Social media has changed how business is done and how consumers shop for and buy products and services. Social media is an important marketing tool even for – or perhaps especially for – entrepreneurs who are more familiar with, and comfortable with, traditional marketing techniques, and it cannot be ignored; influencers have a high level of influence in targeting consumer groups and their purchase behavior.
Social media micro-influencers, defined as 100K-1 million followers, and nano-influencers, identified as less than 5K followers, are a critical aspect of reaching target markets via personas that members of these target markets like and follow, lending credibility to the enterprises that those influencers support. This article further defines micro-influencers and nano-influencers and what target markets they have typically been used to reach and explains how they can be used by small businesses to market products and services. Additionally, strategies and guidelines on connecting with the right influencers are provided.
A social media influencer is an independent third-party endorser who shapes audience attitudes through blogs, tweets, and the use of other social media. A micro-influencer is a deep dive into the data associated with an influencer, in that they offer specific content, authenticity, secret sharing, and the meaning of the influencer.
With a micro-influencer, there may be more associated credibility than with a simple influencer, if a solid match between the brand and the influencer is achieved. A mismatch may result in lost credibility and authority for both the brand and the influencer.
Nano-influencers also have credibility associated with their brand, but the brand is more nebulous since they are not considered professional influencers – even though they are making money via the brand. Interestingly, nano-influencers form the first step in the development of influencers that have the highest engagement rates among all the categories of influencers and are more open to unpaid partnerships to build their profile, and they often reach out to their own brands to foster partnerships which may make them more attractive to small businesses.
As with a micro-influencer, association with a brand that does not support the nano-influencer’s image can result in difficulties, but a positive relationship can create a symbiotic interaction. Brand evangelism with both micro-influencers and nano-influencers is a tremendous benefit, as this deep passion and emotion can influence not only purchases, but brand loyalty.
Target markets for micro-influencers are many and varied, as would be expected from influencers expected to focus on smaller, niche audiences. Four key characteristics of micro-influencers include authenticity, the meaning of the influencer, specific content, and secret sharing (personal stories).
Social media influencers have a significant relationship with brand attitude when they can provide trust, expertise, and attractiveness in giving brand influence positively over the products they endorse.
A top priority when connecting with influencers is defining and understanding the target audience. This requires a brand to be viewed as offering a strong, positive, unique, and relevant product or service to users, and to understand that most brands are operating in a crowded market with many conflicting messages. Strategies to support connecting with influencers include the following.
Understand how to appeal to the target market, using a permission-based approach so prospects expect and appreciate communications.
Find influencers who truly represent the target market and are willing to create posts to attract them. Focus on influencers who generate specific content that corresponds to their interests since their followers are most likely to feel that this content is relevant to them.
Seek opportunities for detailed reviews and capitalize on them: A high word count makes readers feel that the review is more useful.
Encourage influencer brand engagement and brand love rather than a simple one-off post or mention. Brand love not only positively affects purchase behavior but helps prospects and customers to be more resistant to negative comments.
Offer a purchase option, as liking posts can translate to sales. Although the interaction between the brand and users is brief, it can be effective in generating sales conversions.
Review influencer details for a clear picture of what will be provided, since new ventures typically have small budgets with little room for error. Knowing how the investment will be spent, and the expected results, is a top priority for any entrepreneur.
Provide thorough reporting and analytics, as entrepreneurs are challenged to connect the cost of social network promotions to sales they generate. Clarity regarding the return on investment will support either the continuation of working with these influencers or a pivot to those that will better serve the target market.
Social media influencers, particularly micro-influencers and nano-influencers, are becoming increasingly critical for small businesses looking to reach their target markets. These influencers offer authenticity, specific content, and secret sharing that resonates with their followers, and they have the potential to create a symbiotic interaction that can positively impact purchases and brand loyalty.
When connecting with influencers, it is crucial to focus on defining and understanding the target audience, finding influencers that truly represent that market, and encouraging brand engagement and love. By implementing these strategies and guidelines, small businesses can leverage the power of social media influencers to grow their brand and generate sales.
About the author: Rachaelle Lynn is the SEO Chair of Austin Women in Technology and has over 20 years' experience in digital marketing, with the last seven years in B2B tech. She currently manages SEO at SailPoint and holds certifications in Google Analytics and Conductor (SEO platform). Rachaelle frequently volunteers at AWT events and has presented at events like Apps We Love. Her special interests include cybersecurity and privacy in Artificial Intelligence. Rachaelle holds a bachelor's degree in Communications and is pursuing an MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Her hobbies include talking to her two cats, visiting quirky museums, and listening to live music. Connect with Rachaelle via LinkedIn.
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