This decade more than ever, marketing is about the personal. Consumers want to trust companies and products, and they are only willing to do so if they know the people marketing to them.
This in itself is nothing new — word of mouth was the original marketing tactic and has been the most sought after for decades. What is new is who is designated a trusted source, and how consumers engage with them.
Enter the social media influencer, increasingly the best way to market to cautious consumers. With Instagram, Facebook and Twitter breaking down the walls of celebrity-audience relationships brick by brick, the social media posts of those loved and trusted by thousands have become a back door method of warming customers to brands and products.
But how can you, a niche business, take advantage of social media influencers to boost your brand? Luckily, with the number of influencers of all sizes across the internet and throughout product niches, it’s never been easier to take advantage of this marketing trend. Below is a crash course on how to develop an influencer marketing plan and find the right niche influencer for you and your product.
Make a plan for niche influencer marketing
It’s no good shooting off messages to random influencers hoping they’ll promote your product. You wouldn’t approach any other marketing strategy without a detailed plan, and social media influencers are not different from marketing agencies and content distributors in this respect.
Before approaching anyone, figure out what the goal of your campaign will be. Are you trying to grow your userbase in a specific region or demographic? Are you trying to promote a specific product? Measurable goals will help both you and your influencer tailor your approaches.
Having decided on a goal, make sure you know as much as you can about the niche you’re marketing to. This should go without saying, and this research has probably formed part of your product development and marketing already, but it’s so important, it bears repeating. Knowing your niche will let you know what kind of influencers they respond to.
The budget is another important consideration at this stage. Establish how much money you are prepared to pay influencers and for how long. This is one of the key facts in determining what category of influencer you’ll approach.
Categories of social media influencers
“Not all influencers are created equal: customer influence exists on different levels, and different products are destined for different influencers,” says Tex Arkana, a digital marketer at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk.
Before recruiting the help of a social media influencer, you should figure out what exactly you’re hoping to achieve with their cooperation. This ties into your goal discussed above.
Are you trying to raise the profile of your brand to a new audience? Or convince niche consumers as to the quality of your product? The answer to these questions will help you narrow down which level of influencer you want to approach.
Categories of influencers are dependent on how many followers they have, but each has their uses. At the high end of the scale are Mega-influencers, with more than 1 million followers. These are the celebs and superstars who are usually famous in their own right outside of social media.
Macro-influencers, on the other hand, have fewer followers — between about 100,000 and 1 million — and have often gained their following through social media alone. As a result, they often have a general product area that they take interest in and endorse.
Moving down the scale, Micro-influencers have fewer than 100,000 followers but are highly-engaged in their specific field. They might not reach as many users, but the ones they do reach are more likely to follow recommendations.
The last and smallest group are Nano-influencers. These are regular social media users that will generally have less than 5000 followers, but they have high-user engagement like Micro-influencers. This category often trades in down-to-earth relatable content.
Depending on your market, you will be looking at different levels of influence. Big-ticket items with significant brand presence generally go for Mega-influencers because it enshrines their products as aspirational and prestigious; think Cartier or Prada. But, if you specific niche items for small interest hobbies, you might gain a lot more bang for your buck by going with Micro or Nano-influencers.
How to find influencers?
Once you’ve figured out your marketing plan and the kind of influencer you’re looking for, it’s time to get out there and see who you can catch. Luckily, there are a number of services available to help with the finding process.
Awario provides unparalleled insight into social media trends across various platforms and is a great place to find high-ranking influencers in specific niches. The tool also connects you to the influencers and helps you build a relationship with them in a more neutral, business-like environment than on the platforms themselves.
Another similar option is Traackr.com. This is the service Bellim Jellis, an influencer at Lastminutewriting and Writinity, recommends to anyone new to influencer marketing. “Traackr is like the social network for influencers, I love it. It’s friendly, easy-to-use and still a great way to connect to a huge variety of companies.”
If you’re looking for other options, you’re in luck: the world of influencer databases is thriving right now. Sites like Klear and Heepsy each boast millions of influencers across tens of thousands of topic areas. If you have content management issues, a service like BuzzSumo might be more up your street; this helps you keep track of various content creators and content research across social media and blogs.
This article really only scratched the surface of social media influencers, because once you’ve found one it’s up to you to maintain that relationship.
The best influencer campaigns are dependent on long-term collaboration and mutual respect, something that you and your influencers will have to figure out amongst yourselves.