Weekly Wisdom with Mikhail Alfon: Working with Micro Influencers

  •   April 23, 2019
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What’s up, SEMrush, and welcome to this episode of Weekly Wisdom. My name is Mikhail Alfon. I am the president and co-founder of Blue Light Media, based in Costa Mesa, California. Today, we are going to be talking about how to use and find micro influencers.

Now, before we get into that, let’s talk about influencer marketing as a whole. It is one of the most popular ways for brands to really reach new audiences. Essentially what they are doing is using influential Instagram users or YouTubers, or whatever platform it might be, to help promote their product, service, or brand, whatever it might be, right. What they do is they find people who can encourage their audience to sell their products for them.

Macro Influencers vs. Micro Influencers

When you are starting your influencer marketing campaign, it is important to understand the difference between a macro influencer and a micro influencer. Macro influencers will typically have 100s of thousands of followers, if not millions of followers, and tend to be a little bit more expensive, and generally a little bit more difficult to solidify campaigns with. This video is for the small to medium size businesses, and we’re talking about micro influencers today. Micro influencers are going to have typically under 20,000 followers. You can push that up a little bit to 30,000 to 40,000, but let’s talk about under 20,000 followers.

There are a lot of benefits to using micro influencers. For example, they typically get higher engagement rates, which is really important.

Engagement rates are one of the key performance indicators when measuring an influencer marketing campaign is how well the content is performing for that influencer. They are also more likely to engage with their audience, which is going to drive more conversations about your brand or product, and you will typically get higher conversion rates as well. Obviously, the higher conversions, the better, and that is what we are all shooting for.

The Benefits of Working with Micro Influencers

One of the things that we love about using micro influencers is that they are typically more flexible with deliverables and how we are going to formulate the campaign. You can kind of work with them as opposed to just really being a slave to price or what a macro influencer might do. Being flexible is really important. One of the major things that we love about working with micro influencers is it helps fuel the content production process. For example, any of the content that they’re producing, we can use that on multiple campaigns.

When you are searching for a micro influencer, there are things that you should be looking for before attempting to solidify a partnership. One of them is the quality of their content. I am not just talking about photos, but also their captions. Let’s take a look at photos first.

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Does the imagery that they are producing resonate with your brand? Does that look like something that you are going to share on your profiles? That is definitely something very important to look at. In addition to that, let’s talk about their captions.

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You don’t want an influencer who is just putting up one line that doesn’t have any substance to it. When we are working with micro influencers, we really want to look for captions that have a lot of substance, a lot of heart and a lot of meat to it. The reason is that they typically will drive more conversations, and it shows that the influencer is intentional about the content that they are producing. Definitely look for those key things when it comes to content quality.

A Micro Influencer’s Engagement

Speaker 1: The other thing you want to look at is their engagement. How good is their engagement rate? What you can do is you can divide their engagement by their followers and multiply it by 100 to find what their engagement rate is. You want to look for at least 20% engagement rate for micro influencers with up to 10,000 followers. Now, once you cross 10,000 followers, there is something weird that happens where the engagement rate does drop significantly, so after 10,000 followers, look for at least a 5% engagement rate.

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A Micro Influencer’s Authenticity

Another way to measure their engagement is whether or not it is authentic; this is going to take a little bit of research, but tap into their comments and look at what their audience is saying. Does it actually relate to their photo? Are they asking questions about their captions? Those types of things are very important to look at, because comment pods — and if you are unfamiliar with comment pods, they are ways for influencers to actually drive engagement inauthentically — comment pods are still something that happens on Instagram, so by looking into the type of engagement that they are getting, you will get a good feel of whether or not your campaign is going to be successful.

Now, one of the most important things, if not the most important thing to look at, is the influencer engaging with their audience back? When you are working with an influencer, you want them to be an advocate for your brand, and somebody who is going to help sell the product for you.

  • You want to see, are they going in?
  • Do they care about their audience?
  • Are they answering questions for them?
  • Are they continuing the conversation outside of just that post?

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Micro Influencers and Branded Content

Now, another thing you want to be looking at when you are choosing a micro influencer is seeing how much branded content they have out there and how it is performing.

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Branded content is any past collaborations that they might have had with a company or a brand or anything like that. Go into those posts. How does their audience engage with it? Are they asking questions about it? Does the influencer engage back and tell them how great the product is and why they are supporting it in the first place? Look at the type of content they are creating for the brand as well. Are they just taking a picture of themselves holding up the brand, or is it a video where they are actually using the products that they are helping promote?

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These factors are really important to take into consideration because again, these influencers aren’t just a way to reach new audiences, they are a way to create new advocates for your product or your brand.

Managing Micro Influencer Campaigns

Next, we want to talk about how to manage the influencers once you find the ones that you want to work with. One of the best ways to manage your influencers, and the content they are providing for your company, is providing an influencer brief. An influencer brief can be a short deck or a hand out that includes the do’s and don’ts of creating content for your brand.

For example, you can say that your brand shouldn’t be pictured next to alcohol or shouldn’t be pictured in certain scenarios. You might want to tell them exactly how your product works as well, so that when they are using it, or they are wearing it, whatever it is, they are actually using it correctly.

Content Examples

In addition to that, you can also provide content examples; this is a great way to make sure that you are getting the high-quality content that you need and that you are paying for. Send them examples of either content that has been provided for you in the past or what you want to create based off of different aesthetics or different influencers that are creating content as well.

Hashtags

Be sure to include the required hashtags, and you also want to include any product information too, so that the influencer is super familiar with exactly what your product does, how it benefits them, and how they can communicate that to their audience.

Approval Process

When you are managing your micro influencer, make sure you have an approval process as well. This is how they are going to share the content with you before it goes live — because the last thing that you want is any mistakes in the content, any misclaims, whatever it might be. Be sure that the influencer is getting their context approved before it actually goes live.

Support 

Now lastly, when you are managing your micro influencers, be sure to support them. Remember that this is a partnership and not just somebody working for you. Share their efforts on Instagram Stories, on Twitter, or whatever it might be, or even make announcements that you have new micro influencers working with you and your brand.

Measuring Your Influencer Campaign

Let’s talk about measuring your influencer campaign; this is obviously one of the most critical aspects of managing your influencer initiatives, so make sure that you do it right. One of the things that you can do is use tracked links. Bit.ly makes this really easy, and you can use a unique tracked link for every influencer that you are working with. In addition to that, you can also use a unique UTM code for every single one. You want to make sure that you know exactly where your traffic is coming from, so using these codes are definitely going to help you do that through Google Analytics or any other analytics tool that you are using.

Promotional Codes for Tracking

Lastly, you can also use a promotional code. If you are asking an influencer to sell the product for you, obviously you want to see what type of impact that is having on sales. These unique promotional codes can be used on Shopify, Squarespace, and Amazon to make sure that you know exactly where the sales are coming from.

Qualitative Things to Consider

Now, in addition to these hard metrics, you also want to look at some of the qualitative things as well, like what the engagement like with the content that you are putting out? You are not necessarily going to get a conversion overnight, but sometimes if you can tell that the content or the influencer is resonating well with that person’s audience, you can actually jump in there as the brand and help push that conversation along.

Check out what the engagement is like. See what the content is like. Are you getting enough content to maybe fuel campaigns in the future? These things are also some of the aspects that you want to take into consideration with your influencer campaign. It is not just about sales. There are so many other metrics that you want to look at.

Final Tips and Strategies

All right, so now you have all the tools that you need to start your micro influencer campaign, but before we leave you today, we want to talk about some final tips and strategies. Now, campaigns that take place over a long period of time, like 60 or 90 days, typically perform better. The reason being is because to that influencer’s audience, it doesn’t seem like they are just hawking a product; it seems like they are actual advocates of the brand or the product that they are helping promote. Make sure that when you are creating your briefs for the influencer, it spans over 60 to 90 days, multiple posts, Instagram Stories, etc. in addition to the other platforms that they are using as well for added benefit.

Branded Swag

The other thing that we suggest is to make sure is that you create unique packages for all of these influencers too. Create a branded box, add some swag in there. These types of things are going to get the influencer excited, and when they are excited, they are going to create better content for you and promote it even better. 

Make sure that there is something unique for every influencer that you are working with because, at the end of the day, they are putting their brand on the line for yours.

Seasonal and Evergreen Creative Briefs

Lastly, you want to make sure to use a combination of seasonal and evergreen creative briefs. The reason we say this is because as content producers ourselves, we find it very difficult to continue creating new content week after week, day after day, etc. I am sure that as a brand, you are probably running into that challenge as well. Having a stack of evergreen content produced by your influencers will help fuel other campaigns in the future like paid or email campaigns, or even print if you have the right permissions. Be sure that you are using both seasonal and evergreen briefs in every campaign that you do so that you have more content to use in the future.

Thank you for checking out this episode of Weekly Wisdom, brought to you by SEMrush. My name is Mikhail, and I hope to see you again soon.

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