CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 103: RISE OF MICRO-INFLUENCERS.

There is no doubt that the rise of social media marketing and Internet led to companies rethinking their brand identity and values. The marketing paradigm has evolved from celebrity endorsement to now micro-influencers.

Social media marketing disrupted the traditional forms of marketing. Marketers started opting to use influencers as they seemed to engage more with the audience. This led to a surge of influencers and a decline in engagement in their content.

Gamification and cheating also increased. The usage of bots to increase engagement statistics. Google changed its SEO algorithm and design to weed out thin content and drive fraudsters further into the background. This in turn led to marketers realizing that there was a gap and that it needed to be filled by a person who understands the audience intimately. And thus the new wave was born: micro-influencing.

A micro-influencer is an existing customer with brand relevant influence, who has between 10,000-100,000 followers on social media and is able to influence the purchase decision of one’s followers across the different social media channels. A micro-influencer is usually an expert in a certain field and thus has the respect of the followers.

A micro-influencer will only promote a product that they believe in as their followers come first.

Why should you use micro-influencer?

Deliver a higher engagement rate.
Research shows the higher the number of followers, the lower the rate of engagement. Influencers enjoy a higher engagement level than celebrities while micro-influencers enjoy eight times more engagement than influencers. While influencers might introduce your brand to a new and larger audience, micro-influencers bring in more conversions and sales.

Change in algorithm.
With the changes in Facebook and Instagram algorithm, brands are looking for new creative ways to stay in front of their audience and thus are now using micro-influencers as they tend to have a higher engagement meaning that their content gets regularly featured in users’ feeds.

More affordable.
Not unless you are a large company with deep pockets, then you should consider using micro-influencers as influencers can be a bit expensive as well. There are several ways of rewarding a micro-influencer (to be discussed later on in the article).

Are just like us.
Most consumers look up-to people they can trust and thus by using a micro-influencer, your conversions are most likely to increase. The audience reasoning is if it worked for them,it will for me too. And because the audience sees them as real people, they also believe that their content is genuine as well.

How do you determine which micro-influencers to use?
Did you know that 82% of purchasers take recommendations from micro-influencers and thus it is essential to know how to choose influencers who will work best for your brand.

Audience
Be sure to determine if their audience is the same as your target audience as well as the location. Can the audience access your product and are they likely to purchase from you. Both of the audiences must align.

Niche
This is the area of expertise. If you are selling beauty products, you want to consider a beauty product blogger who has a steady loyal base of followers. This will make it even easier to sell as the followers have already demonstrated that they have an interest in beauty products.

Content
Does the content fit with your brand? And when it comes to creating content, will your able to give them the creativity control that they need or at least get to a middle-ground. This is important to micro-influencers as their audience comes first and thus want to communicate in such a way that their audience will benefit first.

Authenticity
Does their content seem authentic? The level of engagement that they have wth their audience. The audience is more likely to buy if they see an everyday person passionate about a product.

How often they post.
You want to make sure that the person you’ll add to the team, posts regularly to ensure maximum engagement with your content as well as to stay fresh in the audience’s mind. While at it, check to see their most active platforms.

How to reward micro-influencers
There are two types of reward system. You can either choose intrinsic reward or extrinsic rewards. Before deciding on which system you want to use remember that most micro-influencers prefer intrinsic rewards because as soon as you start paying them, they begin losing their internal motivation.

Intrinsic/non-material reward.

Recognition
This can be both a reward and a powerful motivator for the influencer. Give shout outs on posts and newsletters. This also helps them gain new followers and traffic to their sites. Ask them what their audiences say about the products and how they want it improved.

Exclusive insights
Create private Facebook groups for them. They will feel like a part of the inner circle and it will motivate them to be better brand ambassadors to your products. Let them be part of the first team that get to see a new product be unveiled.

Work experience and internship
If the influence is a student then giving them the chance to work for your company makes sense. This way they will get to see the brains behind the product that they love so much. This will also create more loyalty from the influencer.

Events
By organizing events for your micro-influencer can be a reward on its own. The influencers feel valued and cherished at the same time. This mainly depends on the industry in which your company and business’s operates in.

Material rewards.

Money
You can choose to pay your influencers money or commission said based on the leads and sales that they haven brought in during a certain period of time. You can also offer discounts to them or gift cards.

Customized rewards
You can choose to give them branded products or make them a product that is exclusively meant for them. Rewarding micro-influencers with branded products (or swag as many brands call it now) has the benefit of simultaneously advertising your brand. This is especially perfect for lifestyle brands, who people want to identify with.

Conclusion
Done correctly, micro-influencers can give your brand the boost it needs especially if your company is a start-up and people do not know much about your products. To contribute further in this discussion, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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