One influencer in the beauty space surprised her audience when she posted a testimonial about the benefits of a particular computer. It was a glaring departure from her usual posts about facial cleansers and makeup products, and her followers weren’t responsive to the product in question. Even worse, they pointed out that the computer she reviewed wasn’t the brand she typically used. In the comments, they voiced disappointment over her decision to endorse a product just for the money.
Engaging influencers -- particularly micro-influencers, typically defined as those with fewer than 100,000 followers -- can be a great way to convert mid-funnel consumers. But as we saw in the example above, it can also be a great way to leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.
Most marketers and influencers work hard to avoid situations like this, but it’s still a surprisingly common occurrence. What many don’t seem to realize is that picking the right influencer requires a lot more than a glance through audience size and the typical products featured.
Consider the signals
Just by following someone in the first place, consumers send out signals about their interests and what they are open to learning more about. They also send signals when they discuss products in the comments, click links in influencer posts and share posts on their channels.
These signals can help marketers determine if an influencer is the right fit. Signals can also give marketers a sense of what the audience has already expressed an interest in, which is a very effective method of homing in on consumers who are most likely to be receptive to a marketing message.
Think of micro-influencers as sales feeders
Micro-influencers are so valuable because they wield a lot of, well, influence over their audience. Their positive, unscripted review of a product pushes potential shoppers further down the consumer funnel.Marketers should think of micro-influencers as feeders to the sales team. Using such feeders allows companies to increase ROI through precise targeting. As a sales feeder, as opposed to a salesperson, the influencer’s role is to cultivate connections and engagement that can then be leveraged into sales.
The bottom line
Micro-influencers offer a nearly unprecedented level of person-to-person engagement, which carries a lot of opportunity -- and a lot of risk. Choose the right influencer, and you’ve opened a line of communication with your ideal customer. Choose the wrong influencer, and you’ve sent many of those same customers running in the other direction.