If you believe launching an advertising campaign is enough to beat your competitors, we have bad news for you then: those days are far behind us. And here’s the truth: most customers opt for skipping an ad, as they are fed up with the overly polished professional pictures that seem too good to be true.
As Forbes has revealed, customers crave authenticity. Thus, marketers are seeking out ways to deliver the genuine messages that align with their brand principles. For this reason, the collaboration with influencers has been booming over the past few years.
The numbers speak for themselves: 92% of consumers worldwide say they trust word-of-mouth more than advertising, 84% of people claim user-generated content on a company website has some influence on making purchase decisions, and 46% of Internet users rely on online reviews posted by other customers.
Yes, spending $1,000 on Instagram influencer marketing is worth it.
So, wouldn’t it be great if you could enter an already-established community to share your message?
In fact, 84% of marketers judge the collaboration with influencers to be effective as it allows creating authentic stories instead of ads.
When it comes to choosing an opinion leader for your marketing campaign, you must want to collaborate with top-notch influencers who have the significant mass of followers, right?
It makes sense at first blush, but more and more proficient marketers believe that working with micro-influencers is more effective.
- 82% of consumers reported that they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.
- Influencers with 1000 fans show an 85% higher lift than influencers with 100k followers.
- Non-celebrity bloggers are 10x more likely to influence an in-store purchase than celebrities.
Micro-influencers can be an amazing alternative to costly agencies, and a big dog Unilever made the most out of it when its margarine brand Stork ran an ad campaign last summer.
Showing results is not optional, and micro-influencers prove it. After posting images to their Instagram accounts, around 436,000 followers saw the images over the campaign period, generating 11,900 likes and comments with the cost 21 cents per engagement.
Still not convinced you’re ready to consider collaborating with micro-influencers?
Here’s the list of reasons why you’d better lay a bet on micro-influencers in 2018.
1. Get Your Voice Heard
If you have tried to reach a social influencer at least once, you probably know it takes a lot of time and effort to get his response.
The thing is, macro-influencers just don’t have enough time in the day to reply to all people. Neil Patel once proved it:
The more followers an opinion leader has, the more businesses want to reach out. Macro-influencers get many inquiries, and it’s more likely your request will get buried in their Direct Messages.
What makes you any different from the millions of other marketers hoping for attention?
Obviously, you may know some tricks and tips to implement a successful influencer campaign. You may even know that the success of any outreach campaign depends on the offer, the urgency, creativity, and the number of your competitors.
When you keep an eye on niche-focused opinion leaders, you work in a less-competitive environment as their audiences can’t suit every brand needs. Thus, micro-influencers get fewer inquiries, and it’s easier to convince them to work with you.
But wait, there’s more. Collaborating with micro-influencers, you can connect with other opinion leaders if you can provide a social proof.
It’s proven that micro-influencers seek out support, so they often hang out with other opinion leaders. Kimberly Price, senior social media strategist at Merkley + Partners, says: “A technique that I’ve found successful is to find a network of connected micro-influencers. They tend to support each other by sharing each other’s posts and leaving comments on each other’s content.”
Laying a bet on micro-influencers, you can gain their attention (as they are not overwhelmed with the number of inquires) and you get your voice heard.
2. Spend Less Money
First things first:
Looking for the most cost-effective online customer-acquisition channels, marketers put influencer and email marketing in the first place, according to Tomoson Blog archives:
Moreover, statistics prove that customers rely on influencers. Thus, around 48% of U.S. marketers have planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets:
However, most brands can’t still afford celebrity influencers like Selena Gomez who charges $550,000 per post.
Whilst top celebs are earning the big bucks on Instagram, it can be also difficult for brands to work with other macro-influencers with the high follower count (around 100k) as they can earn close to $800 per post.
Don’t have much money to afford influencer shoutouts? Turn to micro-influencers!
No matter how many followers a micro-influencer has, he or she should be compensated to feel rewarded. Depending on the follower count, influencers expect different offers, and it’s logical to offer something more generous to a person with 10k followers. However, it doesn’t have to be financial compensation.
How can you motivate micro-influencers for the collaboration?
- Pay for the collaboration. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution on how to define the price, the overall average fee is $271 per post.
- Publish their posts and tag them on your social media. Shoutouts can help micro-influencers attract new followers.
- Send branded freebies. If you want an influencer to talk about you, let him love your product, and there’s no better way than giving an opportunity to get a branded freebie.
Some opinion leaders may mention your product in their photos for free, but you’d better do not hasten to post this user-generated content without permission.
Here’s the deal:
A professional photographer, Max Dubler, had wrote a blog post “No, You Can’t Use My Photos on Your Brand’s Instagram for Free” where he explained that Instagram users like him want to be asked for a permission to post their photos and/or be compensated properly. His story got 2,200 upvotes and around 400 supportive comments on Reddit.
The moral of the story: all for-profit businesses use social media advertising to help them boost sales and make more money, so influencers expect compensation.
The bottom line? Collaborating with micro-influencers is underpriced, so working with them is a proven way to build your brand loyalty without spending much.
3. Connect with More Influencers
It comes as no surprise that influencer marketing is booming.
According to a Tomoson study, companies that use influencer marketing are making $6.50 for every $1 they invest in it. Thus, more and more businesses start increasing their budgets on influencer marketing.
The Altimeter Group has revealed that half of the marketers allocate less than $100,000 annually, spending just 10% of the budget on the influencer cost:
And here’s the deal:
It’s up to you to choose whether you want to pay $10,000 to a top-notch macro-influencer to get one post or spend the same sum to collaborate with 20 micro-influencers and reach a wider audience.
There’s no need to do crazy math calculations to understand: when you’re on a budget, making appropriate decisions is a must. You need to get the best results, and you can’t wait to see whether one macro-influencer will work well for you.
You must have heard the following proverb: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
The solution? Spread your investments over several different investment areas in order to reduce your risk of failure.
Collaborating with micro-influencers is cost-effective, so you’re able to connect with more opinion leaders and see what works best for you.
4. Save Time
No matter what business goals you have, you must want to achieve them faster, as you don’t have time to waste.
Obviously, any marketing tactic requires time to see results but influencer marketing allows you to drive sales without sitting around for 3-6 months.
If you want to reach more customers with the help of macro-influencers, get ready to spend some time to get published on their accounts. It’s not a secret that influencers make money online, so they can’t afford to make mistakes on Instagram, and spamming isn’t an option.
According to Coschedule research, it’s better to publish 1-2 Instagram posts per day:
The more popular influencer is, the longer it takes to go live on the feed. As the competition is higher, your request gets into the publishing queue, and you have to wait.
Can you speed it up? Sure! Turn to micro-influencers.
Accounts with smaller audiences are less popular among marketers, which means it’s easier to grab their attention and agree on the collaboration. Don’t underestimate their influence power and save your time.
5. Attract More Loyal Customers
There’s no secret that opinion leaders have an influence on their audiences, so they start earning money by promoting various products on their social networks. It takes several minutes to point out paid spokespeople on social media, and the trust level falls.
Authenticity comes under the question when one in two posts includes the #ad hashtag. Nothing kills credibility like sponsored posts.
When it comes to micro-influencers, they have fewer fans, so they are able to create a stronger bond with their followers. Moreover, a significant part of their following count includes friends and family, and 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising.
And the best part is… you gain loyal customers!
Collaborating with micro-influencers is a proven way to attract more loyal customers, and therefore fuel sales.
6. Maximize Instagram Sales
It goes without saying that macro-influencers can reach more costumers, as they have enormous fan bases. However, the follower count isn’t the only one thing marketers should pay attention to when assessing an influencer collaboration.
What should be high on your list? An average engagement rate.
According to the Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 Study, micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate, as they are able to build more personal relationships with their fans. Moreover, their following usually consists of friends and family, so their posts are much more trustworthy and engaging.
Look: the social media engagement rate is the percentage of people who have seen your content and interact by liking or commenting. Thus, it’s so important to increase Instagram visibility, and therefore get noticed by more users.
In plain English, when the number of followers goes up, the engagement rate goes down. Thus, larger influencers get fewer engagements per follower.
Micro-influencers win out in attracting intensely engaged audiences, and they drive more sales. Their recommendations are more valued and trusted, especially if you’ve optimized Instagram for ecommerce.
7. Get Better Results Over the Long Haul
So your brand mention has just gone live on a micro-influencer’s profile. It even generates followers, likes, and comments. The only thing left now is to wrap up your collaboration by sending a thank-you message to an opinion leader, right? Well, you’d better think again.
Influencer marketing means the stuff like reaching out, establishing a contact, discussing the details and much more. Obviously, it takes a lot of time and effort. If you want to make the most out of it, don’t think of partnerships one-offs.
Keep nurturing your relationships with micro-influencers to invest in the future!
Most micro-influencers are just starting up, so gaining experience in blogging, their number of their follower count is growing. For example, the same influencer can go from 4000 to 10k followers within 6 months, which means gaining even more loyal followers soon.
What does it mean to a brand? If you’re able to establish and maintain a good relationship with a micro-influencer, you may be able to collaborate with him in the future again, driving even better results.
A great example is MyBookMark, a young brand that designs unique handmade bookmarks. On its IG account, you can find a lot of UGC posts, and they collaborate with niche-focused bloggers worldwide. One example is their collaboration with Eunice a.k.a. @nerdytalksbooksblog who has been mentioning the shop in her posts from time to time.
Let’s take a look at the results she had with two posts taken on Jan 2016 and May 2017, respectively. Eunice has built a more loyal following for just over a year with 3.5x higher engagement rate!
What can we learn from MyBookMark? If you keep on maintaining a good relationship with a micro-influencer, it’s more likely you will be able to collaborate again in the future, leaving your competitors behind. Over the long haul, the payoff is huge.
Wrapping it Up
When it comes to influencer marketing, less is more.
Although micro-influencers have fewer followers on their social media accounts, you can expect higher engagement rates without spending much on the collaboration. It appears that not only small businesses turn to micro influencers, but also big dogs like Sephora, Unilever, and Gillette run such campaigns in order to reach a wider audience.
So, have you already implemented a micro-influencer marketing strategy?
Hugh Beaulac is a content manager who seeks out ways to promote his business, and he gives Instagram influencer marketing a try. If you want to learn more about the digital marketing trends, follow Hugh on Twitter to find his latest works.