Micro Influencer Marketing: 6 Best Practices & Tips For Small Creator Collabs (+ Examples!)

April 27, 2023
14 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
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Picture this: you’re renovating your home and looking for affordable decor items. You eye the items in Taylor Swift’s house, but then you find a micro influencer, Lisa — who exclusively shares home decor tips and even designer home dupes.

Who are you more likely to trust when seeking recommendations?

I bet it’s Lisa. She’s relatable (feels like a friend), niche (exclusively shares home decor content), and helpful (tips you can apply effortlessly and products that won’t cause a hole in your pocket).

(I’m still a Swiftie 🤍, but Taylor’s not the one I turn to for home decor.)

Influencer marketing has evolved from celebrity endorsements to niche micro influencer marketing: 30% of brands are opting to work with micro influencers in 2023, while only 12% are planning to partner with mega-influencers.

Let’s understand the hype behind micro influencers, question whether it’s worth it, and see what successful micro influencer marketing campaigns look like in action! 👇

Micro influencers vs. macro influencers

The debate between bigger influencers and micro influencers is understandable. You reach more people by partnering with someone with a million followers versus collaborating with someone who has less than 60,000.

But not all reach is created equal. Here’s how macro and mega influencers stack up against micro influencers.

Criteria Micro influencers Macro influencers
Follower count Micro influencers have 10,000 – 100,000 followers with a strong niche — meaning the audience is focused Macro influencers command higher follower numbers with over 100,000 to 1M followers, but it might not be for a particular category. Typically, as the follower count increases, strong niches dissipate — meaning the audience is broad
Engagement rate Micro influencers command a higher engagement rate across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok compared to bigger influencers Macro influencers see declining engagement rates as their following increases
Cost-effective Quite simply, smaller creators just charge less. It’s likely that this isn’t their full-time income, and they don’t have salaries + other overheads to pay like larger creator businesses. Since influencers are paid in part for the size of their audience, macro and mega influencers command higher rates - especially once the creator starts building a team.
Relatability Consumers trust micro-influencers more because they have an aura of ‘everyday people’ around them — which might also be why they dominate sponsored content Studies have confirmed macro and mega influencers don’t come across as equally authentic or key opinion leaders in a niche — which is why they might not come across as credible as micro-influencers.
Easy to work with Since micro influencers are smaller creators, there’s typically less red tape while working with them — you communicate with them directly and manage collaborations 1:1. That said, communication gets laborious when you scale micro influencer marketing and have to do back-and-forth with 20 small creators over one large influencer Working with macro influencers means you only have to collaborate with one large influencer, so there’s less admin labor involved. But bigger creators are often managed by agencies and use high-quality content production equipment — which might increase the friction of working with them

The table above isn’t to pitch macro influencer marketing against micro influencer marketing. Both have their time and place. It might even make sense to combine both types of creators as you scale your influencer marketing efforts.

But there’s no denying micro influencers are more pocket-friendly and have greater influencer marketing ROI potential, especially for small businesses.

Enough strategy chat — let’s understand the things to keep in mind while you’re on-ground.

6 best practices for collaborating with micro influencers

Managing micro influencers isn’t too different from managing influencer relationships in general. But here are six best practices to follow, specifically for micro influencer marketing.

1: Experiment with different collaboration types with micro influencers

Sponsored posts aren’t the only type of posts to do with micro creators. There are 9+ ways to do influencer collaborations, and you can mix and match them for your influencer marketing strategy. You never know which one might work best for you.

For instance, CrediThink gifted their product to skincare influencer Nikki in exchange for a review.

Here’s when you should practice each type of influencer collaboration:

Collaboration type When you should do it
Sponsored posts When you want one-off deals or build social proof
Hosting events When you want to get more attendees to your event
Giveaways When you want a specific customer action at a large scale
Influencer gifting When you want free reviews and/or have a small-budget
Content collaboration When you want to co-create social posts with the micro-influencer
Account takeovers When you want influencer-generated content on your brand’s social media profile
Brand ambassador programs When you want to form a longer-term and deeper-commitment relationship with your influencers
Product seeding When you have a physical product and want to find genuine influencers for your brand without burning a ton of money

The possibilities are endless. Depending on your micro influencer marketing goals and budget, choose a method that’s right for you. Analyze what gets you the best results and double down on it.

2: Find a micro influencer that’s rapidly growing

Think of micro influencers as a long-term investment plan. The most profitable portfolio in the market won’t stay stagnant over time, it’ll grow in value, and you’ll reap the compounding benefits.

Micro creators work the same way. They might be small now, but the best ones won’t always remain micro. Partner with fast-growing influencers to get the most bang for your buck.

How to find the growth rate of a micro influencer? Use Modash, a tool that let's you search & filter every creator on Earth with 1k+ followers. It has a growth rate filter, letting you find only the fastest growing creators that also match your other criteria.

The platform divides the new number of followers gained in the chosen time frame by the starting follower count and converts it into a percentage to give you an accurate figure.

Scouting a deal with a micro influencer at the right time, when they’re at the cusp of exploding will inflate your sales like no other one-off mega-influencer partnership could.

3: Use a performance-based model to pay your micro influencers

Performance influencer marketing is when you pay influencers part of the sales (or signups, depending on your chosen desired metric) they bring in. You might pay a small fixed fee upfront to kickstart the partnership, but most of the creator payment relies on how much revenue they bring to your business.

A performance-based mode of influencer payment ensures you don’t risk getting zero tangible ROI from the partnership. How do you begin performance-based micro influencer marketing?

Performance influencer marketing has a real-world impact on your business goals and doesn’t take a ton of time to show results under the disguise of brand awareness.

4: Turn your best micro influencers into brand ambassadors

Once you start partnering with various micro influencers, you’re ready to take the next step. How? Ask your best micro creators to join your ambassador program.

A brand ambassador offers exclusivity, a longer-term relationship, and a deeper commitment to your brand. They’re no longer a creator who gives you two spots on their TikTok feed monthly; they’re brand partners who are true advocates for your products and company — promoting it every chance they get.

Pura Vida is one of the companies with the strongest brand ambassador programs — they provide a 10% commission for every sale an ambassador brings in.

In microinfluencers, you can find the best brand ambassadors. Use influencer monitoring tools to check which micro influencer partnerships were the most successful for your brand and extend these relationships to ambassadorships.

5: Find niche and adjacent micro influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns

Finding a niche micro influencer has straightforward benefits: you find someone who creates content for an overlapping target customer. Since this niche creator caters directly to your audience, they’re trusted, and you get in front of thousands of potential buyers. This is why brands like Glossier partner with micro influencers like Riyah Taylor in the beauty industry — they’re niche creators in the same domain.

But what if your goal with micro influencer marketing is to tap into a new customer segment? Or what if you’ve tapped out niche creators with the same audience in your space and want to scale your efforts? Enter: adjacent micro influencers.

These are creators who can tell your story in a new way to a fresher audience. They’re not exactly overlapping with your niche, but they’re still somewhat related.

For example, if you sell cruelty-free, sustainable haircare products, haircare micro influencers are the obvious choice. But you can also partner with sustainability micro creators in the space and speak to the green advantage of your products. This is exactly what Garnier did by partnering with Megan McSherry, a sustainable fashion creator, to host a giveaway contest.

Think outside the box and partner with micro influencers who can bring novelty into your influencer content and engage a new, untapped customer base.

Once you have an idea of the adjacent niche you can tap into, use influencer search tools like Modash. Play around with the filters to find exactly the kind of creator you’re looking for. If I worked at Garnier, I’d add a “sustainability” keyword into the bio keyword filter and get the list of more than 25,000 influencers who meet my criteria.

Remember, more and more consumers crave authenticity and are tired of the same-old salesy approach to influencer marketing — adjacent micro influencers can help you carve a new path.

6: Add a personal touch to your creator relationships

Personalization can go a long way whether you collaborate with big or small creators. But influencer relationship management techniques are especially relevant for micro influencers because there aren’t any middlemen like agencies or managers in between.

Georgia Humphries, the Senior Partnership and Influencer Manager at Tourlane, recalls a tale of speaking to an enthusiastic micro influencer who was eager to collaborate with the brand. The creator said in her Stories that she’d love to partner with Tourlane — Humphries picked up on it and reached out to her proactively.

Not just this: Tourlane is a travel company that makes customized dream vacation plans for people. Georgia went out of her way to do the same for her creator partners — getting to know them, understanding their families, and what activities they enjoy. The result? Tourlane’s micro influencers constantly rave about the trip planning in their IGC.

Treat your influencers like they’re a part of your team. Some other relationship-strengthening actions you can do:

  • Share their content on your profile and hype them up in the comments
  • Highlight their contributions in your in-house newsletters and company news
  • Give them the first dibs to test your new product launches and provide feedback
  • Invite them to exclusive events and/or offer them hosting/speaking opportunities
  • Provide them with metrics on how their influencer posts are performing — they can use these numbers to make their business case studies

3 Examples of micro influencer campaigns done right

What do successful micro influencer collaborations look like in action? Here are three brands doing it right:

1: Purdy & Figg’s micro influencer seeding strategy

Purdy & Figg sells non-toxic and eco-friendly scented liquid cleaners. They reached out to over 2,000 micro influencers over four months to send them their products, no strings attached. Over 990 agreed to receive the product, and 56% posted about them for free.

The result?

🎉 Cost per acquisition decreased by 61.14%, and total orders increased by 690%.

🎉 Over 1,961 total posts across Instagram and TikTok at only the cost of goods sold.

🎉 More than 772% boost in customer revenue in the whole product seeding campaign.

Key takeaways:

✅ When you’re just starting micro influencer marketing and selling a B2C utility product, consider taking the product seeding route to find relevant and affordable influencers.

✅ Offer influencers unique discount codes to create a win-win situation: they get a cut of each sale, and you get easily trackable, tangible revenue.

✅ Choose to seed niche creators like Purdy & Figg did in the health and wellness category — this will make your product a no-brainer choice to promote for micro influencers.

2: Adidas’ Tango Squad of micro influencers

Adidas needs no introduction. In 2015, they realized partnering with macro-influencers alone doesn’t fit with their mission of being a responsive brand. So they built a network of 1,400 young football content creators — called their Tango Squad.

Tango Squad was a community of 16–19-year-old football players in 15 key cities worldwide. Adidas’ in-house teams are connected to these micro influencers on direct messaging and give them the first dibs on new product launches, event invites, and more. They even conducted football matches and a YouTube series where their micnfluencers got to play with players in the UEFA Champions League.

The result?

🎉 Adidas managed to partner with Xabi Alonso, a renowned Spanish football coach, to train their Tango Squad FC — an experience that their micro influencers would never forget.

🎉 Gareth Bale, a Welsh former professional footballer, gave Adidas loads of engaging content to take down Jake Downer, a London Panna Champion, while training the Tango Squad.

🎉 Adidas’ campaign got so popular that it could release two seasons of Tango Squad on YouTube — garnering massive viewership and interest in the program.

Key takeaways:

✅ Focus on enriching the life of micro influencers you partner with — beyond money. Maybe it’s your brand connections. Or invites to exclusive events. Value-based advertising done authentically has minimal to no chance of failing.

✅ Provide exclusive access to your micro influencer family to nourish your creator relationships. They can also be your product and media testers who provide feedback before you release your merch in the wild.

✅ Choose micro influencers with a strong impact on their community. They don’t have to have a lot of followers, but if they’re connected to all your target customers, referrals alone can do magic to bump up your sales.

3: Adore Me’s micro influencer brand ambassador program

Adore Me sells lingerie and loungewear. It started by partnering with big-name creators in 2017–2019, but slowly realized the power of micro influencer marketing. When they started getting a lot of inbound interest from micro influences, they experimented by launching their creator program.

Adore Me followed a simple process: the creator applies and joins a campaign > the micro influencer gets a loose brief to follow > they post content for Adore Me on Instagram > they get a $150 gift card.

The result?

🎉 47% higher engagement rate when partnering with micro influencers, compared to traditional influencer content.

🎉 Over 9,000 Instagram photos were uploaded by over 2,800 creators in one month.

🎉 Micro influencers generated over 50 million impressions via their Instagram posts.

Key takeaways:

✅ When running a large micro influencer marketing campaign with a wide variety of creators, refrain from providing stringent guidelines in your influencer brief. Instead, provide a loose structure and let the influencer speak to their audience authentically.

✅ If your product gets inbound interest from micro influencers, launch a brand ambassador program to streamline influencer content collaboration.

✅ Have your product’s gift card as a mode of payment to attract micro influencers who are genuinely true fans of what you sell and aren’t in it just for the affiliate commission.

Micro influencers have a big impact

The name might be “micro” influencers, but there’s nothing micro about the impact small creators can have on your business.

As micro influencer marketing sees rapid growth, finding the perfect micro influencer becomes more and more difficult. Save yourself some time and choose the most efficient method of finding your next creator partner: using Modash. Apply the follower range filter (and add any other criteria you like) and get a relevant list — with influencer analysis — in mere minutes. Try it for yourself, for free.

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