Micro-influencer marketing has been named as the industry’s next big ‘thing,’ publications such as Inc., Econsultancy and AdWeek listed micro-influencers as a marketing strategy that will increase in importance this year. Indeed, some of the world’s biggest brands are working with micro-influencers. Companies such as Airbnb, ASOS and Glossier have been applauded for their micro-influencer campaigns. However, I believe so far, most brands have yet to realise a micro influencer’s full value.
Unlike traditional macro-influencers or brand ambassadors, micro-influencers have a smaller following of loyal, engaged and responsive fans that often share a common interest or passion. Like a close friend, a micro influencer’s advice is more actionable than that of an aspirational celebrity.
Marketers are working with these people because it’s a more cost-effective way to engage with customers than partnering with a celebrity brand ambassador. Also, selecting micro-influencers who are respected and trusted allows marketers to build meaningful relationships with their target audience.
Banking app Monzo is one company which used micro-influencers as a way to build up its customer base and reputation from very early on. The Monzo team were already connected with relevant tech micro influencers, and used this to their advantage. They gave pre-paid debit cards to a small group of tech micro-influencers to let them try out the service. Word spread fast because the product was strong and the micro-influencers’ networks were closely linked, this meant positive recommendations of Monzo quickly reached to the micro-influencers’ follower networks. These networks were made up of early adopters and tech fans that would be interested to hear about Monzo. The approach directly impacted sales and, as a result, the company’s rapid growth.
Micro influencer FOMO
Many brands are using micro-influencers to post sponsored content promoting a product or service. But, some savvy marketers have realised that as well as this, there is more value to be gained from the micro-influencer community. In my opinion, anyone not already aware and making the most of this is missing out on valuable insights and sales opportunities.
Once you have identified a group of relevant micro-influencers, take the time to passively listen to them. This costs nothing but can deliver valuable insights for brands to help develop campaigns and creative that will hit home with a target audience.
A great example of this is a recent project from a Pulsar customer. A well-known car brand wanted to get car fans posting organic content about its latest supercar. The company spent the time to understand how and when a relevant group of micro-influencers spoke about car launches online. The company expected TV coverage to be the best way to achieve its goal, however, by taking the time to listen to the micro-influencers, they learned that this community was more likely to talk about cars exhibited at track days and motor shows. The research showed that focusing on these events for the launch would generate more conversation than if the car featured on TV, allowing the brand to target its marketing spend on the activities that would get the results it wanted.
Marketers can also take this form of research one step further. Approach micro-influencers that match a brand’s needs and ask them to participate in an insights panel. This might involve a two-way discussion (either in person or online) between the brand and the micro-influencers, where brands ask specific questions to better understand an audience’s worries, hopes, motivations and sense of humour. These insights can inform creative for all marketing content and make the difference between good and great campaigns.
Build a micro-army
If the research is done properly, you can find panels of relevant micro-influencers for your brand. This presents an opportunity to build a group of brand advocates. Take the time to get to know the micro-influencers and talk to them about your brand. What you have to offer them is likely to make their life easier, serve their needs or make them happier. This way, you’ll pick up some loyal customers who’ll use their influence to talk organically about the benefits of your brand to their close-knit network.
Sponsored posts from a micro-influencer who is well respected and trusted by your target audience will help marketers to drive engagement and increase sales. But marketers are missing a trick if they’re not gaining further value from these individuals; understanding how they converse online, working to recognise the people and topics they care about while encouraging organic brand advocacy. A micro influencer’s audience might be smaller, but their authority is mighty.
By Amir Jirbandey, head of inbound marketing at Pulsar
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