Influencer Marketing in Social Media

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Influencer Marketing in Social Media

There’s a trend in Social Media Marketing called “Influencer Marketing,” and it usually involves working with celebrities and high-profile individuals with large social media followings to bring more attention to a brand. For small businesses, however, the big budgets required to engage in Influencer Marketing is totally out of reach.

So how does a small- to mid-sized company engage in Influencer Marketing to gain more followers and stimulate more actions that positively affect the bottom line? A newer Social Media Marketing trend called “Micro-Influencer Marketing” could be the way to go.

What is Micro Influencer Marketing?

Micro Influencer Marketing means aligning with niche influencers that address very narrow and specific topics and while they have much smaller followings, their followers hang on their every word and take action when they ask them to do something – like follow a brand on social media or purchase an item.

The Micro Influencer may have smaller circles of influence – a few thousand followers versus a million – but they may have stronger relationships with their followers and can generate enough interest in your brand and drive actions. As an example of the response a Micro Influencer might get, Markerly put out a report stating that “Instagram users with less than 1,000 followers got Likes 8 percent of the time while users with over 10 million followers only got Likes 1.6 percent of the time.”

Finding Micro Influencers

Micro Influencers can exist on any social network. They might be YouTubers, Snapchatters, Twitterers, Instagrammers, Facebookers, and even pinners on Pinterest. They key to identifying a Micro Influencer who may work with you and be appropriate for your company is to research who is getting the most activity on a network beyond the mega celebrities. Start by searching for hashtags that are relevant to your business on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – the social networks where hashtags are used regularly. On Facebook and YouTube, search the networks by keyword.

To zero in on Micro Influencers, first check out your own followers and see who has followings from about 1000 to 5000 and check out their engagement levels. You can also do searches to find them. Go narrow and hyper local or based on a very specific topic. If you’re located in Akron, Ohio, look for the people in Ohio or the Midwest who are getting the most engagement on popular social networks that you use regularly for business. If you’re a pet supply store, look for the social networking accounts that are showing up frequently posing about pets or go even more niche and search just for people who post about senior dogs to promote the special dog food you carry.

Approaching a Micro Influencer requires planning. Decide what you want from a Micro Influencer relationship. Some ways to use a Micro Influencer include:

  • Building your social media followings
  • Getting signups to your email list
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Getting RSVPs or ticket purchases for an event
  • Increasing sales

Some ways you can work with a Micro Influencer depends on where they wield their influence but could include:

  1. Sponsoring their YouTube videos if they are YouTubers with a smaller but passionate following.
  2. Getting them to guest blog on your blog or website.
  3. Cross-promoting on their most influential social network or the social network where you want to get more traction.
  4. Bringing them in as a "guest" live on your Facebook Page, Instagram account or Twitter account (all have live streaming capabilities).
  5. Running a custom campaign with them tailored to their niche and audience - do this with multiple micro influencers and let them craft their "ideal" campaign (within your parameters) so it is spot on for their followings - and measurable by you.

Don't think someone has to be an established Micro Influencer to be professional enough to present your brand in an appropriate way. Those building their own brands will be more affordable and do more for the money in order to establish themselves. Leverage the ambitious ones. If they are already taking money for their efforts or have a ready-made rate sheet, you can still negotiate prices with them. Keep in mind that you are providing them with value as well – not just money but free product or resources and exposure to new audiences.