Solopreneurs in online content marketing may have noticed. Influencer Marketing & Content have become inseparable. More and more content-marketers are now referring to themselves as “influencers”.
There are agencies mushrooming everywhere that match “influencer-bloggers” with big brands. Brands large and small are now looking to use such influencers to talk about their products.
Mid-tier influencer content-marketers are already earning in six figures. Top-tier influencer content-marketers are creaming it. More interesting: the class of micro-influencers are finding a lucrative market too!
If you have both authority and influence with a targeted community of followers, you are king! Can your content sway a small but loyal group of your followers? You’re in the game.
Why have micro-influencer content-marketers become huge money-spinners?
How do influencer-bloggers get assignments and get paid?
Hayley Phelan has done an article on “influencer-bloggers”. She explains how Fohr Card, an agency for influencers, works.
- Brands tell Nord (the CEO of Fohr Card) how much they want to spend on a social-media campaign.
- He cross-references their budget against a proprietary ranking of influencers.
- His algorithm measures growth of an influencer’s following, frequency of posts and followers engagement rates.
- He whittles the list down to those in the right price range and who complement the brand’s audience goals.
- His agency then reaches out to the influencer or her agent with an offer. (Most influencer wannabes have an agent.)
- Everything an influencer does has a price attached.
- The brand will pay more for one or two hashtags. If you have to actually tag the brand in your post captions, that changes the price.
- Are you posting on a Monday morning when people are most engaged? Or on a Sunday afternoon when people are taking a nap? You figure it all out, make a commitment plan and send bills to the brand ahead of time.
Why are micro-influencer content-marketers in high demand?
Two reasons why influencer content-marketers have become such money-spinners are these:
- People are trusting such bloggers’recommendations before making purchases.
- Brands are seeing the biggest ROI from authority-influencer-marketing than any other channel.
Research from The Shelf, quoted by Kimberlee Morrison suggests that:
- Consumers are more likely to trust influencers than brand content.
- 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others (even unknown), over branded content.
- 70 percent say that online reviews are their second-most-trusted source.
- 47 percent of U.S. readers consult blogs to keep tabs on trends and ideas.
To see how a micro-influencer sways his audiences towards brands, see this Instagram Micro-Influencer Campaign by Audible, Amazon’s audiobook and podcast division. Audible partners with celebrities and influencers of all sizes, including micro-influencers.
One was photographer Jesse Driftwood (@jessedriftwood), a micro-influencer, who posted a photo of himself using Audible. In the caption, he explains how he uses Audible to learn more about business management and productivity while involved in his other activities.
Is there a lot of money in the micro-influencer-marketing space?
Another research from Tomoson reveals money is growing in the influencer marketing space. The ROI from influencer-marketing is attractive.
- 59 percent of marketers researched believe in influencer marketing.
- They plan to increase their influencer budgets every 12 months.
- 22 percent of marketers rated influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method.
- Influencer marketing provides great returns for most of the businesses that use it.
- Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent.
- 70 percent of businesses are seeing a return of $2 per $1 spent.
- The top 13 percent of marketers are gaining $20 per $1 spent.
What kind of influencer content-marketers are in hot demand from brands?
Why do brands prefer micro-influencers than celebrity-influencers?
Quite another piece of research will sound like music to your ears. If you are a solopreneur with expertise but not quite a “celebrity brand ambassador”, you’re hot.
According to a new survey conducted by Collective Bias, quoted by Erik Sass:
- 14,000 respondents said they would heed recommendations from non-celebrity influencers than celebrities.
- 30% said they would buy a product endorsed by a non-celebrity influencer than a celebrity.
- 70% of those aged 18-34 said they preferred endorsement from a “peer” or “non-celeb blogger.”
It’s not surprising then that the demand for celebrity-endorsers is going southwards. The demand for micro influencers well-defined subscribers is going northwards.
Who are those considered as micro-influencer-power-bloggers?
It’s those holding very-heavy or medium-heavy sway with niched and loyal subscribers. They are not the bloggers with big subscriber lists.
The quality of your reading audience and their loyalty matters. So does their seamless match to your subject of expertise. Quantity of readers is not what brands are looking to pay you for. It’s the tight, enduring bond between your niche and the area of interest of your audience.
High-paying brands want you to be a highly-visible, trusted, tall expert. You have to be one who engages his audience by blogging with reliable consistency. Your content quality must have ever-renewed freshness.
Your audience must be the kind that’s sold on you. They must gravitate towards your blog, and hang on to your every word as gospel.
Who would big brands see as a good micro-influencers?
Micro-influencers could be those with an audience of about 10,000 to 100,000 followers. Brands prefer micro-influencers instead of relying on A-List influencers because:
- A-List influencers charge too much, and most brands are unable to justify the ROI of such spends.
- Big brands want smaller influencer-outlays with better ROI impact.
- Micro-influencers’ are able to keep their audiences engaged, active and participative
Big brands, though, are wary of micro-influencers with an attitude of “making quick bucks in a hurry”. Grace Caffyn has an article “Confessions of an Influencer Agency Exec on Micro-Influencers”. She writes that:
“It’s less to do with audience size, but about attitude. Brands beware of micro-influencers who take 10 seconds to think … and then say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take money to promote this product'”.
3. Why would big brands gravitate towards micro-influencers?
What’s in the micro-influencer game for the big brands?
There is very interesting research that suggests why big brands are pursuing micro-influencers. It’s to do with this. When an influencer reaches a “critical mass of followers”, his audience engagement decreases.
This may be why big brands see diminishing returns as they chase after big influencers. Influencers’ grip on audiences wane as they grow larger with their followings.
Yuyu Chen has an article “The rise of ‘micro-influencers’ on Instagram”. He explains this saturation-point. He quotes Markerly research of 2 million social media influencers:
- Influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8 percent.
- Influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a like rate of 4 percent.
- Influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers have a like rate of 2.4 percent.
- Influencers with 1 million to 10 million followers have a like rate of 1.7 percent.
The market is in favor of micro-influencers. You can hope to attract long-term relationships. But you have to understand the positives and questions brands may see in the equation.
What do brands see as positives in working with micro-influencers?
- Big brands can reach more target audiences with less money than we spend on big influencers.
- Micro-influencers have small niches markets not usually accessible to big brands.
- Micro-influencers can add unique and fresh voices to a big brand’s online conversation.
- Micro-influencers can stay more in engagement with small groups of followers.
- Micro-influencers, compared to A-List influencers, are accessible, and easier to work with.
What questions do brands have about working with micro-influencers?
- Is the micro-influencer the right fit for our big brand?
- Is the micro-influencer’s following genuine and backed by reliable sources?
- Does our brand need that micro-influencer’s target audience?
- How authentic is the influencer? Is there too much aggression in advocacy?
- Does the micro-influencer carry any baggage as having already “sold out to a brand”?
- Is the micro-influencer working for any competitive brand to ours?
What can a micro-influencer charge for services to a big brand?
Are micro-influencers charging far less than they should?
Experts believe micro-influencers are earning far less than they should. A lot of micro-influencers are charging based on threat of “lurking competition”. Instead they should be charging on calibration of their “effort to results ratio”.
In their 2016 Global Influencer Survey Report, Bloglovin’ reports some interesting facts.
- 84% of micro-influencers on Instagram charge less than $250 per branded post.
- 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram charge less than $500 per branded post.
By contrast, according to the New York Times, a top influencer with 3-7M followers charges about $187,500 per YouTube video. For a post on Instagram or Snapchat, they charge an average of $75,000. For a Twitter post, they charge approximately $30,000.
An influencer who have somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 followers, would charge a lot less than mega-influencers. For one sponsored YouTube video, they would charge about $2,500. The cost of a sponsored post on Instagram or Snapchat would be around $1,000. And for one Twitter post, they would charge around $400.
Here are some charts from the Bloglovin’ 2016 Report on micro-influencer charges:
What arguments can micro-influencers give brands to hike charges?
Kevin Joey Chen has done an article “Micro-Influencers Cost Less Than You Think”. He explains how he thinks a micro-influencer could justify his charges to a brand:
A brand spending $5,000 wouldn’t even get noticed if they used a top influencer. But if the spent the same money on micro-influencers here’s what they may get:
- 35 to 100 branded Instagram posts reaching 200,000 followers (Cost per impression (CPM) of $10 to $30).
- 60 to 200 branded Twitter posts reaching 315,000 followers (CPM of $8 to $20).
- 35 to 100 branded Facebook posts reaching 125,000 followers (CPM of $15 to $40).
- 10 to 35 branded blog posts reaching 315,000 followers (CPM of $20 to $50).
The bigger the ad spend, the more micro-influencers a brand should partner with. This would multiply their reach with hyper-targeted audiences. Further, micro-influencer content receives high engagement. So the brand will receive even more organic reach (like re-posts and shares).
Micro-influencers need tell big brands this. When promoting through influencers, the right strategy isn’t to spend more. It’s about spending the same amount through many influencers with distinct, engaged audiences.
What do micro-influencers need to beware of in dealing with big brands?
Some disdainful big brands go “micro-influencer-shopping” without commitment. There are also big brands out there with a condescending attitude towards micro-influencers.
Telltale signs are a distinct lack of respect in their relationships with micro-influencers. Sometimes you’ll notice brands doing a lot of commitment-phobic window-shopping.
Check if the brand negotiating with you wants to form long-lasting micro-influencer partnerships. One signal that a brand is thinking long-term is this. The brand will be ready to spend on your training and onboarding as a micro-influencer.
If a big brand displays such serious intention, it will all be worthwhile for both parties. The relative size of the brand or its micro-influencer will not matter. What will matter is the quality of the output to the consumer.
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Influencer Marketing & Content”: