Make the Most of Micro-Influencers for Your Retail Business

Smart retailers know the value of social media. It helps advertise products, connect with and grow a roster of shoppers and stay in the loop on the latest trends locally and across the globe. And there’s more: Welcome to the world of micro-influencers.

To amp up your social presence, micro-influencers could be just the ticket. Let’s dive into what makes a micro-influencer, what to look for in a partnership like this and what best practices can help ensure your new collaboration is a success.

First of all, what are influencers?

Influencer marketing rose to popularity through the social media platform Instagram. Big-name influencers have accounts with a sizable following (often into the millions) and a niche or particular industry topic they’re known for, such as fashion, home decor, baking, gaming, beauty or the like. By 2020’s end, it was expected to be around an $8 billion industry.

Influencer marketing is successful because it’s often seen as more trustworthy than traditional forms of marketing—like a celebrity spokesperson endorsing a product or service, but more relatable (though many celebrities from Beyoncé to Ariana Grande to Ina Garten take part in influencer marketing as well). Most influencers only work with brands that align with their values or that make sense for their audience in order to keep their reputation intact and retain their projected persona. They have big demands, and they’re expensive.

What makes a micro-influencer?

Micro-influencers have a follower count between 1,000 and 10,000. Still, they have strong, influential opinions. As HubSpot explains, micro-influencers “are typically well known in their particular area of interest and have very high rates of engagement from their audiences.”

The benefits of partnering with a micro-influencer

For starters, micro-influencers have more affordable rates, and they may be more open to partnering in exchange for goods or a mention on your page in lieu of monetary compensation.

Not only that, but their audiences are generally more active and engaged than big-time influencers. Micro-influencers are also often seen as more authentic, as their community of followers is relatively small, and they may not have partnered with a ton of brands yet. 

What do they do?

Plain and simple, micro-influencers endorse your business. They shop it, they like it, then they post about it. It’s old-fashioned word-of-mouth promotion, updated for modern times to spread far and wide. Depending on their social platforms, usually Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, they’ll post content you both agree on according to the schedule you determine. Their influence—though called micro—can be mighty in your local community. Shoppers turn to them for advice, and they’ll give your business credibility and authority.

What to look for in a micro-influencer

Instagram marketing platform Later recommends:

  • Checking out their engagement rates—how many people like and comment on their posts versus how many total followers they have
  • Looking at the characteristics of their followers—ideally, they should mirror your target audience
  • Reviewing past content they’ve posted, both sponsored and organic
  • Checking their average caption length—generally, longer captions see better engagement

How to connect with micro-influencers

Consider this: They might already be your customers. Or friends of your customers. Reach out to the contacts you have in your community, and read your local news sites to see who might be interested in partnering with you.

Beyond that, social media management app Buffer recommends leveraging Google, databases, networks and marketplaces to find micro-influencers to connect with. Google requires your own detective work, while databases often have already-compiled influencer lists. Databases can be great resources, just know you may have to pay for these services as they act like mediaries connecting you to the right accounts.

Before reaching out, have a few details lined up first, such as:

  • Compensation type (could be a mention, products or payment) and budget
  • Goals you want to get out of the partnership (engagement, new followers)
  • Desired length of the partnership
  • The campaign or kind of content you want the micro-influencer to post
  • What you’ll be providing to the micro-influencer, if anything (i.e., products or free access to your service, so they can try it out for themselves)

Now craft your pitch. Crazy Egg suggests making your message personalized, concise, clear on expectations and focused on the benefits for both your brand and the influencer. And, of course, why you chose them. You’re unlikely to get a response every time, but don’t give up—if you don’t hear from someone after an initial reach-out and a follow-up a week or so later, move on to the next influencer.

 

Best practices for partnering with micro-influencers

After you and your influencer have agreed on the terms, conditions and length of your partnership, make sure to draw up a contract and have them sign it to ensure both parties are on the same page about expectations and details. This should also include specific goals you expect them to meet and the time frame.

Make sure you’ll have access to whatever metrics you need, or that they’re willing to provide them to you. Determining realistic goals may be a process of trial and error, so don’t feel like influencer marketing is a bust for your business just because your first partnership doesn’t hit it out of the park. If you’re looking to double sales with this tactic, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather, focus on metrics like engagement, audience growth and increased industry authority.

Bottom line: Whether you work with a marketing agency or dive into this type of partnership yourself, micro-influencers can be a great method for getting the word out about your retail business. By leveraging this type of social media marketing, you can expand your customer base in a way that’s fruitful and long-lasting.

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