'Micro-influencer' seems to be the buzzword of the day, with influencer marketing growing ever more popular with industry professionals.
As campaigns with bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagram personalities become more prevalent, more research and insight into this type of marketing is popping up on the web, and the idea of an online influencer is becoming more defined and deconstructed.
The skinny on influencer marketing
If you're new to influencer marketing, here's a quick definition: it is a form of marketing that relies on leveraging influencers (such as bloggers, vloggers, social media personalities, and so on) for marketing campaigns to promote a brand or product.
Most often you will see this in the form of bloggers who were compensated for giving an honest review of a product on their site.
Does it work? Indeed it does. There's a reason why 81% of marketers who have forayed into influencer marketing found it effective. Some key facts:
- Adblock software is used by nearly 200 million people and experienced a growth of 41% last year.
- Over 70% of consumers consult social media before making buying decisions.
- The average return on investment for every $1 spent on influencer marketing is $6.85 and rises as high as $11.33 for some sectors.
- 84% of consumers trust peer recommendations over brand advertising.
What does all this information tell us? With the rise of Adblock technology and social media, traditional advertising is falling behind. Consumers are more likely to search out reviews for products they are interested in on blogs and vlogs to see what 'real' people are saying, rather than trusting ads by brands (which they might have blocked in the first place). ROI doesn't lie: Leveraging influencers works.
Good! But where do you start? First, consider what type of influencer will be the best fit for you.
Types of influencers
So what's the difference between a micro-influencer and a macro-influencer? There is no major agreement in the industry yet so let's note that we can only speak in rough estimates.
That said, influencers can generally be split up into four categories:
- Celebrities (over 1 million followers or subscribers): think your average Kardashian.
- Macro-influencers (around 1 million followers or subscribers): a famous gaming vlogger like PewDiePie fits the bill.
- Middle-influencers (around 100,000 followers or subscribers)*: many beauty bloggers on YouTube are in this category.
- Micro-influencers (around 10,000 followers or subscribers or less): definitely the biggest influencer category that covers millions of blogs.
*Middle-influencers are often grouped with micro-influencers but you may sometimes hear the distinction made in marketing circles.
Micro-influencers with mega influence
The influence of the micro crowd feels almost counterintuitive, but according to Markerly, the like and comment ratio for influencers' Instagram posts actually decreases as their following grows; those with under 1000 followers boast an 8% like ratio while for influencers with 1-10 million the ratio drops down to 1.7%.
There are several factors that can explain this engagement gap. Firstly, the more followers an influencer has the more likely they are to attract a higher number of fake and bot accounts that will beef up their numbers but won't actually contribute genuine engagement.
More importantly, for influencers with fewer followers, a large percentage will be people they actually know and are thus more likely to trust their recommendations. Micro-influencers are also seen as more authentic because they are less prone to plugging products on a regular basis.
The numbers support this theory. A recent study by Experticity focused on the power of micro-influencers compared to the average consumer and surveyed over 6,000 influencers and 800 of their peers to find out how effective their influence actually is.
Some of the main highlights reported in the study are the following:
- 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow the recommendation of a micro–influencer.
- Influencers are seen as at least 10% more credible and knowledgeable about products than the general population.
- Compared to the average consumer, micro–influencers have up to 22.2 times more “buying conversations”.
The niche influencer
For a good example of why micro or “niche” influencers provide better engagement and ROI we can compare them to celebrities.
If a brand approaches a high-profile celebrity with a particular product for a very expensive sponsored post, they will probably get a lot of exposure. But how valuable is this exposure when a good number of the celebrity's followers may not even be interested in that type of product?
It has been proven time and again that recruiting several smaller influencers that focus on the relevant industry is more effective in terms of traffic and sales.
Entrepreneur highlights several case studies in which micro-influencer campaigns provided successful conversions for brands, such as Shoes of Prey's collaboration with beauty vlogger Blair Fowler (who currently has 286K Instagram followers), which yielded a 300% permanent increase in sales.
Finding and pitching micro-influencers
The process begins with audience research and designing a persona for your brand (or for the specific campaign). Once you have an idea of your average consumer and where they are likely to go for information about products (do they prefer Instagram, Pinterest, some other platform?) it will be much easier to find influencers.
Different types of influencers respond to different incentives, so think carefully about what influencers in your target market will prefer. Food bloggers may prefer invitations to review restaurants and events over product reviews, whereas beauty bloggers love getting exclusive access to new releases. Do some research into what kind of campaigns brands in different industries do with influencers for inspiration.
As for identifying the right micro-influencers for your campaign? Be aware that the process of finding and contacting influencers can be time-consuming. You can start by searching for influencers through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and you are more likely to find the bigger names through Google.
With micro-influencers the process is a bit trickier, but there are influencer marketing and blogger outreach platforms on the web you can utilize to locate them for you. Bloggers also tend to form a community and will frequently promote similar blogs. If you're interested in YouTubers, the relevant videos section will be your best friend.
When you're done, the right micro-influencers will boost your SEO, increase sales, and create buzz for your brand. Why bother with Kim Kardashian?
For more insight into influencer marketing, download our latest ebook for free!: How To Run a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign.
Guest Author: Eti Nachum is the CEO of BlogsRelease, the #1 marketplace where brands can get product reviews from bloggers worldwide. Connect with her on Twitter @BlogsRelease, Facebook,LinkedIn, and Google+.
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