Influencer marketing has grown exponentially in today's digital world, with a recent Influencer Marketing Hub survey finding that 90% of marketers think it's an effective form of marketing.
Although it's widely agreed that influencer marketing can yield excellent results, striking deals with influencers can come with a price tag that’s unrealistic for many SMEs. However, influencers come in all sizes and price points, so budget limitations need not stop you from leveraging influencers in your marketing campaigns. In fact, working with so-called ‘micro’ influencers can be affordable and provide a better return on investment.
In this article, we explore how working with micro-influencers could benefit your small businesses and what to consider before entering a deal.
What is a micro-influencer?
As the name suggests, a micro-influencer tends to have a much smaller audience than typical ‘macro’ influencers. While the exact follower count of a micro-influencer is debatable, micro-influencers generally have followings of between 10,000 and 100,000. Those with followings less than 10,000 tend to be referred to as nano-influencers.
Advantages of working with micro-influencers
Micro-influencers often develop their brand around a particular niche, such as a social cause or a particular hobby. Unlike macro-influencers, the followers of micro-influencers' tend to be fairly specific in their interests. This allows small business owners to directly target micro-influencers with highly-similar audiences that are suited to their brand offering.
Micro-influencers can also have the advantage of appearing more down-to-earth and authentic. This results from their higher engagement with their followers, as they'll often take more time to communicate with their audience, and the fact they haven’t yet gained celebrity status. Consumer trust in influencers is plummeting, so authenticity is more important than ever.
Furthermore, micro-influencers will come with a lower price tag thanks to their following size. As a result, they're a low-cost solution with a high return on investment. Since smaller communities will typically show greater engagement rates, working with micro-influencers increases the chances of prospective customers interacting with your sponsored content.
How to find micro-influencers
Micro-influencers can be tricky to find as influencer databases are usually full of influencers with large followings, although some allow you to filter by following size. Instead, looking directly on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or other social platforms may be quicker and more effective for finding micro-influencers that align with your brand and marketing goals.
To start, you could check through your existing followers to see if any micro-influencers are already interested in your products, as this would suggest they'd consider collaborating. You can also look at your social mentions to see whether any micro-influencers are already talking about your brand.
If you don’t have any micro-influencers in your audience, use hashtags within your niche to find them. Once you find a couple, use their profiles to see who else is within their network. Influencers often share content from similar accounts, so you can quickly create a list of potential partners with some basic research.
When selecting micro-influencers, consider the following:
- The quality of their content: if they’re going to be responsible for promoting your product, you want to ensure that the content is in keeping with your brand guidelines and showcases your product in a positive light.
- Their engagement rate: While you won’t have access to specific metrics, you should be able to see how frequently they respond to their comments, and how interactive they are on functions like Instagram Stories.
- Previous sponsored content: this should give you an idea of the types of collaboration they're open to, and will indicate their willingness to work with your brand.
Building a relationship
Micro-influencers are valued for their authenticity, so they will usually only promote products that they genuinely love. If you’ve found micro-influencers that follow or post about your brand, you're already starting from an enviable position.
Otherwise, it’s sensible to nurture a relationship before asking them to promote your products. Interact with their content by liking, sharing, and commenting. Given their smaller following, they'll probably notice your efforts.
Many influencers will have specific instructions on how you should contact them within their profile. Despite their size, micro-influencers will often want you to go via an agent or their business email. Ignoring this guidance can damage your relationship as it demonstrates a lack of respect for their personal boundaries. Besides this, not abiding by instructions shows that you haven’t done your research.
Working with micro-influencers
It’s always best to be direct, upfront, and honest in business. Influencers already spend a lot of their energy running their accounts, so they don’t have time to waste. By making your intentions clear, they can quickly establish whether they’re interested in what you’re offering.
When messaging an influencer, mention why you want to work specifically with them and what you hope to achieve. You should also talk about how you intend on compensating them. If you’re on a tight budget, sending out complimentary PR products can work, particularly as an opening to a longer-term partnership. Nearly 40% of marketers pay influencers with product samples, but bear in mind that an influencer may not be obligated to promote or review your products under these circumstances.
Despite this, the non-obligatory nature of free gifts can make for a more genuine and authentic promotion of your product. If an influencer raves about your product without being contractually obliged to do so, it's a major endorsement for your product.
When discussing partnerships, consider what your ideal terms will be. This will depend on what you want your campaign to achieve. You may want to think about:
- Exclusivity: An influencer, particularly one that is relevant to your industry, may already work with some of your competitors. If you want them to work exclusively with you for a set length of time, this should be reflected in your compensation package, as this may severely limit their earnings.
- Length of partnership: Consider the time period you want your brand to be promoted, and how many posts you will expect during this time. The more posts you want, the higher the fee will be.
About the Author
Annabel Mulliner is a Content Writer for Marketing, PR, and Social Media agency, Little Seed Group. The agency prides itself on helping businesses and charities of all sizes to grow, thrive, and blossom.