Scroll through your social media feed and it probably won’t take a minute before a celebrity you follow posts something about a product they supposedly use.
Posts like these are part of the continually growing trend called influencer marketing — a strategy that only looks to grow, as one survey by Linqia showed that 94% of marketers who used influencer marketing found it to be effective and nearly half of brand marketers plan to increase their budgets for influencer-focused campaigns in 2017.
Other studies have even more pronounced findings, as a study funded by Experticity showed that 82 percent of consumers surveyed for the research say they are highly likely to follow a recommendation made by an influencer.
But not all influencers are created equal — and one’s number of followers fall short in gauging the scope of influence one has.
Influencer marketing is a strategy that focuses on key individuals, those that have influence over potential buyers, and structures marketing efforts around these leaders to drive your brand message.
The key element of this strategy is that instead of marketing directly to your target market, you work with influencers to communicate and spread your message for you.
With their vast reach and millions of followers, celebrities naturally became the first targets of influencer marketing. But while someone like Kourtney Kardashian, who has 22.6 million followers on Twitter, can post something about a brand that garners thousands of likes and retweets, recent studies have shown that celebrity endorsements have consistently underperformed when compared with regular advertisements.
While follower and like numbers from such influencers may be astronomical, they do not necessarily translate to engaged reach.
This is where micro-influencers come in.
Micro-influencers generally have a smaller reach (between 1,000 to 100,000 followers) than celebrity influencers. But they’ve been found to not only have the highest engaged reach, but also the ability to generate authentic conversions.
For example, if a friend you know to be a fitness enthusiast posts something positive about an energy supplement, you’re more likely to trust that friend’s opinion over some random athlete’s (who was probably paid to promote the product).
Other friends who see the post, who are in search of an energy supplement, will most likely try it out for themselves as well, owing to the trust factor more inherent in micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is still effective when they’re looked at as peers. Engagement goes down once you reach a certain threshold of followers, which is almost counterintuitive.
– Kyla Brennan, CEO, HelloSociety
Before we dive into the pros and cons of micro-influencer marketing, let’s establish why Twitter remains a viable platform for your digital marketing efforts.
Despite the growing popularity of other social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter still has 319 million monthly active users, sending out 500 million tweets a day. According to The Balance, 65.8 percent of US companies use Twitter for marketing purposes, and 47 percent of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website.
Of course, like other strategies, you have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding if it’s right for your business. Micro-influencer marketing is no different.
Proven Engagement — Because micro-influencers are just like us — authentic people doing authentic things — people are more likely to engage with them. And because they have a smaller following, they have more time to respond to mentions and comments.
According to a study, micro-influencers have 60 percent higher campaign engagement rates than top creators, and drive 22 times as many conversations each week than the average consumer. Meanwhile, Markerly CEO Sarah Ware says micro-influencers are four times more likely to get a comment than those with more than 10 million followers.
Trustworthiness — Building trust is one of the keys in making your business stand out.
If a micro-influencer genuinely loves your product, the admiration is reflected in their posts about it, which in turn, resonates more with their followers. This authenticity can result in a cultivation of trust between their network and your brand.
A survey of more than 800 Twitter users showed that 49 percent of respondents said they relied on product influencers for product recommendations–second only to the 56 percent who said they relied on tweets from friends.
Cost-Effectiveness — The numbers in this regard may be the most staggering. According to a Digiday report, PewDiePie, with close to 50 million YouTube subscribers, can charge over $100,000 for a branded video. Meanwhile, Instagram influencers with upwards of 6 million followers can charge anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000 per branded photo.
In contrast, 84 percent of micro-influencers on Instagram charge less than $250 per post, while 97 percent charge less than $500. The price plummets further on Twitter, with 90 percent charging less than $150 per post.
According to a report citing Bloglovin’, this means that if you have a $5,000 ad spend, you can have 60 to 200 branded Twitter posts reaching 315,000 followers, with a cost per impression of just $8 to $20. Add to that the organic reach, reposts, and shares, and it translates to an absolute bargain.
What’s more, because micro-influencers are generally more passionate about brands and products, influencers with smaller reach can even spread your marketing message for you in exchange for non-monetary incentives like discounts, product trials, and special offers.
Control — Of course, because you want micro-influencers’ posts to be as authentic as can be, you will need to relinquish much of the control when it comes to how they craft the messaging. There is also a risk that because they are suddenly being compensated for advocating a brand, the content they produce could end up sounding too promotional, which runs contrary to the goals of micro-influencer marketing.
Also while it may not be common, there remains the possibility that a micro-influencer goes off script, which could end up being contradictory to the messaging you have in your campaign and could lead to unforeseeable consequences for your brand.
Likewise, you will also have to depend on them scheduling posts on their own–yet another thing you’d be hard-pressed to control.
Limited reach — Depending on your marketing goals, it could take a lot of micro-influencers to obtain the reach your campaign’s needs. Because while the aforementioned studies have shown micro-influencers to have higher rates of engaged reach, the fact remains that sheer number of followers is not on their side.
Requires time and effort — You might ask, “What doesn’t take time and effort?” And you wouldn’t be wrong. But micro-influencer marketing requires a longer process to execute compared to employing a big-name celebrity.
First, you’ll have to find the right influencers for your brand–those who are not only passionate about your product and produce authentic content, but also who have the right kinds of followers who are more likely to convert.
You’ll also have to deal with more individuals, monitor more posts, and measure multiple analytical data — a true exercise in patience.
To guide you in choosing the right micro-influencer for your brand, look for the following qualities:
Average number of likes, retweets, and comments / number of followers
There are a number of ways to track down the best micro-influencers for your business. Some of the most effective ways are:
If you’ve been on Twitter for a while now, chances are, you’ve already attracted some micro-influencers to your followers list. These are the best chances of finding the most relevant and easiest to engage micro-influencers since they’re already aware of your brand.
Have a quick run-through your followers and identify who among them have a considerable number of followers before analyzing their content, etc, to make this scan easier.
Type in the most relevant topics on your Twitter search bar and click “People.” This will lead you to a list of accounts that are actively tweeting about the searched topic, include the specific topic on their bio, or are known within that niche.
For example, when I type “video marketing” on my Twitter search, I see this:
Use tools like Followerwonk, where you can enter a search term related to your niche or campaign to discover a list of Twitter profiles with details on their follower count, their account age, and social authority. This tool also enables you to filter your search by location, if needed:
Aside from Followerwonk, you can try other tools that you think would cater more to your needs when it comes to finding and handling your influencers.
After you’ve found, assessed, and selected your pool of micro-influencers (you can use Twitter’s comprehensive tips), Twitter suggests a three-stage process for building meaningful relationships with influencers:
Twitter notes that the goal at this stage is to build relationships by offering maximum value and creating awareness–not to get a direct response.
After establishing a relationship with influencers, you can then pitch them about being part of your campaign.
Should they express interest, set clear requirements and objectives (e.g., what type of content should be produced, how many tweets, schedule, etc.) — all while maintaining a continued exchange of value (whether monetary or in kind).
Shortly after you’ve agreed with your influencers, you should continually monitor their posts and the engagement they get, to see if your efforts remain aligned with campaign objectives and your overall marketing plan.
Using tools for Twitter analytics also helps in reviewing the success of the campaign.
Aiming to spread the message that people with learning disabilities deserve to be seen, heard, and included, Mencap partnered with influencers to raise awareness for their #HereIAm campaign.
Influencers like Niki and Sammy tweeted photos of themselves wearing #HereIAm shirts, while encouraging their followers to share their content and click on the Mencap link to find out more about learning disabilities. Here’s a screenshot of one of their tweets:
With just 43 influencer-generated content, Mencap reached more than 10 million social media users, generating 21,000 likes, shares, and comments.
Micro-influencer marketing on twitter can also be mixed with other social media platforms, as proven by Old Navy.
Meghan Rienks, known for her humorous sketches and lifestyle content, was tapped by the clothing brand to appear in a series of videos where she showed her followers (2 million on YouTube, 1.3 million on Instagram, and over 500,000 on Twitter) the myriad of ways to rock functional pieces from Old Navy for different occasions.
In one of the videos, Rienks showed how to accentuate a standard long black jumpsuit to fit various settings — from more glamorous parties, to more low key hangouts. That one video alone garnered just short of 32,000 views on Old Navy’s Instagram account.
Singapore-based Singtel partnered with local comedian Hossan Leong for their one-day Twitter campaign #Need4GSpeed promoting the telco’s 4G service. The real-time campaign also created personalized video responses for influential bloggers in Singapore to share with their followers.
Merely two hours into the eight-hour campaign, #Need4GSpeed saw organic interaction replacing the blogger driven engagement. By the end of the campaign, @Singtel got over 500,000 tweet impressions, 32,000 engagements, and 1.54 million impressions on the Promoted Trend Day.
As noted by Campaign Asia, Singtel’s daily brand mentions grew 17 times more than the daily average, while traffic to Singtel 4G’s website increased by 39 percent.
You can see all about the behind-the-scenes of Singtel’s Twitter campaign here.
Apart from the points above supporting influencer marketing, it is important to note that this strategy tends to be more effective with millennials and younger generations — a crucial segment that has $200 billion in purchasing power.
This is a segment that values authenticity and building relationships, which have led them to lean towards influencers over branded content.
And while influencer marketing has proven its effectivity, the surefire way to ensure maximizing value from your Twitter influencer marketing is by continuing to produce unique, engaging content.