You can’t open up Instagram these days without seeing a #sponsored post, reel, or story where someone is promoting a #gifted product. This is the norm in the new age of influencer social media marketing. But if you tend to scroll right past these posts from large influencer accounts, they’re probably not super effective. The goal of this type of marketing is to build genuine connections with your target customers through a trustworthy third-party.
How exactly do you do that, you ask? Well the key is authentic marketing that customers believe in and trust. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with a little something known as micro-influencer marketing.
It’s time to learn what exactly a micro influencer is, how they differ from a regular influencer, and if micro-influencer marketing is something worth testing out for your own brand!
What is a micro influencer?
A micro influencer is a bit different than the traditional influencer who could be a reality television star with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. Micro influencers have smaller followings and are typically concentrated in a specific industry.
“A micro-influencer is an individual who has between 10,000 and 50,000 followers on social media.” Association of National Advertisers
These influential experts in their field post on social media promoting products they thoroughly enjoy in exchange for some type of compensation. As a brand, you benefit from this because they are promoting your products to people who trust them. By using social commerce tools like referral links on stories or shoppable posts on Instagram and Facebook, micro influencers can be a great revenue generator.
Influencers vs. micro influencers
We’ve covered that micro influencers have smaller followings than influencers, but that much was probably a given. So let’s dive into how else these two influencer types differ.
For starters, micro influencers are typically concentrated in more niche markets and work with fewer brands than influencers. Whereas an influencer might promote hair supplements one day and then a mattress the next, micro influencers tend to stick to one industry and potentially even a specific geographic area.
As we’ve already covered, the most notable difference is in the follower count. You may be thinking that influencers are the way to go to get your brand in front of the biggest audience possible. And while you may be exposed to a wider audience, it’s all about how this audience engages with the influencer.
“The engagement rate for Instagram influencers with at least 10,000 followers is steady at about 3.6% worldwide. Influencers with 5,000 to 10,000 followers have an engagement rate of 6.3%.” Marketing Dive
Micro influencers tend to have higher engagement rates with their audiences. This is because with a smaller follower base they truly become a thriving brand community and users actually feel connected. Their love for the person posting translates into trust in the products the micro influencer is posting about.
Micro influencers also tend to promote fewer products for longer periods of time. It is common to see a micro influencer post about the same product multiple times and potentially even have an established partnership with the brand.
On the flip side, influencers are often flooded with product promotion opportunities and some will jump at all of them! This is why you may see influencers posting about dozens of products in just one week. The problem with this is the promotion of all these very different products makes it hard to know which ones they truly love. This can reduce trust in your brand, can be unreliable, and overall come off very advertise-y.
Which is best for small business marketing?
If we had to recommend one strategy for small businesses to aim for, we’d go with micro influencers.
If you’re working with a smaller marketing budget, micro influencers are more realistic because they’ll typically be willing to accept a lower price. Two of the biggest drivers of the price of a sponsored post are the influencer’s follower count and their average engagement rates. You can use a tool like Influencer Marketing Hub’s Instagram Money Calculator to get an estimate.
Some micro influencers may even be willing to create content in exchange for gifted products. These lower price tags also mean you have the ability to use multiple micro influencers for the same price as one big influencer. This can bring in customers from several different audiences and help to grow your potential customer base.
Micro influencers also bring in really engaged customers because their followers feel like they’re part of an exclusive in-circle when they’re one of a couple thousand followers. These types of customers are more likely to become brand advocates and those are the types of customers you want engaging with you!
We know that we’re most likely going to scroll right past an influencer post because we see hundreds of them a day. But when that one micro influencer posts something, we’re probably going to be more interested in it, check out the products, and trust what they have to say because it feels like a recommendation coming from a close friend.
Finally, micro influencer marketing is a great strategy for small business growth. This is because micro influencers present more opportunity for longer term partnerships, which will be a sustainable customer acquisition strategy. As the micro influencer grows their following, your following will grow as well with every new post they create.
While influencer marketing may be all the rage, micro influencer marketing is the best small business marketing strategy.
Micro influencers in the wild: examples of social media marketing campaigns
We’ve figured out what a micro influencer is, and why you should opt for this strategy over regular influencer marketing. Let’s take a look at some examples of micro influencer campaigns on social media.
Hello Sunday SPF
This UK sunscreen brand makes use of a portfolio of beauty and fashion micro influencers to promote their various products.
If we look at this campaign with London-based makeup, fashion, and lifestyle micro influencer Davina, we can see a great example of focusing on a niche. Davina has 10.9K followers on Instagram, and posts about tons of different beauty brands. What makes it authentic is how she showcases these products.
In an Instagram reel highlighting her ‘glowy skincare’ routine, Davina gives her followers a glimpse into her normal life and walks them through all the different products she uses, including Hello Sunday SPF’s moisturizer. Hello Sunday then leverages this content by marketing it on their own Instagram grid, and linking to their shoppable Instagram store so customers can find the products in a matter of one click.
Hello Sunday SPF’s Instagram account is full of authentic micro influencer campaigns like this. They also support their social media marketing strategy with the use of a loyalty program. By offering their customers points for following them on Instagram, Hello Sunday SPF builds their brand community then uses their platform to remind customers on a daily basis about how loved their brand is.
Another industry that leverages a ton of influencer and micro influencer marketing is the health and supplement industry. But when it comes to health and fitness, it’s pretty easy to tell when an advertisement is inauthentic and the influencer doesn’t actually use that product.
This is why long-term partnerships, brand ambassadors, and affiliate marketing are all great strategies in the health and supplement industry. One brand taking full advantage of that is Evogen Nutrition.
Evogen Nutrition uses popular athletes and bodybuilders as #EvogenElite athletes to promote their supplements. Take this example with Matt Bishop, an athlete based in New York City.
Evogen Nutrition really leverages this micro influencer by organically posting photos of him on their Instagram feed and linking to his account. When users follow him, they’ll immediately notice the Evogen brand in the link to their Instagram in Matt’s bio, as well as the link to their website in the linktr.ee URL in his bio.
This demonstrates the effectiveness and sustainability of using micro influencers to foster those long-term partnerships.
While micro influencer and influencer marketing are commonplace in industries like beauty and health, it’s not a bad idea to set yourself apart using this strategy in less glamorous industries. Take BrüMate for example: an insulated drinkware ecommerce brand.
Long, long, looooooong ago, when all shopping was done in stores, you probably didn’t think much about brands when buying a travel coffee mug or a can cooler. You’d look at the price, size, and maybe color. But now, believe it or not, what you drink out of says a lot about who you are and we have influencer social media marketing to thank for that.
With adventurous photos set in beautiful landscapes, BrüMate is clearly branded as an outdoorsy, lifestyle brand with products that help you while you’re on-the-go. With this in mind, they partner with micro influencers who have the same values.
As we can see, they’ve worked with Nikki Bigger, a micro influencer in the photography, outdoorsy, and sustainability space with 45.1K followers. Leveraging photographers to be your micro influencers is a great idea as well because it will generate quality product photos that you can use in your social media strategy when you have limited resources. Win-win!
BrüMate’s use of micro influencers has helped them create a very strong brand community and they’ve supported it with the use of a VIP loyalty program. With unique rewards such as input in the product design process or access to exclusive charity events, this VIP program leverages experiential rewards.
When you offer unique VIP rewards and a strong network of micro influencers, your brand community will practically build itself!
How to work with micro influencers
So now that you’re on the micro influencer train, you need to know where to find them!
The first step is to look where they are: social media. Most micro influencers are active on Instagram and TikTok and maybe Facebook depending on their target audience. You can search for relevant micro influencers by searching for hashtags or keywords related to your brand. You can also do a simple Google search, check in databases, or micro influencer marketplaces like #paid or CreatorIQ.
Before reaching out to work with a micro influencer, ensure you are following them and get to know them, their interests, and their style. You want them to know you’ve done your research and find their content valuable.
Only pick influencers who align with your brand and your target audience. It’s really easy to tell when an influencer doesn’t know much about the product they are promoting and that can tarnish your brand.
Always reach out via email instead of via Instagram DM. This sets you apart as a reputable brand that they can trust. Most micro influencers will have their work email in their social media bio, but if you can’t find it then it is okay to DM them once to ask for their email.
So there you have it: find a micro influencer that fits with your brand, do your research on them, and reach out via email to discuss a partnership.
So do you need a micro influencer for your brand?
When you’re a small business with limited resources it can feel like an uphill battle to gain followers and find new customers. That’s where micro influencer marketing can help.
It’s a great strategy to build trust and authenticity with your audience. Afterall, customers tend to trust what other people have to say about you more than what you have to say about yourself. So next time you sit down to plan your marketing strategy, consider allocating some of that budget to micro influencers and watch your followers grow!