Here’s why influencer marketing is an excellent tool for competing in a crowded business landscape
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses influencers to promote products or services to their community of followers.
Influencer marketing has been around for several years – at least a decade – when Instagram took off and specific individuals with massive followings began to collaborate with companies to advertise products and services to their followers. At the time, the only influencers around were celebrities and well-known bloggers who had spent years building up their platform.
But now, a new breed of influencers has been steadily gaining popularity – micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are those that have between 10k and 50K followers. They tend to have much higher organic engagement rates than more prominent celebrity-like influencers because their fan following is not too large, enabling them to be still able to connect on a personal level with their followers. This means their community is more tightly-knit than someone with a huge following, like celebrities.
How micro-influencers can help you build trust and brand loyalty
Micro-influencers can help you reach your desired target audience much better than traditional advertising, as their content is more organic, original, and seen as authentic by their community.
Consumers these days prefer brand promotions based on actual preference. They are more skeptical of celebrity endorsements as they are often seen as a fake promotions or not genuine. A micro-influencer’s advertising is more authentic due to its passion fueling their interest rather than being lured by a sponsorship deal. And because their followers are fewer and more engaged than those from a celebrity, their endorsement of a product or service is seen as more trustworthy as it’s like receiving a one-on-one recommendation from a friend.
Big and small businesses use micro-influencers, so using a micro-influencer can help you compete with more prominent, more established companies. You can also access and target a niche market in this way due to the smaller, loyal following of a micro-influencer who follows them based on their interest. This gives you access to a highly-targeted audience.
How to find micro-influencers in Australia for your brand
It is essential to do your research before approaching any micro-influencer. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your brand’s purpose, mission, and vision, and intimate knowledge of your target audience, as this will help you find an influencer that shares the same values and whose followers match your target demographic.
Don’t just limit yourself to Instagram. Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and increasingly, TikTok. Figure out where your target demographics are likely to hang out and start there. You can also start with your social media followers – chances are, some micro-influencers are already following you because they like your product or your service, and these are the ones who are more likely to promote your business with passion.
You can also search through hashtags and keywords. Type in the keyword linked to your product and service, and see who else is using those keywords. Chances are, the people using those keywords are already interested in the type of product or service you offer.
Beware of so-called “influencers” who buy “likes” and followers. I cannot stress the importance of thoroughly researching before choosing an influencer to promote your business. Check their audience demographics, engagement rates, quality of engagement, and get to know their brand and values.
There are also online third-party tools to help you find influencers such as BuzzSumo, Followerwonk, and Affable. There are free and paid versions of these tools, so do your research if you want to use these tools.
How much does it cost to hire a micro-influencer?
Micro-influencers charge on average about $100 for every 10k follower, so it is highly accessible for small businesses with small budgets, much more so than traditional advertising. Some micro-influencers may even accept a gift in exchange for promoting your product instead of money.
Micro-influencers offer low cost with a high return on investment. Their followers are also trusted and provide powerful social proof for your brand.
Working with micro-influencers
Working with a micro-influencer is invaluable as it allows you to participate in a more intimate conversation with communities that your brand appeals explicitly to.
Develop your relationship with micro-influencers first, and don’t expect them to share reviews or feedback of your products “just because.” Make sure you also give them something in return for promoting your business. Another reason to cultivate a relationship with the influencer first is that you can quickly find out if they are genuine. This helps you weed out the fake influencers.
You can also use the comments from their followers to help you improve, innovate and further build your brand. So use the engagement on their posts as valuable market research information that you wouldn’t usually get from traditional advertising methods. Use it also for testing what works and what doesn’t work in terms of reaching and selling to your target audience.
Grow your reputation organically
Reviews from a micro-influencer can generate as much trust as reviews from a friend. So use the micro-influencer as a brand advocate. Don’t just stop at a one-off collab or promotion, but build a relationship with them over time as they can help strengthen your brand.
Treat your micro-influencers as true partners. Connect with them and collaborate on how they can promote your business. Don’t forget they are also your customer, and a loyal customer who spruiks your products, brand, and message to their loyal following will create powerful results for your business.