Working with a tight online marketing budget?
While top influencers can be very effective at helping your brand gain instant visibility, these people often have rates that a lot of small business owners can scarcely afford.
If you want to use influencers, you might want to scale down a bit and partner up with relatively less-famous personalities who might be willing to promote your business at a lower price. These "micro-influencers" can still do the same things that these top influencers can do (e.g. promote your products, engage with your audience, help gain visibility for your business) albeit on a smaller scale.
Here are the steps to get you started:
Step One: Look At Your Current Roster of Fans
As it turns out, you might not even have to search for too long to find your micro-influencers. Chances are that you already have a few who are currently following you or are a "fan" of your business.
These micro-influencer fans might be even better than any other influencers who have not expressed any interest in your brand before. One, they are more likely to partner up and accept a proposal from an establishment that they are familiar with. Two, it will take less effort from you to convince them to trust and believe in your products/services (considering that they're already your fans, we can assume that they already have some degree of confidence in your business).
For Instagram, you can search for micro-influencers from your current fans by going to your Instagram profile and looking at your followers list. Pick out fans who catch your eye, look at how many followers they've got (anywhere from 1,000 to 10,00 followers is great), and see what kinds of posts they have.
A good match is someone who regularly puts out content that is in line with your business; if you're a restaurant, then find someone who likes to post pictures of their food. There's a high chance that this person is willing to jump at the opportunity to promote a restaurant, food truck, or any other food-related business. You can offer discounts and free meals, in exchange for the influencer taking pictures of him/herself at your restaurant and writing a quick glowing review of the menu.
Step Two: Use Hashtags For Research
People might not have heard of you if you're a small business or are just starting out. However, this does not mean that they're not interested in what you have to sell. To find influencers who are interested and are fans of products and services that are similar to your own, you need to do research.
A good place to start would be hashtags. Micro-influencers often use hashtags to promote their own posts, and clicking on them would bring up posts from other users that are likely to be about the same topic.
The trick in doing hashtag research is to be as specific as possible. Let's say you're an organic food delivery service. Searching for influencers who use hashtags like #organicfood or #organicmeals is a whole lot better than searching for something as generic like #food or #meals. You're looking for people who are into healthy living and organic food, and you are likely to find them under the more specific hashtag than the generic one.
Instagram is the go-to platform for hashtag influencer research. It's easy to search for hashtags and there are a lot of people there. But you can also try Googling your chosen hashtags and see if they are on any other platforms other than Instagram. They might show up on other social networks like Twitter, Pinterest, or Snapchat, and you might be losing out on potential influencers if you ignore these platforms.
When you click on a hashtag in Instagram, a list of public posts that are tagged with it will be displayed. The top photos (i.e. the one with the most likes) are usually found right at the top of the list. Browse through these posts and see who you can tap as a micro-influencer to promote your business. You can check out how many followers these people, as well as the kind of content they have (are they really into organic food? or is it just a one-off thing?) just by clicking on their profiles.
Step Three: Go Local
If you're business serves a particular area or community, it's best to narrow down your influencer search to those who are based in close proximity to you. Local bloggers often have a large following and also have significant clout and influence in their communities. They can also be classified as micro-influencers too.
Google is your friend when it comes to searching for local-based bloggers. A good keyphrase to search is "bloggers in (your location)." Remember, the more specific your search term is, the better the results. "Food bloggers in (your location" or "beauty and lifestyle vloggers in (your location) is always better than the generic "bloggers" search.
Once you've found people, check out their websites and blogs. See if the kind of articles and content that they publish are in line with your business or brand. If they are, reach out them and offer a proposal.
Step Four: Use Third-Party Tools
Third-party tools like BuzzSumo and Ninja Outreach can do much of the hard work and research for you. They are also a whole lot faster than just manually Googling influencers yourself.
These tools usually allow users to search for influencers based on keywords and influencer type. You can also see relevant metrics like the influencer's domain authority, page authority, and number of followers. Sometimes, you can even set the tool to just search for "regular people" alone.
Why Go For Micro-Influencers?
Micro-influencers can do much of the same things that top influencers can. They're very ideal for small businesses and startups. The best thing of all, they can do these at rates that are significantly lower than what you would pay to a top influencer. Sometimes, a free meal or a product sample is all it takes to get them on your side!
Hopefully, the tips above have helped you get started on searching for the right micro-influencers to promote your brand.