According to a consumer survey by Bloglovin’, 54% of women have bought a product or service after seeing an influencer posting about it on social media, and 45% began following a brand because an influencer has created a sponsored post about their product.
So it’s not surprising that so many brands are turning to influencer marketing to push their products. But what do you do if you’re a new brand without the funds to pay a big-name influencer to boost your sales?
Influencers don’t have to be celebrities
A survey by Google found that a staggering 70% of teenage YouTube audiences are more likely to be influenced by YouTubers than by traditional celebrities. This is certainly something to consider if your target audience is in the teenage bracket.
But why do teens prefer YouTubers to their favourite celebrities?
The obvious answer is relatability. Let’s take Kylie Jenner as an example. Yes, she’s an iconic figure in the eyes of impressionable teens, but is her lavish lifestyle something they can really relate to? It’s unlikely that the average teen can find common ground with Kylie, whereas YouTubers represent a more relatable personality and lifestyle.
The survey suggested that YouTube vloggers interact with and listen to their followers, creating the feeling of a friendship rather than a fandom. And that’s the difference. YouTubers create a bond with their fans, leading to a more engaged audience. According to the Google survey, the top 25 YouTube stars generated three times as many views, twice as many actions and 12 times as many comments as videos created by celebrities.
The takeaway to this point is this: it’s not always necessary to splash out on celebs to promote your products. Popular YouTube influencers can be just as beneficial to your brand as celebrities, if not more when it comes to a younger audience.
The problem is, the bigger YouTubers still come with a hefty influencer fee. But if you’ve just started out and don’t yet have the funds to get a popular internet star boosting your brand, don’t close the door on influencer marketing just yet.
Meet the micro-influencers.
What is a micro-influencer?
Micro-influencers are influencers that have fewer subscribers and followers than those who have hit the big time in the influencer marketing world. We’re talking fewer than 10,000, as opposed to the 100s of thousands that bigger influencers have. But don’t let those smaller figures put you off.
Engaging micro-influencers in boosting your brand and promoting your e-commerce stores can actually be more profitable than using their multi-million-follower peers. That’s because, as we’ve touched on already, audiences value trust and relationships when it comes to engaging with an influencer (and, in turn, making their purchase decisions).
Micro-influencers are relatable
Micro-influencers come across as more authentic and relatable, and their opinions are more trusted by the public. See, the problem with celebrity and big-name influencers is that they seem a distance apart from their fans and followers. A micro-influencer who has the same interests and tastes as their followers is likely to get more empathy and understanding from their audience, and therefore the audience feels that the micro-influencer would also understand them and their problems.
You see, micro-influencers have a small enough following that they can still afford to keep things personal. They are more likely to find time to respond to comments and messages, meaning that they’re building up stronger trust with their audience.
Micro-influencers are cost-effective
Micro-organisers don’t tend to run their blog or social media channel as a full-time job, instead participating as a hobby alongside a regular job. This means that you can usually work with them for a lower cost than you would with a celebrity influencer.
Micro-influencers are often happy to be paid in freebies; for example, if you gift them with free lashes or a free pair of shoes, they will then be happy to review your product for their followers.
Alternatives to influencer marketing
Influencer marketing isn’t the only way to build awareness of your brand or products. You could also dabble in viral marketing and / or press outreach.
Viral marketing systems
This is something we’re currently working on for some of our clients to help raise brand awareness. The system in question is vyper.io, a tool that allows you to create competitions to build your audience through spreading awareness of the competition you’re running.
When we think of the word competition, it’s easy to imagine a lot of flashing popups and other spam-like content. But when a competition is done well, it can add massive value for your audience. It becomes a fun, exciting and powerful way to grow your following rapidly, whilst still staying classy and on-brand. And the results are rapid: digital resource Foundr reported results of 13,603 new subscribers in just 10 days using Vyper.
Since the main goal of these competitions is to generate brand interest and leads, it’s important to keep the leads relevant. So the prize on offer needs to be something the audience wants, rather than attracting random people who just want free stuff.
Essentially, if you advertise a competition offering a desirable prize – such as a trip to London Fashion Week, or an exclusive photo shoot if you’re a fast fashion brand – whoever enters that competition has a higher chance of winning depending on how many people they refer and how many times they enter.
It wasn’t always about influencers. Back in the day, before influencers were a “thing”, press outreach was the main way to increase brand awareness – and it’s still very much a popular method now.
Press outreach is done by creating an editorial calendar based around what’s happening in your industry; to take fashion again, around new trends and also the fashion weeks throughout the year.
You also need to create a press list of relevant, high-authority contacts to get your material out there, and outreach regular press releases around your product launches, key trends, seasonal events and so on.
Press outreach is a cost-effective option, as it’s not likely to cost you anything financially. However, it should be noted that you will need to have contacts to outreach too, and building those relationships may take time and effort.