Marketers use all sorts of tactics to raise brand awareness and generate leads, but some methods prove to be more successful than others. Influencer marketing is one of the most productive tactics in this field, delivering 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
But that’s not the end of the story. Not all influencers can make the same impact on the target audience, particularly if you are running a small business. Why is that so? Well, it turns out that customers don’t trust all sources equally.
Micro-Influencer Marketing and Small Business Growth
As a matter of fact, 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. This happens because people just want to see a simple and honest review from a person they can really trust. That is why our post is about to show you the role of micro-influencer marketing in growing your small business.
Micro-Influencer Marketing Explained
By definition, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on targeting key industry leaders to drive brand message and awareness to a specific market of consumers. While this is a good way to begin describing micro-influencers, we must also explain a few more features that make this digital marketing strategy so special.
The “micro” part is crucial here since these influencers don’t try and don’t want to reach global audiences. On the contrary, they build a small army of loyal followers and strengthen the reputation by posting quality content. In return, followers really appreciate and respect influencers’ recommendations and show the willingness to act according to their suggestions.
There is no strict rule to prescribe the exact number of followers, but most marketers consider micro-influencers as individuals with up to 10 thousand followers. Right now, the average entrepreneur is probably wondering: how come 10 thousand is better than 10 million followers?
To cut the long story short, we will say that user engagement is what separates micro from macro-influencers. As an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) decreases proportionally. According to this study, social media accounts with around 1,000 followers see by far the highest engagement rate.
Besides that, a couple of other details divide the worlds of micro and macro-influencing:
- Style of work: Micro-influencers develop a unique style, while macro-influencers have to be more generic to indulge the crowd of followers.
- Authenticity: While small-range influencers seem highly credible and authentic, their macro peers are struggling to prove authenticity as the follower count keeps booming.
While it is true that macro-influencers can raise brand awareness more effectively, they cannot get anywhere near the engagement rate of the average micro-influencer. This happens because most of their fans feel like they don’t stand a chance of earning the author’s attention. The number of people who want to comment or ask something is way too high to give them a real chance to stand out from the crowd of followers.
On the other hand, micro-influencers are not targeting the same audience. For them, content creation is not the game of numbers but rather a matter of quality and human touch. That’s exactly why small businesses turn to micro-influencers when promoting their products – it allows them to address a highly specific niche audience.
For instance, cosmetics brand Glossier hired Cecilia Gorgon, a student at the University of Michigan, to promote their products. At the time of the campaign, Cecilia had around nine thousand Instagram followers who loved her “girl next door” style and appearance. Glossier realized the potential of Cecilia’s online presence and used it to expand reach within a very specific local students group.
The Benefits of Micro-Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses
We already mentioned a lot of features that make micro-influencing such a powerful marketing strategy, but there is much more to it than that. Here is what small businesses can expect if they decide to hire a micro-influencer:
- Cost-effectiveness: Micro-influencer marketing is much cheaper that macro-influencing. While most celebrities would charge you thousands of dollars for a single announcement, 84% of micro-influencers charge $250 or less for an Instagram post.
- Scaling: Hiring a micro-influencer, you won’t rush into things and bite off more than you can chew. Small businesses need to be careful with the scaling process, making sure to start modestly and then expand the reach gradually.
- Content quality: Micro-influencers don’t mess around with content quality because they know that’s what keeps them alive and kicking online. This also means they will never mention your products without testing. Emilie Smith, a marketer at Superior Papers, explains how the system works: “Our agency is investing some serious efforts in content creation because we know this is the only way to grab the attention of our audience and inspire them to engage with our posts.”
- Easy cooperation: Most micro-influencers are friendly and easy to cooperate with. You just need to be polite and propose a partnership directly – and that’s pretty much all you need to do. The rest is up to the micro-influencers and their creativity.
- Professional authority: Micro-influencers can’t reach millions, but they don’t have to. Their professional authority allows them to strongly influence the opinion of smaller fan groups, so you should take advantage of this influence to promote your business online.
- Follower loyalty: We said it before, but we will say it again – you can never overestimate the importance of follower loyalty in micro-influencer marketing. The two parties build a strong relationship based on trust and understanding, which sets the cornerstone for the successful brand promotion.
How to Find the Right Micro-Influencer for Your Campaign
The world of micro-influencer marketing is very colorful and versatile, which gives you a plenty of options to choose from. However, you need to be careful enough to find the right person who can promote your products or services successfully.
First of all, you have to determine whether your company and the targeted influencer share the same values. If you are trying to establish a brand as serious and reliable, don’t choose a comedian who is completely informal and casual.
That’s how we get to the issue of style. A perfect micro-influencer should resemble your average buyer persona, matching the age group, academic background, income level, and the overall appearance.
At the same time, it’s important to find a person who uses the right marketing channels. For instance, LinkedIn is probably the best influencer marketing platform for B2B companies, while Instagram is more appropriate for B2C organizations that want to promote and sell products.
If you are running a local business, one of the best options is to look around and find a popular individual who can impact his or her peers. For example, find a talented football player if you sell sports gear or a hairdresser if you deal with cosmetics.
Another option is to use online tools to find the right micro-influencer. Apps such as Buzzsumo or Discover.ly are easy to use but very efficient, so we suggest you combine it with the local search in your neighborhood to find the best micro-influencer for your project.
Influencer marketing is not a new concept, but the difference between its micro and macro versions is still making a lot of entrepreneurs confused. In this post, we explained the role of micro-influencer marketing in growing your small business. Remember our tips and don’t be afraid of hiring a micro-influencer as it could quickly give you that much-needed sales boost.
Rachel Bartee is a content strategist and a marketing consultant. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Get in touch on Twitter.