By Michael Quoc

Influencer marketing is already in its heyday. Last year, influencer campaigns helped 67 percent of marketing professionals reach targeted audiences. But as more brands adopt and optimize their influencer strategies, the more sophisticated it will become. “Micro-influencer” is the new buzzword this year, and businesses will have to optimize their outreach strategies if they want to stay ahead of the game.

Here are the four top micro-influencer outreach trends that brands are following for success in 2018.

1. Smaller Audiences, More Engagement

Influencer marketing used to be about enlisting big niche names to help promote your brand. But in 2018, more brands will realize the value of working with regular people to promote their products to micro-audiences.

When someone like Serena Williams recommends a tennis racket on social media, it reaches a huge audience, but they’ll likely see it the same way they do a TV ad. But when a micro-influencer with only 4,000 followers does the same thing, the response is different.

Quite a few studies have shown there’s an inverse relationship between follower count and engagement rate:

follower count engagement

Which is why brands should spend less effort reaching out to celebrity influencers and more on finding targeted micro-influencers.

2. Building Micro-Influencer Teams

Of course, replacing Serena Williams with a single micro-influencer isn’t going to drive the kind of engagement or traffic you need to get a return on investment with influencer marketing. The solution — build a team of ultra-targeted micro influencers to work towards your marketing goals together.

A notable example of this in action is a successful micro-influencer campaign by Unilever’s Stork. Using influencer outreach platform Tribe, they found 21 influencers to share goods they’ve baked using Stork butter products:

unilever stork

They teamed up with micro-influencers who have small, engaged audiences and reached a combined 436,000 followers with their efforts.

Tribe, Dealspotr Marketplace, and Revfluence are all great tools to help you find and build teams of influencers, and can help you manage your relationships with analytics tracking and CMS features.

3. Brands Will Look Beyond Demographics

Finding the right micro-influencer for a brand is more than just picking someone whose audience matches your target demographic. For a brand’s content to really blend with an influencer’s regular message, it must fit their unique interests and style as well.

Brands in the fashion industry are doing a great job of finding influencers who already wear their line, or would if they knew about them. Here’s another micro influencer example: a fitness and health blogger promoting @smartshakehq:

fitness health blogger

In 2018, niche businesses need to do more to find the right match in terms of personal interests, not just audience demographics. Take the time to find and contact influencers who blend naturally with your brand message.

4.   Creative Collaboration Leads to More Authentic Content

You already took the time and energy to track down a micro-influencer whose interests and audience perfectly match your brand’s image. You don’t want to throw away that opportunity by simply handing them promotional material to share.

Brands successful at influencer marketing will appeal to the creative skills of influencers when they reach out to them. When you collaborate with influencers to create content, it become more authentic and effective at speaking to their unique audience.

Luckily, a lot of influencer marketing platforms (like Famebit and the Dealspotr Marketplace) already facilitate collaboration by having potential influencers submit content proposals to brands.

Wrapping Up

Finding the right micro-influencers to promote your brand and drive marketing goals all boils down to your outreach strategy. You need to have a clear idea of what kind of influencers work well with your brand message, and take advantage of their creative ability to engage their audiences.

Remember these four trends for micro-influencer outreach, and you’ll be on the road to success in 2018.

Photo credit: Social media influencer concept from aurielaki/Shutterstock