When a lot of us think about influencers, our mind immediately turns to athletes and celebrities that help market major brands. These macro-influencers are just one piece of what influencer marketing is all about, though, and they obviously are not a feasible option for most e-commerce businesses.
This is where micro-influencers come into play. In the e-commerce world, the value of micro-influencers cannot be overstated. These influencers may only be prominent in a specific community or even sub-community and they are not going to have nearly the overall reach as those macro-influencers. If you think that means they aren’t as effective, think again.
In order to illustrate the effectiveness of micro-influencers, we asked the experts for their opinion. Here’s what they had to say:
Jane.com is a boutique marketplace and daily deals site that has used influencer marketing extensively since its creation in 2011. The success with this marketing tactic is why the site currently has two full-time Influencer Marketing Specialists working with hundreds of influencers every month. One of those two positions is filled by Sydney Snelten. Here’s what Sydney had to say about Jane.com’s work with micro-influencers:
As an Influencer Marketing Specialist at Jane, we have spent a majority of our efforts focusing on micro-influencers. We have learned that micro-influencers are much more effective for our brand for a few reasons. Generally, micro-influencers have a highly engaged, loyal following. Most micro-influencers are still in the growth phase, so a majority of their following is made up of loyal fans, personal friends and family and other people they have met. These influencers value the growth of their community and are often more likely to agree to last-minute marketing campaigns, be readily available to attend events and interact with their followers on a personal level. We have noticed that the more followers an influencer has, the less engaged their audience is, so our efforts are better spent going after those influencers between 5,000-30,000 followers.
Our best advice for someone looking to get started in this space is to look for fans of your brand. Look for the influencers who are tagging your brand in their photos, the ones talking about your brand organically and go after them. Look for influencers who have a niche audience and one that aligns with the audience you are looking to reach. We have found that micro-influencers have better engagement rates and conversions than macro-influencers leading to more success for the Jane brand. Deploying micro-influencers is the best way to start, especially as a small business or start-up company because you are able to tap into the audience you want to reach while remaining cost-effective and seeing great results.
With Corey Wood serving as Product Lead, Sidewalk has created Sidewalk Tastes — all-inclusive app-guided food tours throughout San Francisco. They have collaborated with foodie micro-influencers to utilize Instagram and tell illustrate the story of their Sidewalk Taste experiences. They’ve even used a micro-influencer dog — Rory The Corgi.
Here’s what Corey had to say about the work they’ve done with micro-influencers:
One of the greatest outcomes of working with San Francisco foodie micro-influencers is that they produce beautiful content in the form of Instagram posts and stories. We have been able to utilize this content to engage our audience and build our audience on social (Instagram and Facebook) as well as on our web page. Since starting our influencer campaign we’ve seen a 20 percent lift in Instagram followers.
Each of the cafes and restaurants on our Sidewalk Tastes absolutely love the fact that they are getting tagged in Instagram posts and stories by our influencers — so it’s a real win-win scenario. The influencers are helping communicate the value of Sidewalk Tastes to their audiences (which is also our target audience — tech-savvy, female, foodies, who live in the Bay Area, 24-35 years old)
In the meantime, the influencers are communicating their experience at each cafe or restaurant, so our vendors are getting awareness on Instagram that is helping to bring in new foot traffic. This strengthens our relationships and builds trust with our partners.
Because of our influencer strategy, the cafes and restaurants on our Sidewalk Tastes are also becoming aware of one another and are supporting each other as local businesses (i.e. cross-promoting each other on social, sending one another free beignets or empanadas for their kitchen staff). We are starting to see Sidewalk Tastes become the fabric that brings local cafes and restaurants together as a community to support one another, and that is largely due to our influencers driving awareness to the Sidewalk Taste experience.
When our influencers complete a Sidewalk Taste, the next week we follow up with a phone call and survey to collect NPS, CSAT, and other data that helps us to prioritize the future locations of our next Sidewalk Tastes (i.e. North Beach was the clear fan favorite, so we created a Sidewalk Taste for North Beach that we just pushed live) as well as what kinds of experiences we should and shouldn’t offer on our next Sidewalk Tastes (i.e. there isn’t much interest in alcohol being served on Sidewalk Tastes and people love to have their Sidewalk Taste start with coffee at a cafe that has beautiful aesthetic).
Nate Masterson serves as CMO at Maple Holistics, a small business dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products. Nate has experience in marketing, human relations, finance, and business management. He’s using all of these things to deal with the day-to-day challenges of running an e-commerce company. Here’s what Nate had to say about micro-influencers:
Micro-influencers have more of an engaged following than that of a macro-influencer. As an influencer gains more popularity, they become more distant from their followers, at least they are perceived that way. A higher number of followers tends to also mean a lower engagement rate. When you are choosing someone to represent your brand, choose someone who has a very loyal following. Don’t look at the number so much. Quality is way more important than quantity.
James Robinson is a marketing advisor who has served as the Executive Creative Director at Iconic Genius the past five years. He has worked with clients that come from many different stages of business and has experience deploying marketing campaigns across many platforms. Here’s what James had to say about micro-influencers:
Micro-influencers work very well because, in most cases, they get extremely high engagement with fans and are often cheaper because brands don’t see the value in them. The best way to use these influencers is on a pay scale or by just sending them free product.
Understanding where your audience is on social media will be the key. Older audiences are on Facebook and younger audiences are on Instagram and Snapchat. YouTube should always be a part of the social media strategy.
To build and engage the audience online will take a combination of tactics.
- Social media advertising
- Influencer marketing
- Contest and giveaways
- User-generated content
- YouTube tutorials
If you can use your micro-influencers in this way YOU WILL WIN!!
Note: The email marketing views expressed in this article are strictly those of the contributors and independent of Engine.