Want to grow your online engagement? Increase brand awareness? And drive major sales? Look no further than micro influencer marketing.
Micro influencer marketing is a new but rapidly growing concept. By now, you will for sure know what influencer marketing is. You may even have bought products recommended by them. And micro-influencers are really no different – only on a smaller scale but much more effective.
This 5-part essential guide gives you an overview of micro influencer marketing and how it can help your business grow.
Who are micro influencers?
There is no strict criteria of who qualifies as a micro influencer, but at coStory, we focus on Instragrammers with 1000 to 100,000 followers. Although they have a smaller audience, they appeal to a specific niche or topic. For example, a beauty micro influencer may only have 5000 followers, but they are all beauty enthusiasts and therefore highly engaged in the content.
Since 2017, micro influencers are experiencing a huge surge in popularity. According to Google Trends, searches for “Micro-Influencer” have risen 325% over the past few years.
Moreover, a World Federation of Advertisers survey of 34 major advertisers with a collective $59bn (£45bn) outlay on global media and marketing found that 65% plan to increase spend on influencer-marketing.
Why micro influencers?
People hate traditional banner ads
Social media users are sick of ads. Adblocker installation is at its historic high and even if Instagram ads are unblockable, people develop ‘banner blindness’, meaning they automatically tune-out when they see a banner ad.
A large part of why micro influencer marketing is so successful, is it removes the barriers of traditional advertising and introduces your brand to a new audience via a more trustworthy source, high quality User Generated Content.
Moreover, Instagram recently changed its algorithm to favour quality content. When an influencer recommends a product, it can come across as an authentic recommendation from a friend – genuine and relatable.
Micro influencers have higher engagement
A Markerly study found that as an influencer’s number of followers increases, his likes and comments rate decreases. It is much easier for an account with 1000 followers to get 200 likes per post vs an account with 1 million followers to get 200,000 likes, although both equates to a 30% engagement rate.
People trust micro influencers more
Because of their smaller follower count, micro-influencers are able to more closely connect with their followers and are more relatable.
A recent study by Experticity showed that 82% of customers are very likely to follow a recommendation from a micro influencer. Statistics show that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that is recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.
Micro influencers are more affordable
According to a recent White Paper published by Cloudbreakr, the price tag of influencer marketing in Hong Kong is as follows:
It is clearly very expensive to get these influencers to post branded content. For the same amount, brands can work with a lot more micro-influencers. At coStory, brands can work with a micro influencer for less than HK$200. Find out more about our prices by contacting us!
Moreover, micro influencers generate a higher engagement rate, which means the cost per engagement (CPE) is significantly lower than macro influencers.
Where to start
Setting the right goals
The first step in running any effective marketing campaign is setting clear goals and expectations. Needless to say, these goals should be measurable.
Micro influencers can help drive many different business goals. The most common types of goals include:
• Build brand awareness
• Drive sales
• Grow the brand’s social following
• Get reviews
• Live stream participation
• Increase site traffic
• Encourage in-store visits
• Event participation:
Choosing the right micro influencers
This is the likes and comments an influencer gets. The way we calculate engagement rate at coStory is to take the 3 most recent posts of an influencer and use the following formula:
Engagement rate = (# likes + # comments) / # followers
E.g. a post has 100 likes and 10 comments and the influencer has 1100 followers. The engagement rate is 110/1100 = 10%.
Engagement is the most important criteria you should look at since this determines whether the influencer has real influence among his followers. For our micro influencers, an engagement rate of 10%+ is considered good.
Good influencers produce high quality content. This of course means a high quality photo and caption but most important of all is a good STORY. ‘Show, don’t tell’ — good influencers tell good stories. They are able to make your brand value interesting and relatable.
For example, a bad influencer may post a photo of a bottle of beer with captions hard-selling how good it is. Whereas a good influencer may post a picture of himself having a great time with his friends, holding a bottle of beer. The story behind the post – one of friendship and fun – tell people more about the beer brand than a cookie-cutter ad is ever going to.
A good vs bad influencer post – as evidenced by the engagement count:
Just having a higher engagement rate is not enough. You need to make sure the influencer is aligned with your brand.
To determine this, you want to look at who his followers are and what content he posts. For example, if you are a fitness brand, it makes sense to partner with influencers who share a similar audience to your ideal customers, such as bodybuilders or yoga instructors.
At coStory, we analyse each micro influencer and categorise them into 20+ categories so you can easily find the right influencers for your campaigns.
Number of followers
Many influencers set their own prices based at least partly on the number of followers they have. However, given what we have said before, the importance of this metric is diminishing fast, especially since there is no way to tell if the followers actually saw a post or not.
Therefore, at coStory, we price influencers based on the engagement they get only and do not rely on follower numbers.
Fake (bought) likes and followers
It is important to be able to tell real followers and likes from bought ones since bought followers will not be engaged. There are many tools like Social Blade that can help you with this. At coStory, we analyse our influencer’s followers to determine if they are real or fake.
Get on the same page
Before working with an influencer, it is important to ensure that both sides are on the same page. This requires you to set the right campaign requirements so the influencers can submit posts accordingly.
We have found that certain elements in a post to get more engagement and it makes sense to include those as criteria. For more information on this, see our post on “What Makes a Killer Influencer Post”.
Working with micro influencers
Once you have decided on who to work with, it is time to determine how to work with him.
Rewarding micro influencers
The three main ways brands reward influencers are pay per engagement, pay per post and product sponsorship.
Pay per post is essentially where the brand and influencer agree ahead of time a fixed fee to pay for one post. The price is generally set by the influencer and takes into account follower count, engagement rate, market prices and more.
Product sponsorship is where the brand gives a product to the influencer to review. This works well for some brands (beauty, fashion, food) but less well for others and also works only for some goals but not others (event participation)
Pay per engagement is our preferred way to reward our influencers. Our influencers are paid according to the engagement they generated, counted 7 days after the campaign started.
This aligns both the brand and influencer and ensures they are both working towards the same goal – engagement.
Influencers will be incentivised to create the best quality posts since it directly impacts their rewards, unlike pay per post and product sponsorship.
Using the right platform
Do It Yourself
One option is to look for the right influencers yourself. The best way to do it is to find influencers who already engage with your brand content. So look within your own followers. For example, when Coca Cola wanted to launch a local campaign, they naturally found Mingjai since he was a fan of the soft drinks company and has a decent following on social media.
Another way to find potential influencers is to search for relevant hashtags. For example, searching for #hkfoodie on Instagram gives you many influencers focused on the food industry. You may also concentrate on your competitors’ frequently used hashtags or location tags.
Once you have lined up your influencers, the next step is working with them on the campaign. This requires you to vet their posts, then keep track of them once the campaign is live. You’ll also have to handle payments to them and delivery of any sponsored products.
You can also use influencer discovery tools to find influencers by entering your requirements. However, most of these tools charge a monthly fee and only gives you macro influencers and not micro ones.
Using an influencer marketplace is another option. They are the in-between option – they require more work than using an agency but less than doing it yourself. Influencers set their own prices. If you find the right match, you can contact them via the marketplace’s internal contact mechanism.
Market places normally provide payment gateways and security by using escrows, giving brands and influencers more confidence in handling transactions. Most market places charge a fixed monthly fee.
Using an agency is by far the easiest method for most brands. The agency handles all the sourcing, targeting, contacting and tracking of influencers, saving brands a lot of trouble. Agencies tend to charge a fee per campaign rather than a fixed fee like marketplaces.
We at coStory is a micro-influencer agency. We focus on micro-influencer campaigns and have closer connections with our micro-influencers since they actively signed up on our website. The fact that these influencers have signed themselves up means they are usually more willing to work with our brands.
Unlike a marketplace where influencers are free to set their own prices, all our influencers’ pay are directly related to the number of engagements they generate.
How you measure the success of your campaign depends on what you are trying to achieve. See Chapter 4 for more on this.
This depends on what you are trying to achieve in running the campaign. For example, if your goal is to raise brand awareness, you will be using metrics like and engagement, reach and website traffic to measure the results. Conversely, if your goal is to increase event participation, then you will be using numbers like foot traffic and sales.
Some of the more common performance metrics you can use for measuring the impact of micro-influencers are:
• Engagement rate – likes, comments, shares, etc.
• Brand sentiment – how people are talking about your brand
• Foot traffic – customers visiting your physical store
• Website traffic – customers visiting your website
• Sales – conversions and revenues generated
However, do note that measuring the success of an influencer campaign is never an easy task. Sales and website traffic can be affected by many things. Therefore, at coStory, we focus on the most direct measurement – engagement rate. We guarantee a minimum engagement rate for our campaigns and if that is not reached, we do not charge.
Have the right mindset
As you hopefully have understood from this guide, influencer marketing is nothing like traditional online advertising. Brands need to embrace a change of mind set in order to run great campaigns.
No more hard-selling
Hard selling does NOT work for influencer campaigns. As we said earlier, social media users are developing ad fatigue and are annoyed to see ads on their social media fees. If influencers are posting hard selling ad-like content, this defeats the purpose of running an influencer campaign.
Brands need to learn to give influencers creative control and allow them to speak to their followers with their own voice. This means giving them more freedom over the photo content and caption. Give them guidelines on what qualities you want to highlight but do not give them a pre-made copy.
Focus on good Storytelling
Influencers are storytellers and brands need to realise this. Good influencers help brands tell their stories and do not just push the product to their followers. That is crucial in remaining authentic and relatable.
For example, Nike is about winning and Apple is about thinking differently. Their ads are not about shoes and phones but about their core values – who they are as companies. And this is ever more important in influencer marketing.
Think long term
It is a marathon, not a sprint. Influencer marketing campaigns do create a short term spike in awareness but influencer marketing should have a place in brands’ long term social strategy too. Having influencers as brand ambassadors on monthly retainer contracts is a good idea to optimise for the long term.
For example, Coca Cola has a long term partnership with its influencers:
Let us help you!
Micro influencer marketing is a game-changer in social media marketing. It moves brands from the distant to the relatable, from the advertiser to the storyteller, from the company to the friend.
If done right, micro influencer campaigns can boost your social media game and ultimately your sales but doing it right takes time, energy, dedication and experience. That is why you should hire those who are in the know!
Win in the age of word of mouth