In a survey conducted by top B2B marketing authority Pardot, 59% consumers said that the authenticity of a brand’s content influences them to follow the brand. Marketers across industries are focused on creating more authentic brand messaging to connect with their target markets. Micro-influencers have an important role to play in the process.
Social media has transformed the authenticity and trust landscape:
- According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 6 in 10 Americans trust social media as a news source.
- As per a Nielsen report, friends and family are considered the top trusted sources on social media.
The rapid expansion of social networks is also creating a new marketing obstacle: noise.
- In the last five years, social networks have more than doubled in size, as recorded by Statista.
- As a result, organic reach of content is declining, forcing marketers to seek solutions for effective content marketing on social media.
- Paid ads on social media may not prove very effective, because ad aversion is rapidly increasing.
As a result of these trends, marketers are adopting more organic and less advertorial solutions to keep up their social media marketing efforts. Influencer marketing is one such potent solution.
Challenges of Working with Influencers and the Benefits of Working with Micro-influencers
According to Marketing Dive’s research, the engagement levels drop as the social media follow numbers increase. Micro-influencers with 1,000 followers get about 4% more engagement than influencers with 10,000 followers. Getting the attention of established influencers who have already built alliances and have busy calendars is a time-consuming and difficult task. On the contrary, micro-influencers–who are, in fact, employees, happy consumers, and enthusiastic social media fans–are relatively easy to connect and communicate with.
Measuring the actual impact of an influencer marketing campaign can also be a challenge. On the other hand, the impact of micro-influencer marketing can be easily measured. Say for instance that your micro-influencers are employees, most employee advocacy platforms like Circulate.it or DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform give you stats of the reach and engagement that your content gets on social media through employee advocates.
Most influencers have an established personal brand or identity. Sometimes, that identity conflicts with the values or personality that the company’s brand portrays. When running a micro-influencer marketing program, you can connect them with the content that you want them to share, or create guidelines for them to follow when representing your brand.
Other benefits of working with micro-influencers:
- As per Experticity’s research, 82% of consumers are likely to act on a micro-influencer’s suggestion.
- According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, the most trusted and used media are peer-influenced media and recommendations from peers affect purchase decisions.
- People are more likely to interact with their own social media connections than anyone else.
Consumers are heavily relying on reviews and personal recommendations to learn about products these days. This shift in trust and influence has occurred as a result of popular peer-driven media like social platforms, community apps, and active forums. Many people have also taken to blogging and expressing their experiences with products online, allowing users so many options and opinions to turn to before purchase.
Global tech giants like IBM, Cisco, and Adobe have already invested in micro-influencer marketing, largely in the form of employee advocacy. The general interest in programs like these has also increased by about 191% in the last three years, according to Pardot. This makes perfect sense, considering the serious dearth for humanized marketing in the current times.
In 2017, when marketing aficionados are predicting that automation, bots and virtual reality will really take off, good old word of mouth–where brand advocates connect with their personal connections–is bound to have an extraordinary effect. After all, as Thomas L. Friedman shared on his Tonight Show appearance, most people are ailing from isolation, ironically, in a world that grows more connected by the day.
Many marketers believe that the human element can accelerate results in marketing. By locating and activating your most enthusiastic advocates, you can tap into a powerful and influential human network on social media.
Who are Micro-influencers and Where to Find Them
Micro-influencers are anyone who can affect desired change for you on social media. They should be connected to your target market on social, and should be reasonably active on the right forums to help you achieve your marketing and sales goals. To find the right micro-influencer for your outreach program, you first need to build an audience persona.
Step 1: Research your target demographic and identify where they go for information. You can use social media dashboards to study the interests of your audience and then find forums that discuss those interests. You will find your target audience there.
Step 2: Identify individuals with subject expertise, who appear to lead conversations in communities that are important to you. Alternatively, you can also search your social media followers for such an individual.
You can keep track of these prospects via Twitter lists or social media monitoring tools.
Step 3: Interact with your prospect influencers on social. Share their content and take an interest in what they do.
Step 4: Approach your prospects and create a mutually beneficial agreement. It is important to consider your state laws before committing to any sort of partnership.
Alternatively, you can engage your employees as micro-influencers and position them as experts on social media. This tactic can particularly successful when you develop client facing employees.
There isn’t a better time to start building your micro-influencer advocate network. The influence shift on social media, increasing noise and growing ad aversion make 2017 the perfect year to begin investing in a micro-influencer community.