Influencer marketing is a fantastic promotional technique increasingly adopted by businesses of all sizes in their quest to appeal to target audiences. This strategy allows brands to reach consumers through digital collaborations with well-known social media personalities, who can act as company ambassadors and raise awareness, generate demand and drive sales of products and services.
This marketing method has become so prolific that it now boasts several subcategories, each of which offers unique benefits to marketers. Among these is micro-influencer marketing, which describes brand endorsement by content creators who have between just 1,000 and 10,000 followers online.
To help you decide if it is the right strategy for your business, we've broken down this niche marketing technique and looked closer at the benefits of micro-influencer marketing.
What Is a Micro-Influencer?
This social media marketing method sees businesses promote their brand positioning and offering portfolio by leveraging the influence that digital personalities have over their audiences. Companies sponsor influencers to create and share content that portrays a specific, positive message about their products or services. Predominantly shared through Instagram or YouTube, the photographic or video content typically conveys creators' experience with, use of, or review of the brand and its products. In exchange for their services, influencers may be paid per posted content item, or receive a commission of the sales that result from this collaboration, tracked via affiliate links and tailored discount codes.
Within this spectrum of influencers are micro-influencers, who boast a digital following across their social media profiles of anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 individuals. These content creators are considered subject matter experts, as they focus on sharing their experiences with – and information on – very specific topics, from which they do not often deviate. These can include areas such as health, beauty, fitness, travel, sports and more.
They occupy a niche area of influencing as their winning factor is not the number of followers they have, but rather the unique and close relationship they maintain with their audience. Due to the highly tailored nature of their content, their followers tend to be likeminded individuals who share their passions and organically engage with their posts. Micro-influencers are known to foster open, two-way communication with their followers through direct messages, polls and more, something that is feasible for them considering the manageable size of their audience.
This technique is effective because viewers do not perceive it to be direct advertising material, and are therefore more receptive to the messaging in question. It also takes advantage of the trust and admiration of influencers' followers, capitalising on consumers' habit of considering such online reviews as trustworthy as personal brand experiences shared by their family and friends. Indeed, according to a 2018 study by marketing agency BrightLocal, a staggering 91% of millennials alone admit to this behaviour.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Micro-Influencer?
Businesses – particularly of a smaller size – can benefit greatly from partnerships with micro-influencers. Here are just some of the benefits of arranging a collaboration:
1. Appeals to Your Target Market
By adopting this promotional technique and carefully selecting micro-influencers whose values and interests closely match your business, you can directly reach your ideal consumers. This fact alone makes this form of marketing appealing to small businesses, as it ensures your efforts (and budget) are not wasted on viewers who would be unlikely to make a purchase.
You can easily ascertain whether a micro influencer's audience is appropriate for a prospective partnership, simply by reviewing their content and examining samples of their condensed following.
2. Generates Audience Engagement and ROI
Although their followings pale in comparison to the mass audiences of celebrities and mega-influencers (often numbered in the millions), this subcategory has significantly higher follower engagement. This is due to their ability to build strong relationships and maintain trust with viewers, as well as cultivate a community among their following.
Visual and written content shared by micro-influencers tends to be mostly original, and perceived as more authentic as a result. They are more relatable than household names, and therefore their message is more believable.
For businesses, valuable fan engagements include interactions on promoted content such as likes, comments and shares, as well as actions taken as a result of that material, such as direct messaging and – most importantly – brand site visits or purchases. This ultimately translates to a higher return on marketing investment of influencer deal spend.
3. Turns Customers into Ambassadors
Small businesses may commence digital collaborations by examining their own, existing social media audience and identifying influencer followers who are already happy customers of the brand.
By partnering with such content creators who are familiar with your business, you have a better chance of setting up a successful promotional strategy with these individuals. This approach will add to the authenticity of the collaboration and drive further engagement as the topic will be pertinent to followers. Indeed, many content creators attest that they select their partnerships based on relevance to their following for this same reason.
4. Is Cost Effective
Due to the competitive nature of influencer marketing, it is becoming more expensive to pursue as each year passes. As a result, this promotional technique can be daunting for smaller businesses to experiment with; micro-influencing is the answer to this.
For a fraction of the price of collaborations with major celebrities, you can launch micro-influencer partnerships using a very modest promotional budget. In fact, many online personalities just starting out in the field of influencing will be happy to share their positive feedback of your brand and its products simply by being sent the items free of charge.
As you grow, you can team up with a slew of micro-influencers concurrently to drive successful campaign results, before graduating to other influencer techniques that fit your changing marketing needs.
5. Ease of Collaboration
Micro-influencers tend to be more accommodating to the details of brand collaboration requests, often because they do not work on such deals on a frequent basis. This does not apply only to the price they set for partnerships, but also to the extent of their promoted content. They can be inclined to go into great depth on the benefits of the products, discuss their own experiences with your brand, and thoroughly test all items beforehand to ensure their message appears genuine.
Being easy to work with can lead to long-term partnerships between your brand and micro-influencers, benefiting your business as long-term exposure to positive reviews and perceptions may convince already converted leads to become loyal customers.
Micro-influencer marketing is a powerful technique that small businesses can adopt to reach their target market effectively. By collaborating with social media ambassadors with a niche following, and who are aligned with the focus and offerings of your company, you can effectively impact brand perception, generate demand and drive sales of your products.
From manageable collaboration costs to audience engagement and content control, this subcategory of influencer marketing offers many unique advantages to organisations that adopt it. It is no surprise, then, that businesses are consistently increasing their spend on influencer marketing, with 63% of marketing teams planning to expand their budget allocation for this activity type in the coming year. The question is – will you be one of them?
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