Looking for a fresh way to kick-start your social media strategy in 2018? Bring on the micro-influencers! A micro-influencer is someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about a very specific niche. Their social media followers are in the thousands, rather than the millions, but this smaller, focused circle results in 11 times higher ROI rate than traditional forms of advertising, according to Neil Patel at Quicksprout. We’ve written before about the benefits of working with micro-influencers and how to find them. But many small and medium-sized B2B companies are still not sure exactly what a micro-influencer is and how they the can be helpful for their business.
Why Should My Company Work with a Micro-Influencer?
As a quick refresher, micro-influencers may have smaller followings, but these influencers are also much more engaged with their followers around very specific topics. The right B2B micro-influencer partnership can help build brand awareness for your company, drive conversions (e.g., white paper downloads, free trial offers), and ultimately lead to new customers by helping to shorten the buying cycle in your favor.
We like to think of micro-influencers as the “long-tail keywords” of social media. In SEO terms, long-tail keyword phrases are the hyper-targeted keyword phrases that are highly searched by a specific audience subset that’s ready to engage with your product. When you create content around long-tail keyword phrases (think “how do I work with social media influencers” rather than “social media marketing”), you’ll get a lower volume of hits but a much higher quality. In the social world, micro-influencers are much the same: they may have a smaller reach than the mega-celebrities with their million plus followings, but these micro-influencers have a much higher quality relationship with their followers. The result: when they publish content about your brand, their followers will actually pay attention and take steps to learn more.
B2B Micro-influencer Success Stories
All this sounds pretty great in theory, but does working with a micro-influencer actually work for B2B companies? Absolutely. Consider these success stories below:
- Product Engagement: American Express for Small Business
Goal: Improve storefront decal usage and visibility
Strategy: American Express wanted more small businesses to prominently display the company’s storefront decals, but businesses complained the decals were a boring eyesore. To make the decals more aesthetically appealing and get small business owners excited to display them, American Express launched the “Love My Store” campaign. The company partnered with the popular blog Design*Sponge and interior designers Grace Bonney and Emily Henderson to teach small businesses how to use their storefronts to attract customers. The secret here? Offering free (and highly relevant) advice that made an immediate impact for small business owners– and came directly from trusted professionals in the design field, rather than from a faceless corporate official at American Express.
- Conference Engagement: SAP
Goal: Engage at-home users unable to attend SAP’s annual user conference
Strategy: SAP’s annual Sapphire conference features interviews with industry leaders and draws 20,000 attendees. SAP wanted to expand its reach beyond conference attendees and engage users who were unable to attend in person. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that SAP worked with 11 micro-influencers to create interview-based video content from the conference, repackaging this content for distribution via Facebook and Twitter. The micro-influencers received exclusive access to SAP leadership and engaged with at-home viewers in real-time to craft content in response to social media questions.
- Recruitment and Employer Branding: G.E. and Lena Dunham’s “Lenny Letter”
Goal: increase female tech recruitment
Strategy: When G.E. wanted to boost female tech recruitment, the company knew it needed to give prospective hires a “behind the scenes” view into working at G.E. The company went turned to Lena Dunham’s “Lenny Letter”, a twice-weekly email newsletter that reaches more than 400,000 women in their 20s and 30s with an unheard of 65 percent open rate. The campaign included an all-access interview between Lenny Dunham and G.E. Vice Chair Beth Comstock and a series of recruiting commercials shared via micro-influencers on social targeting female industrial internet developers.
Like any social media campaign, micro-influencers should be a natural complement to your overarching marketing strategy. As you think about the best ways to integrate micro-influencers into your marketing plans, consider your big-picture goals for 2018. Do you want to focus on boosting brand awareness to drive more leads? Do you need to showcase a new product or service? Do you need to improve retention efforts by helping existing customers understand your product value? Start with this clear end goal in mind and then work backward, considering how micro-influencers can most effectively and naturally support this campaign.