How to Use Micro-Influencers on Instagram to Boost E-Commerce Sales
Posted Jul 21, 2017 by Kristen Pinkman, Ecwid Team

Instagram influencers are your golden ticket to higher engagement, more followers and more sales.

Top influencers, however, are either too expensive or too inaccessible for smaller brands. As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself competing with the likes of Gap and Starbucks for these influencers’ attention.

There is one way to workaround this problem: micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers promise higher engagement and better access than top influencers at a fraction of the cost. For small e-commerce businesses, working with these micro-influencers can bring in dramatic results.

We’ll show you how to work with micro-influencers in this article.

Who Are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are exactly what the name suggests: individuals with substantial (but limited) influence in a particular niche.

They are not household names. You likely wouldn’t know them unless you were deeply involved in the niche. Yet, these micro-influencers have their own circle of fans and followers. Because of their niche-specific position, these followers also tend to be more engaged.

TapInfluence counts everyone between 1,000 to 100,000 followers as a micro-influencer, depending on the niche.

types of influencers

Usually, in niches where it is easy to rack up followers — health, beauty, humor, etc. — the ceiling for a micro-influencer is higher. In tougher niches such as business, travel, etc. the ceiling would be lower.

Related: How to Develop a Visual Theme for Your Instagram Business Profile

Why Work With Micro-Influencers?

Want to work with a mega-influencer like Kim Kardashian? You can expect to pay up to $500,000 for a single post.

Prices like these is the reason why so many brands are gravitating towards micro-influencers. Besides the lower cost, micro-influencers also offer:

  • Higher engagement: Unlike top influencers, micro-influencers occupy a niche position. This usually eliminates any people who automatically follow top accounts. Micro-influencers also have more time to engage with followers in comments, leading to higher engagement.
  • Lower cost: Instagram social ad costs are generally a function of an account’s total followers. Since micro-influencers have significantly lower followers than top influencers, the cost of working with them is lower as well.
  • Higher trust: Micro-influencers’ niche expertise means their followers have a higher trust in their opinions. 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow the recommendations of a micro-influencer.
  • Content discovery: It’s common for top influencers to use micro-influencers to find fresh content. Working with a micro-influencer increases your chances of getting picked up by a top influencer organically.
  • More relevant audience: The breadth of your influence on Instagram is often a function of the breadth of your content. Bigger influencers, thus, cover more generic topics. With micro-influencers, however, you can work with someone who covers your specific niche exclusively.

While such influencers might have limited reach, their lower cost means that you can work with them at scale. A single micro-influencer might not have the same reach as Kim Kardashian, but a 100 of them combined would (at a much lower cost).

There’s also the fact that after a certain follower count, engagement levels drop drastically. For most niches, the 1k-100k follower count is the “sweet spot” for engagement.

instagram comment rate vs followership

In one case study involving influencers in the health/vegan niche, working with a mega influencer yielded lots of shares and likes. However, the micro-influencer produced substantially higher sales.

influencer campaign results

In another case study, Tom’s of Maine was able to generate 6,496 likes, shares and comments on posts by working with micro-influencers — 600% more than organic social media.

Tom’s of Maine

The benefits of working with micro-influencers are clear.

The question now is: how do you find, choose and work with them?

How to Find Micro-Influencers on Instagram

To run an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram, you first need to find the right micro-influencers.

Follow these tactics to find your micro-influencers:

Dig Through Your Existing Audience

Dig through your own audience across your email lists and social media followers to spot influencers. Since these people already follow you, they would be familiar with your brand, making them ideal promotion targets.

You can use a tool like SocialRank to filter your followers based on their location, number of followers, etc.

SocialRank

Make a list of any followers who have between 1k-100k followers of their own. Include the account name, followers/following, and bio URL (if any).

Find Bloggers with Instagram Presence

86% of influencers have their own blogs. In fact, these blogs are often the source of their influence and authority.

With this approach, you find influential bloggers in your niche, then check whether they have an influential Instagram presence.

There are a number of tools to help you find niche influencers — Klear, Buzzsumo and NinjaOutreach to name a few. However, if you want a free alternative, you can run this research manually as well.

Start off by searching for the following:

“[your niche] + blog”

Look for “best of” lists and roundups among the results.

find bloggers with instagram presence

Visit each of these blogs and check if they have an Instagram presence (it will be listed among their social profiles). If the Instagram presence matches your criteria, go ahead and add them to your list.

pickles and honey

You can quickly find a number of high-quality influencers with this method.

Run a Hashtag Search

An easy way to find influencers is to…