Marketing is the fuel for all businesses as it helps in chunking out a huge volume of sales of its products and services. Marketing in the social media platform has become a modest trend as the platform is able to render a huge volume of the audience for businesses in any niche.
Marketing initiatives are mediated through influencers; these influencers are famous people in social media with a huge volume of followers. They propagate the brand to their followers promoting its awareness and sales.
Importance of Micro Influencers:
These influencers are of two types,
- Macro influencers who have followers and fan base in millions
- Micro influencers whose fan base is in thousands.
PR professionals and Marketing executives are researching the pros and cons of both the types of influencer marketing and have come to a conclusion that micro-influencer marketing gains a higher engagement rate than macro influencers and influencing through celebrities.
Recent research statistics prove that engagement is inversely proportional to the number of followers, more the influencers less are the level of engagement. This is because Micro Influencers seem to be more knowledgeable about their followers and their niche and their followers are likely to trust them and their recommendations better.
Also working with these people seems to be more affordable as they promote a product by accepting free samples and comfortable for marketers as they are available easily.
There are certain demerits of associating with micro influencers as well, finding them and managing them is tough and consumes a lot of time. But some of the social media monitoring software has come to the rescue to locate these influencers who already post positively about a brand’s products or services.
Who Are Micro-Influencers?
Micro influencers are those people who are active on Social Media with a follower base of 10,000 to few lakhs. But the numbers are only intuitive and do not decide the popularity of these people as long as they are engaged with their audience in a particular niche.
They have a strong relationship with their followers and are able to convince them to follow their recommendations. They are capable of influencing the purchase decisions of their followers, which makes them the best marketing tool for big companies. In fact, companies choose to commit a long term relationship with these micro-influencers for their business reach.
Micro influencers are not defined by the rate of their social following but have relevant followers in their group who would influence each other’s purchase decision.
More and more brands are now trending to engage with micro followers as market research clearly indicates that the number of followers does not predict the purchasing power, but how active the group members actually does. Smaller the group, greater is their commitment, depth of conversation, reliability, and influence over each other’s actions.
The Worth of Micro-influencers:
Having discussed who micro influencers are and what are their importance; let us now discuss the value of these indirect marketing individuals what potentialities they hold to escalate the awareness and reach of a business.
- Micro influencers are able to target their audience better, smaller the number greater is the result.
- Micro influencers are able to bring out good results in brand promotion and awareness as they have a better rate
- of engagement.
- Market research shows that the number of followers and their engagement levels are inversely proportional, that is, as the number of followers for an influencer increase, their rate of comments and shares decreases.
- Based on the research performed on social media engagement by Markerly, it was proved that influencers who had less than 1000 followers generated 8% likes, compared to 1.7% likes of those who have followers in millions.
- Micro influencers have 22.2 times more conversation rate that macro influencers as they are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their area of interest (Source: Based on the research performed by Experticity)
- Brands promoted by micro influencers are able to attract small but highly targeted and engaged prospects. (E.g., A Group of cycling aspirants discussing on their passion with 1,000 followers are able to influence all those thousand followers and hypnotize their minds pretty easily rather than those with million followers, half of them may not have any interest about cycling topics.)
Advantages of Associating with Micro-Influencers:
Marketing initiatives that are mediated through Micro influences are very Authentic. These micro-influencers are real people who are the same as that of their audience, they post real and verified content, they indeed post their own comments and content and reply to the comments as well.
If they genuinely like a brand, their posts and content would surely impress their audience and provoke them towards a buying decision. This is the problem with celebrities as they are always distant from their supporters and are not always accessible for followers to meet and talk as they wish.
The work of micro-influencers is genuine and authentic compared with how an admin of a celebrity influencer would behave.
A higher rate of engagement:
Micro influencers have a very small number of followers compared to celebrity promoters but hold a close and active relationship with their followers. Though they are a small group they share personal sentiments with each other, they are highly active people who post comments to each other’s posts on social media.
The followers also seem to be actively interested in what their influencer has to post and take their words and recommendations pretty seriously. Owing to the trust they build up in their followers, they have high engagement rates and when they start supporting a brand, it is more likely to gain a high conversion rate.
Associating with micro-influencers could be very much cost effective for a brand. Most of these influencers are ordinary people who post in social media in their leisure out of passion and do have their mainstream jobs. Brands are able to hire them at a low cost compared to what they have to pay for celebrity and macro influencers.
In some instances, brands are able to get their work done in exchange for some free samples, discounts, early access to discounts or online purchase etc. Owing to their substantially lower cost, brands are also able to associate with many micro influencers at the same time, throwing the net for a wider audience base.
They cover an array of niches:
Micro influencers get recognized by their audience for their knowledge and interest in a particular niche and this niche could cover an array of topics such as home décor to renovation, choice of paints, choice of furniture, rented or own house etc. Their scope is wide and businesses are able to easily catch their fish in that small pond.
Also, these people are audience specific and businesses are able to choose an influencer whose audience belong to approximately the same age group, social status, gender, same income level, and same interests.
Benefit the Sales Funnel of Brands:
If there is a genuine recommendation for a brand from a micro influencer, there is a great probability of their followers to enter the sales funnel of the brands as a committed lead.
Research studies have proved that the leads that are received for business from the promotions made by their micro influencer enter further deep into the sales funnel and become their customer compared to the leads generated from other marketing initiatives.
Micro influencers who post content in their blog pages are able to generate useful backlinks to benefit the search engine optimization initiatives of the brand. Receiving links from a website which is the same as the niche of the business is identified positively by search engines and rank them high.
Ways to find the best Micro-Influencers:
Making use of Analytical tools:
The best way to find the best fit micro influencer for a brand is to make use of social media monitoring tools. These tools help in collecting all real-time mentions of defined keywords online from all source made online publically. The keywords could be on any product, industry, brand, competitors etc. These sources include websites, social media, forums discussing a topic, blogs, news websites etc.
These social media analytical tools have excellent capability to render statistically reliable data. It is possible to perfectly analyze the number of mentions, depth of every mention, reach of the social media and the number of conversations made on a particular topic.
All these mentions are collected in real time mode and are fed on a dashboard to be reviewed by interested users. These data are of very much use in performing sales through social media, in rendering customer service, in managing brand awareness and reputation, and for brand research.
Tracking conversations about a business online:
People turn towards the internet to learn about a product, they also discuss its reviews and post their recommendations and experience there. The best way to identify an influencer online among the vast ocean of a brand’s customers is to track their online conversations pertaining to its products, services, business, and brands. Brands have to track these conversations and identify who direct these conversations and have a high engagement level among the group.
There are a number of tools available to track these metrics as well, but these tools do not provide historical data, but start collection information after their profile is been created. Their dashboard shows a number of important information such as keyword mentions, email alerts, number of comments, likes and shares etc., thorough research of this information could help in identifying the key micro influencer.
After gaining a list of potential influencer, brands have to perform deeper research on each of their profiles, analyze the type of content they post and choose the perfect match for their business.
Examples of Popular Brands who make use of Micro-Influencers:
To ascertain the level of popularity that micro- influencing could bring to a business and its brands, let us discuss a few examples of brands that have benefitted by the initiative.
- Kimpton hotels make use of Instagram to connect with their micro influencers, they create their own content about the hotel chain and post them as real people. The results were tremendous and resulted in new followers (about 27,000), great social media engagement rate and new guests at Kimpton hotels.
- Glossier, a retailer on skincare products benefits largely from micro influencer marketing, it allows its influencers to personally recommend their brands through photos and videos after using them for a defined time frame. The results were tremendous and Glossier now offers a referral program enabling its influencer to render discounts and incentives to their followers in buying the brand’s products.
- Tom’s of Maine appointed micro influencers to promote its personal care products and received thousands of interactions on social media. These interactions were predominantly customer reviews and feedback. The brand benefitted through its strong network of micro-influencers who were relevant to the niche and who are able to actively engage the target audience.
Demerits of Micro-Influencers:
Though there are a number of advantages of micro-influencers and proven records of their functionality in enhancing the richness of a brand, the system is not short of disadvantages. Let us discuss them here,
- The reach of micro followers is considerably smaller than other influencer types. Micro influencer could have a high engagement rate but less engagement volume compared to celebrity and macro influencers.
- Less brand awareness as their number of supporters is limited.
- Partnering with a wrong micro influencer who have used unfair means to attract brands, could be the worst nightmare for a business.
- It takes lots of research to find the right micro-influencer.
- Brands have to work with more micro influencers to reach their target audience and have to work harder to connect with all of them.
The merits of engaging with micro influencers for business definitely outnumber its disadvantages. Working with micro influencers is reaching a smaller audience, but this small audience base would be highly targeted. The count of followers has nothing to do with engagement rates.
Partnering with micro influencers could render excellent results for brands as consumers identify someone who is more like them, they believe in their recommendations as they would, with a friend or a family member. They also relate to their audience better and are close to the sentiments of their online community, which is exactly the reason behind the success of this marketing strategy.