When you're the only one making decisions on how to reach more users for your product, knowing which direction to take can be tough. In the past four years, influencer marketing has become a reliable customer acquisition channel for software-as-a-service startups, app developers and more.
But you as already know, there are different types of influencers. Micro-influencers are influencers with less than a million followers. These followers can be on social media, write blogs, are on YouTube, etc. The bottom line is: Are these followers loyal and engaging?
To determine the level of engagements, in 2016, the Markerly team conducted a study on follower engagement vs. influencer size, and comparing larger influencers with celebrity-size followings against micro-influencers. In the study, they found that the micro-influencers in the 10,000 to 100,000 range were the most successful in engaging their audiences, displaying a higher like rate (2.37 percent) than influencers and celebrities with more than a million followers (1.66 percent).
Related: How to Build Your Business by Connecting with Influencers on Twitter
With that in mind, here are six tips to help you reach more of your ideal customers through micro-influencers:
1. Find relevant influencers.
If, for example, you sell high fashion women's business apparel and you contact a YouTube prankster who has a demographic of 10- to 25-year-old boys, how relevant is this audience to what you're selling?
Even if this influencer has millions of subscribers and each video gets millions of views, your ROI will be less than if you connect and use a female micro-influencer who specialized in job skills training to help women in the workforce.
2. Focus on engagement.
The truth is, user engagement leads to growth. One of the things I do prior to reaching micro-influencers is to ensure they have built a level of engagement with their followers.
Do you see valuable likes, comments, questions, repins, retweets, social shares and other engagement metrics? Always focus on engagement first.
"Remember, most big influencers typically don't have the type of engagement that micro-influencers do. Because it's easier to engage 1,000 followers compared to 50,000 followers under the same circumstance," says Heidi Yu, CEO and founder at Boostinsider.
3. Use an army.
Influencer marketing, in general, requires a lot of work. For most people, it's easier said than done. To help you maximize your results, you need to connect with "lookalike" micro-influencers.
You can decide to start off with one specific influencer, but not for too long. It's essential to build an army of micro-influencers who can simplify your message, communicate it clearly, and provide the impact that you need for the fraction of the cost.
You may think that the moment you build a relationship with an influencer with 3 million followers, that all your worries are gone. After all, your app can get the attention it truly deserves, right? Don't be deceived, a huge audience doesn't mean lots of downloads.
Related: 9 Top Social Media Influencers Marketers Need to Follow
Victor Ricci, founder at Trend Pie, recommends that "instead of paying $3,000 per tweet, which isn't guaranteed to generate the results you're looking for, you should approach a group of micro-influencers who can do it for $450 per tweet."
You'll get more exposure and more downloads — without spending extra money. Don't be carried away by follower counts. Spread your tentacles to more micro-influencers.
4. Find a network of connected micro-influencers.
"A technique that I've found successful is to find a network of connected micro-influencers. They tend to support each other by sharing each other's posts and leaving comments on each other's content," says Kimberly Price, senior social media strategist at Merkley + Partners.
This can provide a form of social proof because when an ideal customer sees comments or endorsements from two or more experts, it influences their potential purchases.
As an example, for a CPG brand, Merkley + Partners leveraged 130 micro-influencers to promote a niche line of laundry detergent. After calculating ROI in respect to media value on this campaign, they saw a 29 percent increase, which is higher than a similar campaign using one big celebrity.
5. Send a weekly digest email.
Don't get overwhelmed by email marketing strategies. If you must get better results, start from where you are and with what you have. Send a weekly digest email and inspire influencers to amplify what you've already started.
"We started sending one out highlighting the bestselling items of the previous week, to give influencers an idea of what to push. It has worked extremely well. In fact, our sales have increased by 200 percent and there are more opportunities to improve it," says Conrad F. Smith, sales director at Offers All Day.
6. Show them love.
When it comes to influencer marketing, cut through the noise by showing love. Ditch promotional emails that are boring and pushy. Instead, show micro-influencers that you care and value their time. Start by admiring their work (e.g., article, video, book, presentation, website).
Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing
Sarah Ware, CEO of Markerly, advises that "influencers, like consumers, don't want to feel like they're just another target for your messaging so make them feel like a part of your brand's family."
Next, show how much you would love to work with them. Always explain clearly why that particular micro-influencer is the right fit for your message and brand in general.
While this is happening, understand that most influencers will not reply your emails or even care about you. But don't worry, because there are thousands of other micro-influencers in your industry. Reach out to them. Most importantly, don't refer to them as micro-influencers in your email. In fact, don't mention the words "influencer" in your email. Make it cordial. Respect them.
The ultimate key to winning at influencer marketing, especially when connecting with micro-influencers, is to provide tremendous value.
You don't want to appear salesy, but don't hoard your value either. You may be promoting your mobile app, or trying to gain more brand awareness, but bring value first!
No matter the form of marketing you employ, quality will always beat quantity.