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Thought: Part 1 – The Power of the Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencers (definition): “everyday, relatable individuals who have amassed a decent and loyal online following (between 10,000 to 100,000) thanks to their continuous hard work and knowledge around a specific subject matter.[1] The digital landscape is rapidly evolving.  Organic search is in decline[2], competition for sponsored listings dilutes its ROI[3], and paid advertising is increasingly being skipped, hidden or blocked all together[4].  Compounding this, consumers are increasingly looking to peers and personalities, not companies, to inform their purchasing decisions[5].  In this climate, we have seen the rise of the social media influencer[6], however research reveals that the bigger the following, the lower the conversion[7]. For brands looking to connect effectively with their audience, ‘micro-influencers’ are the new secret weapon in brand reach and traction. “Consumers today are craving a more authentic connection to brands – and brands can give them that experience by collaborating with micro-influencers.” “There has been a shift …towards strategies that focus on the qualitative, rather than the quantitative, aspects of social media influence.” Seen as a more trusted and authentic source of information, micro-influencers receive a much higher level of engagement compared to top tier influencers and celebrities:

  • 82% of consumers claimed that they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer[8];
  • The smaller the audience, the more potent the influence: Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8%, 4% for those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, and 1.7% for over 1 million followers[9];
  • Micro-influencers have cultivated a level of trust with their community, building their network one by one, post by post;

Micro-influencers also deliver more than just ‘reach’.   Whether it be pics, clips or copy, micro-influencers deliver a pipeline of premium content. This user-generated content comes with the added value of a trusted audience and can transcend organic social channels, to be re-purposed through paid channels, both on and off line. Aligning with the right micro-influencer will deliver reach, authenticity, promotion, content production and favourable cost-per-conversion rates.  For greatest benefit the brand’s affiliation with the micro-influencer should be “about developing a meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationship formed over a shared desire to produce quality, engaging content”[10].  Brands that will succeed in the influencer space are the ones investing in a long-term and partnered approach to building positive brand sentiment and fostering customer loyalty.

How to evaluate your brand’s credentials as a Micro-influencer: Critically and strategically consider your own brand and evaluate its credentials as a micro-influencer.  Consider this under 3 categories: Reputation, Reach and Relationship as we have done for our business, The Office Space.

1. Reputation – The World’s Best… How is your business positioned, through your own words and the endorsement and accolades of others? The Office Space has been creating intuitive work and meeting environments for the last 12 years.  Over our two Surry Hills locations we have hosted and supported over 830 businesses, representing some 2,700 people who have been part of our business community.  The personal endorsement of many of our client businesses is invaluable and we regularly ask for feedback to continue to evolve our service offering but to also check in with how we are perceived by our clients.  Also increasing our reputational dividend are the external awards and accolades we have received.   Paramount by The Office Space was officially acknowledged as the best designed workplace in the world at the prestigious 2016 World Festival of Interiors (INSIDE) Awards in Berlin, Germany, and the international jury found that Paramount “represented the highest creative and design excellence and contributed to changing the face of global interiors”. Independent awards and the commentary of industry experts dramatically increases the reputational capital of a brand so look for opportunities to enter your company in business chamber competitions or encourage industry experts to use your product or service for free and give their feedback.

2. Reach – Meaningful B2B Engagement Your business has its own network, and this network has its own networks.   This is the premise that Seeding Strategies are based upon, and it’s how content can go viral overnight.  Create a spreadsheet of your immediate audience – your internal database, your social media followers across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Youtube if relevant.  Now expand this by profiling each client and recording their own social media following (or ask our office receptionists or Brighthand virtual assistants to do it!). This exercise will reveal your potential second degree reach and explains how a clever marketing message or compelling campaign offer has the potential to gain traction as it moves through the network chains.  Like a snowball gathering mass, the right message can gather momentum (and likes and shares) exponentially. Through our longstanding and far-reaching community involvements, The Office Space have amassed a subscriber database of over 6,000 individuals and hold trust with the following industries within our offices: Technology/IT, Travel, Retail, Art and ‘mumpreneurs’.   That’s okay as a starting point, but, when we collectively explore our current client’s networks, their combined social media reach is enormous.  Our potential second degree influence leaps to over 6 million facebook followers, 700,000 Instagram followers and almost 7 million twitter followers. Once you appreciate your potential reach, at even just 1 degree of separation, you will be motivated to create content that your clients will then share with their clients.  To make something shareable, consider your audience and your message.  You will know whether it is appropriate to be funny, informative, provocative, adorable (everyone loves puppy photos so consider a Labrador in your new sock range), or simply fulfilling a need such as providing great content or a professional recommendation they would be eager to share.

3. Relationship – A Trusted Source A 2014 study by McKinsey found that “marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate” [11].  Influencer relationships are at the heart of influencer marketing. An influencer must have a strong and credible relationship with its audience, and the brand must have a natural synergy and approval with the influencer. The Office Space enjoys long-term and highly-trusted relationship with our clients.  Our primary purpose is to elevate the working experiences, professional opportunities, and business success of our clients.  We are their productivity partners, not their landlord.  Our clients stick with us (average tenure is 2.4 years but we’ve retained clients in our offices for over 5 years); we are in close and continual proximity (our physical residents typically spend 5 days a week, 7-8 hours a day in our offices); and we are trusted (we invest deeply into the world of work and our clients come to us for advice on anything from the best local café to recommendations on professional services). Consider the interaction your clients have with your brand.  Are you a necessary evil (I’ll avoid references to dentists or tax accountants)?  Do they love using/eating/wearing your products? Do they appreciate how your services simply or resolve a problem for them? Once you know what this is, you can leverage it to further strengthen your messaging.  A simple way of looking at this a basic marketing mission statement: We help [A – who is your target audience?] to do [B – what is the need you are addressing?] by [C – what is your solution, your product or service?].

Conclusion There is a spectacular opportunity to boost your lead generation, business profile, and social media following by jumping on the emerging strategy of utilising micro-influencers in your industry and in within own client reach.  Stay tuned for Part 2 on the Persuasion of micro-moments for capturing market attention revealed later this month.

[1] https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/amaury-treguer-micro-influencer-marketing/ [2] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245521 [3] http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/stadelis/tadelis.pdf [4] IAB found that 30% of Australians are using ad-blockers and it’s increasing year-on-year. [5] http://www.adweek.com/digital/10-reasons-why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing/ [6] Google classifies the keyword as a “Breakout,” meaning that the keyword is experiencing growth greater than 5000 percent. [7] http://digiday.com/agencies/micro-influencers/ [8] https://business.experticity.com/new-research-shows-micro-influencers-drive-consumer-buying-behavior-much-higher-rates-previously-thought/ [9] http://digiday.com/agencies/micro-influencers/ [10] http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-new-wayto-measure-word-ofmouth-marketing [11] http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-new-way-to-measure-word-of-mouth-marketing

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