Brands are increasingly shifting their marketing dollars to influencer marketing, and micro-influencers are getting a larger slice of the marketing dollar pie every year.
Have you ever wondered how to become a micro-influencer?
I’ll show you exactly how in this post.
But first, we need to understand a little more about exactly what a micro-influencer is and what makes brands might choose you over a mega influencer like Kylie Jenner!
What is a Micro-Influencer?
A micro-influencer is a person or social media account with a perceived status that would influence their followers. They typically have a follower count of approximately 1,000 to 10,000 followers.
Micro-influencers have a well defined niche and are influential or well-known in this particular area of interest.
Brands hire influencers to get their product in front of a particular audience. Micro-influencers are simply influencers on a smaller scale.
Micro-influencers are generally more focused, and command hyper-engaged audiences - making a higher return on investment than larger, less focused accounts.
Brands have tended to focus more on the mega and medium influencer market because of the difficulty in scaling a micro-influencer campaign.
To get the same reach from one influencer, a brand would have to manage dozens of micro-influencers. Influencers of all sizes are notoriously difficult to get a hold of, negotiate with, and to hold accountable at scale.
It is simply easier to manage one influencer over dozens of smaller accounts.
The tide is turning.
New tools are being developed to manage influencer accounts, entire agencies have been created to make a done for you service, and brands themselves have updated internal processes to scale these types of campaigns.
Why Brands Choose Micro-Influencers Over Influencers
Influencers and mega-influencers experience “follower bloat” which decreases user engagement.
What is Follower Bloat?
Follower bloat is the gradual increase of followers not in tune with your core message. As your account grows in followers, you will get more bots, inactive accounts, and people who follow you for some reason or the other, but not because they believe in what you are doing. These extra followers boost your total follower number, but do not engage with your content.
In fact, BusinessWire reported that 67.6% of marketers consider finding relevant influencers their largest influencer marketing challenge! Going niche sure bumps up your relevance.
Here are 4 reasons why brands will choose a smaller account over a mega celebrity:
1. Micro-Influencers Have More Targeted, Well Defined Audiences
The best micro-influencers are passionate about their niche and typically stay on topic within 2-3 interests. Their followers are typically aligned with the core interest, and the most engaged followers align completely.
This leads to a very targeted and well defined audience.
A study by Markerly showed that influencers with accounts with fewer than 1,000 followers received likes at 8%, while influencers with 1-10 million followers only achieved likes 1.7% of the time. A big difference.
Mega-Influencers will have significantly more reach, but because their follower account is so large, only a portion of their audience may care about a particular topic.
For example, let’s say Slap Ya Mama, a Cajun seasoning brand, wanted to try influencer marketing. Well, they could go to one of my favorites, mega-influencer Bobby Flay who rocks a cool 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
Bobby Flay’s reach would be amazing, but when you break it down, only a small portion of his 1.5 million followers would be interested in Cajun food and seasonings.
However, a micro-influencer specializing in cajun food would be really interesting here.
2. Micro-Influencers Have a Higher and More Impassioned Engagement Rate
Exactly because a micro-influencer’s audience is more targeted, they also show a higher engagement rate by their followers.
In our Cajun seasoning example, the cajun food micro-influencer would probably see a highly impassioned debate about which seasoning is the best, their favorite recipe to sprinkle some Slap Ya Mama on, how they cannot travel without a small bottle in their purse because food is too bland in other regions.
Would you see the same thing in Bobby Flay’s post? Probably, but the passion regarding which season would be lost among many in his following as this is either not their interest or it wasn’t the seasoning of choice used by their dear Mama.
A micro-influencer’s post will typically see a higher number of likes and comments. As the number of followers increases, the engagement rate tends to decline.
Specifically, influencers with 1k fans showed an 85% higher lift than influencers with 100k fans. These campaigns have driven 10x higher efficiencies than influencers with larger followings, making them more cost effective.
3. Micro-Influencers are More Relatable, Authentic, & Real
Many mega-influencers don’t actually manage their own accounts. They employ a social media manager to post for them. They have professional photographers, videographers, and photo editors on staff.
The products they recommend are carefully picked so that their reputation is enhanced or at least not damaged for the affiliation.
They may not even like the product. If the money is right, they may even recommend a product that they’ve never used. This may not be the norm, but face it, it happens.
On the other hand, micro-influencer accounts are run by the influencer themself. It is their opinion, their photo, and their content they are posting.
They are more likely to post about brands they truly care about because they don’t have as many partnership opportunities to be paid for a post. They may be posting only because they like the product, not because they’ve been paid.
Of course, there is still a chance that the influencer has been influenced by money, but it is less likely.
It is because of this that followers are more likely to buy something recommended by a micro-influencer.
4. Micro-Influencers are More Cost Effective
A single post from Mega-Influencer Kim Kardashian could cost anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000. You would need to move a lot of product to produce a good ROI on that!
The cost for a micro-influencer post varies quite a bit, ranging from free product only up to $500.
You could realistically have 100’s of micro-influencer’s posting for you for the cost of a single celebrity post.
What is the Downside of Using Micro-Influencers?
While micro-influencers can bring higher engagement and an even better ROI, working with micro-influencers does lead to some challenges.
Because brands will have to contact more micro-influencers to equal one influencer, research, outreach, and negotiation will take a little more work.
While an established influencer is experienced in influencer deals, this may be your first micro-influencer deal.
Here are some of the issues I’ve run into when dealing with micro-influencers:
The downside can be properly managed with better processes. It just took me a little while to learn.
One way brands manage these risks is to utilize a simple legal agreement that states the terms of the transaction.
How to Become a Micro-Influencer
Everyone wants to become an influencer these days. I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid to do cool stuff and post photos of it.
Still becoming a mega-influencer is harder than ever. The space continues to get more crowded.
While becoming a micro-influencer still takes some work, it is much simpler.
The Riches are in the Niches | Choose Your Niche Wisely
Niche selection is one of the top factors of becoming a popular micro-influencer.
Go deep. The power of micro-influencers lies in the micro. How much can a micro-influencer make?
You are not aiming to be the best furniture maker in the world. You want to be the best table maker that works with wood and resin.
Not to say that you won’t one day be the best, but this is where your journey starts and your reputation builds. Go niche.
Also important, choose a niche that you are passionate about, or something you want to learn deeply.
There are two reasons why niche selection is so important:
- You’ll be creating content around this one niche for a long time. Make sure it is something you enjoy.
- It takes time to build expertise. By focusing on one small thing (the micro) you’ll speed up your expert status.
Once you become an expert at your niche, you can always build your skills, and you should.
But today, we are starting small.
Choose Your Format to Help Decide Your Best Platform
Platform selection is critical. You need to be where your customers/followers can find you.
These days there are so many different platforms:
Your first decision needs to be what type of content do you want to produce and in what format.
- Do you want to do video? YouTube is your answer.
- Do you want to document via photos? Perhaps Instagram is your jam.
- Audio? Podcasts are the answer.
- Do you enjoy writing? Creating a blog is your best bet.
Each of these has their own pros and cons, but the most important decision is choosing the format that you will be most consistent with.
Once you’ve decided on your preferred format, search the platform to see if the people in your niche hang out there. It will be much easier to build a following if your target market is already active on the platform. Otherwise, you’ll have to pull them in.
Create Content Consistently
This is the hard part. You must create content consistently. That’s why you’ve chosen a niche you are interested in.
The good part about being a micro-influencer is that you have a niche. Instead of going wide with your content, you are going to go deep.
Cover your topic in depth with various types of content:
- How to Content - Describing how to do something
- Why content - Why do you do things a certain way, why did you choose this particular product?
- Reviews - What are the best tools of your trade?
- Interviews - Interview others in your space. If you are truly an expert, you’ll need to know the other players!
- Personal Content - As an influencer, you followers want to know more about you!
Mix it up with different content formats. Do a mixture of long form writing, photos, and videos both for variety and to see what your followers enjoy the most.
How Often Should I Post?
According to data from 99 Firms, 77% of micro-influencers post once per day, with 48% posting twice per day.
You should be posting at least once per day for the greatest chance of success.
Remember, it takes time. Most micro-influencers give up too early.
It is much like a snowfall effect. It starts small, but gets exponentially larger as it rolls downhill.
You may feel that you’re stuck, but all it takes is one post to hit to really start gaining traction.
Provide Value to Your Niche
Provide massive value.
Value is the name of the game. What are you providing to your following that they will truly value?
Build your content around this.
Give without the expectation of anything in return - just to be helpful. This is what builds a true micro-influencer following.
By providing value, you will build an audience that loves and trusts you.
Opportunity will come knocking once you have that audience.
Why? Because someone else wants to reach your audience because they do not have one. They haven’t nurtured an audience and provided value. But, they may be willing to pay to reach yours.
Then, you have to make a decision whether this opportunity is worth bringing to your audience. You are now their caretaker. Choose wisely.
Level Up Your Network | Growing a Following Quickly
Want to speed up your micro-influencer status? Don’t do it alone.
Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes.
The problem with advertising in business or as a personal brand or influencer is distribution.
You can say as much as you want, provide a ton of value, but if no one sees it, it is almost like i t never happened.
There is a way jumpstart your following by using partnerships and collaborations with other people in your space that also serve your audience.
Find other blogs, influencers, forums, etc. where your audience already gathers, and find a way to provide value to that audience.
For blogs, you can write a guest post. Write something amazing, and a percentage of people will start following you.
Collaborate with an influencer on a project or provide them something of great value. In return, they’ll shout you out to their audience.
Find accounts on Instagram or Youtube that have similar follower numbers as you, and agree to promote a post or video from each account on their channel.
There are 100’s of ways to do this. Find similar audiences. Determine a way to provide massive value, and show the owner of that audience what benefits they will get from the collaboration.
There you have it.
If you want a side hustle to get paid doing something you love, becoming a micro-influencer is a great start.
Who knows? Maybe you'll outgrow micro-influencer status and become the go-to influencer in your space.
Either way keep at it.
Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments.