With summer fast approaching towards the end of season. I’m ready to hit the gym and lose some of that lingering winter weight. Step one: Find some cute but durable activewear.

Nike. Adidas. Under Armour. Lululemon. New Balance. Puma. Gymshark. The options are endless! How do I whittle them down?

If you asked me a few years ago, I’d say, “by reading reviews, duh.” Reviews and testimonials are incredibly effective for scoring new customers because people trust the opinions of other real people. (Yes, I trust that strangers across the world would tell me if these leggings will pill or not.)

But today, there’s a new form of user-generated content that’s winning over customers and catching the attention of 78% of marketers—and it’s called micro-influencer marketing.

But wait—should your brand be influenced?

To help you determine if micro-influencer marketing is right for your business, we’re digging into seven common questions about micro-influencer marketing.

First of all, what even is it?

What is micro-influencer marketing?

If you’re researching micro-influencer marketing, then we’re assuming that “influencer” is not a new term to you. But let’s say it is.

An influencer is simply someone who has influence over others’ buying decisions due to their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with the audience.

micro-influencer is probably what you think they are—a hyper-specific influencer who has gained credibility in a specific niche. Their follower/audience base ranges from 1,000 to 100,000 people. Think food bloggers, gamers, and local fashionistas—not Kim Kardashian.

Fitness is one industry that’s swimming with micro-influencers. So when it came down to doing a little bit of research on activewear, I found myself consulting the Instagram accounts of the fitness gurus I follow—and what they’re wearing. RYU Apparel. Vitae Apparel. Karma Athletics. I’ve never heard of these brands, yet I’m finding myself deep in their websites. (Nike, who?)

How the heck did they do that? That brings me to my next point.

Why is micro-influencer marketing becoming popular?

Micro-influencer marketing is taking off and is arguably becoming more successful than celebrity influencer campaigns and advertising. Why? Because consumers trust them.

First of all, their credibility stems from being experts in their industry. Fitness gurus are not just wearing fitness apparel because they’re paid to do so. They wear it because they eat, breathe, and sleep fitness.

Micro-influencers are also “real” people, and we can relate to them. They have screaming kids. They have body image issues. They scour Trader Joe’s for deals.

This relatability makes it easier for us to trust their opinions over a celebrity’s. This influencer marketing research states that 61% of respondents now find information from “a person like me” to be credible or very credible.

That’s because we know that Jennifer Aniston’s go-to lotion isn’t Aveeno, and Beyonce doesn’t drink Pepsi every day. We know that Kim Kardashian’s secret to a nice behind isn’t Skechers Shape-Ups.

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But if our favorite mommy blogger swore that it gives her a nice lift while running around doing errands—we’d be more inclined to test its magical powers for ourselves, right?

What are the benefits of using micro-influencers?

There are several reasons why micro-influencer marketing is continuing on a strong path. Let’s dig into them:

First, it builds brand awareness and authenticity. As we mentioned above, consumers can see right through celebrity endorsements of fast food and soda brands. Consumers are looking for advertisements that are passionate and sincere. Genuine endorsements from real people are the new way to build credibility.

Micro-influencers are also known to drive more engagement. Unlike A-list celebrities with millions of followers and a tight PR leash, micro-influencers will create more content for you and read and respond to comments on their social feeds. In fact, this study indicates that engagement increases as the number of followers decreases:

  • Influencers with 10,000 followers or more have just 3.6 percent engagement.
  • Influencers with 5,000 to 10,000 followers have 6.3 percent engagement.
  • And influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers have the highest engagement at an 8.8 percent engagement rate.

As a business, you want to tap into this level of engagement. Because healthy top-of-funnel activity—like shares, comments, and follows—will eventually lead to more sales and signups.

Unsurprisingly, micro-influencer marketing also costs less money. Yep, asking a local foodie to promote your meal prep company will cost you less than asking George Clooney.

You can find a thorough list of influencer rates here, though typically, micro-influencers charge $100-500 per post. To put that into perspective, macro-influencers (100,000+ followers) can be found charging $10,000 or more per post. For a celebrity endorsement, a million dollars isn’t unheard of. (Oof.)

Lastly, there are more micro-influencers to work with:  81% of active influencers on Instagram are considered “micro-influencers.” That’s a huge pool of people to work with! So if one doesn’t fit the budget or doesn’t have the time, no sweat!

What’s the ROI?

In recent years, there has been a lot of research on influencer marketing—and it’s showing some impressive ROI.

First, let’s talk sales:

  • 8 out of 10 consumers have purchased something after seeing it on an influencer. (I may or may not have just bought a pair of those Vitae Apparel leggings…)
  • For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses are making $5.20 in earned media value. And the top 13% are making north of $20!

When it comes to micro-influencers, you can also count on solid engagement numbers:

  • Micro-influencer campaigns drive 60% higher engagement rates than average campaigns.
  • Micro-influencer campaigns are 6.7x more efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings.
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Convinced? Let’s take a look at your business goals and determine if it’s right for you.

Should my brand be influenced?

We encourage you to reflect on your campaign goals. For example, are you a startup looking to get your name out there? Or are you an established business pushing for cold, hard conversions?

In terms of how you use micro-influencer marketing, there is no right or wrong answer. But there are common uses—and it seems that most marketers use it for top-of-funnel marketing, such as increasing brand awareness, generating engagement, and reaching new audiences.

There are also specific industries that seem to be tailor-made for influencer marketing. Does your business fit into one of these industries?

  • Fashion
  • Beauty
  • Entertainment
  • Fitness
  • Travel
  • Food
  • Toys
  • Tech

If your industry isn’t on that list, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any influencers out there, nor does it mean your industry won’t be on that list in the near future! So read on, and learn more about how to uncover micro-influencers right for you.

How do I find micro-influencers in my industry?

To find the perfect micro-influencer for your brand, you can take two approaches: through manual research or through an agency.

Through manual research

If you’re going to do the internet sleuthing yourself, start by sifting through your own social media followers and try to identify any “super fans.” You may already have people out there promoting your content. If you do, the odds are high that they’d happily partner with you.

Once you’ve dissected your social pages, you can cast a wider net by searching up specific keywords and hashtags on social platforms or search engines. This will uncover relevant content to your brand and connect you to the creators behind it.

Or, simply search for lists of micro-influencers in your industry. Seriously. A lot of lists will pop up.

During your investigation, don’t forget to ask yourselves these questions: 

  • How big is their following or audience?
  • Are they engaging with their audience?
  • Is their target audience the same as yours?
  • Is this social media platform the best channel to reach your target audience

Through an agency

There are many influencer agencies out there, which means there are some good ones—and a lot of bad ones. If you’re spending the money to go through an agency, we want you to get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few things you should look for when choosing an agency:

  • A history of running successful campaigns: Always ask about past campaigns and the results. If they hit their clients’ targets consistently, you’re probably in good hands.
  • Experience running different campaign types: Your campaign goals will likely vary from top-of-funnel engagement to bottom-funnel sales. You want them to be able to do it all!
  • A relevant influencer roster: Who do they represent? At the end of the day, their roster of influencers needs to make sense for your brand.
  • Familiarity with all social channels: Some agencies specialize in particular social media platforms. If you’re still exploring where your audience lies, it’s best not to pigeonhole yourself to one or the other. Find an agency that’s comfortable on all major platforms.
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What does a micro-influencer partnership look like?

Once you’ve identified a micro-influencer you want to work with, it’s time to iron out the details of your partnership. What are you looking for from them, and what are they looking for from you?

Your side of the deal

First, think about your campaign goals and make sure there are trackable KPIs. If you want to build brand awareness, track engagement such as shares, comments, and likes. If you want more sales, give them a promo code to share with their audience so you can see clear, quantifiable results.

It’s also essential to identify your expectations for each post—like how they’re interacting with your product. Most marketers want the product front and center. According to this research, 60% of marketers prefer influencer-generated content that showcases the influencer using the product.

Their side of the deal

Typically compensation is through free products or money.

Believe it or not, many micro-influencers will happily represent your brand if you give them free products. Remember, they’re likely fans of your brand already—so saving some bucks on your products sounds like a win-win.

With that said, many others expect monetary compensation (especially if they have a larger follower base and influence for other brands).

When paying influencers, do some research on current rates. This resource here breaks compensation down according to how many followers they have, which social media platform they post on, and the type of content they post.

What your partnership looks like should be curated to your needs and goals. But to make sure it’s long-lasting, we encourage you to dig into the nitty-gritty details to make sure everyone’s expectations are met.

Have we influenced you to pursue micro-influencer marketing?

If you own a taco shop and you’re looking for a micro-influencer, I have over 1,000 followers on Instagram and would love to chat.

If you don’t own a taco shop, but you’re nonetheless interested in micro-influencer marketing, we’d still like to chat—and we have a group of specialists within our Growth Labs team that can help you get started. #KhabarLive #hydnews