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How can B2B marketers drive growth with micro influencers?

Back in 1760, pioneering potter Josiah Wedgwood made a new kind of cream-coloured earthernware tea set for Queen Charlotte. She was so happy with his work that she granted Wedgwood permission call his new line of creamware ‘Queen’s Ware’. It sold extremely well at home and overseas, and Wedgwood was even commissioned to make a set for Catherine the Great. Granted permission to style himself as “potter to her Majesty”, Wedgwood had established itself not just as an artisan but as an iconic British brand.

Queen Charlotte’s patronage is sometimes held up as an early example of brand endorsement. In many ways, Queen Charlotte was not dissimilar to a modern celebrity or influencer, with people taking her stamp of approval as enticement to purchase. 

There have always been prominent people who could set trends and influence tastes. But, distinct from royalty or celebrity, the figure of the influencer emerged with social media. Brands realised that people with a major social following could promote or recommend products or services on their channels. B2C marketers were first in on the action. However, B2B marketers have since realised the power of social influence. People naturally connect with our people, more than with businesses. By leveraging the reach, credibility, and expertise of influencers, brands have realised they can drive brand awareness, build trust, and establish thought leadership within their target market.

But, rather than paying Kim Kardashian to try shift invoicing software or accountancy services, B2B marketers stand to benefit more from engaging influencers with social influence in more niche fields. 

Enter micro influencers.

What are micro influencers?

A micro influencer is an individual with a social media following within a niche or local field. Their following is typically smaller than an influencer, but they’re often experts on a specific topic, industry, or skill, and have a highly engaged online community. 

There is no absolute consensus about what audience size constitutes a micro influencer, but the table below gives an indication of what marketers generally understand to be the difference between influencers and micro influencers. Micro influencer

  • ‘Nano influencer’
  • Perceived as relatable and authentic.
  • 1,000 to 100,000 followers
  • Highly engaged audience
  •  Niche expertise
  • Could be an industry expert
  • Could be local
  • 100,000+ followers
  • Significant following
  • Frequent brand collaborations
  • Broader audience

Why do businesses want to work with micro influencers? 

Influencers with big audiences can can command high fees for endorsement deals or sponsored content. However, bigger is not always better. While influencer advertising is still big business, shoppers have grown increasingly skeptical about lucrative influencer deals with very prominent career influencers and the sincerity of endorsements.  

At the same time, social influence has continued to hold huge sway over consumer choices. In this context, its unsurprising that micro influencers have become more popular. Even if an influencer’s audience is smaller, having a smaller, but more engaged audience can have greater impact with potential buyers.

In particular, micro influencers with a highly specific interest or expertise are better suited to B2B brands, for whom a relevant industry expert offers more credibility.

These are some of the key reasons why B2B marketers are opting to work with micro influencers:

Targeted Reach: Micro influencers often specialise in specific niches or demographics. This allows businesses to reach a more targeted audience that aligns with their products or services. 

Authenticity: Micro influencers can be perceived as more authentic and relatable which can be in keeping with a brand’s needs and inspire more trust.

Cost-effectiveness: Micro influencers tend to charge lower fees or may even collaborate in exchange for free products or services. 

High engagement rates: Since their audience shares a more niche interest and often be more closely connected, micro influencers tend to have a more active and engaged community. This increased engagement can result in better visibility, interaction, and conversion rates for businesses.

Creativity of content: Micro influencers often take the time to craft unique, personalised content that resonates with their audience. This can provide businesses with fresh and creative content that showcases their products or services in an authentic and appealing way.

Local Influence: Micro influencers are more likely to have personal connections and direct influence within their local community, which can be especially valuable for businesses targeting specific regions or local markets. 

Challenges for brands and businesses

When engaging micro influencers in B2B marketing, businesses may face the following challenges:

Finding the right fit: Identifying micro influencers who align with the brand's values, target audience, and industry can be a challenge. It requires thorough research and evaluation to ensure the influencer's content, expertise, and audience match the brand's B2B objectives.

Managing influencer relationships: Building and managing relationships with micro influencers can be time-consuming. It involves negotiation, contract agreements, content approvals, and ongoing communication to ensure both parties are aligned on campaign goals and expectations.

Measuring return on investment (ROI): Measuring the effectiveness and ROI of influencer campaigns, particularly in the B2B context, can be complex. Determining the impact on lead generation, customer acquisition, or revenue can be challenging due to longer sales cycles and multiple touchpoints. Establishing appropriate metrics and tracking mechanisms is crucial for evaluating the success of micro influencer collaborations.

Maintaining authenticity and disclosure: Maintaining authenticity is vital in influencer marketing. Businesses must ensure that micro influencers maintain their genuine voice and connection with their audience while promoting the brand's message. Additionally, compliance with disclosure regulations, such as clearly indicating sponsored content, is essential to maintain transparency and trust.

Reputation risk: Businesses must carefully evaluate the reputation and content of micro influencers before engaging them. Any controversies or mismatched values associated with the influencer can negatively impact the brand's image and reputation. Conducting thorough background checks and monitoring influencer activities can mitigate this risk.

Changes in influence and popularity: Micro influencers' popularity and influence can fluctuate over time. They may gain or lose followers, or their content preferences may change. Businesses need to stay updated on the influencer landscape and continuously assess the relevance and impact of their chosen micro influencers.

Navigating these challenges requires strategic planning, effective communication, and ongoing monitoring of influencer campaigns. By carefully selecting and managing micro influencers, businesses can harness their unique advantages while mitigating potential risks and obstacles.

How to get started with micro influencers

To get started working with micro influencers as a B2B marketer, you can follow these steps:

1. Research: Conduct thorough research to identify micro influencers who align with your B2B niche, target audience, and brand values. Consider factors such as their expertise, content quality, engagement rates, and audience demographics. Use social media platforms, influencer directories, and industry networks to discover potential influencers.

2. Set goals: Clearly define your goals and objectives for collaborating with micro influencers. It could be increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving website traffic, or promoting specific products or services. Having well-defined goals will help you evaluate the success of your influencer campaigns.

3. Reach out to influencers: Once you've identified suitable micro influencers, reach out to them with a personalised message that highlights why you think they would be a good fit for your brand. Express your interest in collaborating and explain the value they can bring to your B2B marketing efforts. Be prepared to negotiate terms and answer any questions they may have.

4. Determine pricing and content expectations: Discuss pricing and content expectations with the micro influencers. This could include the number of posts, type of content (e.g., blog posts, videos, social media posts), exclusivity, and usage rights. Be open to negotiations and find a mutually beneficial arrangement that fits your budget and campaign goals.

5. Set up a contract: To ensure clarity and protect both parties, establish a contract or agreement that outlines the terms, deliverables, timelines, and any other relevant details. Include provisions regarding content approvals, disclosure requirements, and performance metrics. Engage legal counsel if necessary to ensure compliance and protection.

6. Monitor: Once the collaboration begins, closely monitor the influencer's content and engagement. Regularly review the performance of the influencer's posts and track key metrics related to your goals. Provide feedback and suggestions as needed to align the content with your brand's messaging and optimise results.

Remember, building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with micro influencers requires ongoing communication, transparency, and respect. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your partnerships and make adjustments as necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

Interested in working with micro influencers, or revamping your social strategy but not sure where to start? To learn more about how Code Milk can support you with your business goals, contact us today.