Micro-influencers: Great for marketing - better for customer insights?

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What are micro-influencers and how can they be used to better understand customers?

Micro-influencer marketing has been named as the industry’s next big ‘thing,’ according to the likes of Inc., Econsultancy and AdWeek. Although there is no specific definition of a micro-influencer, they are generally regarded as someone who has around 10,000-50,000 followers on social media, compared to the millions that macro-influencers have attracted. 

But while micro-influencers have a smaller following than macro-influencers or brand ambassadors, that smaller following is normally more loyal, engaged and often shares a common interest or passion. Brand ambassadors might have a huge reach, but that audience is likely to be disparate, and made up of many different types of people and therefore less engaged with the content the brand ambassador publishes.

In fact, research from Markerly, shows that as an influencer's number of followers increases, the number of likes and comments they get from those followers decreases; Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time, whereas users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.

Micro-influencers tend to have very specific niche audiences and as a result they have a deep connection with them. And this is what has captured the attention of marketers. 

But micro-influencers also provide marketers with a powerful route to better understand customers’ behaviours, motivations and beliefs.

Don’t be content with sponsored content

Working with micro-influencers gives brands the opportunity to drive sales through creative and relevant sponsored content. However, if a brand stops there in its influencer-marketing campaign, it’s missing a big opportunity to better understand the emotions, motivations, likes and dislikes of their target customer base.

Micro-influencers have the potential to add real value to a company’s customer engagement strategy; positively impacting creative, media strategy and product development.

Micro-influencers have the potential to add real value to a company’s customer engagement strategy; positively impacting creative, media strategy and product development.

As well as engaging with customers via micro-influencer accounts, brands should take the time to passively listen to the micro-influencer community, understanding the type of content they share, and how they engage with other accounts. This act of listening, using an audience intelligence platform, will deliver valuable insights for brands to develop campaigns and creative that will hit home with a target audience.

Micro-influencers are customers too

Going one step further, brands should actively set up an insights panel made up of the micro-influencers. Marketers can use this panel to road test creative concepts, content and product development ideas. Furthermore, it will give brands a much more in-depth understanding of their target audience’s worries, hopes, motivations and sense of humour.

Micro-influencers also present the opportunity for marketers to create an army of brand advocates. By taking the time to better understand your target customer base and identify a list of relevant micro-influencers, your brand is likely to be relevant to those influencers.

So, if done correctly, your brand’s values will naturally resonate with these individuals and you have the potential to build long term relationships, and valued customers who not only buy your product or service out of choice, but also talk about it positively to their network. Saving you significant money on sponsored posts, and further increasing engagement rates through those organic posts.

Every moment matters  

In order to successfully identify the influencers that are best suited to your brand, marketers need to stop segmenting predominantly based on demographic data. It is short-sighted and risks missing out on adding vital context. To complement demographic data, marketers need to think about audiences in terms of moments and mind-sets:

A moment is the context around what is driving buying habits. For example, a moment might be when someone is buying a house - regardless of age, someone who is buying a house is likely to also be interested in home insurance, white goods and soft furnishings. Regardless of age, gender or marital status this fact remains the same, but marrying moments data with demographic data, allows you to get a more granular understanding of your customer base. For example, a single, female home buyer from Manchester might be interested in different levels of life insurance than a retired couple from Bournemouth.

Segmenting based on mindsets, is when marketers take into consideration people’s attitudes, as a result of several overlapping moments. Sticking with the home buyer theme, an example mindset might be someone moving to a new area, who is an avid vintage car collector. They might be looking for specialist car insurance that takes into account their prized possessions and provides insight into the area’s crime rate, whilst also sharing tips on driving routes or local vintage car meet-ups. This approach provides richer insight into what product or content will resonate with an audience, which isn’t available if you only look at demographics.

Micro-influencer marketing may be 'the next big thing' but brands that only think about micro-influencers in terms of sponsored content are missing a huge opportunity. Micro-influencers have the potential to give marketers much richer insight into their target customer base.

By taking the time to segment, listen and engage directly, brands can realise the full value and make significant improvements to their marketing strategy.

About Amir Jirbandey

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