Working with Micro-Influencers can often lead to a disappointing outcome for many product-based Indie Biz owners. I know this because it’s been a recurring hot topic of conversation in the business communities I’ve run for the past five years. Most of the time the disappointment has arose from poor communication and unspoken expectations. Gah, what a shame!
I’m super hyped to create this guide to working successfully with Micro-Influencers. I truly believe it’s a fun strategy to grow your creative network, build your audience and feel good whilst connecting with humans who love your work! I’ll dive into the heart of how this process works and how to enter into it with a human-first approach. Let’s get into it shall we?
Who is a Micro-Influencer?
A person who creates online and social media content to share with an engaged audience who’s buying decisions are influenced by them. They could be doing this as a hobby or making an income from it. They might have a niche interest like ‘retro camping’ or ‘colourful fashion’ and their content will probably be lifestyle based. It should be clear who their target audience is and their content will have a magazine feel to it.
Another type of Micro-Influencer is someone who has become known for what they do for a living, what they stand for and/or a passion past time. They haven’t set out to influence their audience’s buying decisions, it’s unfolded organically. Since they’ve built an engaged audience doing what they do, brands and small businesses ask if they can send them relevant products to share.
How does it work? Paid vs Gifting.
When Micro-Influencers work for brands they are paid for the content shared and a contract agreement is drawn up. A sum of money – ranging from £50 to £15k – will be exchanged for a set amount of specific assets. For example: 10 x Instagram Stories with swipe up links, 1 x 10 minute IGTV, 3 x grid posts and 1 x 20 minute You Tube video etc. The brand will ask to see screenshots of their insights before they start working together and then screenshots of the insights from the specific assets shared afterwards. Quite often it will be an Influencer Agency that communicates with the Micro-Influencer on the brand’s behalf.
When working with a small business, it is much more likely to be on a ‘gifting basis’. This means no money is involved and no contract is drawn up. A product is gifted to the Micro-Influencer for free and it is up to them if they choose to feature it or not.
This is a really important distinction and often where a miscommunication can happen.
If you work with a Micro-Influencer without payment and a contract then you can’t expect your product to be featured. There are ways to go about it that give you a much better chance of your product being featured and we’ll dive into that a bit later.
How do you choose who to work with?
Micro-Influencers have a following of between 3,000 to 100,000 and I know Indie Biz owners can get hung up on this top line number. A common assumption is the bigger the following, the more followers/sales to be gained from the share but the potential impact is much more nuanced than this.
Here are 3 ways to decide which Micro-Influencers to team up with:
⚡️ Values and vision. From their bio to their captions, does their content resonate with you and your business? Do you feel compelled to comment on their feed and get involved with what they stand for? This is a great sign that your values and vision align which means you’ll share a similar target audience. It doesn’t matter how many followers a Micro-Influencer has if it’s not the right audience for what you sell.
⚡️ Engagement. Take a look in the comments or watch a live video. Is the Micro-Influencer connecting with their audience and building an authentic community based on common ground? You really want to see their followers getting excited and asking questions in the comments which ideally are being responded to. Social media is about being social after all!
⚡️ Quality. Be sure to check out how they utilise all the functions on Instagram, watch a few of their YouTube videos, read their blog posts and sign up to their email newsletter. Do you find their content inspiring and/or aspirational? Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer interested in that niche – do you feel compelled to purchase?
When you discover someone you’d like to send a product to you can approach with a quick ‘cold’ DM or email but the response you receive and the potential outcome could reflect the same lack of time or effort initially spent.
I prefer to take a ‘human-first’ approach which means following and getting to know them whilst working out if they’ll be a good fit. Really get to know their content so when you do reach out you could suggest a specific product you create being a good match for a specific type of content they share. When you slide into their DMs you can share a thoughtful message that says why you think their audience would love what you do. This thoughtful approach is going to build a more valuable relationship with better communication.
Get organised and be creative!
Yes it’s spreadsheet time! If you’re serious about working with Micro-Influencers to grow your audience and increase your sales then start researching the movers and shakers in your niche/sector. Find via hashtags, the explore page on Instagram of google to find YouTube content. Follow along and take notes on their content so you can reach out thoughtfully.
Remember you’re a brilliant small business owner and the creator of your own products which is seriously exciting! Why not offer the Micro-Influencer the opportunity to interview you, do a live Q&A or put yourself forward to really collaborate with them on a piece of content. Present in an exciting way that goes beyond simply sending a product to feature in an Instagram Story.
The Steps to Make It Happen
1, Research relevant Micro-Influencer’s content from the perspective of a consumer.
2, Reach out thoughtfully in a DM, follow up in an email suggesting fun ways you could work together.
3, Send agreed product in a timely fashion. Include a card and follow-up email with all the info you’d like them to credit. Micro-Influencers receive a lot of product so ensure your packaging and presentation has a wow-factor!
4, Continue chatting on their content like you have been already – this is a gentle way of nudging them to share ; )
5, Keep in touch and let them know when you next have something they’ll love. Organise an exclusive time-sensitive discount code they can share with their audience to track results.
Most of all enjoy the process of building your online network based on getting to know humans who share similar values, vision and why you do what you do. The shares and content created will be much more authentic and result in expanding your following and your products finding more loving new homes!