Embrace the micro-influencer

Blogger coder

A brilliant interview with clothes retailer AllSaints reveals a major brand consciously aiming for mid-tier bloggers, proving that ‘influence’ is not all about size.

Anyone who’s worked in PR will be familiar with the tiered system of influence. Naturally, PRs will pitch to media with the widest and most relevant reach first before hitting the “lower tier media”.

I’ve run various blogs since 2005 and – having worked in PR and journalism myself for nearly 18 years – know exactly what an invitation to an event in two days’ time means: It means there aren’t enough attendees, the client isn’t happy, who else can we invite? Let’s hit the lower tiers… And you also end up with the “Hi there” and “Dear blogger” spammed press releases.

So I found myself nodding furiously to this piece in The Drum by AllSaints’ Cass Gowing outlining how the retailer brand recently specifically targeted “micro-influencers” (500-10,000 social media followers) among its existing customer base. As a serial micro-influencer, it was a breath of fresh air hearing that brands value bloggers with smaller spheres of influence.

As Gowing points out, engagement rates drop off the higher number of followers an influencer has. This is probably because the higher that influencer’s following, the more distant they feel from the everyday person who is the target audience. It’s not all about aspiration for the celebrity lifestyle; people look for people like them that they can relate to.

I have experience in this from blogger campaigns I have run in the past. Sometimes a client was forced to target micro-influencers due to budget, but that’s no bad thing because those parent bloggers we worked with had the ears and eyes of likeminded people who spread that word-of-mouth (or rather, word-of-click) amongst their small but engaged circles.

Micro-influencers can play a small but effective part in others’ decision-making journeys.

Trust is key

Trust is the currency of influence online. The public is aware that celebrities and bloggers are paid to plug products on social media, even when many still do not disclose their interest. It’s authenticity that counts, just look at pages 18 and 19 of Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2016.

Advocates are key to influence, and influence is relative. Everyone wears clothes; therefore AllSaints’ potential target audience is massive to track. When you act in niches, from FinTech to yoga, the numbers of influencers can fall but their potential ability to impact decision could be huge.

How to identify and approach micro-bloggers

I cover the basic principles of how to identify and approach influencers in this post I wrote for Econsultancy. It’s all about understanding their audience, how the blogger works and giving them something unique, not spamming them with press releases.

If your team needs to understand how journalists and bloggers work, how to identify them and how to pitch successfully to them, I run a convenient three-hour Influencer Relations training session.

This is run on your premises, so your team can grow their confidence and ability to successfully engage with influencers without disrupting their day.

Please contact me for more information.

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