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The hot new buzzword in marketing is “micro-influencer”. Before you start rolling your eyes, let me assure you that micro-influencers can be a valuable part of your small business marketing strategy.

Micro-influencers can help build your brand at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.

In this article we are going to go over the Who, What, Where, Why and How of micro-influencer marketing so you can get started building your influencer strategy.

What is a Micro-Influencer?

Micro-influencers can be defined as social media users who have between 1,000 – 100,000 followers on any given social media channel — but the most common platform for micro-influencer marketing is Instagram. Micro-influencers have a relatively high level of engagement, anywhere from 2.4% – 8%. See this article for further stats: http://digiday.com/agencies/micro-influencers/

Micro-influencers have an understanding of how social media works, but they may not be bloggers or online entrepreneurs. They might be famous within a niche, but they are not household names.

Micro-influencers have a niche or clear demographic that follows them.

Why Work with Micro-influencers?

It is much more affordable to work with micro-influencers. They are more likely to work for rates that a small business owner can afford. Some may even work in exchange for product.

It’s easier to get in touch with micro-influencers. You don’t have to go through managers or agents. This also reduces costs because agents and managers have fees that need to be factored into a campaign.

As mentioned earlier, micro-influencers have relatively high engagement which can lead to a more impactful campaign.

Often, micro-influencers have a more authentic voice than the high-priced celebrity influencers. This is not always the case, because authenticity exists at every price point— but micro-influencers can feel more “real”.

How do You Work with Micro-Influencers?

Product Placement – This is probably the most common form of micro-influencer campaign. You send product and they take a picture and post it to instagram with a caption that mentions your company and why they love the product.

Instagram Takeovers – You give your instagram account over to the micro-influencer and they post their curated content. They also cross promote on their own instagram.

Social Media Mentions – This is for the twitter or facebook crowd, it doesn’t necessarily require a photo…just a mention and a link.

Demo Videos – The micro-influencer creates a quick demo video using your product and shares it with their audience.

Promote Discount Codes – If you have an affiliate program, you can provide your micro-influencers with discount codes that they can promote to their followers.

Sponsored Events – You can give your micro-influencer a budget to host a sponsored meet-up (tea party, picnic, bbq, wine tasting) and ask that people photograph it and use your company hashtag. You can also send product if it is appropriate.

How do you Compensate Micro-influencers?

Product – Many micro-influencers will work in exchange for product. This is especially true if they are new to online marketing. If you only have product to offer, be sure to be upfront about that when you first reach out to them.

Money – Many experienced micro-influencers have a rate sheet that they will send you outlining their expected compensation per activity and platform. You are free to negotiate, but don’t try to lowball.

Commission – This works best if you have an affiliate program. They micro-influencers are compensated based on leads or sales generated.

Sponsored Events – You give a cash budget for the event and send product. The micro-influencer may ask for additional compensation for hosting the event.

How do You Find Micro-influencers?

There are a number of ways to find micro-influencers. You can…

Check your current followers for interesting people who fall within your target range of followers.

Search hashtags that are relevant to your business.

Make a note of the micro-influencers who are using these tags regularly and have decent engagement.

Start an affiliate program and promote it to your followers, customers and mailing list.

Search for local bloggers within your niche. You can do this in google by searching YOUR CITY NAME + YOUR INDUSTRY + BLOGGERS.

Join a micro-influencer marketing platform. Here is a list… http://tribegrowth.com/instagram-influencer-marketing-platforms/

Once you find your potential influencers, be sure to engage with them by liking and commenting on their content. This will help you build rapport and warm them up before you try to pitch them your proposal.

How do You Approach Micro-influencers?

Once you’ve built a rapport with your potential micro-influencer, you should reach out with an email or direct message.

Your message should be polite but direct. Tell them why you love their account — be specific so it doesn’t sound like a copy/paste letter. Tell them about your company and your product, but keep it brief. They can look you up if they want to hear your whole brand story. Let them know that you are interested in working with them and what you have to offer.

They may respond excitedly or they may have more questions. Be sure to answer all their questions promptly and honestly. Some micro-influencers will offer to send you a rate sheet.

If you get the rate sheet and it is out of your budget, don’t be a jerk about it. Send them a polite note saying it is out of your budget at the moment, but you hope to work with them when your budget allows for it. You don’t want to burn any bridges.

Once you get a yes, be sure to negotiate the terms very clearly before sending any product or payments.

Micro-influencer Disclosures:

One last thing to note — even though micro-influencers are not professional marketers, it’s important and ethical to request that they disclose any sponsored posts or free product. You can write this into your contract negotiations.

If you are unfamiliar with disclosure laws, consult the FTC Endorsement Guide – https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking.

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