Trying to develop relationships with people with modest numbers of social media followers may seem counterproductive. Why send content to share with someone with 10,000 followers when you could work with someone with a million followers?
Yet micro-influencer marketing may be one of the most effective PR and marketing strategies. Some call it “the new frontier of marketing.”
Micro-influencers have more followers than most people but fewer than celebrities and established influencers in large consumer-facing categories such as fashion, entertainment or sports. The less well-known influencers may have 1,000 to 100,000 followers, although exact definitions vary. In many cases, they have very engaged and loyal followers in niche B2B or consumer categories.
Micro-influencers offer several advantages. They are affordable for even small companies. Many small or start-up businesses have benefited from micro-influencer marketing.
They tend to be more knowledgeable on their category and more engaged with their followers. Influencers with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers have less time to engage with their fans. Since micro-influencers tend to be experts in their niche, followers are more likely to trust their recommendations.
These are some examples of successful micro-influencer campaigns.
Banana Republic worked with Instagram micro-influencers who modeled its clothing in a variety of settings. Their posts included the #itsbanana hashtag, a common hashtag in Banana Republic campaigns. Influencers also included seasonal and campaign-specific hashtags like #brmovesyou, #brmakeitmatter and #brholiday, notes Mediakix. By seeking fashion and lifestyle influencers known for their sense of style, Banana Republic reached a large and targeted audience.
Swedish watch-maker Daniel Wellington emphasizes influencer marketing over other strategies. In fact, it does no traditional advertising. In a recent micro-influencer campaign on Instagram, it stepped beyond fashion and lifestyle Instagrammers to reach a larger audience. For instance, it partnered with Scuba and Shadow, an account focusing on pets.
Micro-influencers included account-specific discount codes in posts to attract new customers with incentives. By partnering with a large number of influencers with different styles, Daniel Wellington reached a larger group of consumers in a range of demographics, including people outside the fashion niche.
Glossier, a skincare retailer founded in 2014, owes its success largely to influencer marketing. When selecting influencers, it prioritizes engagement rates over follower numbers, a strategy that leads to micro-influencers, according to Mediabistro. One was Cecilia Gorgon, a student at the University of Michigan majoring in fine arts, with about 8,500 Instagram followers.
She posted a photo of the brand’s Priming Moisturizer Rich, recommending it because she’d “been testing it out the past few days and it’s so moisturizing.” She also positively reviewed Glossier products in an Into the Gloss article under her byline.
Glossier’s program for its representatives also includes micro-influencers. Glossier flew 13 of its representatives to New York City for 48 hours. One was YouTube vlogger Amy Serrano who boasts 47,000 YouTube subscribers. The beauty vlogger documented the excursion on YouTube and dedicated four of Instagram posts to the trip, garnering substantial views and engagement.
Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine, which manufactures personal care products with only natural ingredients, decided to partner with social media posters with 500 to 5000 followers – people more like ordinary customers than influencers. Tom’s was careful to seek people who could engage their audience on relevant topics, explains digital marketing consultant Shane Barker.
For every 1,000 micro-influencers, it received more than 6,000 interactions on social media. It also obtained customer insights through feedback, reviews and surveys. “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,” Barker.
Bottom Line: Partnering with micro-influencers with significant yet relatively modest numbers of followers can be a superb marketing strategy for major brands as well as small and new companies. These examples offer guidance on how to carry out successful micro-influencer campaigns.