As influencer marketing becomes more pervasive, brands are searching for new ways to diversify their marketing campaigns. Many have turned to working with micro-influencers to execute campaigns on smaller scale and with niche audiences.
To help brands navigate the finer points of micro-influencer marketing, we’ve created a 10-step guide on how to craft a winning micro-influencer strategy. From setting goals to optimizing micro-influencer campaigns, these steps will help brands understand the differences between micro and macro-influencer strategies and develop successful campaigns.
Establishing goals is the first step to crafting an effective micro-influencer strategy. Brands should start with what they’re seeking to achieve from working with micro-influencers.
Brands should also establish their budget as well as key performance indicators (KPIs) like reach, impressions, views, engagement rates, click-throughs, increase in followers, and sales performance, which are key to developing specific, actionable goals.
Brands must also consider how a micro-influencer’s specific niche, follower count, communication style, and engagement aligns with their target audience.
The overall campaign cost will generally correspond directly to the reach achieved by the campaign. Determine if the potential rewards of a micro-influencer’s lower cost and higher engagement outweigh the risks of reduced brand lift as a result of diminished reach.
It’s also worth considering that campaigns that include many micro-influencers demand more work and resources to track posts and metrics.
Instagram has become the largest platform for micro-influencers because it has a nearly unlimited supply of influencers of every different size and reach. Instagram also has influencers in a huge variety of content and interest categories and niches.
That said, different platforms reach target audiences in different ways with varying degrees of success.
YouTube for example, also offers niche interest categories, but because of the video format, is often more expensive than Instagram for the equivalent reach. Examine each platform’s unique features and audience to determine which platform best suits campaign goals.
To ensure a campaign resonates with a target audience, brands should choose influencers who align with brand messaging and who match the brand in terms of content.
Brands can engage with and find champions of their brand by crawling through social posts using brand mentions and hashtags, and then build relationships with those with significant reach.
If brands lack the resources to find those brand champions, though, they may also turn to influencer marketing databases — platforms that allow brands to build campaigns and find influencers for those campaigns.
Influencer marketing agencies can also assist brands in finding influencers and providing valuable information on audience, demographics, performance, and content history.
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Brands should thoroughly research potential micro-influencer partners before selecting. Fake followers and engagement are a major problem on popular platforms like Instagram, and they can drive up influencer rates while delivering subpar campaign performance.
By looking carefully at the quality of followers, engagement, and past campaign performance, brands can determine whether or not an influencer’s following is legitimate and if their rates are fair.
Marketers should also look for brand safety indicators to make sure that they’re not stepping into possible controversy by partnering with influencers who have a history of inflammatory, discriminatory, or otherwise objectionable content.
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Using the above criteria, select the micro-influencer(s) and build a relationship with them by engaging with their social accounts, sending them products, and offering product discounts. Running a series of posts rather than one-off posts, will help build authenticity into the campaign.
Because of how in demand influencers have become, it can be extremely difficult to get coverage or product and brand mentions solely in exchange for product.
With paid posts, you’ll be able to control the messaging and review the content in advance. Make it clear when you reach out that it’s for a paid sponsored posts or series of posts.
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To kickstart the creative process, prepare a campaign brief to help micro-influencers better understand the brand and the campaign itself.
Campaign briefs provide a high-level overview of campaigns, including target audiences, budget, products that will be featured, campaign schedule, objectives, and legal requirements. Most importantly, campaign briefs should include guidance on messaging, deliverables, CTAs, and goals.
Marketers should know what they’re looking for from a campaign and share with influencers so that everyone is operating with the same goals and ideas in mind.
Influencer agreements help brands to make all the details and campaign requirements and deliverables clear and can avoid complications in partnerships with creators. These influencer agreements should include details on compensation, campaign deliverables, schedule and length of the campaign, measures to adhere to FTC guidelines, licensing rights, and more.
It’s key to have these terms laid out up front because it puts brands and creators on the same page and clarifies expectations surrounding performance, conduct, deadlines, messaging, and legal terms.
Related Post: How To Craft The Perfect Influencer Agreement
Before launching the campaign, each micro-influencer’s content should be reviewed to ensure that it’s accurate and upholds the creator’s end of the influencer agreement. Reviewing is a key step for quality assurance to certify that messaging is clear, correct, consistent, and in line with campaign goals.
Regulations vary by platform and type of content, and it’s important to note that FTC violations pose a major risk to brands and can undermine otherwise successful campaigns.
Related Post: 5 Ways Brands & Influencers Break FTC Rules On Instagram
After launch, brands can widen the reach of a campaign by sharing it on their own social media accounts and asking micro-influencers to do the same across social channels.
Amplifying the message of the campaign helps build interest and buzz around campaign messaging and can help sponsored content travel further and make more of an impact.
Brands may also feature campaign content in blog posts, videos, and email newsletters, so long as the specifics of content ownership were discussed, negotiated, and agreed upon prior to the campaign in each micro-influencer’s agreement.
Metrics are a key way to determine the success of a campaign. Reach, views, impressions, comments, shares, and likes give marketers and brands an idea of how many people saw campaign posts and how they responded to those posts. In order to get a better understanding of performance, marketers can compare campaign posts to past posts from influencers and to posts from other brand campaigns.
Pre-campaign KPIs are vital to determining whether or not a micro-influencer campaign reached its goals and whether or not it achieved a positive return on investment.
Preparing campaign reports that outline resources used, relevant metrics, and campaign results will be instrumental to marketers as they plan future campaigns.