(Originally posted in Social Media Today)

Shoes of PreyShoes of Prey, a little-known women’s custom shoe producer, decided in 2010 that it needed to boost its brand awareness. But without deep pockets for high-octane celebrity promotion, the company had to get creative.

Instead of turning to a big-name promoter, the company sought the endorsement of fashion vlogger Blair Fowler. Fowler was just 17 years old, but she had a dedicated following of more than 300,000 subscribers.

After Fowler hosted a Shoes of Prey giveaway on YouTube, the company saw a sustained 300 percent increase in sales. Once the video hit 750,000 views and 30,000 comments, the company received coverage from publications such as the Wall Street Journaland Business Insider for the publicity maneuver, which led to a partnership with Nordstrom.

Would the media have taken notice if an A-list celebrity had just said, “Buy these shoes?” Maybe, but it’s unlikely.

Small But Mighty

Seeking out micro-influencers rather than high-powered celebrities isn’t just easy on the pocketbook; there are some other reasons to choose lower-caliber influencers for your brand.

microinfluencer versus celebrities

Micro-influencers are high-quality promoters. They’re social media wizards who genuinely care about the topics they deal with, and they’re more likely to provide you with authentically passionate content. Micro-influencers tend to be invested in what they do, so they make it their business to personally engage with the products they promote.

Additionally, celebrities and high-profile influencers aren’t easy to access. When you choose a micro-influencer, you don’t have to go through agents or other representatives — you can usually just contact and negotiate with them directly. What’s more, they’ll often plug your product for nothing more than a sample.

Connect With Micro- Influencers

While micro-influencers can be a great tool for your brand, you’ll need to connect with the right one or you’ll be wasting your money. Here are a few ways you can find and connect with a worthwhile promoter for your brand:

  • Know who you need to reach. If you don’t know, how are you going to find the influencer with the right audience?
  • Look at your needs. Identify influencers who fit your needs in terms of blog traffic, social following, cost, and topics they write about.
  • Get personal. Take the time to read their blogs and review their social channels to make your pitch personal. Show them you took the time to learn about their brand, and they’ll make an effort to get cozy with yours.
  • Monitor social media. Perform a search using hashtags, and make a list of influencers in your niche using tools like HootsuiteGroupHigh, or Google Alerts.
  • Provide compensation. Compensation can be in the form of money, shout-outs, or product discounts or giveaways. Ask micro-influencers how they’d like to be compensated, and they’ll see that you value their efforts.

The bottom line is that you might reach fewer people by connecting with micro-influencers, but you’ll reach people who are specifically interested in what you have to offer.

Every brand wishes it could have a top-shelf celebrity extolling its product, but the fact is that big-name influencers are hard to reach, expensive, and more of a “spray and pray” tactic. Celebrities might be capable of getting your name in front of millions of viewers in one quick shot, but that shot comes with a gold-plated price tag.

So what’s your brand’s best alternative to the celebrity who everyone knows? Think smaller, think smarter, and spend your money more wisely by connecting with micro-influencers.

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