Adding user-generated content (UGC) to your marketing strategies is more critical than ever.
According to research data, the world is currently going through a crisis of trust.
- 6 in 10 people automatically distrust brands
- Almost 50% believe that businesses aren’t doing enough to address societal problems
- 80% of people shop based on their beliefs and values
Considering this data, business leaders looking for growth can definitely conclude that they’re looking at a challenging period ahead.
But here’s the thing: the fact that consumers don’t trust organizations isn’t an insurmountable obstacle when looking to scale your brand. It’s just a signal that it’s time to employ marketing strategies that work.
And, it turns out that employing UGC and collaborating with micro-influencers promises to yield great marketing results.
Why Micro-Influencers Remain Influential
Sure, people are moving away from social media. According to GWI’s latest report, one in four Gen Z users report utilizing social media networks less than last year. But this doesn’t mean that the power of (micro) influencers is waning.
In a report published by TINT, it was revealed that 72% of consumers find reviews and testimonials to be a good source of credible product information. Moreover, 76% have made an online purchase based on a recommendation from their peers. And while almost 40% of people distrust influencers, they still hugely rely on the experiences of others when making buying decisions.
Now, to some business leaders, this might mean that the time of working with influencers should be over. But the truth is, that’s not what the data suggests.
Rather than discouraging brands looking to grow from collaborating with content creators, the statistics presented in TINT’s report should direct them towards the method guaranteed to yield better results. And that’s working with micro-influencers who retain their aura of transparency and enjoy high engagement levels without creating the impression that they’ve sold out.
Also, note that working with non-celebrities offers considerable financial benefits. On average, a post by a nano-influencer will set you back $10-$100. Getting featured on a micro-influencer Instagram feed shouldn’t cost more than $500. Both sums are significantly lower than the thousands of dollars required to acquire endorsements from celebrities.
Strategies for Collaborating With Micro-Influencers to Scale Your Brand
Now that you understand that collaborating with micro-influencers promises great results (as long as you pick the right people with the right audience), it’s time to get into the tactics and strategies for successful collaboration.
The following are the steps you need to take to make sure your investment yields significant gains for your brand.
Choose the Right People & Platforms
One of the most impactful things you can do to see gains from your micro-influencer marketing strategy is to do the preparatory work that will open your brand up for success.
You see, the key to getting collaborations right is knowing that people have different online behaviors depending on their age, location, gender, and interests. So, by thoroughly researching your audience, you can make the best decisions about how to go about your micro-influencer marketing strategy with success.
- Instagram is most popular amongst users aged 35-34.
- Facebook is used more by men than women.
- Younger generations aged 20 and below are most likely to be active on TikTok.
- YouTube seems to be (almost) equally popular among all audiences. As many as 64% of U.S. online consumers use the platform regularly.
So, as you explore micro-influencer marketing, remember that the collaborators you choose have to be active on the right platforms (those on which your audience is active). More importantly, you also have to make sure that their content fits in with your brand’s values and mission. Be sure that being supported by that person won’t alienate your potential buyers.
To gather some inspiration, check out how Origins collaborates with micro-influencers. For example, it recently collaborated with fashion blogger @cocobeautea, whose content centers mainly around fashion. By choosing to work with someone whose niche is outside the beauty and skincare industry, Origins effectively discovered a way to expand its reach without wasting money on collaborating with someone whose followers wouldn’t find the brand’s products relevant.
Collaborate With Experts to Build Brand Authority
Another excellent way to employ micro-influencers to scale your brand is to combine the notions of micro-influencer marketing and expert endorsements to build brand authority.
We’ve already mentioned that today’s consumers tend not to trust brands. However, they do trust experts who have experience in the field they’re speaking about. In fact, a survey from 2020 found that scientists were among the most trusted groups in society, signaling that brands looking to build trust or establish themselves as authorities might want to start collaborating with experts.
Somnifix does this spectacularly on its Instagram profile. On the platform, the brand reposts content from experts, like dentist Dr. Mark Burhenne, supporting its claims that Somnifix products provide health benefits and are a proven-to-work solution for those looking for a better night’s sleep.
Of course, social media is not the only place to collaborate with experts from your niche.
Transparent Labs does this on their blog, where they regularly publish content written by certified nutritional coaches. The brand also works with full-fledged celebrities, including strongman Hafþór Björnsson. He is best known to the masses as “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones.
Utilize UGC to Boost Ecommerce Conversions
If the growth you’re looking to secure for your brand has to do with conversions, you’ll find that building relationships with your existing clients might be the best way forward.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, it’s relatively simple.
When making purchasing decisions, people tend to seek out recommendations from their friends and family. And, when those aren’t available, they look to social proof in the form of reviews, testimonials, or customer stories.
The great thing is that employing user-generated content works just as well to achieve this as micro-influencer marketing. It relies on the same idea: taking content created by everyday people (who have a small but engaged base of followers) and using it as a powerful form of social proof.
For example, lifestyle brand GILI Sports knows that its target audience of watersports enthusiasts cares about investing in the absolute best products. So, to ensure its potential buyers understand that GILI boards make the perfect segue into a life of adventure, the brand consistently showcases UGC both on its website and its social media channels.
If you check out the GILI Sports homepage, you’ll see that the reviews section highlights testimonials with images. This is an excellent strategy to encourage consumer trust and boost conversions.
But, GILI also takes a step further on its Instagram profile. It reposts user-generated content to showcase the lifestyle its products could allow new clients to have. The UGC on the brand’s social media profile includes both images created by proper micro-influencers as well as those whose authors fall into the nano-influencer category, whose audiences consist of the (much more common) 100 – 10,000 followers.
Tell Customer Stories
Lastly, as you look for ways to collaborate with micro-influencers, don’t forget to address the successes of your clients. They can be a hugely powerful weapon in your arsenal.
After all, if you provide services and products, and those play a role in allowing your clients to reach their goals, then the only logical conclusion is that investing in your brand offers genuine benefits to your audience.
And the great thing is, you can easily get this message across by putting the spotlight on the right people.
For example, Impossible has a marketing strategy that is almost entirely based on telling customer stories.
In addition to a beautifully-produced series of short films on YouTube that showcase exciting collaborations between Impossible and micro-influencers from the fitness industry, the brand also takes pride in small wins achieved by regular people.
For instance, check out the Facebook post below, which celebrates a customer for completing their first-ever ultramarathon. Note how the thing that takes center stage isn’t one of Impossible’s products, but the feeling of the brand’s pride at having played even a small role in allowing one of its customers to achieve personal success.
Alternatively, if your target audience consists of professionals or businesses, you might want to do something similar to Voices. This brand’s Customer Success Stories page tells all about the marketing challenges Voices managed to help its clients overcome.
Yes, this may be a slightly unconventional approach to micro-influencer marketing. But, in the end, the stats shown in each customer story, the high-quality final product, and the authority of the brands featured all work together to illustrate Voices’ commitment to helping its clients succeed.
All these micro-influencer marketing strategies make for excellent ways to grow (or scale) your brand. As you can see, they all provide tangible benefits. And some – like utilizing UGC or telling customer stories – even secure big wins without significant monetary investments.
But as you set off on your micro-influencer journey, keep in mind that the best strategy to scale your brand won’t necessarily be the one that gets the word out about you the fastest. Instead, your aim should always be to go after quality over quantity, even if that means reaching smaller audiences. This will ensure that they have a genuine likelihood of turning into your brand’s customers.
About the author
Natasha is a lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She has been working for individual clients and companies of all sizes for more than a decade. Natasha specializes in writing about design, branding, digital marketing, and business growth. She is also addicted to art in all its forms and grilled tofu.