Influencer marketing is a low-cost way to put your products front and center on platforms like Instagram.
Whether you’re in traditional eCommerce, retail, or even direct to consumer, you stand to win the jackpot by partnering with micro-influencers.
Actually, direct to consumer (DTC) brands are positioned particularly well to get results with micro-influencers.
Since your business model cuts out the middle-man and sells right to consumers via eShopping, you preserve your margins, but have the monumental task of marketing yourself.
Why DTC brands need micro-influencers
If you aren’t leveraging micro-influencers for your DTC marketing yet, climb aboard! 51% of DTC brands say social media is their top acquisition channel, and micro-influencers make the magic happen for your bottom line.
DTC brands benefit from micro-influencer campaigns in three ways.
1 - Affordability
Did you know that the average macro-influencer (like Selena Gomez) charges $10,000 or more per post? That’s a whole lot of cheddar for a DTC brand.
You can get more horsepower for that $10,000 when you partner with a micro-influencer.
Smaller influencers are more affordable because they have a smaller following; there’s less demand for these influencers, so their prices are reasonable.
You could pay $300 to one micro-influencer for the same amount of work as a macro-influencer. Oh, and micro-influencers get better engagement rates, so you get more results for less money.
However, micro-influencers do have a limited reach, so you’ll want to partner up with a fleet of them to get better coverage. This helps you blitz Instagram with your products, gaining brand awareness quickly.
Brands like Blue Apron take this approach. Blue Apron had a ton of competition, but it set itself apart by partnering with foodie influencers to scale fast.
2 - Heightened customer trust
Like we said, micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate than big-name influencers.
Because customers trust them more. In fact, 70% of Millennial shoppers are influenced by recommendations from their network (which includes micro-influencers).
Humans trust people we can relate to. When you work with a micro-influencer, you tap into the trust and connection that influencer built with their audience.
As a DTC brand, you’ve got to build connections if you want to make sales, and fast. Micro-influencers drive more conversions in less time thanks to audience trust.
3 - More sales
DTC shoppers aren’t like brick and mortar retail shoppers: they prefer digital-first strategies.
In fact, DTC shoppers are persuaded more by influencers. Here are the cold, hard numbers:
Just 15% of traditional shoppers trust influencers, while 40% of DTC shoppers trust them.
DTC shoppers are three times more likely to say influencers affect their perception of a brand.
Normally, you’d have to spend a bucketload of money on paid Instagram Ads to get sales. But with micro-influencers, the ROI comes easier.
This translates into more money in your bank account. While other strategies, like paid ads, can get results, nothing touches the nearly 6X ROI of influencer marketing.
5 proven tips for DTC micro-influencer marketing
If you want to boost DTC eCommerce sales, you’ve got to partner with micro-influencers.
But how in the world do you get started? How do you find the right influencers? Will your campaign actually get results?
Never fear: follow these 5 tips to find qualified micro-influencers and leverage their network to increase DTC sales.
1 - Verify they’re legit
The internet can be a tricky place. On one hand, it can connect you with a glut of influencers.
On the other, you can’t know an influencer is real without a little digging.
It’s not uncommon for Instagram “influencers” to create fake accounts, buy followers, and take brands to the cleaners.
DTC brands need to find legitimate Instagram influencers who aren’t bots or middle-aged men posing as teenagers.
Do your due diligence here. That means:
Verifying the influencer’s followers are real people. Yes, that means checking their profiles and looking for recent posts.
Partnering with trusted, verified influencers. Trend does this by creating personal relationships with every influencer in our program. Avoid influencer databases like the plague; these are full of unverified influencers.
Ensuring the influencer shares your vision. Even if the influencer is legit, they need to have the same ideals. You wouldn’t ask a vegan influencer to promote your beef jerky brand, after all.
If you’re on the hunt for legit influencers, tap into your customer base. Glossier did just that: it offered influencer relationships to influential customers who were already diehard Glossier fans.
You can always sift through Instagram hashtags and suggestions manually, or you could tap your existing fanbase for influencers, too.
2 - Develop user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful addition to your DTC marketing efforts.
You need a plethora of lifestyle images for your products, but let’s be real: these are expensive to shoot and they always look a little too branded.
The solution? Use micro-influencers to create branded UGC on your behalf.
Ask them for images showcasing your products in use. It’s the perfect way to place your product in relatable, everyday situations with real people.
If you want quality UGC that turns heads, partner with a content-focused influencer. These are the folks who not only take amazing photos, but can promote these images to an engaged following.
3 - Embrace purpose-driven partnerships
Two-thirds of shoppers aged 34 and younger prefer to buy from purpose-driven brands.
If you need a little more power behind your DTC campaigns, consider adding a charity component. Purpose-driven partnerships with micro-influencers get insane reach.
Ivory Ella sells fashionable accessories and donates a portion of sales to saving endangered elephants. Micro-influencer outreach boosted Ivory Ella’s YOY growth by 50%, aided by their charitable mission.
Whether giving back is part of your business model or not, you can integrate charitable initiatives with micro-influencers to boost visibility, trust, and reach.
4 - Take them behind the scenes
You need to establish your DTC brand as an authority.
Unlike the “who knows what’s in that” products at brick and mortar locations, customers expect a degree of transparency from DTC brands.
Ask your micro-influencers to take their followers behind the scenes. Show them precisely what makes your brand tick.
Try behind-the-scenes content like:
An Instagram account takeover, where the influencer interviews you about the brand, products, ingredients, etc.
Asking the influencer to join you in making the product.
The influencer showcasing where you source or grow your materials.
Micro-influencers are trustworthy already, but when you add a degree of transparency to the mix, you earn more of their followers’ trust.
5 - Measure the impact
Influencer marketing is still marketing, and that means it needs to get results. But if you aren’t measuring the right things (or anything at all), you have no clue where your money went.
Measure the impact of your micro-influencers by:
Choosing a campaign goal and metrics that align with that goal. If sales are your goal, you would track metrics like engagement and conversions.
Tracking each influencer individually with unique URLs.
Setting benchmarks for each influencer.
Scheduling regular check-ins with the influencer to chat about campaign metrics.
Tools like Google Analytics will take you far here. Measure the impact of your campaign by attributing your success to the right places. Translation: spend your money where it gets the most results.
The bottom line
DTC brands give customers the eShopping experiences they crave. But you have unique challenges with marketing, and likely a limited budget, as a direct to consumer brand.
There’s a lot of competition in the DTC space, and you have to get scrappy to protect your margins.
Make the most of your resources and get more bang for your buck by partnering with micro-influencers. Become a multi-million dollar DTC brand with these 5 smarter micro-influencer tips.
But if DIY isn’t your thing, we don’t blame you. Influencer marketing takes time to do right.
Rely on Trend’s influencer marketing platform to help you scale micro-influencer campaigns. Get your free demo to see how it works.