The influencer landscape has become extremely oversaturated, and early adopters of “influencer fame” now have amassed such large audiences that genuine engagement for them no longer exists. Brands who, at one point in time, spent large portions of their marketing budget on paid promotions from these large influencers are no longer seeing the same conversion results. That being said, don’t discount influencers as part of your marketing strategy entirely just yet.
With these drastic shifts in influencer marketing, how should you approach your strategy? This is where micro-influencers come in. A micro-influencer has smaller (10k-50k), highly engaged audiences and are connecting with them more frequently and in a more authentic way. The way they interact with their audiences is conversational, and they understand that the way to their growth is through engagement. They often specialize in specific verticals, and their content is very niche and focused. It comes as no surprise that consumers are more likely to buy something from someone they trust. According to Hubspot, over 82 percent of consumers are likely to buy something a micro-influencer recommends. Micro-influencers are the definition of quality over quantity.
Here are three solid steps to take when it comes to choosing the best micro-influencer partnerships to boost your social commerce.
Step 1: Work Within Your Brand's Specific Vertical or Niche
When looking to find the ideal micro-influencers to partner with, look for those within your specific vertical or niche. For example, if your brand makes artisan-flavored cooking oil, work with influencers who have social channels rooted in foodie and cooking culture. Check social metrics such as engagement rates, comments, and if followers are asking questions or conversing. If they are taking the time to interact with social posts, that means they are invested in this content in a very genuine way.
Micro-influencers have their own communities and engage with one another. Finding these networks of micro-influencers can be really beneficial for brand awareness. They often share followers, which gives your brand more visibility to the same group of people.
Finally, it’s important to diversify your influencer circle to broaden your message. Though your influencer strategy may be to narrow in a specific vertical, make sure you are partnering with different types of influencers within that vertical. It is vital for your audience to feel represented (as they should!) in all of your marketing efforts.
Step 2: Outreach and Relationship Building
Developing good relationships with the micro-influencers you choose is important. After all, these are the ambassadors that are representing your brand to a niche group of potential customers. Don’t consider these influencers your employees, but rather strategic partners.
Use a warm outreach strategy by sending personalized messages, following them on their platforms, and engaging with their content authentically … and do so often. You should interact with them as a person before you do as a brand. Never underestimate the power of the authentic human connection. After you’ve built a good online rapport, you can send an email with an attractive subject line, a genuine appreciation of their content, the value of your product to their audience, examples of past collaborations, and a call to action.
Once you have a micro-influencer on board, be collaborative and treat them like a partner. Let them propose ideas on how they can create content for your brand. It should feel organic, be in their own voice, and be their own style. Be specific on talking points and what they need to mention or represent, but let them take the lead on creative execution. They will want to work with you again and again as an ongoing partner.
Step 3: Reinvest in Influencers Who Drive Purchase Intent
When you have an ideal group of micro-influencers on board and are ready to increase your social commerce, propose a long-term partnership. But be careful—you want to ensure you are partnering with an influencer who is actually driving purchase intent, not just presenting you with vanity metrics.
To do this effectively, you’ll want to leverage an eCommerce marketing platform that can show you exactly which influencers are moving the needle the most. By embedding shoppable technology directly into social content, brands can start to track consumer behavior and gain key insight into the influencers that are most successful. This provides a comprehensive roadmap into the influencers that are worth your time … and those that might not be.
Once you’ve established a long-term partnership with these individuals, allow them to work your brand into their content over several months and throughout your campaigns. This will familiarize your brand with their audience and be a more authentic partnership that you can continue to reinvest in.
Whether you are looking to increase brand awareness, reach new audiences, or generate conversions, incorporating micro-influencers into your marketing strategy can be effective for your short- or long-term goals.