29 Aug Don’t be Influenced by the Blue Tick – The Rise of Micro-Influencers
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram or watched people’s Facebook stories only to come across the #ad and wondered what it means?
The hashtag indicates that the post has a commercial element and that the person posting, often someone with a large following, has been paid to promote the brand, product or service featured in the image or copy.
Whether they are celebrities, those considered to be experts in their field, or individuals who have simply grown their popularity to proportions far beyond your average social media user, so-called influencers have become the darlings of social media marketing today.
Indeed, many brands and businesses nowadays are leveraging influencers’ reach to promote their services or products.
Blue ticks – the badge of influencer authenticity
Many people will be familiar with influencers and their infamous blue ticks. For those who might not know, the blue tick that appears next to an Instagram or Twitter account’s name signifies that it has been verified. It means that the platform has confirmed that the profile is the authentic account for the celebrity, ‘influencer’ or global brand that it represents
However, this year has seen a rise in micro-influencers, who may not boast a blue tick, but still have high engagement levels and can be used to your business’s advantage.
If you doubt the potential of these micro-influencers, you only have to look at the likes of global brands such as Banana Republic, Spotify and even Google – all of which have executed successful marketing campaigns by tapping into this Instagram trend.
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty as to how this might be able to benefit you and your business.
Influencers versus micro-influencers?
Let’s start with the influencers, the blue tick brigade, with which you might be more familiar. With followings in the hundreds of thousands plus, and feeds that look like something out of a magazine, it’s hard to deny the impression they have on potential customers.
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, tend to be more like your everyday consumer; with a smaller following ranging from 1,000 to 100,000, their lifestyles appear to be more relatable and a little more realistic.
Followers do not equal reach
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of seeing someone’s following of a million plus and thinking their engagement rates are off the charts. However, this may not be strictly true.
Two separate studies conducted by HelloSociety and Markerly show that influencers with a smaller following have a much higher engagement rate, i.e. post likes, shares and comments, than those with a larger following. Both studies saw a drop in engagement as the audience size increased.
The reason is that a product endorsement coming from a micro-influencer with, say, only 15,000 followers sounds as if it is coming from a trusted friend – rather than someone who will be able to pay their next couple of months rent off the back of that #ad post.
More bang for your buck
If you are looking to partner with an Instagrammer with over a million followers, be prepared to spend tens of thousands plus for one sponsored post. A post which, as we’ve explained above, may not have a great reach.
Compare this to a micro-influencer post, which not only cost significantly less, meaning more posts for your budget, but are also seen by a larger percentage of their following, reaching a greater audience.
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most trusted forms of content, something that micro-influencers inspire their followers to do. Getting their followers involved and posting about your product opens up a new audience and allows you to repost to your own feed.
UGC is free content that boosts your brand’s reputation. People are posting because they genuinely love your product or service, having tried it after seeing their favourite micro-influencer recommend it. The fact that UGC doesn’t need to be accompanied by the #ad or #sponsored further adds to its credibility.
Measure the success
It is crucial that you have a set goal that you want to achieve from your partnership with a micro-influencer. Some common metrics are:
- Engagement rate – how many likes, shares and comments are they generating?
- Brand sentiment – are people talking about your brand more? And if so, how? What are they saying
- Foot traffic – have you seen an increase in customer store visits?
- Web traffic and sales – have you seen more online orders?
Choosing your Instagrammer team
When it comes to finding the perfect Instagrammer to partner up with, there are a few key things to consider, such as:
- Make sure they are relevant to your brand and its audience – it’s a case of match-making audience interests, the causes and topics they care about, the types of brands they desire etc.
- Check they have decent engagement rates, don’t just get wowed by the number of followers
- Ensure they only use excellent quality content, check for things like grammar, spelling mistakes and picture quality – the standards need to match those of your brand
Will this work in a small community?
Yes, incorporating micro-influencers into your social media marketing strategy will work well in Guernsey’s small island community.
Why? Because, these trusted, relatable pieces of advice from your best friend-type endorsements are going to hit your targeted local audience far quicker than using a verified ‘celebrity status’ influencer based in the UK.
Bottom line, you want your partnership with a micro-influencer to look natural and seamless. You don’t want it to be obvious that these posts are paid sponsorship.
The world of Instagram is vast, and knowing how to leverage and manage micro-influencers to benefit your business can be a minefield.
If you would like to know more about the world of micro-influencers or want a hand finding and managing them, get in touch!