5 Steps for Running the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if no one knows about it. That’s why every business owner needs to adapt a marketing strategy early on. However, if you’re a one-person show and have a limited marketing budget, you need to be strategic with where you invest your energy and money. There are many great marketing tools available for small businesses, but one we definitely recommend considering is influencer marketing.
Being an influencer is so much more than posting cool photos and stories.
Regardless of the number of followers, what’s common for many influencers is that they’re authentic, credible, and have a loyal fan-base. Influencers are seen as an authentic alternative to traditional advertising tactics. That’s why collaboration with an influencer is a great way for brands of any size to drive engagement, boost brand awareness, and reach new audiences.
Getting started with influencer marketing can seem daunting, but with proper preparation, you can create and run successful influencer campaigns to achieve your goals.
We’ll walk you through 5 steps of setting up your first-ever influencer campaign, but first, let’s figure out how to find the right person to collaborate with.
Influencers for every budget
There are multiple tiers of social media influencers, categorized by the number of followers they have.
- Megainfluencers are celebrities with millions of followers
- Macroinfluencers have between 100,000 and one million followers
- Microinfluencers have at least 2,000 followers and up to 50,000 (although the maximum follower count varies)
- Nanoinfluencers have the smallest audience, with fewer than 1,000 followers
Each level of influencer has strengths that pair well with different campaigns and goals. The cost of services differs from one influencer to another. Mega- and macroinfluencers usually charge a hefty fee in exchange for their partnership, which isn’t feasible for smaller and mid-sized businesses.
Microinfluencers are a great fit for smaller, niche brands looking to grow their audience. Since microinfluencers have smaller audiences too, their followers are very loyal and highly engaged.
Influencers with smaller audiences are more likely to respond to each comment and create a more personal connection with every follower. This makes the influencer appear as an online friend, rather than an unapproachable public figure. With incredibly loyal follower bases, microinfluencers can help support goals above and beyond simply driving brand awareness.
Brands can also leverage multiple microinfluencers at once to share more voices rather than spending their whole influencer budget on one celebrity. Glossier, the makeup brand beloved by millennials, turned to their own fanbase of highly engaged followers and commenters to become their most powerful brand ambassadors. In 2016, boat shoe brand Sperry engaged 100 microinfluencers to create user-generated content (UGC) for their Instagram page and ended up driving millions of impressions and a 56% increase year-over-year in engagements.
The most effective influencer relationships happen when brands have a clear idea of their goals and partner with the right influencers for results-driven, strategic campaigns.
Interested in working with microinfluencers? We’ll walk you through creating your campaign step by step.
Step 1: Define your campaign goals
For any influencer campaign, it’s important to define your goals from the beginning and communicate them clearly to your potential partner. Microinfluencers typically have a niche following and are highly trusted by their audience, so their recommendations carry a lot of weight. They are highly effective for getting more interactions, boosting engagement, and increasing conversions. If you’re just focusing on one of these goals or a combination, microinfluencers are the way to go.
- If you want more interactions on one of your specific brand channels, you need to determine your baseline on that account and what percent increase you want to see. The average engagement rate varies by platform and by industry; for Instagram, the average engagement rate is 1.60%.
- If your goal is to drive more sales, you need to figure out if you’re going to focus on a hero product, a new product, or a bundle and then set your goals accordingly.
- When you want to drive more conversions (e.g., signing up for a giveaway or contest or downloading content), figure out what call-to-action is your focus when defining your campaign.
Revel Nail is a unique line of nail dip with a highly engaged customer base. Their range of nail colors and styles are a perfect fit for great visual marketing and UGC. But, they needed to determine which content performed best. Revel Nail has had great success working with microinfluencers at scale by leveraging Pixlee—a visual marketing platform for brands using UGC from social media. Since implementation, Revel Nail has seen a 3.7x increase in site conversions and a 157% increase in repeat visit rate.
The goals you set for your campaigns are the foundation for your microinfluencer campaign. Use your existing data to help inform your goals and make sure they’re achievable so you can get the most out of your campaigns.
Step 2: Find the right microinfluencers
Once you’ve established your campaign goals, you now need to do the research on which influencer can help you reach them.
Milani Cosmetics was another company to partner up with up-and-coming influencers and Pixlee. The brand wanted to publish UGC to third-party retailers and boost their conversions so they created a community of influencers passionate about growing the brand. The use of UGC and partnership with smaller influencers resulted in a 2x increase in conversion and 17.82% higher average order value.
The influencers you pick as your partners should be a good fit with your brand’s mission and values. You want them to be a reflection of your brand voice and personality.
Finding influencers that are a fit for your brand and campaign takes research and vetting. If you know who your target audience is and their demographics, you already have a blueprint for finding your perfect influencers. Depending on your budget, you can search for influencers yourself or use an influencer marketing platform or agency. Influencer marketing platforms offer a range of solutions and prices—from self-serve tools to more robust resources like the Pixlee platform. Influencer marketing agencies can step in to manage the process end-to-end, from discovering potential partners to vetting them and running the campaigns.
How and where to find an influencer for your campaign
An important question to answer as you start looking for the partner: which social media platform does your target demographic use the most? Decide on one channel and look for the influencer there.
Instagram is a classic for influencer marketing, but it’s worth looking into other channels too. YouTube will be perfect if you create a lot of video content for your brand. While TikTok is a relatively new platform, it’s growing quickly and gaining popularity among millennials; business-to-consumer campaigns could be potentially very effective there.
- Look for microinfluencers that are respected in your industry or niche and have a strong, highly engaged following. Look for organic likes and comments, a legitimate follower base, and an active comment section.
- Look for high-engagement profiles in your tagged posts and your branded hashtags—these people are already interested in your product and would be likely to agree to a partnership.
- Explore hashtags related to your brand and find microinfluencers who are passionate about the subject. Ideally, your potential partner will also be a fan of your brand or brands like yours if they aren’t familiar with your products yet.
- Dig into their profiles and posts to make sure they’ll be a positive representative for your brand if you choose to partner with them.
- If you have a specific type of or style of content in mind (e.g., videos vs. photos), pay attention to whether the influencer has experience creating that type of content already.
Once you’ve found the microinfluencers fit for your brand and campaign, you can start reaching out!
Step 3: Build relationships
Reaching out to influencers is more than just shooting off an email template asking if they want to partner with you. When researching potential influencers, you’re not only evaluating them—you’re also getting to know them. It’s crucial to communicate clear expectations early in the conversation. This goes double for payment considerations.
Many influencers will have predetermined rates they use when partnering with brands. If that’s not provided upfront, ask the potential partner what they typically charge. If you plan to request product reviews and promotion in exchange for free products, state that as soon as possible. Remember—influencers are professionals! While microinfluencers are usually a more cost-effective option, don’t expect anything for free.
How to reach out to influencers
Be personal in your outreach and start engaging with potential influencers as soon as you know you want to work with them.
- Customize your outreach with details that are specific to the influencer to show you’re paying attention. Focus on building authentic relationships, not on a sales pitch. Remember that influencers might be flooded with outreach from brands, so you want to stand out from the competition without overwhelming them.
- Try not to send unsolicited outreach when you do contact the influencers. Many influencers will have a process for potential partners to reach out to them, so use their preferred channels (email, contact form on the website, etc.).
If they don’t have a preferred channel, reach out to them via email first if their email is available. If it’s not, contact them via DM and offer to send an email with more information.
- If part of your strategy is to send gifts to potential influencers, that’s another opportunity to stand out from other brands and show that you know who they are and what they value.
- In your outreach, focus on what makes them unique and why you want to work with them. Don’t send the same boilerplate note to everyone—take the time to look at their profile and content and learn about who they are as a person.
To help you get started, here’s an influencer outreach email template that you can tweak to fit the style of the person you’re approaching:
Hi [Influencer Name],
I hope you’re having a great day/week! My name is [Jane Smith] and I’m the [CMO] at [Company]. I really appreciated/enjoyed [specific example] in your recent [blog post, video, Instagram Story, etc.]
[Company] is [description of your company]. We’re looking to partner with influencers like you to help [spread awareness/launch our new product/grow our audience]. I’m reaching out to you because [reasons why you think they’re a good fit for your company based on their profile and posts].
[If you have a limited budget or only able to offer free products for compensation, state that here. If the influencer has a posted rate that you are able to pay, state that here.]
If you’re interested in working together, I’d be happy to provide more information or set up a time to discuss the opportunity! Let me know if you have any questions.
Working with influencers is all about building loyalty and lasting relationships. The first impression is so important, so treat potential influencers like the professionals they are!
Step 4: Start creating content
One of the reasons for the boom in influencer marketing is because the content they create is so impactful; 93% of consumers are influenced by UGC when they’re making a purchase decision. User-generated content is effective because it’s authentic and customers relate to it more than branded content.
Partnering with influencers to create UGC is at the core of every influencer campaign. Most of the posts shared by influencers as part of a sponsored campaign will include a hashtag to differentiate it from their usual posts (e.g. #sponsored, #ad, #sponsoredby, #sponsoredpost.) You can search these hashtags on social media to see examples of sponsored posts from other businesses and brands.
Depending on your campaign strategy, you may be focusing on pictures, videos, or written content like blog posts or reviews (or a combination!). Whatever type of content you want, be sure to communicate that clearly to the influencer so everyone’s on the same page.
Tips for content creation
- Create a brand guideline resource to share with the influencers—this should include your preferred brand tone and voice, your mission statement, and any style preferences (colors, fonts, etc.)
- Give your influencers the tools to fit your brand, but don’t make the mistake of micromanaging them. Influencer content performs well because it’s genuine, so make sure to let your influencers keep their creative freedom so they can stay authentic to their brand while representing yours.
Trust your influencers—they know their audience better than anyone and may have some ideas you haven’t considered.
- Make sure influencers are following Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for sponsored posts.
From traditional UGC posts to sponsored posts to social media takeovers, there are many collaboration forms that will help you achieve the desired results. But, to get the most impact from your campaigns, you need to clearly communicate the kind of content you want while still giving your influencers the freedom to do what they do best.
Examples of collaboration forms
- Content in exchange for free products as payment—The influencer creates content/photos/videos that your brand can later use in the ads.
- Takeovers—The influencer creates content on behalf of your brand that would then be promoted on both pages: the influencer’s and your brand’s.
- Affiliate codes and referral links—provide the influencer with a unique trackable link and a promo code that they can share with their audience. This way, the payment form will be a commission that the influencer earns from the clicks or sales.
- Product giveaways organized for the influencer’s audience. An example of requirements to enter the giveaway would be to follow both accounts (yours and the influencer’s) and/or tag people in comments—a great way to increase following and engagement.
When the influencer has created a post on behalf of your brand on their channel, make sure to do cross-promotion on your channel as well and save the influencer’s content for future reference.
Step 5: Track results
When it comes to marketing campaigns, it’s all about impact. Likes and comments are really exciting—especially if you start racking them up early in a campaign. But, the real metrics you need to focus on are measuring the return on your investment. There are several ways to track influencer campaign performance beyond engagement metrics, especially if you’re focusing on conversions and sales.
- Include unique hashtags in your influencer campaigns to make it easy to identify and collect posts from a specific campaign.
- Give influencers links with unique URLs so you can track the referrals to your site. One way to do this is by adding UTM parameters to your links. Google Analytics offers a guide on UTM links that you can use to get started for free!
- Use discount codes for each campaign and/or influencer to measure the sales that are generated.
- Request performance reports from your influencers’ social media accounts to get a full picture of how your campaign is doing. Many influencers have business accounts for their social media and can pull native reports from the platform to provide data on daily and weekly reach, impressions, and demographics.
Once your campaigns are up and running, it’s important to keep an eye on the metrics so that you can adjust if necessary.
- Schedule regular check-ins with your influencers to follow the campaign progress and provide any support they may need.
- Check to see if the influencer is getting any questions in the comment section about your brand or product in case you need to clarify anything.
- Communicate with your influencers if it seems like you’re not getting the results you want since they know their followers best.
Once the campaign ends, set up a call with your influencer to determine how the campaign performed against your goals, what the results were, and how you both felt about the partnership. Ask them if they have any advice for future campaigns or ideas for unique ways to engage with their followers. If you’re interested in working with the influencer long term, consider sending them a thank you gift to help strengthen the relationship.
Over to you
Many people think influencers have to be celebrities or have hundreds of thousands of followers, but, as we learned, they’re not the only influencers out there. Microinfluencers may have fewer followers, but don’t underestimate their power—with highly engaged, extremely loyal follower bases, microinfluencers can help spur engagement and increase conversions.
By planning a goal-driven campaign and working with the best-fit influencers for your brand, you can run effective influencer campaigns with measurable results!