The concept of influencer marketing is nothing new. Despite the fact that it has been around since the mid-20th century, the past decade has seen it evolve dramatically and become more potent than ever. In fact, “81 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it be effective.”
This is largely due to the fact that influencers can now instantly reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of people with a single post.
But let’s be honest, most small businesses simply don’t have the budget to afford macro-influencers like Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian with millions of followers to promote their product/service. That’s where micro-influencers come in.
What’s a Micro-Influencer?
According to Mavrck, “micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have 500 – 5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant topics.” However, you could still consider a person with up to 10,000 followers to be a micro-influencer.
These are individuals who have much smaller followings than big name celebrities, but their audience tends to be fiercely loyal and highly engaged. They’re often experts in their industry and deeply respected for their knowledge and insight.
As a result, they have an inherent level of trust with their audience, and their opinion is as good as gold.
A More Realistic (and Affordable) Option
If you just don’t have the means to target the Taylor Swifts of the world to promote your brand, the next best thing is go after micro-influencers in your industry. For example, a company selling a IT security product might seek out an influential security expert with 8,000 Twitter followers who hang on their every word.
Or, a marketing software startup might target a tech blogger with 6,500 email subscribers. You get the idea.
By capitalizing on the trust and credibility that a thought leader already has, you can create instant exposure for your brand. Something as simple as a tweet giving your product/service a nod of approval can have a significant impact and boost your brand equity considerably.
This legitimizes your company and creates leverage much more quickly than trying to do it on your own. Rather than going through the laborious process of increasing product/service knowledge by building a following from scratch, you can expedite things dramatically and bring an influx of traffic your website.
Ideally, you’ll find someone who is already a fan of your brand. Tracking brand mentions via a tool like Social Mention allows you to search in real time to see what’s being said about your company. Look specifically for individuals with sizable audiences, and initiate contact with anyone you feel could be an asset.
Another technique is to simply search through various social media sites for relevant micro-influencers in your industry. Contact several potential candidates, and work toward cultivating relationships. It’s unlikely that everyone you contact is going to convert, and it’s a bit of a numbers game.
That’s why you’ll want to cast a wide net and keep at it until you find the right person. You can also sweeten the deal by offering some free samples.
Once you’ve found a viable micro-influencer, highlight some key talking points and any specific details you’d like them to cover. Just be sure to conduct yourself professionally and with courtesy. Also, make sure that you’re not being overly demanding or snuffing out their creativity in the process.
With businesses making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, it’s easy to see why this is becoming an increasingly popular strategy. But if megalithic celebrities simply aren’t an option, micro-influencers are your best bet. Not only can this route bring about some impressive results, it can also be the catalyst for long-term, mutually beneficial relationships within your industry.