There has never been a time where brand endorsement laid so fully in the hands of everyday individuals as right now. For PR professionals comfortable with a world where editors, celebrities and stylists wield the coveted nod of approval via magazine coverage or wardrobe, the rise of the influencer combined with social media has completed changed the game, causing us to rethink how we conceptualize what it means to garner publicity.
Within this new metric of success comes various new segmentation and evaluation – with much attention recently paid to the rise of the micro-influencer. Much in the way boutique agencies must compete against larger agencies, so have micro-influencers been tasked with the need to articulate their value against top-tier influencers who often get the largest piece of influencer budgets without having the qualify much more than follower count.
Who better to look to then for a few hard-won marketing lessons, than the micro-influencer (while some may include accounts from 10-500k in this category, this article focuses on those individuals with 10-100k followers).
The riches are in the niches (and the niches are plentiful)
Most micro-influencers focus their efforts on just a few main content categories, often with the majority of content focused on a single area of expertise, enthusiasm or interest. And many further refine from there, not just healthy recipes for families, but healthy keto recipes for families. Not just fashion, but stylish, budget-friendly finds for the mom over 40. This makes it very easy for a prospective follower to determine if the content is right for them. Becoming a “go to” expert in a niche is a great way to ensure your agency’s visibility in the world of PR.
Agency Takeaway: Are you putting forth a full-service “everything but the kitchen sink,” style of messaging that is perhaps diluting your true expertise? Does your homepage speak directly to your ideal client, using terminology she would use, solving problems she would identify as most important right now? Is it time to truly niche down – not just beauty but clean beauty, not just lifestyle experts but health + fitness coaches?
There is more value in engagement than in audience size
One of the biggest draws in working with influencers has been a large follower count, with perceived influence directly related to audience size, much like the circulation of a magazine. We may assume the higher the follower count, the larger the pool of possible customers. However, it’s been reported by DigiDay and others that a higher follower count can actually translate to fewer likes and comments on posts. Part of what makes the micro-influencer so attractive is that they have developed high-touch engagement, responding to DMs and engaging in the comments.
Agency Takeaway: How are you in direct communication and conversation with leads and prospects? Does your new business process include a highly personalized proposal process or do you simply hand over a one-sheet of services. Are you sharing your knowledge regularly and publicly or are your talents only reserved for those on retainer? Bottom line: how are you serving the clients, employees, vendors, prospects you DO have to the best of your ability?
Storytelling is where it’s at friends…
We are all growing more skeptical (and savvy) of social media selling, overly slick visuals and questionable product endorsements. As a result, honest, genuine “real” content tends to outperform superficial or overly-perfected content. Micro-influencers who regularly invite their audience into the day-to-day, the good, bad and the ugly, and invite their audience to share their own tips, advice, horror stories, etc activate our desire to be informed or entertained and make it easier to press the IG Stories button to see the latest daily content.The same goes for PR. Rather than using social media for fruitless open-ended pitches, drive interest with case studies, testimonials, and results – allow the social proof that speaks for itself and avoid hiding behind gimmicky graphics and third party content.
Agency Takeaway: Are you providing a real look at your agency under the hood? Does your agency have a strong personality across all platforms? Are you hiding behind a website that doesn’t actually say anything specifics? Are you producing regular content to help prospects learn what to expect – and anticipate – from your firm?
There is ample room, even in a space that seems crowded, for agencies to stand out and attract ideal clients. Micro-influencers have faced a similar challenge in attracting an audience, and then the brand deals that turn content creation into business-building. The next time your agency sits down to plan for new business, rebranding or social promotion, take a page or two out of the micro-influceners’ playbook.