Making sure the right audience is listening to your messages is part of a PR pro's job. That's why working with micro-influencers and their engaged social media followers need to be part of your robust influencer marketing strategy. In this post, Michelle Garrett outlines the why and how of working with niche micro-influencers for your PR campaigns.
Influencer marketing isn’t new – but it is blowing up. Searches for the phrase “influencer marketing” on Google have increased by 325% in the past year. It ranks as the fastest growing online customer acquisition method.
What some brands are finding is that working with “famous” influencers, such as celebrities and the top industry minds, can be costly. And, the content they generate may not come across as authentic as they’d like.
An alternative that seems to be picking up steam is working with micro-influencers. What are micro-influencers, you ask?
“Micro-influencers are not traditional celebrities, but rather individuals who work in their category or are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic and are seen as a trusted source when it comes to recommendations for what to buy,” says a study sponsored by Experticity. They tend to have fewer followers, say between 2,000 and 100,000.
The study goes on to say that 82% of consumers who were surveyed for the study reported they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.
That’s a number that has to get your attention.
With their niche social following, micro-influencers can be an ideal way for brands to reach a targeted segment of their audiences and increase engagement rates. Because they’re passionate about their area of expertise, the content they generate can be more authentic and resonate to a greater degree with followers. If increasing engagement rates is the goal, this can be an ideal way to get there.
How to Find Micro-Influencers
Marketers who want to try using micro-influencers need to consider their objectives and which social media platforms they want to use based on where their audience hangs out. Then, of course, they need to select micro-influencers.
There Are Several Ways to Do This:
1) Research it on your own: While this can be time-consuming, it can be done. Once you’ve chosen a social media platform, search for profiles using a keyword and then use the filters provided to narrow down the results. You can also look through your follower list for those who may be a fit.
2) Hire an agency: There are many agencies who now specialize in helping brands find influencers with follower counts of 10 thousand to 1 million. It can be costly, but it may end up saving you from going down a path with an influencer who may not be a good fit.
They can also help you vet influencers, which is more important than ever, keeping in mind that anyone can say anything at any time.
3) Use a platform like Meltwater: An end-to-end management platform, Meltwater not only helps you find influencers, it also helps manage and measure your campaigns too.
Why Micro-Influencers Can Be a PR Boost
We know that journalists use social media to find news sources, so if you’re leveraging micro-influencers, you may increase your odds of getting into stories.
“By following thought leaders and online influencers, journalists have a direct line to the discussions and topics that are building in their industry,” says David Jones of the Williams Mills Agency.
If your micro-influencers are creating content on your behalf, all the better. By publishing content and posting it on social media, your audiences—including journalists—may see the content and begin to follow you as a thought leader.
Your micro-influencers can also be a valuable source of fresh story ideas PR pros can use to fuel their efforts when working with reporters.
Who’s Winning with Micro-Influencers?
La Croix may be one of the larger brands successfully using micro-influencers to help achieve its marketing goals. The brand credits its campaign with micro-influencers with under 10,000 followers for helping to grow its Instagram following from 5,000 to 77,000 followers.
Tom’s of Maine, maker of personal care products with natural ingredients, also used a micro-influencer strategy on social media that paid off. For every 1,000 micro-influencers it used, the brand received more than 6,000 social media interactions.
“This example clearly shows how you don’t always have to go big with influencer marketing. A strong network of micro- and mid-level influencers, relevant to your niche, should have the desired effect on engaging your target audience,” said Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant.