Guest post: The rise of micro-influencers

In this blog post, Shopify Plus Partners By Association Only (BAO) examines the changing nature of the influencer and how you can use your loyalty program to build your own micro-influencer network. 

Influencer marketing has increased in popularity in the last few years but existed previously in a less digital space. The benefit of it now being done digitally is that we can monitor the performance of it more accurately than ever before. It’s a type of marketing that heavily relies on endorsements from influencers, individuals and organisations on social media platforms. But why does it work? Well, it’s designed to increase brand awareness, build authority and reach new audiences.

Influencers can predominantly be found on Instagram and use it as a way to connect with engaged individuals worldwide. Word of mouth is the best form of communication as there are no restrictions to someone telling a family member or coworker about a company and their range of products.

This blog post will discuss the changing nature of the influencer and how you can leverage the trend to increase the popularity of your site and your customer retention rates.

What is a micro-influencer?

At BAO we like to think of are two types of micro-influencers, professional micro-influencers and casual consumers. A professional is someone who could have as many as 10,000 followers on any given social media platform. They specialise in a niche or growing market and develop trust with their followers to create a higher engagement than macro-influencers.

A Macro-influencer will have a social media following of 50,000 – 300,000. They post high-quality content about a topic they’re passionate about and can be referred to as a “mini-celebrity”.

The casual consumer is just your normal everyday person, these people might use social media but often word of mouth is the best form of communication. Any brand worth their salt will generate these naturally, but using loyalty program gives you far greater control of the narrative they share about you and will allow you to incentivise the consumer for successfully recommending your products or services.

Other really beneficial advantages of working with micro-influencers include:

  • Their ability to humanise your brand
  • They’re more affordable than celebrities and macro-influencers
  • They encourage higher conversion rates from providing trusted reviews to followers
  • They create higher engagement from actively communicating with followers
  • They pass on their passion through the content they post
  • They have credibility and responsive audiences

How to utilise micro-influencers alongside your ecommerce store

A loyalty program is a great way to urge customers to visit your store and keep returning to you time and time again. Here’s how you can grow your micro-influencer base using your loyalty program.

1. Driving referral programs

As organic reach is reducing on social media channels, you need a way to stand out from the crowd whilst building trust with your audience. Research suggests that people depend on referrals more than brand claims, which is why it’s essential to drive referral programs.

Referral marketing is a powerful tool that allows your customers to recommend your brand to friends and family to become your company’s brand advocate. Remember, winning new business is more expensive than keeping your current customers, so spending time on your existing customer base is crucial. Referral programs also keep consumers happier all while incentivising them to spread the word around to their peers, colleagues, friends and families. This in turn then helps to generate new business, and so the cycle continues!

Other additional benefits of using referral programs include:

  • Increasing your reputation and brand awareness – referral marketing allows your customers to get to know your brand ethos and overall improve your reputation by aligning themselves with your brand
  • Distinguishing your most loyal customers – referral marketing platforms can help identify your most devoted customers who you can then talk to and treat differently
  • Improving your customer engagement – adding extra touchpoints by engaging frequently with your customers encourages them to return to your website to hopefully refer a friend or make a purchase
  • Adding value with referred customers – customers who have been referred by a friend, family member or colleague already have a positive view of your company as they have heard about your company from a trusted source.
  • Customisation – You can easily customise and adjust to make the user experience more friendly

2. Offering loyalty points

Everyone loves a reward system, it makes customers feel good and creates a sense of loyalty, which is why offering loyalty points is a great way to retain your customers.

With a loyalty program, you can reward customers for posting your hashtag on Instagram. This feature allows you to give your customers points for posting a picture on Instagram and including your given #hashtag.

Darn Good Yarn Instagram Post

What is the Instagram rule?

LoyaltyLion’s “Post a Hashtag on Instagram” activity rule gives you the option to offer customers points for posting a picture on Instagram and featuring your hashtag in their post. This is a perfect way to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and acquisition through a channel in which your customers are already using!

Want to learn how to implement the Instagram hashtag rule on your loyalty program? Check out LoyaltyLion’s help documentation to get it set up.

About the author 

This blog post was written by Ferne Borg, Digital Marketing Executive at By Association Only (BAO). BAO is a Shopify Plus Partner who specialises in delivering exceptional ecommerce experiences for merchants of all sizes.