Social media influencers are not a new thing. We have all been influenced by a celebrity endorser or purchased an item because we like the person who created it. In fact, thousands of companies pay power influencers millions of dollars to promote their products. The traditional markets of television, print media and radio are expensive, and advertisers want to get the most out of their investments. But social media influencers don’t cost advertisers millions – if a company can get access to a social media influencer, their services will cost a fraction of what it costs to hire a celebrity or power influencer. The internet influencers have hundreds, if not thousands, of followers – an untapped market for sales professionals.
However, the micro-influencer is a newer way to gain exposure online. Instagram Micro-influencers do more personal, genuine posts, rather than promoting slick marketing ads. When you think about it, what would you trust more? A person you have a relationship with demonstrating a brand they use in real life, or some advertisement put together in an office somewhere far, far away? I would choose a loyal friend every time.
Defining the Micro-Influencer
Power influencers are well-known figures, celebrities, or experts. The micro-influencer is a single individual whose posts are usually limited to a particular interest. Micro-influencers have smaller audiences (thousands instead of millions), but their followers are more likely to be swayed by their influencer as they tend to have more personal relationships.
Micro-influencers also tend to stick to one type of social media –Instagram is the most popular with micro-influencers. Instagram offers the visual experience that can truly highlight the aspects of a particular product or service. One example could be vacationing.
Say a micro-influencer took a vacation to a remote, unpopular area, but, the hotel, staff, atmosphere, cost, and experience was so fantastic that the influencer couldn’t stop posting about it! If businesses in that area are smart, they will engage the services of this micro-influencer to promote their products and services.
How significant are Micro-Influencers?
One of the principles of marketing is to target specific markets. You can do this broadly, with power influencers who have millions of followers. In that instance, you are trading on the influencer’s reach. But, overly large marketing schemes have only about a 10% return historically. That is when it is time to use a micro-influencer.
Micro-influencers have that personal connection with their followers. Personal relationships are far more useful in marketing than celebrity endorsements. For example, let’s say you are trying to decide between the latest anti-aging skin care products. Are you more apt to choose what a movie star is selling or are you more likely to listen to a micro-influencer who has posted pictures of herself showing the results of using the product? Common sense tells you to choose the micro-influencer because she is a REAL person. Celebrity endorsers are paid, photographed, airbrushed, photo-shopped all to make consumers think they have successfully used the product they are selling.
Micro-influencers have more loyalty in their following
When an influencer has a following of millions, it is impossible for the influencer to engage with everyone on a personal level. Micro-influencers are far more likely to have cultivated real relationships with their followers. And when you think about it, reaching out to micro-influencers would increase your ability to convert posts into sales. When a follower feels that personal connection with a micro-influencer, they are far more likely to listen to what that influencer has to say about a certain service or product. Power influencers can only trade on their fame.
Target Audiences of Micro-influencers
Because micro-influencers tend to promote or talk about fewer specific brands and products, their audience is more targeted. When a company reaches out to a micro-influencer, they are increasing their chances of the rate of return. Where a power influencer may take an ad to millions of followers, a micro-influencer makes a real-life recommendation. Most consumers are more apt to believe someone who uses a product or service over a power player who is raking in endorsement money and may not even use the product or service.
Micro-influencers are cost effective
In addition to their connections with their followers, micro-influencers are far less expensive in promotions. Power influencers charge thousands of dollars for the privilege of posting an ad on their Instagram page. Micro-influencers will charge far less – in the hundreds of dollars – for doing the same thing while reaching a more targeted market. From a business standpoint, it just makes sense. You may get an initial influx of thousands of orders due to a promotion with a power influencer; however, the targeted, loyal followers of a micro-influencer are more likely to become long-term, repeat customers.
Best Strategies with micro-influencers
To effectively use a micro-influencer strategy, you must consider your product or service. Because social media is very visual, using influencers of any kind might not work for something like office supplies. A micro-influencer can effectively use visual and written media to actively promote a visual product – a car, a hot nightspot, a new line of fashion – but it is unrealistic to think that this same technique will work with products or services that are not effective in a visual realm.
You must also be committed to working with multiple micro-influencers rather than a single power influencer to market successfully. Because micro-influencers are real, everyday people, your marketing plans must include regular check-ins with your chosen influencers. While a power influencer has to be reached through agents, assistants, and other layers of protection, a micro-influencer is ready to pick up the phone and talk to you virtually any time.
In your Interest . . .
When deciding how best to start your next marketing campaign, choose carefully and consider the micro-influencers out there who forge real relationships with their followers. That friendship and loyalty is a powerful way to sway an audience to buy your brand.