Since the early days of advertising, companies have used celebrity endorsements for marketing.
You don’t have to look any further than the Air Jordan to see how a celebrity endorsement can drive sales through the roof.
But the definition of “celebrity” has changed over the past decade. There are still mega-stars like movie actors, pro athletes, and famous musicians. But there are also smaller celebrities that are well-known within niche online communities.
These people are known as influencers.
These days, anyone with a big enough social media following could be considered a micro-influencer. Someone who blogs about baby products or posts makeup tutorials on YouTube might not be a household name, but they still might have 10, 20, or even 50,000 followers.
So if your company makes or offers what an influencer promotes, it only makes sense to partner with them to leverage that audience. Even 10,000 followers is a decent-sized pool of potential customers!
Let’s take a closer look at what a micro-influencer is and why working with them is a smart move for your business.
What Are Niche Influencers?
Niche influencers are people who have a large following online in a particular community.
They’re nowhere near Bieber or Kardashian-level famous, but they might be well-known in the DIY community or the fitness space. They’ve earned a reputation for creating high-quality social media content, so they have a lot of followers.
When we talk about influencer marketing, we divide influencers up into five groups:
- Mega: 1M+ followers
- Macro: 500k-1M
- Mid-tier: 50k-500k
- Micro: 10k-50k
- Nano: 1k-10k
Niche influencers usually fall into one of the last two categories. But, some niche influencers fall into the lower end of the mid-tier category.
There are all types of influencers out there across every social media platform. Some are food bloggers. Some make comedy podcasts or self-help YouTube videos. Some are well-known on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. No two social media influencers are the same.
But, what they all share is that they’ve built active, engaged audiences. By working with nano or micro-influencers in your niche, you can tap into their followings and get your brand in front of your target audience.
The Power of Niche Influencers
If there are people with a million Instagram followers, why would you want to work with someone who only has 12k? Isn’t that counterintuitive?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to market to the largest possible audience?
There are a number of reasons to work with micro-influencers instead of megastars. Especially when marketing niche products.
You Can Target Your Specific Niche
Traditional ads put your brand in front of a large audience, but it’s not always the right audience. If you air a niche, B2B accounting program on ABC during prime time, you might generate some interest, but it’s a gamble.
By collaborating with micro-influencers in your niche, however, you can get your product in front of the people who are most likely to buy it.
After all, if they’re following an Instagram influencer who posts about barbecue, you know that they’re interested in grills, tools, and meat.
And there are influencers in every vertical, no matter how small or specific it may be.
Do you make luggage? There are hundreds of respected travel influencers who’d be happy to work with you.
Yoga pants? There’s no shortage of popular fitness influencers to fit your marketing strategy.
Energy drinks? A content creator in the extreme sports space could be a very effective influencer for your campaign.
They’ve Earned Their Audience’s Trust
People don’t trust traditional ads the way they used to. In fact, one study shows that 89% of millennials are more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend more than a brand advertisement.
Traditional ads used celebrity endorsements to promote products. It wasn’t that long ago when Paris Hilton was in Carl’s Jr. commercials and Ozzy Osbourne was promoting I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
Even today, Shaquille O’Neal is in commercials for everything from Papa John’s to The General car insurance.
But Paris and Shaq don’t have the same type of relationship to their fans that micro-influencers do.
With a micro-influencer, they’re a constant presence in their audience’s lives. They’re posting content all the time. They’re personally responding to emails and comments. They’re following their fans back and liking their posts.
Plus, they’re known for consistently creating strong content. After all, you don’t get to 30k followers (well, real human followers, not bots) unless you consistently provide value.
And so their fans trust them more. The audience is going to be far more receptive to a recommendation from their favorite micro-influencer because they trust them.
You Won’t Have to “Force” Your Ads onto the Audience
Not only are people growing distrustful of ads, but they’re also going out of their way to avoid seeing them at all.
According to studies, almost 30% of all internet users have an ad blocker installed on their devices.
This means that pop-up ads, sidebar ads, and even YouTube commercials won’t even cross the viewer’s radar. It’s a shame, too, because a lot of those people might be interested in your product.
Influencer marketing campaigns are a way to get inside of the content that your target audience is already consuming. They won’t be able to (or even want to) block your ad, because it’s integrated into the content.
In other words, it’s a non-obtrusive advertising technique, and audiences are far more receptive to it.
How to Execute a Niche Influencer Marketing Strategy
Are you ready to incorporate influencers into your content marketing strategy? Want to start converting their followers into your customers?
Here’s a brief rundown on how to do it:
Find the Right Influencers
An influencer campaign is only effective if you work with the right influencers. After all, you’re going after a niche audience.
There are all kinds of tools you can use to find the best influencers for your niche. Tools like Buzzsumo, although expensive, will help you build a list of potential influencers.
Or, you can seek out influencers by browsing hashtags and keywords related to your industry.
Once you find influencers you’re interested in, you can reach out and ask about partnerships.
Set a Deliverable and Negotiate Rates
Influencer partnerships must be mutually beneficial. No social media personality is going to want to work with you unless they get something in return.
Most influencers require money, but some nano influencers might be happy to receive free products.
When you approach an influencer, have an offer ready. For example, you might be willing to pay $200 in exchange for a single Instagram post dedicated to your product.
Or, you might ask them to mention your product at the beginning of their podcast episodes, along with a promo code. In that case, you might offer them $10 for every sale they generate.
They’re likely to come back with a counteroffer, both in regards to the rate and the deliverable. If you really want to work with them, be ready to negotiate.
Track Your Results
The most important step in any influencer marketing campaign is to track the results. After all, you want to measure the campaign’s success to make sure it’s working.
There are many metrics you can use to track your results. You’ll obviously track the revenue it generates, but you can also measure the impressions your collaborative posts get. You can even measure your website traffic to see how many viewers are migrating from their social media pages to your site.
Tracking results is the most difficult part of influencer marketing. However, if you understand which metrics to look at and how to analyze them, you can increase your ROI and optimize future campaigns.
In order to get the maximum benefits from the campaign, consider working with an influencer marketing agency. They’ll help you identify the best influencers for your niche, manage your partnership, and measure your results.
When it comes to social media marketing, bigger isn’t always better.
Oftentimes, working with niche influencers is the best strategy, even if they don’t have as many followers. They’re more trusted by their audiences, they have a higher engagement rate, and they’ll advertise your brand in an organic, non-invasive way.
Plus, they’ll help you get your products in front of your target audience. So as long as you work with the right influencers, develop a strong campaign, and track your success, you can use your partnership to build brand awareness and drive sales.