Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular, especially in B2C industries. If you have an Instagram account, you’ve most likely come across an influencer while scrolling through your feed. The ad is typically slick or flashy, with the influencer selling some sort of product. But Instagram didn’t invent the influencer.
Influencer marketing has been around since the late 19th century, starting with Nancy Green as Aunt Jemima. We’ve all experienced macro-influencers in traditional advertising — even former President Ronald Reagan was one.
What’s different today is that influencer marketing isn’t for just print, radio, or TV. It’s for digital platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. And to be an influencer today doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an attractive celebrity or a public figure. But it does mean you need a large following so that a business or brand can leverage and get the message out and build trust with your clients.
Yet size doesn’t always matter. You may find that you have a digital influencer with a wide following as a part of your marketing plan, but that person isn’t the best fit for your business. Enter micro-influencers, who typically have at least 1,000-2000 followers and upwards to 100,000.
This may sound like another buzzy term or a fad that won’t last very long, but micro-influencers have become an increasingly valuable resource for marketing on digital platforms — and not just for B2C businesses. We’ll explore how micro-influencers can help boost your B2B marketing efforts at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods.
Besides the number of followers that larger influencers and micro-influencers have, there are some key differences which you can leverage for your B2B company’s needs.
You can bank on authenticity.
Granted, there’s some familiarity with a celebrity selling products, but your audience is more specialized than the general public. You operate in a niche industry which requires some expertise about what you’re selling. This means your audience will recognize, and ultimately trust, someone like an industry expert over a celebrity.
Yet trusting someone who has extensively used your product or service or has recommended your business to other people in a reviewer or consulting role — it’s a much shorter bridge for your audience to cross because these people are closer to them than a paid celebrity spokesperson.
The relationships you’re looking for already exist.
If your micro-influencer is an industry expert, most likely they have already built relationships with other businesses and leaders in your field. They may just have 2,000 followers on Twitter, but the followers will be quality followers interested in this person's content and ideas. And the micro-influencer isn't making recommendations to a large group of random people. They’re people like you and people like your ideal customers.
Your micro-influencer is probably someone you already know.
Just as these relatable people are close to your ideal audience, these analysts and power users are also close to you and your business. You already know and trust them from your own experience. So just as you are leveraging the relationships micro-influencer has with their audience, you’re also leveraging the relationship you have with a micro-influencer. It’s a lot easier to create a win-win situation where you’re able to expand your business while the micro-influencer can increase their own status and reputation.
Your micro-influencer’s content is on your ideal customer’s level.
So often in the B2B sphere, language can get drown in industry jargon. With social media, usually language must be tighter and more to-the-point. But it’s also more conversational and casual, even if it’s about a highly specialized service.
A micro-influencer is dialoguing with their audience about likes and dislikes often. Their followers follow them because of these expert opinions and analyses. And this is what marketing is truly about — connecting with your ideal audience in an authentic way about something that could possibly benefit them.
Micro-influencers are easier to work with.
A micro-influencer is already in similar circles as your business and their on-the-ground viewpoint is much closer to your audiences than a public figure. So you’re not going through managers, an agency, or other third-parties. This also means you won’t be spending as much money to have them as your marketing partner.
So where do you find these micro-influencers?
How to Find and Use a Micro-influencer for Your B2B Business
First, it will take some digging into your own network as you think about what marketing campaigns your launching or currently have running. Start looking for people at industry events and conferences as well as your own customers. You can look in your own digital backyard and see what followers are engaging your brand if you don’t already have strong relationships with them.
This also involves looking for what your potential customers are looking for, with keyword and hashtag research. If there’s some intersection between what prospective clients look for and your prospective micro-influencer, then that’s a good sign to work with them.
As you find people, check to see if their social media usage is up to par — is it a soliloquy of posts and tweets, or is there engagement? Do you trust them to represent you online? Follow them for a while and see if they’re a good fit. LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Once this person meets your criteria, you can ease them into sharing your posts and tweets and see how they perform. This should be a slow process because you’re building a relationship and building trust between each other. But you should also be checking metrics, because ultimately, a micro-influencer should be helping to expand your business.
Micro-influencers attempt to accomplish what most of business runs on — referrals. A micro-influencer can help boost your brand's profile by just being themselves, without any sales pressure or flashy marketing pitches.
- With influencer marketing, you can utilize people that go well with your identity and are authentic to the products that you are trying to sell
- The relationships that are already provided through influencers can help you target the people that you are trying to reach
- Usually if you are targeting someone to be an influencer, you already know who they are which makes it easier to build a closer relationship to them
- Micro influencers are usually easy to work with, because they already know what their image is and how to operate what you need them to online