Is making money on Instagram as a “Micro-Influencer” even a thing? Can you imagine getting sponsored posts as an influencer or are you just dreaming?
Its not as hard as your think, essentially you need consider your audience, your niche and your ability to engage. Regardless of size.
Lets dive right into the details!
What is a micro-influencer?
Before we even get started, lets break down what this all means. What exactly does it mean to be a micro influencer and how will it affect the business you are trying to build.
There is some pretty interesting information online about micro influencers and where they start. For me personally, I think anyone from 5K-25K is usually my idea of a Micro influencer. But there seems to be a general consensus that 10K-50K is a micro influencer which for me seems very high.
So for this conversation we are calling anyone from the 5K zone to 50K “Micro Influencers”. I feel like once we get the 10K swipe up, you sort of move out of this, as you have more opportunity to provide more return on investment.
Why are Micro-Influencers Important?
In our previous post about the value of influencers we speak about how important both large and small influencer groups can be. They bring an authentic level of marking to a brand that can sometimes only be achieved at this small scale.
Quite often micro influencers are far more brand relevant and niche focused. They can also be far more brand loyal, advocating and driving sales for a brand.
So can Micro-Influencers make good money on Instagram?
The short answer is; YES. Of course they can!
Let’s take a look at some of the micro-influencers who have succeeded in this space:
Laura Milne, food blogger at Cook at Home Mom, is a micro-influencer and currently uses a partnership manager to manage all her brand negotiations, she says the following;
Sometimes they (Brands) reach out to me directly and I connect them, sometimes she reaches out to contact them. I create food and recipe content, so food brands will pay me to create a recipe using their product and share about my honest experience with it.
Even though having less than 100k followers on Instagram used to be seen as a barrier to making money as an influencer, more and more brands are tripping over themselves to partner with us.
Brands are so much savvier to the fact that smaller communities are also more engaged. My followers know me, they know I care about them, and they trust me. Brands want to part of the conversation I’m having with my community and they’re willing to pay a premium for that.
Selling your high engagement rate
Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing talks about the value of a smaller accounts engagement;
The main thing I consider when looking for micro influencers is that they
have a very high engagement rate. As long as they have a few thousand likes per post, even if their following is relatively small, I will consider them a great opportunity and influencer to work with.
Engagement rate is important because anyone can buy followers or have followers who don’t even get to see their posts due to the algorithms, so when someone has a
consistently high engagement rate, you know working with them will get your brand higher visibility.
Selling your niche audiance
When it comes to brands sponsoring you, essentially they are buying access to your audience and the work you have put into your audience.
Bethany Spence, Content Marketing Specialist, Exposure Ninja talks more about this value
Typically, micro-influencers are defined by two things:
Having a substantial yet small following (usually below 50,000 followers).
Focusing their content on an obscure topic or niche. Let’s say, a raw vegan cooking channel or a DIY hacks account.
These types of influencers aren’t likely to ever enjoy mass success or
influence because their appeal isn’t mainstream enough. That said,
micro-influencers are rising in popularity because they often tend to be
more relatable to viewers and therefore have more perceived value.
If anything, the fans of micro-influencers are more loyal and are more likely to be influenced as their communities are incredibly tight-knit. These audiences tend to feel very defensive about the influencer in question.
In this way, product placements and brand sponsorships likely have a better chance of succeeding in the long-term because these advertisements feel natural (given the niche topic choice).
A major influencer may succeed in creating a short-term desire for a certain product but the emotional attachment that audiences have with
micro-influencers is likely to make these people become life-long advocates of brands their favourite micro-influencer works with.
What are some of the negatives of being a micro-influencer on instagram?
There are negatives to anything you might work towards, when we reached out to micro-influencers to comment on this some came back with an interesting analysis of how the landscape of Instagram currently looks.
John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead from My Supplement Store talks about how User Generated Content seems to be more of a trend currently than that of the “micro-influencer”. John goes on to say;
Micro Influencers tend to be more authentic, have less sponsored posts or ads on their channel, and are more affordable.
The whole influencer marketing thing in my opinion is moving to UGC or user generated content using their own customers as influencers. This is very effective for us in that these people are already customers who enjoy our products and have a relationship with our company.
Oftentimes we can give free product instead of monetary compensation, but the whole thing is just more authentic than hiring someone who doesn’t use your product to pitch it.
This then opens up the conversation to include “Should Influencers be paid with free product”? Which is something we will definitely be going into more detail on in a later post.
Milne supports this by saying;
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT work for free product. You need to value your time, your talent, and your worth. If a company doesn’t have a budget for your work, don’t do the work. It’s tempting to get freebies, but no one will value your work if you don’t.
Set a minimum for your rate and stick to that boundary. Every single horrible experiences I’ve had with partnerships were brands that I’d compromised my rates for. One even threatened to sue me if I didn’t post about them more than agreed to. Again, that was an unpaid partnership.
How can you become a micro-influencer?
Haley Galler, an influencer marketing specialist at Find your Influence; talks about some neat ways to get yourself out there, she talks from personal experience having only 3K followers and just landing her second paid partnership;
Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands and ask to collaborate! Remember to always stay professional and let them know what you bring to the table and how you can benefit their brand.
Another way to make money as an influencer is through affiliate networks. I use LIKEtoKNOW.it to tag my outfits, home décor and everyday items and receive a small commission for each purchase! While it will take some time to start seeing purchases on your photos, stay consistent and be true to your brand. If you typically share discounted/sale items, your following may not respond well to designer handbags and luxury brands.
It is important to grow your network and learn from those who have been in your shoes before. Something I’ve learned is to not be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to people, make connections and be kind! By meeting like-minded people, you will build meaningful relationships that will help you grow, not only your following but as a person.
While my blog couldn’t be my sole source of income at this time, I try to remind myself of the old time saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time and dedication to grow any new project, and from my experience, my best advice is to have fun and don’t get caught up on the numbers. Your following will grow as long as your stay consistent and true to your own brand!
Neelam Tewar a micro-influencer talks to us about ways to make this happen;
Leveraging Instagram TV (if you have access to it) and Stories has
been the easiest way to generate leads and build an audience. I tend not to do any paid advertising on Instagram because my audience is sensitive to sponsored ads and that doesn’t fit with my online persona. The more real and authentic you are, the better the odds of people following your
content, your page and engaging with it behind the scenes as well.
New micro-influencers should focus on building consistent content that’s
engaging but rooted in tons of value addition to build credibility on the
platform. Be extremely clear on who you are talking to and create as much inclusivity in your content as possible because the buyers are often the silent ones (i..e non-engagers are watching and following you). Research and use hashtags liberally, geotag and use highlights of your best content.
How can a brand find a good micro influencer?
We cover this quite extensively in other posts about the use of influeners in marking; however micro infleuncer Neelam suggests that brands do the following:
Any brand looking to engage an influencer must think of them as an
extension of the brand values, mission, vision and future direction of the
company. The best people to talk about your brand are the ones that are
using your product/service or are in a related industry.
When selecting an influencer, a brand must be clear on what their KPIs are, how they want to leverage the influencers’ network (online & offline) and ensure their values are a match with the brand. Doing influencer marketing for the sake of it, is never a good strategy. Take your time, research the person and draw up a strategy to engage them for at least a 90 Day period.