In this blog series, we’ll look at how to create a more authentic brand—and combine it with effective performance marketing to generate better connections, increased loyalty and higher ROI. Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.
The importance of influencers for Better Brands
Brand partnerships with influencers have continued to grow over the past several years, and for good reason: Research has shown that they can have an impact far greater than typical digital advertising.
That’s because influencers already have a strong connection with their followers, a bond built on shared interests and trust. And when an influencer has good things to say about your brand, it takes on added weight—more like getting a recommendation from a friend than being the target of a marketing message. That’s an important step on your way to building and maintaining a Better Brand.
Choosing the right influencers
If you’re considering using influencers (or refining your influencer strategy), keep in mind that not just any influencer will do. Even influencers with millions of followers won’t be as effective for your needs if they don’t have something in common with your brand. Besides, the cost to reach those millions of followers might outweigh the benefits.
For example, think about the number of Facebook friends you have. How many of those are actual “friends,” people who react to your posts and engage with you regularly? Just as people with 500 Facebook friends probably don’t truly interact with most of them, it’s can be harder for an influencer to create strong, personal connections with an audience when that audience is in the millions.
That’s why we recommend checking out micro-influencers, who reach a wide variety of niche audiences. Definitions vary, but we’ve seen estimates of anywhere from 1,000 to 500,000 followers (although we think a range of 1,000-25,000 sounds about right). Typically, these influencers have a higher level of engagement with their followers, who feel they have more of a relationship with the person.
That leads to deeper trust and loyalty, which is crucial when an influencer is spreading your brand message. How crucial? According to a study from ExpertVoice, 82% of consumers surveyed said they were highly likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer.
Other ‘micro’ advantages
While engagement is the key to success, there are other benefits to working with micro-influencers. First of all, the cost. Does your budget include tens of thousands of dollars or more for influencer campaigns? Partnering with traditional influencers is expensive; for a person with more than 2 million followers, one recent article noted, the price was estimated at $25,000 or more—for each post.
Contrast that with a micro-influencer in the same segment, but with a tighter niche. Her followers number about 9,000, but the estimated cost for a post is just $130. The followers-per-dollar reach is a little lower than the traditional influencer, but again, it’s $130. And you’re probably gaining access to a more loyal fanbase, too.
Another advantage is the flexibility to target different segments. Instead of spending a big chunk of your budget on one traditional influencer, you can work with several micro-influencers—each with a slightly different niche. That will help you reach a broader audience, with tailored content, while still keeping your costs far lower.
Where to find micro-influencers
Experts recommend first looking within—you might have some micro-influencers among your followers already. You also can do hashtag searches to see who’s building an audience in areas you want to target.
Then, get in touch with them! Tell them what you like about their content. Follow them on their various channels. Consider offering them a complimentary night or weekend, dinner in your restaurant, a spa service or something else in exchange for creating posts or other content during their stay.
Those posts might not reach 2 million people—but they’ll reach an audience very likely to take notice, and likely to take that recommendation to heart. In the end, that’s what true influence is all about.