How to Benefit From Local Micro-Influencers on Social Media
In a single minute online, there are 174,000 people browsing Instagram, 481,000 tweets and 973,000 Facebook logins. The sheer amount of online content means it's harder than ever for your small business to get the word out about your products and services.
Even when you do, there's no guarantee anyone's paying attention. Today's social media audiences are savvy and wary, and they aren't all that interested in promotions.
But the people they do care about are influencers. Research from Fullscreen Media finds that in both the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, what influencers say is seen as more trustworthy than what brands say about themselves.
Don't worry, though — that doesn't mean your business has to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars courting the world's top celebrities. For small businesses, it turns out you might be better off using micro-influencers in your marketing strategy.
Micro-influencers is a term for people who are influential in small, specific niches. Many of them are on Instagram, which is where the micro-influencer trend started, but you may also find them on other social media sites.
Unlike celebs who have millions of followers, micro-influencers' followings are smaller. They're often under 100,000 and some may have followings as small as 1,000. While those numbers don't sound particularly impressive, they have a very strong relationship with their followers. Their audiences are engaged and responsive.
Research from Markerly shows that accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers get 13 times more comments relative to their fan base than those with millions of followers. And a nationwide study conducted by Dr. Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On and the Keller Fay Group found that micro-influencers have up to 22 times more conversations each week about recommendations on what to buy than the average consumer.
How Micro-Influencers Can Benefit Small Businesses
There are several reasons why you should consider working with micro-influencers:
- Followers trust micro-influencers. When they talk about your business, their audience will pay attention.
- It's a chance to reach a more targeted audience. For example, if you're selling sunglasses or swimwear, a micro-influencer who posts about trips to the beach would be a good fit. You can target by product type as well as by location.
- Micro-influencer marketing is cost effective. According to research from Tomoson, businesses make $6.50 for every dollar spent on an influencer marketing campaign.
While major celebrities charge tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for their endorsement, a post from a micro-influencer could cost you as little as $250. However, because micro-influencers have small audiences, you may have to work with several at a time.
How to Find Local Micro-Influencers
When you're looking for micro-influencers to work with, the best place to start is with your own social media accounts:
- See who's following you who loves your brand and is already engaged (you can check for comments, likes and shares.)
- Check what they post about.
- See what kind of engagement they're getting on their own content.
You can also search for local hashtags on Instagram (e.g., #newyork or #queens) and other sites to identify micro-influencers where you're based. If you're a New York business, there's no point in working with someone whose followers are primarily in Florida.
You can also do this kind of research with tools like Webstagram, Buzzsumo and Klear. They're a good starting point for building your list of micro-influencers posting about your area or industry.
How to Work with Micro-Influencers
When you have your list, then it's time to start building a relationship with your chosen micro-influencers. Think about what you can offer to give them deeper insight into your brand:
- Free products or services
- Special events or tours
- Promotions they can share with their audience
- Insider access to company leaders
Have a conversation to see what would make the relationship work for both you and them, then make an agreement. Convince and Convert has some useful influencer marketing agreement best practices to use as a starting point.
Some ways micro-influencers work with businesses include:
- Giving honest reviews of products and services (they have to be honest so their audience continues to trust them)
- Videos, photos and posts about themselves using your products or services
- Taking over the social media account of a business for a short while
- Hosting a contest or giveaway
Whatever they do, you can amplify the reach by sharing it and promoting it on your own accounts.
Measuring the ROI of Micro-Influencer Marketing
As mentioned earlier, micro-influencer marketing is cost-effective, but how can you tell it's working? Some ways to track results include giving influencers specific discount coupon codes or promotional URLs so you can see which influencers are effective in getting you the attention you need.
You can also look at other influencer metrics to measure your impact.
- Who is mentioning your brand and how often?
- Are your follower numbers growing?
- How much do people engage with your content?
- How many people subscribe to your newsletter as a result of a recommendation by a micro-influencer?
- How many calls do you receive as a result of posts by micro-influencers?
- Are you seeing an uptick in how many people buy your product or service?
The Bottom Line
Using micro-influencers on social media can be a great way to spread the word about your small business.
If you're interested in starting own campaign, start with a small pilot project to see whether it's the right thing for your business.