Micro-influencers (generally considered to have followings in the range of 10,000 – 50,000) have skyrocketed in favor among marketers as one of the most effective marketing tools. Their engaged followers admire their values and aesthetics and trust them to create great content and bring to their attention brands they should know about. Micro-influencer followings might primarily be on one social media channel, or they could span several across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Youtube and LinkedIn. Influencers are selected by brands for the size and engagement of their followers (the percent that actively share, like, tweet, re-tweet, comment or save their posts), and for their relevance to the product or service. Influencer agencies like Collectively, the only Influencer Agency to make Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies list, help clients plan strategies and execute programs that appeal to their target personas and achieve marketing objectives. Companies like Tid.al offer software that helps brands and agencies select the most appropriateness influencers by platform.
At the DigitaLatest™ Conference in Brooklyn this past August, Ryan Stern, co-founder of Collectively, spoke about how brands are deploying micro-influencers at all stages of the customer journey to achieve strategic objectives. It’s a great mindset for marketing planning. I asked Natalie Siverstein, Collectively’s Vice President of Brand & Culture, for an interview to learn more about how brands accomplish strategic objectives at various points in the journey. What follows are some great examples.
Aperol Spritz, a wildly popular cocktail in Italy since the 1950's that's relatively new to Americans, combines Aperol, a citrusy bitter liqueur, with Prosecco, club soda, ice and an orange slice for garnish. To create awareness in the U.S. over the past few years, Aperol has made a huge marketing splash, supported in large part by a large number of micro-influencers among different targeted communities. The influencers have included the colorful, telegeneic drink in lifestyle and party shots, introducing Aperol to new fans. It looks refreshing, fun, festive, tasty, different and worth trying.
Saladworks, the nation’s leading chain of 94 fast casual restaurants with made to order entree salads in 13 states, recently used a mix of 16 paid and unpaid influencers, to launch their first restaurant in Atlanta Georgia, creating awareness for new menu items like grain bowls and avocado toast, new aguas frescas drinks, and an updated store design. The influencers collectively deployed a variety of social media including long-form Instagram Story videos of the new products, static Instagram images, and coupons to try the new items. A total of 381,000 followers were reached.
At last week’s ANA (Association of National Advertisers) Marketing Futures Conference, the Lopes Brothers, teenage eSports micro-influencers, mentioned they ate Mariani almonds when streaming their game play, in part because it encouraged followers to think about healthy snacking options. The influencer endorsement was a win/win, increasing awareness of the almond brand among a different, younger target audience, and providing a wholesome imagery association for the Lopes Brothers.
Evaluation + Consideration:
Micro-influencers, particularly bloggers, create content that contributes to SEO. Because blog content is more easily searchable over time than some social posts, they help potential consumers research products and services during the consideration and evaluation phase.
Amanda Holstein, founder of the blog, Advice from a 20 Something, talks about the comfort and ease of wearing Athleta when travelling. It’s a super user review from someone who is viewed as very credible and in the know.
As more people turn to Instagram for research, searching by hashtag and product, microinfluencer posts can help brands appear high up on more search pages. As an example, for Boosted Boards, microinfluencers took to the streets testing out the boards and providing honest reviews and tips for riding.
Certain influencers are particularly effective driving conversion and include click-to-buy calls to action in their content. With links in the content, and now with Instagram’s relatively new click through to buy feature, online purchase can be super quick, easy and frictionless, increasing the odds interest will quickly convert to an actual purchase. Here, a micro-influencer provides a shortened link for her audience to copy and paste into a browser to quickly buy the Eos lip product she’s advocating.
With their conversational tone, micro-influencer posts that advocate for brands, provide forums for followers to share their own positive takes, generating additional earned media for the brand to favorably pre-disposed, like-minded consumers in their networks.
Here, a micro-influencer posting on behalf of shoe brand Rothy talks about how comfortable and stylish Rothy’s flats are, and followers share with their own positive takes.
Associating brands with relevant micro-influencers fosters values alignment, and can strenghten a bond. In this example, Old Navy, a sponsor of Curvycon, an annual convention for curvy women, is endorsed by the micro-influencers in the Instagram post. Old Navy thereby gains recognition from these influencers’ followers, for acknowledging their importance and providing a venue for them to express themselves about issues that matter to them.
Increasing Micro-Influencer Use Across B to B, B to C And Social Impact Marketing Plans
Micro-influencers are increasingly being utilized to reach brand targets in a very wide range of industries from B to B, to B to C and non-profits because:
- They are credible curators of brands they think their followers will like and fans trust their judgment.
- It’s the next best thing to peer to peer recommendations.
- It can help brands reach entirely new audiences
- The ROI can be excellent
When planning for each stage of the customer journey, thought should be given to how micro-influencers can aid awareness, provide product quality and performance verification and endorsement in the evaluation stage, direct consumers to e-commerce sites or in-store events in the buy stage, and support brand values for long-term bonding on an emotional level, post-purchase.