So far, all discussions on influencer marketing have focused on macro-influencers with one million or more followers. Their celebrity status is the coattail on which businesses ride to push their brand before millions with the hope that it will impact sales positively. And while there is little doubt that macro-influencers can support your social media marketing goals, they may not deliver the results of their less popular, but still highly engaged and non-celebrity counterparts.
That’s right. Social media influencers with 10,000 followers or less are generating better like rates and comments compared to those with million-odd followers. These are the micro-influencers, who are passionate about their industry, and have a dedicated and active community of followers. They are superstars in their own right among their social following. They are also receptive to promotions and outreach efforts from your side.
Key statistics on micro-influencers
1. According to influencer management company Markerly, users with less than 1,000 followers receive likes on unpaid posts 8% of the time. In comparison, users with 10 million or more followers get likes on their posts 1.6 per cent of the time.
Users with fewer than 1,000 followers generate comments 0.5% of the time, versus 0.04% for macro-influencers. Markerly’s research reveals that the sweet spot of reach and engagement may lie with influencers in the 10,000 and 100,000 follower range, which means businesses can shift their focus away from stars to experts/gurus in their field who have an influential voice and a dedicated following.
Even cash-rich companies that need six-figure sums to woo the Kardashians, can drop down to $25,000 and target a number of micro-influencers to get before a total of approximately five million followers.
2. Daniel Saynt, CEO of influencer agency Socialyte, says that businesses are moving from ‘fame’ to ‘engagement and audience’. Not only do micro-influencers of a niche generate better results, but it is also possible to maintain scalable relationships with them in a way that’s impossible for macro-influencers, at least as far as small businesses are concerned.
3. A study by Experticity reveals that micro-influencers have up to 22% more conversations on buying a product – including product recommendations – each week than the average consumer. 82% of consumers are most likely to follow micro-influencers’ recommendations.
Micro-influencers have more clout among real people
Micro-influencers are viewed as knowledgeable sources who are driven by their passion for the product. Consumers regard them for their authenticity and may be inclined to trust them more than celebrity-types who’re mostly in it to further their own status.
It isn’t unreasonable to assume that some or many of the thousands or millions of followers can actually be bot or fake accounts that have been paid for by macro-influencers. Social media executives pursuing influencers often have to play the ‘who is legit and who is real?’ game, and frankly, it isn’t a risk that small businesses must be taking.
In contrast, micro-influencers know most of their followers, and therefore serve as a more credible source of information and recommendations. Every relationship can be leveraged in a meaningful way to influence thought and motivate action.
Entrepreneur.com has identified micro-influencers who have helped brands multiply sales. Shoe brand Shoes of Prey reached out to beauty vlogger Blair Fowler to drive up sales and scale their business. Fowler’s YouTube giveaway featuring the brand’s products resulted in a 300% boost in sales, and mentions in Business Insider and Wall Street Journal, as well as a partnership deal with Nordstrom.
DIY computer kit makers Kano raised ten times their $10,000 target after reaching out to their existing contributors on Kickstarter. Among the contributors was a famous face – Steve Wozniak. Maybe one of your followers is an important influencer you can tap into; here’s where Markerly’s 10k-100k sweet spot comes into play.
For a brand that sells running or gym shoes, a frequent marathon runner or gym rat with a personal blog, an active Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram account, and who is a member of multiple fitness groups on FB, can be a valuable micro-influencer. This individual speaks from a place of experience, and his recommendations can have a big impact on his followers.
How do you find micro-influencers?
1. Use relevant keywords to locate influencers in your niche. Begin your search with bloggers who do well on overall engagement.
2. See if you can find anyone who’s using your brand hashtag or related hashtags.
3. Zero in on users who’re mentioning your handle frequently.
4. Make a list of users who actively engage with your page/account by leaving their comments or liking and retweeting regularly; include those who comment on your website’s blog.
5. Examine their social media content. Is the tone and messaging likely to resonate with your target audience? For instance, if your niche is gourmet food, a budget food blogger is not a suitable candidate.
6. Once you have a list of micro-influencers, study their community to find more potential micro-influencers.
Tips on activating micro-influencers:
- What kind of incentives will activate influencers? Gifts and freebies are common, but bloggers will appreciate the opportunity to review your restaurant or try out your latest product range. Of course, some will readily respond to cash incentives, so you want to set a budget in advance to avoid spending more than you intended on just one micro-influencer.
- Define your expectations with micro-influencers from the outset. To present an authentic understanding about your product/service, they must be familiar with your USP and key talking points. However, don’t impose your content on them – some influencers may want to showcase your products in their signature style. If that works for your brand image, let them do their thing.
- Promote special deals and discount codes through micro-influencers. Not only will influencers’ own interest in your product pique people’s interest but an accompanying discount code will encourage quick action, especially during strategic times such as the weeks leading to the holiday season or Valentine’s Day.