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Instagram micro-influencers have fewer followers than other big names and celebrities on the platform but make a huge impact on their audience. That’s why they have many advantages for brands. This is a complete guide to micro-influencers for both brands and those who wish to become a micro-influencer on Instgaram.
Nowadays, if you ask a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” they probably won’t answer engineer, lawyer, or astronaut. Instead, their answer is probably “social media influencer.” Hard to believe, but it’s true; being a social media influencer is the second most popular career among teenagers between 11-16. It’s one of the new trends in the past decade:
Being an influencer seems like a dream job, especially on Instagram, which is now the main platform for this job. Thanks to the social proof phenomena, you make easy money for just being on social media and publishing posts. Brands contact you to run ads for them and maybe send you on vacation for a project.
Well, being an influencer can be this much dreamy, but certainly, it’s not an easy task, especially now that there are more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram — that’s nearly 40% of all Instagram accounts.
So, you might think the competition is tough, and only those with a huge number of followers will win this. But you’re wrong! When it comes to Instagram, the less is more. That’s why micro-influencers are the center of attention these days.
In this article, I’ll talk about the benefits of working with an influencer and being one. Also, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step of these processes. So, let’s start!
An Instagram influencer is someone who is a celebrity, expert, or creative in a specific niche. A micro-influencer, in particular, has fewer followers than average celebrities and well-known figures. To be exact, we can divide Instagram influencers into these categories based on the size of their following:
They have less than 1,000 followers and are the smallest group of influencers in terms of followers. These are suitable for small businesses and brands who are tight in budget or want to promote a unique niche product.
Those Influencers who have between 1,000-10,000 followers are considered as micro-influencers. These Instagrammers have several advantages over the other ones, such as having a particular audience, that makes them attractive for both small and major brands. Micro-influencers on Instagram are famous for their excellent engagement rate, which we’ll talk about further.
This category exists between micro-influencers and macro-influencers. Those who have between 10,000 and 100,000 influencers fall into this category.
It’s worth mentioning that some Instagram marketing experts consider this group as micro-influencers too.
Any influencer that has between 100,000 and one million followers is a macro-influencer. Macro-influencers charge brands more money for advertisements and usually become experts in the brands that they are endorsing.
Celebrities and big names fall into this category. They have more than one million followers, and many of them even become brand ambassadors and brand reps for major companies.
Now that you know the difference between different types of influencers, now let’s see what makes Instagram micro-influencers so attractive for brands and even their followers.
As mentioned above, micro-influencers have certain characteristics that make them appealing for brands and Instagrammers. Here are some of the most important reasons:
It seems the reign of TV commercials is at the end. People spend less time on TV and instead, more time on the internet. If you run a brand, you need to focus on social media such as Instagram and carry on your promotional activities, especially for Millennials and Gen Z, who are known as screen addicts.
Another problem is that people still might block them even if you create super cool official ads on social media. A study by InfluencerDB showed that 81% of people prefer recommendations over brands, and only 19% of people still believe in traditional ads such as TV or radio commercials and the rest.
So, what brands can do to gain people’s trust? Well, micro-influencers on Instagram are exactly that lost link between brands and people. They can act as a bridge between these two and recommend their favorite products to their followers, who put immense trust in them. Actually, last year micro-influencers posted 84% of sponsored posts in the world.
Another reason that makes micro-influencers so precious for online marketers is that they actually pay off. Due to their supportive and close-knit community, micro-influencers have one of the highest engagement rates among influencers.
As you can see, micro-influencers have an impressive engagement rate. After reaching the threshold of 10K, things start to plateau for influencers.
Working with an influencer, brands can get the advantage of this valuable opportunity that they offer.
But how about more peculiar or rare niches? What if you want to endorse a reusable drinking straw to clothing made for certain body types.
Don’t worry; for any niche, there’s a micro-influencer out there.
For example, @mothmeister creates creepy images out of people’s nightmares. Yet, many brands collaborate with them to promote their products:
Compared to macro-influencers and mega-influencers, micro-influencers are much more affordable. As you may know, brands normally pay influencers based on the number of their followers. But it’s not the only way to calculate an influencer salary. I’ll talk more about this later, but for now, here’s the average price per post for influencers in popular niches:
Besides selling, increasing brand awareness is one of the main reasons why brands use Instagram. If there’s one thing that influencers are good at is spreading words. That’s why they are great for building brand awareness, especially if they are superfans of that brand too.
Because many micro-influencers are experts in a particular niche, they receive freebies from brands just to review it on their Instagram. Just a simple mention by influencers can add thousands of new followers to the brand’s page.
The good thing about micro-influencers is that most of them are selective when it comes to the brands they want to endorse. They only choose the products that go well with their interest and, more importantly, their community. This helps them to stay authentic in the eyes of their followers.
With more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, it seems pretty hard to find your brand’s perfect influencer. Finding the best micro-influencers might be a time-consuming process, but some shortcuts get you there more quickly.
The first step is to precisely define your goals for having one or multiple micro-influencer campaigns. Of course, every brand wants to increase their sales, but some goals are equally important, such as increasing brand awareness, launching new products, and targeting new customers.
Although running a micro-influencer campaign can help you to achieve all of these goals, it’s a good idea to have a clear mind about your goals before contacting them. It’s worth mentioning that as micro-influencers use indirect methods of advertising, they are perfect choices if you want to build brand trust and target new customers. However, they can directly do advertising for you using affiliate marketing.
There are a few ways that you can find your micro-influencers. Here they are:
One of the best ways to find micro-influencers is to look at your posts and see who are your avid followers. Those who have already shown their interest in your brand, created UGC for you, and maybe sent you DMs are great candidates. These people are probably your superfans and the best options as they know your brand well.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to find all the followers who tagged you or mentioned you on Instagram. One good way to manage all these and find people who can become your micro-influencers is to use AiGrow.
AiGrow is an Instagram management service with many features that help you grow your account sustainably and organically. We talk about AiGrow more in further, but now, I’m going to introduce one of its unique tools to help brands find their superfans, and it is “Listening and Repost.”
As a brand, you may receive tons of Instagram notifications every day, and you might lose some of your messages along the way. Using AiGrow, you can take a glance at all of the posts that you were mentioned or tagged on and see the followers that most engage with you.
You can even find valuable user-generated content this way and repost them to curate your Instagram feed.
If you could not find anyone on your following, you can always use influencer agency websites such as Ainfluencer. These websites act as a bridge between brands and influencers. Influencers are categorized based on their niche and the number of followers, so you can simply visit their profiles on the website, find their Instagram page, and see if they are a perfect fit or not.
At first, you might find many suitable candidates. You need to choose at least the top 10 of them to check them further at this stage.
When choosing a micro-influencer for your brand, you need to consider if that person is a picture-perfect face for your brand. The micro-influencer that you choose must reflect all the core values of your brand.
The good thing about Instagram influencers is that you can grab most of the information you want only by looking at their content on their page. Before contacting them, take some time and go through their posts to check their tone of writing, style of photos, and how they communicate with their fans.
See if they have the potential to deliver the message that you want. A great way to examine this is by checking the previous campaigns that they ran. Were they successful in creating a buzz around the products that they endorsed?
This way, you can find the most relevant micro-influencer to your brand.
Another important factor to consider is the influencers’ engagement rate. See how much they are successful in communicating with their fans. Do they reply to the comments? Do they take time writing good captions, or they just type in some emojis?
When you consider all of these important points, narrow down your choices, and only focus on the best candidates. The next step is to contact them.
How do you connect with micro-influencers? Well, there are several ways to approach them. You can simply leave a comment on their posts:
And don’t worry if it’s not a suitable way to do it. Actually, big companies do the same; they just leave a simple comment.
Or, find their email address on their profile, and write to them. Here’s an email template:
After sending and receiving the first emails, start negotiating with your candidates. Invite them to a restaurant, your office, or even a Zoom call as it’s safer these days and discuss things.
Talk about how much money they will charge you, how they’re going to run the campaign, how many posts and stories they will publish, and, most importantly, what type of content they will use?
The important thing to remember in this stage is that influencers work with you and not for you. Creativity and personal brands are the two most important assets of theirs. So, you shouldn’t force them to do things exactly as you want.
Another important thing to discuss is whether they’re going to advertise your product directly or indirectly. You can either use the Instagram paid partnership feature or ask influencers to simply use hashtags like #ads on their posts in the direct method.
But in indirect advertising, they only mention your page or product in the post or Stories.
You can also give each influencer a unique promo code or affiliate link to track their marketing efforts.
Make sure you record all the micro-influencers’ data into a spreadsheet so that you could compare them more quickly and finally choose the best one(s). Depending on your budget and goals, you may work with several influencers simultaneously.
Always pay the influencers in advance, unless they want to do affiliate marketing for you. This way, you can establish a more amicable relationship with them. If you are not 100% sure of their performance, you can start with only one post and analyze the results. If they are satisfying enough, you can go ahead and make deals for more content.
Cash is not the only choice when it comes to paying micro-influencers. Many of them promote your products and, in return, only accept freebies. Some of them only accept cash or a combination of free products or services. Make sure you talk this through in your negotiations.
Running the campaign is not the most important part of the process. Actually, analyzing the result created by each micro-influencer is much more important. Use your Instagram insights before and during the campaign to realize how much the influencers helped you reach your goals.
Based on these data, decide whether you want to continue working with them or not.
Local influencers are perfect for those small businesses that are front office or have any kind of store. The difference between these types of businesses is that they are dependent on local customers as they are the majority of their audience.
For example, if you have a restaurant in a small town, it’s better to focus on finding local influencers to increase your chances of gaining more local followers.
You can find micro-influencers in your area by simply check hashtags like #localinfluencer or the name of your city or neighborhood.
One of the other advantages of using local micro-influencers is to promote store openings or events with them. As they have many followers in their own area, it’s possible that they lead many new local followers to your page.
Related article: Here’s How You Become The Chief of Restaurant Instagram Marketing
If you are dreaming about being a micro-influencer on Instagram, this part of the article is for you. Becoming an influencer seems easy; it might not be that hard to gain your first 1,000 followers, but the problem is, being an influencer is not just about the number of followers.
Being an influencer, and especially being a micro one, is about building a community with you in the center of it. Your followers are like your friends, so you should gain their trust first by creating content that they are most excited about. This industry is all about relationships, and people love to hear unique voices telling their stories.
Here are some of the steps that you can take to become a great micro-influencer.
It’s not a good idea to randomly endorse every brand. Based on your interests, you need to find a niche that suits you the best. Remember, you need to be either a creator or an expert to be a great influencer, as I mentioned before. So, try to gain information about your niche as much as you can and share your thoughts with your followers.
For example, if you want to be a makeup artist influencer, try different cosmetic brands and give your honest opinions.
After carefully choosing your niche, it’s time to find some real followers. Micro-influencers have a limited number of followers, and these followers must be engaging and real. So, it’s good only to attract those who are really interested in you and your work. That’s why using bots, or buying likes is not a good idea.
A great way to gain real and engaged followers is to use AiGrow. As I mentioned above, this Instagram service helps you to grow organically.
AiGrow is a perfect choice for those who wish to become a micro-influencer as it offers many additional tools too. When you buy one of the AiGrow’s Pro or Managed services, you can also enjoy its smart schedule that enables you to plan your feed posts and Stories for upcoming days and even months.
Let’s examine one of the Instagram fitness micro-influencers that uses AiGrow packages:
As you can see, using the AiGrow package “Pro 6 Month,” this account gained over 4k new followers that are both real and engaging!
A media kit is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials that provide information about you. It contains information such as:
You can use websites such as Canva to create your media kit for free,
Note: A good thing to mention here is that some marketers might advise you against including any price in your media kit as it might put the brand off from working with you if you set high prices.
It completely depends on you if you want to include the piece or not. If you do, it might show that you are honest and also might stop any further negotiation.
Don’t know your worth? Keep reading as we’ll discuss this in the following.
When you gained enough followers to be considered a micro-influencer, you are now confident enough to contact brands.
You may think to yourself, shouldn’t I wait for brands to contact me? Well, it can happen, but the truth is, there are so many influencers out there that brands might not even notice you are here. So, what you need to do is to gain the brands’ attention.
Sit down and pick your favorite top brands in your niche. Now, you can do one of these options:
There’s nothing wrong with giving cold pitches. That actually shows you are interested in working with that brand.
So first, start interacting with those brands by liking their photos, leaving comments, and reply to their Stories. Then you can DM them or send an email to tell them that you are interested in working with the brand.
Explain your reasons why you think you are a good fit and tell them about your positive experience with their products or services. And don’t forget to attach your media kit.
Another important thing to consider when making cold calls is that It’s better to pitch to one or two brands that suit you instead of hundreds.
Did you know many brands looking for influencers and even brand ambassadors? Find those brands in your niche and keep an eye on them.
This approach is excellent to get the brand’s attention, but you should be careful about this. Only tag them once or twice to see if they are interested in your work. This approach perfectly works for brands that run user-generated campaigns. Although this approach is useful to get featured on Instagram, you can’t keep tagging them in the hope that they might offer you working with them.
Create a profile on influencer agency websites so that they find a perfect match for you. You can choose your niche and types of brand that you are interested in working with on these websites. The only drawback is that they might receive a commission for matching you up with brands.
One of the most confusing parts of being a micro-influencer is knowing your worth because there’s no solid standard defining it.
So, how much do micro-influencers make on Instagram? To make things a little bit clearer, let’s see what Ali Grant, a thought leader, influencer, and risk-taker, says about this on Goal Digger Podcast:
“Some people pricing themselves really high, some so low, there’s no point of reference really either… so, it makes it pretty difficult. I always go back to for every 10k followers you should charge around 100$. That’s a good starting point.
It’s all across the board…the thing you can do is to factor in your engagement rate, quality of content you’re posting, the category you’re in, and also don’t charge for your posting, charge for the usage of the content too. See if the brand wants to use your content on their ads, website,… Those are the times that you can upscale yourself for more money. Also, consider how long it takes you to create content.”
Micro-influencers are one of the main trends of Instagram marketing these days. Learning how to work with them can greatly help businesses. Also, being a micro-influencer can be a valuable experience too. So, don’t miss this opportunity.
About the author
Owain Williams is the founder of MAKE IT MANA an influencer, content and social marketing agency based in the UK. Owain is a thought leader in the influencer marketing space with extensive experience in speaking and writing about the topic. His agency works with a variety of businesses, helping them set strategies and execute powerful influencer marketing campaigns.
Need some influencer marketing support? Get in touch direct: firstname.lastname@example.org