There are many brands that dream of working with a celebrity or a big name on Instagram to promote their business. However, contacting and working with these types of influencers is growing exceedingly more difficult and expensive, especially for small or new brands with a limited marketing budget. If working with a well-known influencer isn’t within your reach, don’t despair: this is where micro-influencers come in.
Micro-influencers have a modest following of 10,000 followers or less and typically have a niche subject and audience. Working with smaller influencers across platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok can get you the same, if not better, results as working with a social celebrity. Read on to learn the benefits of working with micro-influencers, how to set goals, and top tips for finding and working with micro-influencers.
One reason micro-influencer campaigns are so successful is because these types of influencers are more effective at building authentic relationships with their followers. One study found that content produced by micro-influencers is 6.7 times more effective at engaging audiences than bigger influencers. This is great news for brands, because this earned trust translates into better awareness and more engagement and clicks when compared to a big name social celebrity.
Budgeting for an influencer campaign tends to be a bit of a mystery, since influencers typically don’t share their fees publicly. It’s important to note that in some cases, small businesses don’t need to put up cash to recruit an army of Influencers. Instead, businesses can send influencers free products or extend a discount in exchange for a social post or blog review. However, brands can typically expect to pay between $10 to $25 for every 1,000 followers an influencer has on any particular social media platform. This is confirmed by recent surveys that report 84% of micro-influencers charge $250 or less for each sponsored post on Instagram. This means that even with a small campaign budget of $2,500, your brand can work with at least 10 different influencers and easily reach 100,000 new, highly engaged potential new customers for your business.
Before you begin your search for influencers, your brand needs to set clear goals and objectives. This will ultimately inform the kind of influencers you should work with, what social platforms you’ll engage on, and how you’ll collaborate.
Setting broad goals, like increasing awareness or sales isn’t enough. You’ll need SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to establish clear success benchmarks. For example, your SMART goal should sound something like: “At the end of 90 days, our site will see an 5% lift in traffic by collaborating with local influencers using affiliate links.”
The best place to start is by reaching out to influencers who are already advocates of your brand. Reach out to those loyal followers who always tag you in their posts and comment on your feed. To find influencers outside of your current following, try searching for relevant hashtags or keywords on the social platforms your brand wants to advertise on. However, these methods can be difficult and time-consuming. If you’re looking for a more effective and scalable solution, it’s recommended your brand invest in an influencer software like Heepsy, BuzzSumo or HypeAuditor.
Once you find a group of creators you’d like to work with, it’s time to reach out to them and take the next steps. GroupHigh found that 68% of bloggers prefer to work directly with a brand instead of an agency or network. With this information in mind, try to contact influencers directly by either sending them a DM or using their contact information (if it’s available). Make sure to personalize the message and include a bit about yourself, the brand, and how you plan on collaborating. If your messages aren’t being opened, try one of these 12 Subject Lines for Better Blogger Outreach.
From PR packages, gift cards, social takeovers and affiliate links, there are endless ways to collaborate with influencers. To determine what kind of strategy is best for your business, you’ll need to consider goals, budget, and resources for the entirety of the campaign. Remember that the more complex your campaign is, the more time and money your band will need to spend.
It’s generally recommended to keep it simple, especially if your business is new to the influencer game. For example, if you have a physical product like chocolate, clothing or makeup, send a small set of influencers a beautiful PR package with your product and a bit about your brand. If you’re a local business like a chiropractor, gym, or coffee shop, extend a special discount for your service in exchange for a post.
Always keep in mind that micro-influencers are so valuable because of the trust they have earned from their fans. While it’s great for your brand to offer some key talking points or points of purchase, it’s very obvious and alienating when brands force their voice on influencers. In a recent study, 12% of influencers reported that they have little to no control over the creative copy for a brand’s sponsored post. Giving influencers creative freedom helps them build trust with their fans, which in turn helps your brand win more customers and ensures the highest level of success for your campaign.
Another item to keep in mind when working with influencers is transparency. Although disclosure ultimately falls on the influencer, companies are also responsible for informing collaborators of the FTC guidelines on how to properly disclose ads. Remember that many of these influencers are new to collaborating with brands too, so it’s important to work as a team to ensure you’re both following best practices and abiding by the social platform’s terms and conditions. As a general rule, influencers need to have “simple and clear” disclosures. For example, this means using the hashtag #ad at the beginning of an Instagram caption or starting a YouTube video with the disclosure.
Finally, remember you’re reaching out to real people who have their own personal brand and motivations to consider when choosing to work with brands. Some influencers may provide reasons for saying “no” to your brand, and some may not. It’s totally normal for some influencers to decline your offer – just keep reaching out to other influencers in your space. However, if enough influencers are declining your proposal, it might be time to reconsider how you’re approaching influencers or what you’re offering them.
The way you measure the results and success of an Influencer Campaign will depend on your brand’s goals for the campaign. However, the most commonly tracked Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include a mix of Reach (followers, engagement rate, impressions, traffic), Engagement (clicks, likes, reactions, shares and retweets, comments, mentions) and Sales (business performance, tracking and conversion rate).
There are a few ways to collect and record this data manually. Your business can simply ask the influencer to share their reach and engagement information with you after a certain amount of time has passed since the post went live. Alternatively, you can also track success by using affiliate links, promo codes, or UTMS when collaborating. This makes calculating ROI significantly easier because everything can be neatly pulled in from a Sales Report or Google Analytics dashboard. For an easier, more automated solution, consider looking into an Influencer Campaign Management tool. There are a plethora of options that will track and format all your KPIs into a nicely organized report, which cuts down on manual labor and guesswork. Many even offer free demos or trials to help ensure you’re using the best tool to fit your marketing objectives and campaign needs. A few examples of these types of programs include Upfluence, FindYourInfluence and AspireIQ.
Partnering with influencers is a great way to help your brand engage more people, build brand loyalty, and land more sales. There’s a lot to consider when planning an influencer outreach program, but the return on investment can be high, especially when working with several micro-influencers. If you’re interested in working with micro-influencers, contact us. Our Social Media team can help you form a sound outreach strategy that will give you the best possible results.
LaRae Richards is Fruition’s Paid Social Media Manager and has over 8 years of experience in the field. LaRae fell in love with the digital and social media marketing early in her career because it combines her talent for metrics and analytical thinking with her passion for creative writing and graphic design. With expertise in both national and local campaigns, LaRae excels at curating engaging content and serving it to the right market segments to achieve the maximum results.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association