recognition with customers.
A long-term partnership with an influencer can do wonders to expand your messaging. Look at the potential partnership as a long-term investment capable of building solid connections for loyalty down the road.
Micro-influencers are changing the game for brands who want to please their customers. It is a way for businesses to finally generate trustworthy, genuine content while still being relatively inexpensive.
Of course, finding the right influencer is not easy, and the final decision is one that should not be taken lightly. Keep these tips in mind as you seek to find the influencers that will best represent your brand. Know who your customers are, what your brand is, and how those pieces will fit with the micro-influencer(s) you choose.