Does it feel like marketing is changing every day? And even the niches are becoming too much for you to handle. First, there was influencer marketing, and now everyone is talking about micro-influencers.
Well, let’s break it down.
It may feel like something new, but influencer marketing has been around since marketing has been a thing. But it was Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald then, but now it is people that you can relate to or even meet in your everyday life.
Choosing influencers over celebrities for endorsements makes it easy for the brand to reach the audience. Just think about it, when Tom Cruise jumps off a building for an energy drink advertisement, people notice him more than the drink. And Tom Cruise, however awesome, is still very unrelatable. But if someone who looks like your target audience is seen enjoying the drink and talking about it, your customers will notice.
No wonder, influencer marketing has been a steady trend over the past few years.
Of all the types of influencers based on follower count, micro-influencers are a great choice for several reasons. First and foremost being that they make it easier for brands to connect with their target audience more effectively.
And since there are so many micro-influencers to choose from, here is a quick guide on how you can simplify the selection process with your brand style guide.
Before we go any further, let us clarify who a micro-influencer is. If you are going to work with them, it is better to know all you can about this category of professionals. Within the industry of influencers, an influencer with a social media following of 1000 to 100,000 is a micro-influencer. They are usually everyday people with a specific niche and a well-established authority over that niche.
When you look at the following that the most popular influencers command (usually in tens of millions), this may seem like a smaller number. But if you are looking to take your product to the masses and develop a solid lead funnel, then investing in micro-influencer campaigns is the step to take.
This next section will clarify any doubts you may have over our previous statements.
There is security in working with a bigger name in any business. Because the stature usually means they get work done and that is comforting to everyone around. But the influencer industry is slightly different. Because when you engage with a micro-influencer for a marketing campaign, you get :
Influencers with a 1m+ following usually have a diverse audience. That is why not all of their content gets the landmark engagement they are known for. But with a micro-influencer, the thousands who are there are there for a reason. They resonate with the niche and trust the influencer to be a domain expert. So the engagement and eventual conversion will definitely be what you want.
Being people from all walks of life, micro-influencers hold the potential to create relatable, valuable, and personalized content. Larger influencers often get away with outsourced content creation that ends up being a little too generic for some brands.
The global influencer marketing industry is expected to touch a valuation of 16.4 billion dollars in 2022. Now that number does not come easy. Influencer marketing is turning out to be quite expensive for brands (picking the right influencer is a major struggle as well). If you want to optimize your costs without a huge impact on the results, working with micro-influencers who charge way less but deliver a lot more is what you need.
We have an overview of what the world of micro-influencers looks like, so let’s move on to the topic of the day. No matter what tier of influencers you plan to work with, you should know how to pick the right person for the job. It is indeed a little easy with big names because you are playing the odds and the engagement volume somehow pulls through no matter who you pick.
But for micro-influencers, you need a specific weapon in your arsenal. And that is your brand style guide or brand guidelines.
For the uninitiated, a brand style guide is a document that contains details of your brand’s visual assets, tone, brand voice, authorized imagery, mission, vision, and anything else that makes you who you are.
And you can use that document as a basis for picking the right micro-influencer for your brand.
If you don’t have one, it is time to create one now. All the major brands have them in place and it makes outsourcing a piece of cake.
Every business has a voice and tone to communicate the intent along with the messaging in their campaigns. The language you use, including the words and specific phrases in your brand’s communication, makes up the voice, while the packaging (formal vs. informal, blog vs. video) is the tone.
Now, you need someone who can match the brand voice and more specifically the tone that you use to their audience without seeming inauthentic. So, the first step in picking the right micro-influencer for your brand must be to match the voice and tone of their social media posts to your branding guidelines.
If their medium of expression matches, then that is one hurdle crossed.
Influencers often work with an agency for brand collaborations, so when you approach agencies to choose the influencer, share this guide in advance. Also, ensure that you include snippets of important phrasing, language, and notes on tone in the branding guidelines.
This will shorten the pool, and you can then work your way up to the most suitable micro-influencer.
If you are a business with a presence on the internet, you know that the Gen Z and Millennial customer base put values above everything else. Associating with a micro-influencer that does not share the brand’s values can result in a huge backlash. The value fit has a bigger impact than matching the optics and the written word.
In your brand style guide, detail your mission, vision, and the values that make your brand what it is. This must include everything your audience loves about you. And once you have it, it is time to explore the other side.
Take a look at the micro-influencer’s personal and professional content to date. They are in the public eye, and you do not want to make a faux pas by ignoring something in the past. People remember a lot, and the internet is too good at digging things up.
Shortlist the micro-influencers that you feel can stand for the same things as your brand does without it seeming advertorial.
Aesthetics runs social media especially if your target audience falls into the Gen Z and Millennial generation. This is the first thing they notice and odds are that if they are following a micro-influencer, the influencer also has a strong aesthetic.
Social media aesthetics matter a lot for retail, beauty, fashion, healthcare, and allied industries. So if your brand works in these, sit up and understand that you have to match your aesthetic with the micro-influencer before you proceed.
Your audience is used to your aesthetic and visual style, which makes it easy for building brand recall. By engaging with an influencer whose aesthetic does not match yours, you are jeopardizing that recall. It also makes the content seem forced which the audience will not appreciate.
Of course, you can pick a micro-influencer whose creative thinking differs from yours, but if you can’t find a common ground, it is time to move on.
Brand style guides, especially for brands working in social media marketing, must contain detailed snapshots of feed aesthetics, color schemes, filter usage, fonts, emoji bank, symbols, and so on.
Are you a video-only brand, or do you believe in long captions even on Instagram? We are asking this because this needs to be one of the deciding factors in your search for the perfect micro-influencer. Every creator has a particular style on Instagram that goes beyond just aesthetics. Some write well, some communicate via photos, and some leverage videos.
The content style that your brand has primarily adopted is your identity. People know to click and read captions if it comes from you. So if the micro-influencer is going to represent your brand (even if on their feed), it makes sense to choose someone who knows how to deliver in the style you prefer.
Content is the micro-influencers primary export – why choose someone with a medium experience when you can get the highest authority? So brands that use video must pick a video creator instead of forcing the writer to create videos. This way, everyone can maintain their identity and deliver a true experience to the audience.
Like all niches in marketing, influencer marketing is a vast sea that can be daunting. But breaking it down and using frameworks for the selection process can make it better. This always works when there are too many options to use. With a brand style guide, you or the outsourcing agency will know what to look for in a micro-influencer easily.
Does your business have a brand style guide for working with influencers and other collaborators? If you do not already have one, now is the time to work on it. Or you can also work with a professional design team to create a brand style guide that can be used in all your design outsourcing projects.