There is no question about whether social media should be incorporated into a brand’s arsenal of PR tools. It is an easy way to speak directly to consumers and relate to the audience you want to attract. However, a hybrid practice of combining traditional celebrity endorsements with social media-driven content marketing is emerging as a valuable and effective promotional strategy.
Influencer marketing is defined as “a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services….some brands work with influencers to improve brand recognition.” As the strategy proves itself, the money has followed. Brands are predicted to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. However, high spend for influencer marketing does not have to equal high follower count. Learn how micro-influencers are delivering macro results and should be a part of every brand’s PR strategy.
They Have A Niche Audience
Micro-influencers typically have less than 50,000 followers and focus their social media presence on a specific niche. Whether it is travel, food, fitness or something else, the micro-influencer is typically regarded as an expert in that space because of their carefully curated content around that topic. They develop a strong association with one industry by posting things like reviews, tutorials, or even just their own experiences and insights.
This personalized content results in a very specific audience that is also interested in that topic. Unlike celebrities who are followed by millions of people with different interests and hobbies, micro-influencers curate an audience who are likely to enjoy mostly all of their posts. A strategic micro-influencer knows that what resonates with them will likely resonate with their audience and will share that content to build their following.
However, this means that the brand must also be strategic when choosing micro-influencers to work with. If what they are trying to accomplish is not a seamless fit with the influencer’s audience, the right people will not see it and the collaboration will not be successful. Organizations should make sure that their messaging is tailored to the audience that will be consuming it.
High Trust Leads To Better ROI
A significant element of a micro-influencer’s potential is the trust that their audience has in them and the content they post. Consumers always prefer genuine and authentic recommendations and are confident that they are going to be receiving that from the micro-influencers they follow. Due to the trust in the influencer and legitimate interest in the topic, a micro-influencer’s audience is likely to be much more engaged with what they post by liking, sharing, commenting and more.
In fact, the The State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Benchmark Report found that micro-influencers with a following of less than 10,000 had an engagement rate of 3.7 percent on Instagram, compared to the 1.1 percent engagement rate of accounts with over 100,000 followers. Additionally, the report found that micro-influencers deliver 30 percent better ROI per dollar spent compared to 20 percent for influencers with over 1 million followers. The main takeaway for brands is that if they want a higher chance of their target audience interacting with their message, working with a micro-influencer is much more likely to make that happen.
Another component of using micro-influencers in PR strategy is the contribution their affordability makes to a brand’s ROI. An average celebrity charges about $25,000 per post, but a micro-influencer costs a fraction of that, around $250 per post. For some brands, a single post from a celebrity would wipe out the entirety of their PR budget but not accomplish their goals. Who wouldn’t want to spend less for higher engagement and better results?
How To Use Them In PR
Micro-influencers clearly have the potential to be an integral part of an organization’s PR strategy. But what are the most effective ways to use them? The most common is to pay for a post or series of posts on the micro-influencer’s social media. They will seamlessly incorporate a brand’s product or messaging into their platform in a natural and genuine way for their audience. Not only is the brand getting their message out, but the micro-influencer is creating high-quality content for them.
Another valuable use of micro-influencers in PR strategy is including their opinions and expertise into thought leadership pieces and roundtable articles. A recent report by the Content Marketing Institute found that 70 percent of consumers prefer getting to know companies through articles rather than ads. Including a trusted influencer from that industry in the article is likely to have an even bigger impact in drawing consumers to a brand.
Overall, the importance of micro-influencers in PR strategy stems from the fact that they do not tell their audience what to do, but instead position the brand’s message as a recommendation from a trusted, knowledgeable friend.
Cassidy Henning is an Assistant Account Coordinator at Flackable, a national, full-service public relations agency headquartered in Philadelphia. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.