Influencer marketing is one of the most rapidly evolving ways to gain visibility for your business. From being one of the optional tactics to spread the word, it has become an integral part of a marketer’s strategy.
Earlier, influencer marketing was a luxury only big brands could afford, who used to partner with celebrities to promote their brand, products and services. The advent of social media has opened doors to a new breed of influencers, giving a wide range of options for today’s marketers.
Although it might be tempting to approach mega-celebrities with millions of followers, to promote your brand, it’s not always the best option. A large social media following is not a true indicator of one’s influence. The real value of influence depends on the amount of trust they’ve earned from their audience and their ability to compel their audience to take action. That’s where micro-influencers come in.
According to a study by Mintel, 70% of Americans seek opinion of others before making a purchase. Of them, 72% looked to their social media recommendations from their family, friends and colleagues, when it comes to buying goods and services.
An example of Micro-influencer
Let’s say your friend, a personal trainer, posts a Facebook update about a new pair of running shoes. You’re very likely to trust her opinion about athletic shoes because she trains people for a living and is passionate about fitness. Also, her post is not an ad trying to sell you a new product. So you’re more likely to buy those running shoes, if she recommends them, instead of being influenced by a celebrity.
Why you should work with Micro-Influencers
- Better engagement – The content shared by micro-influencers is more likely to resonate with their target audience, because it’s coming from someone who’s just like you, whom you can relate to. The higher personal connection leads to actual conversations instead of only awareness.
- More authentic – The content coming from micro-influencers is more authentic in nature, and appears to be more sincere. Today, consumers can easily spot when a message is fake, and they’re likely to ignore or reject it. According to a study by Forbes, millennials prefer authenticity over content, when it comes to news consumption.
- More affordable – The budget required to hire a celebrity or a top-influencer can allow you to collaborate with 20-30 micro-influencers. This enables brands to try out various micro-influencers, specific to different market segments or even geographical locations, and compare engagement, while drawing their strategy.
Our personal connections have already started influencing our social media experience. Earlier, social media news feeds used to display information chronologically. Today, they’ve evolved to display content based on the relationship between users and the timeliness of their posts. As a result, engagement has become the key metric for success, more important than the audience size. Brands will invest in lead-generation strategies that are based on relevancy, and collaborate with micro-influencers to communicate their message in the social media space.
How to find the right Micro-Influencers
Here are 4 ways to identify and reach out to the right micro-influencer for your social media campaigns.
1. Analyze your own followers
The first step is to look at your brand’s social media followers, and you’re likely to discover a few micro-influencers who already follow your brand. Pick the ones who regularly engage with your posts and look at their profiles.
Also, filter out influencers who have fewer followers and lesser activity than your brand. Analyze their social media activity – When do they post? How often do they post? How many comments, likes do they get, on an average, per post? Are their post topics relevant to your brand?
Once you’ve created a list of micro-influencers, visit their profiles and engage by liking and commenting upon their posts. This will help you build a good relationship and collaborate better in future.
If your brand has too many followers, then you can use tools like Crowdbabble for Instagram, and Commun.it for Twitter, that will automatically analyze your followers and give you a list of top ones, based on their engagement and audience.
2. Use keywords and hashtags
Search various keywords and hashtags related to your industry, products and services. Look for people who have posted about these topics. For example, if you look for #fashion or #fashionista using Twitter’s search bar, you’ll see all the tweets and posts about those hashtags.
You can also look for influencers by their profession. For example, if you’re launching a food blog, you can search for #celebritychef.
To discover influencers who are already talking about your brand, search for a branded hashtag using your company’s or product’s name.
Remember that not all the content with a hashtag comes from an influencer, so you’ll need to manually analyze their profile to evaluate them. Here are some things to look at:
- Engagement – How many people respond to the user’s posts? If they have a large following but very few likes and comments, then their most followers are inactive accounts. Also read a few of the comments. Do they appear to be influencing their audience?
- Content Quality – Is the user posting quality content? Does it use stock photos, or original, user-generated images? Original content tends to drive more engagement
- Number of followers – Although a large number of followers isn’t a strong indicator of influence, you want to ensure they have more followers than your own brand’s profile.
Also, check if they have a website or a blog, and have provided their email address. This will make it easy to reach them. You can also use tools like Followerwonk and Keyhole to search for influencers using keywords and hashtags.
3. Use google
You can use Google for niche bloggers who write about your industry or your area of expertise. For example, you can google “top [industry] influencers on Twitter” or “[industry] micro-influencers” or “top [industry] Twitter accounts.” Try out different search string combinations (industry and social media platform) to refine your results.
When you search online, you’ll most likely come across ready-made blog posts and articles that have already created a list of influencers for your industry. Visit their profiles to find the ones that are relevant to your campaign.
4. Use influencer-marketing tools
When searching for hashtags and keywords, you may end up with thousands of results. If you don’t have the time and resources to manually create a list of influencers, you can look into Influencer-marketing tools like SocialPubli.com or blogger networks like SixPushMedia to find the best influencers for your social media campaign. They allow you to:
- Find the most relevant and engaging influencers by specifying your industry segment. You can also find potential influencers, that is, the ones who are growing in influence.
- Automate repetitive and manual tasks of contacting influencers and reviewing their content
- Monitoring campaign results in real-time
Having said that, it’s advisable to do things manually the first time round, to get a clear understanding of how things work, and what you should do to optimize your campaigns. When it comes to building relationships, there is nothing better than personal human-to-human contact. Once you learn the ropes, you can try out various automation tools.
Wrapping it up
Like every marketing strategy, it’s essential to know your target audience and have clear marketing goals, if you want to successfully execute your influencer marketing campaigns. This will allow you to reach the most effective micro-influencers for your business.
Before you work with a micro-influencer, ensure that you get an idea of their real influence, by analyzing their social accounts’ daily engagement, per-post engagement and trustworthiness. This will help you derive ample value and quality from the collaboration.