Written by Ryan Gould
Influencer marketing has quickly become one of the most popular customer acquisition tactics, with millions of brands hunting down the top talent in their industry to help them promote their products and services.
There are several different kinds of social influence in the digital world, and most people automatically think of big-name celebrities with follower counts in the millions. But these aren’t the only people you can bring on board to help you sell. In fact, celebrities can be some of the least effective people to employ to share your stuff.
Instead, you should be turning to highly-relevant accounts that have fewer followers but a high level of engagement and influence. These people are known as micro-influencers and tend to have a follower count that falls somewhere between 1,000 and 100,000.
Usually, these influencers have specific interests that appeal to specific audiences, which means that the people you reach are already going to be interested in what you’re offering.
Think about it: if you’re selling a fitness supplement, you’re probably going to have more luck with a specialist fitness influencer who has 20,000 followers who are avid fitness fanatics than a generic celebrity that has 700,000 followers who may or may not be interested in fitness.
But it’s all about finding the right micro-influencers. So how do you do that?
1. Stalk Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are the gateway to discovering new and relevant accounts. The trouble is, they vary from industry to industry, so it’s important that you research the most popular hashtags in your area.
You can use a tool for this, or simply check out your competitors and see what hashtags they’re regularly using in their posts.
Then, scroll through these hashtags, checking out first of all the “Top” posts to see if there are any influencers that might be a good fit. If you think you’ve found someone, click through into their profile to see their other posts and to get a feel for their audience. Remember that you’re looking for accounts with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers for them to classify as a micro-influencer.
When you click through to her profile, you can see she has 6,445 followers, making her the perfect candidate for a travel-related micro-influencer.
Alternatively, you can run a Google search for “micro-influencers in [your industry]” and see what comes up. Start a list of all the influencers you come across that might be a good fit. Before you start reaching out cold to these people, you want to keep an eye on the content they’re posting, their relationship with their audience, and begin to build a connection.
2. Determine Influencer Reach and Engagement
Before you start spending time monitoring potential candidates, you want to figure out if they’re actually worth monitoring. This means determining their engagement — a metric that is far more important than the number of followers they have.
A more engaged following means they hold more influence and their followers are more likely to buy into your product or service.
But how do you work out engagement?
Start by adding up the number of likes on ten of their posts to get an average. Then divide that by the number of followers they have to get the engagement rate.
For example, if you find a micro-influencer that has an average of 500 likes per post and they have 5,000 followers, you’d divide 500 by 5,000 which would give them an engagement rate of 10%.
As a benchmark, anywhere between 1% and 3% is considered good in the world of Instagram.
3. Connect With Micro-Influencers
You have more chance of bringing micro-influencers on board if you don’t just reach out to them cold.
While some will jump at the chance of working with any brand in any way, most of them will be mindful of their audience and whether the collaboration will be a good fit.
This is why, during the monitoring stage, you should also make small points of contact with your chosen micro-influencers. This might mean commenting on a couple of their posts, regramming something of theirs, or responding to their Story. By reaching out like this, you’re putting your brand on their radar and warming them up before you pitch them.
A lesson in how not to do it.
4. Present Your Collaboration Offer
Once you’ve built up a rapport with your chosen micro-influencers, it’s time to reach out with your collaboration offer. How you do this will depend on the level of relationship you have with them and the form of communication you’ve mostly been using.
Sometimes this might be a quick DM to ask them if they’d be interested in working with you, or it might be a longer email that lays out the benefits of the collaboration for them. Make sure you touch on why your proposal is a good fit for their audience and what they will get out of the campaign.
Supercharge Your Instagram Campaigns With Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers have engaged and trusting audiences who essentially hang on every word they say. This is why they are becoming increasingly important assets to have in an Instagram campaign — particularly if you can find influencers that are highly relevant to your niche and have a very similar audience to you.
Start by identifying accounts with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers that would be a good fit, monitor them, make contact, and then reach out with your campaign proposal.
About Author: Ryan Gould is Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing. From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.