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Expectations of Micro-Influencers and what they don’t tell you

bottom-hero-grin-600x400.jpgWhat if we told you influencers will turn down 2 out of 3 influencer opportunities? Any guesses on why? Micro-influencers have a smaller following (1.5K-15K) so you would think they would be game for any opportunity that came their way. This is not the case, nor should it be. If that were the norm, we’d end up with a cluttered, non-authentic and useless mess of sponsored social posts with very little meaning. What’s important to recognize is that over time, social media thought/opinion leaders (whichever buzzword fancies you) have realized the power they have in the influencer marketing space and will only take on campaigns they truly support. Why? They know their audience is super engaged in their personal opinion and wouldn’t want to tarnish that through what I’ll call tacky sponsored posts.

So how can you reach out to influencers in a way that’s genuine to ensure the most successful campaign and what do influencers really expect of you? The most obvious first step is making a personal connection with your influencers to gain trust. We’ve talked quite intensely about this topic in our other blog post so we won’t go into too much detail here but the biggest takeaway is make your initial reach out personal using information gathered from their social profile. For example, if they frequently post about cows, you might reach out to them by saying “Good Moo-rning. You post some awesome content about farm life and we think you’d make an awesome influencer for our upcoming country music festival”. You get the idea. If they see you take interest in what they’re up to online, and give them a personal email to contact you for more deets about the opportunity, you’re increasing your chances of a positive response rate. Take precious care in building relationships with your influencers and nurture that engagement with them.

Another obvious pointer which shouldn’t come to much of a surprise is having a clear and fast communication channel with your influencers. There will be a lot of questions (again, see previous post) and you want to ensure you’re covering your basis. Not only that, but a lot of micro-influencers know exactly when they get the highest engagement on their posts which might be at 10 or 11pm at night. Making someone responsible to be on-call for these after hours check-ins might make all the difference in your influencer marketing campaigns. You might think this is a little extremely. Perhaps, but if you’re not willing to put in the effort you’re not ready to take advantage of the huge ROI that comes with this mighty process! There are also companies out there that do all the legwork for you. Invest in one and you can worry less about this step.

Another important expectation from influencers is that you give them some autonomy in the content they are publishing on behalf of your brand. This is crucial because you want the social sharing to come off as organic, genuine and catch the attention of their followers. If the followers catch that the targeted posts are scripted and toneless, you’re losing interest and potential doing more harm for your brand. We have found it helpful to send influencers suggested post ideas prefaced with “feel free to modify, add, delete” to better fit their voice and personal brand. It’s likely they have signed off on an agreement for so that they don’t use curse words or post naked selfies so put a bit of trust in them. We have seen this work miracles in our client’s influencer interactions.

Micro-influencers want something in return. Because of the nature of micro-influencer marketing with influencers having a personal image they want to protect with their followers, they are very careful with the types of posts they share on their profiles. With this in mind, we always encourage brands to offer their influencers free product/tickets/services of whatever it is they will be selling to their followers. This is favoured over a cash payment for two reasons: first being that, unlike Kim Kardashian who will sponsor anything under the sun (shocker), micro-influencers actually care to see for themselves if the product/service is something they would actually use and promote regardless of the collaboration. Secondly, cash payments remove the authenticity of the reviews and the relationship between you and your influencers is strictly contractual in nature (i.e. “you pay me, I post, we move on”). If there are any issues that do arise, there is little leverage you have as the macro-influencer is not personally and authentically attached to your product.

One final note is to think about the world of marketing, how it’s changed over the years, how influencer marketing has taken over the space, and what direction it’s going in the future. A large portion of this industry is dominated by the “always-on” nature of millennials and the increasing power they have in this space. Studies show that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional marketing tactics and 82% of consumers agree they would follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. These numbers tell us some crucial information in the way we are reaching out to and engaging with micro-influencers. One assumption is that micro-influencers don’t want to hear from marketing/PR personnel directly because of their distrust in some of the traditional practices. This should tell you if you’re thinking of using micro-influencers in upcoming product campaigns, it’s powerful but complicated and there’s a science behind getting it right. Think of influencer marketing as complementing your PR strategy and less about a backup marketing tactic.

But don’t take our word for it. We’ll be chatting candidly with one of our more recent campaign micro-influencers who helped our client sell $11,000 in tickets alone to an upcoming festival (and there were 5 influencers for this one!). She will give us a personal, raw, inside look to influencer marketing from her perspective and how we can all learn from this new, important trend. You can register to receive a copy of the recorded webinar here.

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