According to social scheduling service Later, it’s predicted that nano- and micro-influencers will continue to rise and generate more sales. 

They report, “the less followers an influencer has on Instagram, the higher their average engagement rate.” 

But how can you maximize your ROI when working with smaller influencers? 

We’ve got your back with expert tips for leveraging nano- and micro-influencers the right way.

In our survey, we defined nano-influencers as having 1,000-9,999 followers, and micro-influencers as having 10,000-99,999 followers.

Keep reading for the insider tips that pros use to see the most success with nano- and micro-influencers.

As we’ve covered in our previous roundup, leveraging nano-and micro-influencers  has plenty of expert-backed benefits:

  • They have access to highly engaged, targeted audiences
  • They’re more relatable than larger influencers and have built a close community
  • Compared to the bigger names, they’re more accessible
  • They’re cost-effective drivers of more conversions

But working with these influencers can be a very bumpy ride, as evidenced by the several downsides of nano-and micro-influencers:

  • They’re often less knowledgeable and less professional than larger influencers
  • They have less reach
  • It’s harder to find and recruit the right influencers
  • They take more time to vet and manage

Fortunately, you can turn some of these disadvantages around by properly regulating your work relationship with influencers: here’s how.

1. Compensate influencers fairly

To cultivate a healthy relationship with influencers, you’ll need to properly compensate them.

This means you’ll need to do your market research on influencer rates.

Talk to a handful of influencers at a time. You don’t necessarily need to work with all of them in one go. However, talking to them will give you a good idea of the average rates nano- and micro-influencers charge in your industry. Talking to other marketers who work with smaller influencers will also help you get benchmarks for fair influencer rates.

From there, make sure you pay the influencers you choose to work with at a competitive rate.

As Clearsurance.com’s Melanie Musson puts it, “Know their value and compensate them appropriately. You need to be competitive with payment, but they need to deliver as expected.”

Pro tip: Think long-term. By paying the influencers you work with fairly and generously, you’ll maintain a healthy work relationship with your influencers. Plus, this encourages them to pay more attention to the work they do for your brand.

2. Ensure the influencer meshes well with your brand

This is a fundamental principle of effective influencer marketing, but one that can be easily overlooked.

SBO’s Mario Cacciottolo suggests to “make sure your brand matches and works seamlessly within the influencer’s posts. It can create a negative reaction with the audience if the advertising seems a bit too forced and out of place next to their natural content.”

Pro tip: Before you look for ideal influencers to work with, write down your brand values and the type of partnership that’ll work best for you. Having a checklist like this ensures you’re looking for the correct influencers before reaching out to them.

3. Do your homework before reaching out to influencers

This one’s a hat tip to Harry Johns White from NBA Blast who recommends, “having everything they’ll need before reaching out to an influencer.

“Whether it’s visuals, tags, copy… whatever it is – make sure you have what [influencers] need ready before asking to work together.” 

“Conducting these collaborations electronically will help keep things reusable and cut down on duplicate work that can all be captured in Google Drive or Slack.”

And while you are at it, “Outline the plans and budget in advance,” suggests Spylix’s Steven Walker.

“It is not possible to leverage them if you do all these processes after hiring them.”

Preparing all the work material will save you time when sharing your ideas and requirements with the influencers. You can start working without delays.

Plus, you can easily use the same documents to work with multiple nano- and micro-influencers.

 4. Explain your requirements clearly 

“Once you find an influencer who aligns with your brand’s values, make sure they know what type of role they’ll play within the project,” recommends Milo Miszewski of mDevelopers.

“Make sure they understand how much work is necessary for each post; nano-influencers may not be able to produce high-quality content as frequently as larger influencers.

“Finally, always provide them with clear guidelines and expectations so that there is no confusion.”

Pro tip: Create a short Loom video explaining your brand values, requirements, guidelines, and expectations. This resource is useful when collaborating with several nano- and micro-influencers.

That said, Miszewski advises brands to “focus on creating engaging brand stories with the influencer who will talk about your values and company culture while also garnering likes, comments, shoutouts, and shares.”

However, it’s important to keep from micromanaging your influencers, which brings us to our next point.

5. Never micromanage influencers

“To leverage nano- or micro-influencers, you need to let their creativity speak and give them some room for content creation,” Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers shares.

“They know their audience, so even if you want to give them some guidelines, you still need the message to be authentic.”

Jake Smith from Absolute Reg LTD is on the same wavelength.

“Always remember when working with nano- and micro-influencers, you need to give them the freedom to be creative and work on something they are passionate about.

Do not micromanage [influencers] because it hinders them from thinking outside of the box. They know their followers better, so they have the best idea of presenting your brand.”

Pro tip: When working with influencers, keep in mind that the people you’ve decided to work with have reached an influencer status based on their creativity, authenticity, and hard work. They know a lot about creating content that best resonates with their audience.

6. Create a defined management process

OnPay Payroll’s Elliott Brown recommends: “Try to use the same general process with everyone.”

This will help speed up your collaboration process, and help you work with multiple influencers easily without having to remember the specific engagement with each one.

“If your process looks a little different with every nano-influencer,” Brown says, “it can mean you’ll have a lot more work to do to move things forward.”

Pro tip: Document your process from start to end. Make use of Google Docs, Loom videos, handy checklists, and template-based contracts.

7. Monitor influencer insights and engagement

“It’s important to explore [an influencer’s] engagement KPIs, amongst other analytics,” outlines Nikita Chen from LegitGrails.

“In our experience, an average of 4-6% of the influencer’s engagement metrics have the ability to convert into purchases. For example, if a credible influencer gets 1,000 likes on a sponsored post, we estimate it to generate around 40-60 sales.”

While this might not be true for everyone, it’s possible to find your average by tracking results. This allows you to set realistic expectations from the influencers you partner with.

Another way you can do this is by “getting a verified performance report from the influencers,” as Spylix’s Steven Walker recommends. “This will let you know where they’re at, and this data can be used to make any changes in the implied strategies.

“Keep in touch with them continuously so they won’t miss out on any of your details.” 

Pro Tip: Set clear expectations before working together and ask the influencers to do the same. 

Be upfront and communicate that you expect them to share performance analytics with you. Along those lines, be sure to also ask them what their expectations are from your business.

8. Diversify your influencer campaigns 

Diversifying your influencer campaigns at first will give you the best chance to appeal to your target audience in various ways and learn which content resonates with them the most.

In fact, chances are some content campaigns may show great results with one influencer and other campaigns might show excellent results with another influencer.

“You will want to work with nano-influencers and micro-influencers on many campaigns,” writes Tanner Rankin from Referazon. “These include best list or must-have list inclusions, giveaways, product reviews, distributing promo codes, and editorial style reviews.”

9. Use campaign-specific hashtags

This is another effective tip for an ROI-driving collaboration. David Reid from VEM Group outlines, “Campaign-specific hashtags help raise brand recognition and revenue.”

They link specialized micro-influencers with your brand. Many micro-influencers advertise their business and win new customers.”

You can also create campaign-specific tracking links, and inform your influencers to use the specific link in their content. This way, you can better track the ROI of each nano- and micro-influencer marketing campaign.

In summary

To reap the most value from your nano- and micro-influencer partnerships:

  • Do your research before asking an influencer to sign on
  • Outline clear expectations and guidelines, but don’t micromanage
  • Monitor each influencer’s performance metrics
  • Diversify your campaigns and content plan
  • Target the right hashtags

Implement these best practices and you’ll be able to maximize your niche influencer marketing efforts.

Want to drive more value from influencer marketing? We put together 21 proven influencer marketing best practices you should follow.

And if you missed any of our other roundups on nano- and micro-influencers (or would like to read them again!), find them here:

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