Working with influencers is like braving the wild, wild west. Without any specific guidelines or code of ethics, each brand-influencer partnership is unique and can result in really great coverage, really awful coverage or something in between.
With each passing year, influencer trends shift dramatically, too. The of-the-moment Instagram star is the micro-influencer, a social media personality with a small (1k – 50k) but highly engaged following. Every follower is part of a community and has chosen to be there. Followers are either highly interested in the topic the micro-influencer covers or strongly invested in the influencer’s life. Compare this to celebrity influencers with 1MM+ followers—the influencer-follower connection isn’t as strong.
Micro-influencers can cover niche topics (for example, see @jesskidding for Disney-focused content and a pastel aesthetic or @amillionlittlepages for endless book recommendations and reviews). They can also be regular people sharing a glimpse of their daily lives. Micro-influencers are cost-effective due to their smaller followings, but most importantly, they’re often easy to work with and willing to share content that suits both parties.
Guaranteed engagement, authentic content and trust amongst followers make micro-influencers an excellent choice for brand partnerships. So, how do you go about choosing the right micro-influencer for your brand?
Hashtags are the best method for influencer discovery. Start with general queries. For example, if you’re a Nashville restaurant looking for a micro-influencer to dine in and post about your food, start with #nashville. You can refine your search from there—for example, try #nashvillefood, #nashvillefoodie, #nashvilleeats, #nashvilledinner. Scroll through the populated images and develop a list of potential micro-influencers for your partnership.
Once you’ve found a few prospective micro-influencers, peruse their feed posts to discover others with similar interests. Scroll through comments and look for accounts that interact with your micro-influencer often. Influencers build real friendships on the platform, so by paying attention to the conversations occurring in the comments section, you’ll likely find additional micro-influencers that are good fits for your brand.
Once you’ve developed a list of micro-influencers with 10-15 options, consider the following criteria to find your perfect partnership.
Does the influencer’s authentic voice match your brand’s voice?
Start by reviewing your website and marketing collateral. Do you employ a casual, conversational tone, or are your marketing materials drowning in jargon? Do you select formal language or use a specific dialect?
Make sure the micro-influencer you partner with is comfortable using the style of language your brand employs. This is critical to ensure posts about your organization or product are a natural fit on the feed. Content that’s overtly “sales-y” leads to minimal engagement.
Does the influencer’s aesthetic match your brand’s aesthetic?
You can pull directly from your brand standards to determine your organization’s aesthetic. Do you use punchy, in-your-face colors and graphics? Or do you stick with a neutral palette? Influencers spend a lot of time and energy curating their feed’s aesthetic. You won’t have much luck asking an influencer who posts all black-and-white images to promote your brightly colored product.
Does the influencer’s following reach your target demographic?
Once you’ve narrowed the field to your top five, take a look at the micro-influencers’ followings. Read comments on feed posts to get a sense of who’s following along and why.
The micro-influencer’s age can be a good indicator of the type of follower he or she attracts. It will also help to review previous brand partnerships and the types of products this individual has successfully promoted.
Many industry leaders have predicted micro-influencers to be the top marketing trend for 2021. Stay ahead of the curve and diversify your influencer partnerships sooner rather than later. Don’t be surprised when your partnerships yield double or triple the expected dividends!