One of the biggest recent trends in influencer marketing is the swing towards brands sidelining larger, well-known, established influencers in favour of ‘micro’ ones. In simple terms, this consists of brands working with newer, smaller influencers, focused on engaging with a more niche audience base, with the aim of achieving a higher customer conversion rate.
Why? Well, as we outlined in this previous blog post, micro influencers are proven to achieve much higher rates of engagement. Of course, an influencer still has to have an audience of a certain size to even have influence in the first place, but the more focused and specific the interests of that audience, the more they will engage with an influencer who espouses them.
Is this good news for newly emerging influencers? You bet it is. By their very definition, new influencers are considered micro, and as we now know, micro influencers have never been more in demand. However, being a successful micro influencer is a little more complicated and involves a lot more work than simply having a smaller amount of followers than your macro counterpart. There’s a secret ingredient, and it’s called niche.
Niche in this instance simply means having a USP, something that sets your content apart from others and makes you a go-to for certain types of inspiration. For example, a generic fashion influencer is all well and good, but if this influencer has carved themself a niche based around the types of clothes they feature and talk about, or the specific style they emulate, the audience they attract will be more focused and therefore receptive. If your influencer ‘brand’ has a clear, defined niche, you’re much more likely to attract an audience genuinely interested in you and your content, more likely to engage with it, and, consequently, more attractive to brands when they come a-knockin’.
Carving out a niche in an already fairly saturated influencer marketplace however… that’s the tricky bit. Here’s a few pointers to help you out:
1. Know Yourself
No one knows what gets you going and sets your fire alight like you do. A tangible passion for what you do is essential for your audience to believe in and trust you, and if you want your influence to provide a long-standing stream of income, you’re going to have to sustain that passion through thick and thin.
What are you most engaged when talking about? What do you always want to steer a conversation towards? What makes you who you are? As cheesy as these questions may seem, answering them will give you a pretty candid idea of what you can talk about in the most interesting and authentic way. Sometimes this may be a blend of things that don’t obviously seem to marry together, but this only serves to make a more focused niche. Just remember, it is insanely unlikely that you’ll be the only one in the world interested in a certain subject matter, no matter how specific it may seem. There’s an audience for it. Trust us.
2. Know Your Audience
As an emerging influencer, you’ll already have an engaged audience. But in order to grow it organically and develop the relationships you already have, you need to know exactly who is listening to you.
There are numerous audience analysis tools that can help you take stock of who your audience are, where they are coming from, what they love to see from you and indeed what they don’t, Google Analytics being the most obvious. However, there isn’t really a better way to get to grips with what your audience appreciate about you as an influencer than asking them. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation – you don’t have to outright ask your followers why they follow you but think about starting discussions about their lives and their interests. You’ll soon see trends that you can tap into and the ways in which to strengthen your connections.
3. Identify Gaps
It’s highly unlikely that however focused your niche, it’ll be a truly unique USP. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be savvy about identifying gaps in the influencer market though. By now, you should know your competitive landscape pretty well, and so you should have a rough idea of where there is unmet demand, or people looking for a voice to listen to – could it be yours?
4. Pick Your Channels
Although being active on social media is undeniably essential in the game of influence, it doesn’t have to mean that you have an account on every channel and spread yourself too thin. By now, you’ll have a pretty good idea about where your audiences are more engaged, be that through Instagram, Snapchat, or reading your blog. What is more often the case however, is that different audiences are engaged on different channels, and treating each one as an individual line of communication is a good idea, as is sacking off the ones that don’t provide quality interaction. Social media is not a content pumping machine – it’s a conversation opportunity. It ain’t called ‘social’ media for nothing.
There’s really never been a more exciting time to be an influencer than right now. It’s no longer a game for just the ‘big players’, and more and more brands are placing stock in the power of those with an honest, authentic, genuine voice. If you stay true to your own values and what you love to talk about, and align this with your loyal audience, your micro influence will only become more and more in demand.