The days of the average shopper’s primary destination being a physical store (whether near or far) are long gone. There remain some product types that drag buyers to brick-and-mortar locations more often than not — toiletries, cleaning products, and regular groceries, for instance — but even those exceptions are being threatened by the ravenous ecommerce world.
It’s easy to understand why. Humans may have evolved as hunter-gatherers, but we’ve never been strongly affixed to that concept, so we’ve adapted it to suit changing circumstances — and today, buyers don’t need to leave the safety of their homes (and tribes, essentially) to secure the goods they need. The internet offers them incredible power at their fingertips.
But this change in how people buy has also changed the demands of the marketing industry. Today, marketers must find ways to reach shoppers who mostly disregard traditional shopping routes and stick to buying online. Since digital-first shoppers are wary, tech-savvy, and granted enough options to be extremely picky, you might wonder how best to approach them.
Thankfully, I’m here to give you the key to this process. Here it is: micro-influencers. Not sure what they are, or how you can use them? Allow me to elaborate:
What is a micro-influencer?
There’s no consensus on the specific numbers of followers involved, but in essence, a micro-influencer is someone who has significant influence over the opinions of a fairly large group of people sharing a particular interest — a group large enough to be very valuable for marketers, but not so big that the influencer’s rates likely to be exorbitant. A group of 2000 followers, for instance, would be entirely suitable.
There are two reasons why pursuing micro-influencers specifically is a good idea: firstly, the more niche their appeal, the more weight their opinions are likely to have, and secondly, the cost is low enough that you can work with numerous micro-influencers instead of one or two mainstream influencers — diversifying your efforts and protecting you from the threat of one of your influencer partners having a sudden drop in popularity (or being involved in a scandal).
Add that all to the innate value of influencer marketing — its platform-spanning power, and its rapid scalability — and you have a potent tool indeed. If you run a digital-first business, or even a digital-only business (stores without physical premises are commonly bought and sold through business marketplaces), then finding the right influencer is the absolute fastest way you can grow it. Is that something to pass up?
Why trust has become so important for marketing
Trust has become a huge part of the online retail process in general, and digital-first shoppers are more concerned about it than anyone else. When someone reaches a conclusion on an ecommerce site, they can buy it (trusting that it’s the right product for them) or seek to get it from a physical store (trusting that the trip is worth their time) — either way, they don’t want to be misled, particularly given how common it is for product descriptions to be packed with lies.
Micro-influencers provide a natural route to the type of trust that’s extremely difficult to find. Having provided content for their audiences over months or even years, proving their reliability and the significance of their opinions, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt — their followers will readily follow their suggestions (niche content is more compelling as it is).
Now compare this to a regular brand creating social media content. Will it entertain people? Possibly. Convince someone to buy? Very unlikely. Trusting typical brand content might as well be trusting a car dealer to give accurate information about car quality. But as we’ll look at next, influencer trust can actually survive monetization.
The mutual benefit of an influencer relationship
The traditional promotional partnership is fairly simple: you pay someone a certain amount to promote your products, and if you can pay the requested amount, then it doesn’t matter what the product is (provided it isn’t anything clearly inappropriate for the audience). But the influencer partnership — when done well, at least — is more nuanced than that.
In the most useful type of influencer relationship, every party involved benefits in some way, and that extends to the influencer’s followers. The influencer makes money for doing what they would have been doing anyway, the promoter has its products noticed by a new and relevant audience, and the followers get product recommendations (and possibly even discount codes) that are likely to interest them.
It all comes down to the micro-influencer’s determination to remain as objective and honest as possible. If they only work with companies whose products they genuinely rate highly, then they’ll retain their integrity — and since their followers will pick up on that, they’ll be more likely to actually try your products.
How you can find suitable micro-influencers
If you’ve decided that you’d like to engage in some micro-influencer marketing, then you might be wondering how you’re supposed to find relevant micro-influencers. Well, it all comes down to carrying out careful research and using automation tools wherever possible.
Start by searching through Google, Reddit, and all viable social media platforms for pertinent keywords. You’re looking for the most popular threads and posts so you can use that information to find the users with the most influential opinions. You can also use JARVEE to rapidly find and join relevant groups across various platforms, so be sure to give that a try.
Once you’ve narrowed things down, trace the shortlisted influencers online to find all their social media accounts: see many followers they have, and what type of content they typically produce. That information will allow you to decide which of them (if any) you’d like to work with. Aim for those with content that matches your topic and tone. For one example, if you’re a funny brand, try to work with funny influencers.
When you find an influencer with a modest number of relevant followers, reach out to them so they can try your products. If they don’t like them, leave things there (there’s no point in forcing it). But if they do like them, go ahead and pitch a working relationship. Getting them to consistently mention your products to their followers will greatly aid your efforts to reach digital-first shoppers.
Micro-influencers are exceptionally valuable. They’re extremely compelling in their niches, and not so costly that you can’t afford to work with them. So what are you waiting for? It might be time to refresh your marketing strategy.
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