How To Choose The Perfect Social Media Influencer For Your Startup

One, Don’t be intimidated.

Two, Play smart with micro influencers.

Lately entrepreneurs and brands have been finding themselves dangling on the edges of a cliff, aimlessly flapping their wings in desperation. No one knows what’s exactly happening and no one has got a tool kit which could guarantee their survival. Influencer marketing is all the rage and being a blogger is the ultimate craze, but as a brand willing to try every hack in the dictionary of marketing, you are confused to the moon and back.

The question is not exactly if you should engage with influencers. That’s a no brainer today. Of course, you should. But the real question is, which kind of social media influencer can bring you what you need?

According to popular market generalisations,

  • A macro influencer is someone with a following above 80,000 or a subscriber base of 2,00,000
  • A micro- influencer is someone with a following range of 10,000 to 90,000.

Here’s why I say it’s a win-win situation to get micro influencers on board instead of the macro:

Lack of Impact

As a general perception, we assume macro-influencers to have a larger impact. However, what needs to be understood is that macro-influencers may have larger reach and engagements, but not necessarily a larger impact.

According to recent researchengagement rates on Instagram start dropping down as the number of followers start increasing. People with less than 1,000 followers have a “like” rate of about 8%, whereas people with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a “like” rate of about 4%. This drops to 2.4% for those with 10,000 to 100,000 followers, and to 1.7% when their audience grows to 1 million-plus followers. For advertisers and brands trying to get the most bang for their buck, it’s worth considering this.

Why does this happen?

How does a macro influencer end up deriving low sales in spite of having a far greater reach?

Simply because the audience doesn’t trust them to a level of believing they actually use those products or services. Once the audience knows that their neighbourhood humble influencer is no more that humble and is being constantly paid big bucks by brands to advertise, no one is buying that shiz anymore.

What you can do as a brand is to make careful consideration on how rampant sponsoring your social media influencer is really into. An influencer advertising ten things on their Instagram feed with a percentage of zero organic content shouldn’t be your cup of tea. Instead, go for an influencer who is liked by her audience for what he/she does, instead of what he/she sells.

For example, Natasha Noel is a popular Mumbai-based social media influencer with a strong following of 134k. However, her sponsored content takes only 10% of what she posts about. Her audience has an affinity for who she is, what she writes, what she teaches as a Yoga teacher. With that when she sponsors a brand, her audience connects with her at a deeper level of trusting her.

But unfortunately, with the current blogging scenario, this is extremely rare. Bloggers are out there in a rat race and as a brand with limited resources, you only have to be extra careful to know where to invest and where not to.

In your budget

Let’s accept not everyone could afford the Kardashians. Let’s accept not everyone can afford macro-influencers. However, it doesn’t have to be the end of all.

If you can’t penetrate vertically, think of spreading horizontally. If you can’t afford a hot-shot celebrity influencer, think of aiming a large number of micro social media influencers.

Think of it like this. Who were primarily the influencers before we associated “sponsorship” with it? Simply the people in our peer groups who would talk about their honest reviews about a particular product and convince us as it being the best buy for us.

This is why, irrespective of the number of apparent “followers”, an influencer holds the exact same power of word of mouth as it had before. In fact, they hold greater trust and positive relatability factor.

In a study conducted by Olapic, it was found that 56% of respondents are more likely to purchase products after they’ve seen them featured in a relatable post from “other customers”. Glossier is one brand which has succeeded in promoting their brand by turning everyday consumers into valuable brand reps.

Since micro influencers rarely earn full time from their blogging, it’s easy to lure them into associating with you at low cost. In fact, sometimes they’re open to try your service at absolute no cost. They’re far more open and willing to form brand associations as compared to the macro social media influencers. Since they too work on strict budget, their post generally have a more authentic factor with lesser staged up scenes.

So how to engage with micro influencers in a way which gives you maximum output?

  • Invest in a larger number of micro influencers spread over geographically
  • Think local and don’t be scared to engage with influencers having lesser number of followers. Remember, impact.
  • Think of running more than a one-time campaign. Once you identify with influencers who like to associate with you, don’t hesitate to sign up a long term contract with them. A consistent user will create that brand recall value you are so keen to establish with your non-users. Naturally, this generates more trust, reliability and reputation for your brand too.

thefilmyowl, a popular Delhi based doodler, has consistently been loyal to hp pavilion 360X. Her posts over more than a year has shown her enjoy working with the laptop on more than one occasion, hence generating brand recall value and trust.

Have them tell a story. Push them to not simply post about you but engage in a personal story and how your brand came into the picture.


Easier to Execute

Down straight, macro influencers are hard to approach. After a level, they have more than one people involved in the hierarchy with even more complex demands.

However, a micro social media influencer is easier to approach and are open. On your part, do make sure to maintain a balance. If you cannot afford to compensate them monetary, do some extra ordinary things to benefit them.

  • Invite them to exclusive invite-only events
  • Give them special access to your services
  • Offer them specials deals and discounts
  • Gift them vouchers for their friends and family occasionally
  • Needless to mention, always give them a free trial/sample of your product and services.

Influencer marketing is not entirely a tough nut to crack if you’re ready to see through the loopholes of fascinating and complicated visual impressions. Understand it to be a powerful word-of-mouth tool which has the potential to bring you real, long-term users.

However, this is not it. We previously discussed about influencer marketing in Indian context before. If you missed it, read here.

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