You can’t deny it. Influencers will be even more important in many marketers’ strategies this year.

According to November 2016 research by eMarketer, almost 50% of marketers surveyed in the US said they would increase their budgets for influencer-focused campaigns in 2017. And with reports estimating that influencers on average generate $6.50 of revenue per $1 spent, you can see why marketers are all trying to get a slice of that pie.

With so many companies competing to grab the biggest influencers, it can feel near impossible to get your own influencer marketing activities going. Especially when you’re first starting out and don’t have the budget to pay off someone with a large following, how are you going to get that “influence” that you need? That’s where micro-influencers come in.

Characterized by their smaller audience sizes but higher engagement rates, micro-influencers in these past couple of years have largely been leveraged by smaller companies. But considering how the influencer marketing economy is developing nowadays, this should be changing very soon.

But don’t be fooled by the word “micro” — smaller doesn’t necessarily mean that you can be more lax. Here are a few tips for increasing your success with micro-influencers:

1. Choose the right micro-influencers

An email I received for my gaming/tech review YouTube channel with a 98% male audience. Knowing them, I’m not really sure they’d consider adding a cute bunny lamp to their gaming setups anytime soon…
I hate to state the obvious but some brands really need to hear this: before you approach any micro-influencer, do thorough research on their audience and content before deciding whether they are fit for your campaigns.

It’s easy to assume things about a content creator after looking at a few pieces of their work, and think that they’re perfect for your brand. You type up your email, believing you know plenty about them and you end up sending this:

If you’ve seen enough of Mr. EposVox‘s content, you’d know that (a) his real name is Adam; (b) most people probably wouldn’t consider him as someone who “lifts” (sorry, Adam!); and (c) energy powder for gamers is a little bit of a stretch from the kind of content he has on his channel.

I know finding influencers can be both tedious and time-consuming. But at the end of the day, you want these campaigns to work in your favor, and the most competent content creators want to work with brands that genuinely understand their content and allow them to deliver value to their audience. So try to put a little more TLC in your search — you’ll have a better chance at getting that “yes” that you need from creators that you need.

Micro-influencers want to work with brands that understand their content and deliver value to their audience. Click to Tweet

2. Have realistic expectations

As with any marketing campaign, there is always a possibility of failure. And though micro-influencers reportedly have higher engagement rates, this doesn’t mean that all campaigns will have the same kind of performance or lead to as many direct sales as you’d hope. I think a lot companies forget this, but trial and error is necessary to find your sweet spot in the world of digital.

Yes, there are certainly times when the micro-influencer themselves are partially at fault when things go south. But more often than not, a number of other factors are also at play (e.g. context, timing, ineffective language, etc.). It would be naive to simply place the blame on the content creator, especially when they’ve given your campaign the same kind of quality (or even better) as the rest of their content.

After every campaign, it’s important to look at analytics and reflect on what could’ve caused things to be less than ideal. Additionally, consider what you or the content creator could’ve done to achieve higher performance. Then, move forward with all this information in mind, fine tuning your own expectations and using that acquired knowledge to create better campaigns in the future.

Be flexible enough to accept that presumably “sub-par” results are inevitable in the ever-changing digital environment, especially when it comes to smaller content creators who don’t have the mass reach macro-influencers have. But never consider these perceived failures as simple failures — learn from them and improve.

3. Build a long-term relationship

Given the relatively smaller audience size of these micro-influencers, a number of companies have a tendency to be condescending towards these content creators. The logic here is “We’re giving these small shots an opportunity, so they clearly owe us.” That’s not a great way to approach the situation.

As tempting as it can be to assume power in the relationship, remember that good macro-influencers are hard to find and it’s good to have a few who are dedicated enough to do multiple pieces of content for you in the long run. Who knows, some of them might even become big shots themselves in the future, and wouldn’t it be a shame to find yourself regretting the way you treated them when they were still “micro”.

Micro-influencers are putting their reputation on the line to provide awareness for your brand. Respect that. Click to Tweet

That said, it’s best to make things a collaborative effort. While you are paying them or providing a discount/product, don’t forget that they are also giving you access to their intimate and very trusting audience. They are putting their reputation and whatever follower count they have on the line to provide awareness for your brand. Respect that.

The best macro-influencers won’t hesitate to drop your brand if they feel uncomfortable working with you. With so many companies going digital nowadays, they should be able to find opportunities elsewhere.

Have you had experience with macro-influencers before? Are you considering utilizing macro-influencers for your future campaigns? Do you have any other tips you’d like to add to this list?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂