One of the constant challenges developers face is user acquisition, as costs seem to increase much faster than revenue per user. This issue is not limited to game developers as more companies see digital and performance marketing as their premium-marketing channel, the competition for eyeballs drives up costs. It is a constant challenge for everyone in growth or marketing to understand the newest techniques for finding the best and most effective channels. No longer can any executive run television ads and then hide behind ambiguous results. The issue is magnified when trying to reach millennials, who spend most of their time (free time or not) in the digital world.
A recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, The Right Way to Market to Millennials by Jay Sinha and Thomas Fung, does a great job of presenting the idea of nano-marketing, one of the most promising new growth mechanics. Nano-marketing is using micro-influencers to market your product or build your brand. This approach is evolving into one of the most effective forms of advertising.
Who and what are micro-influencers
While we are all familiar with the personalities who have huge social media followings, the Kim Kardashians or Gwyneth Paltrows, the people with smaller followings are proving most effective. Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Although their following is relatively small (Kim Kardashian has over 100 million followers), they have a category specific following and much more engaged audience. Micro-influencers also build more personal relationships with their fans, as they can engage with them one-on-one. They are also frequently considered experts in their fields (something you may not say about a Kardashian).
People also often consider micro-influencers more credible. When LeBron James tweets his support of a shoe, most people assume he is getting paid for that tweet. Conversely, a micro-influencer who promotes your game will believe he is a fan and give him the benefit of the doubt. Even if people assume the micro-influencer was paid, they also assume that the personality has a true affinity for the product.
Not only can micro-influencers drive sales, but they can contribute to your brand building. Sinha and Fung discuss how Coca-Cola leverages micro-influencers to develop compelling brand narratives. They also discuss how start-ups, such as sock retailer Stance Inc., have used micro-influencers to grow into major brands.
How to leverage micro-influencers
Working with micro-influencers is different than working with celebrities or other marketing channels, it also requires a personal approach. There are several keys to building a successful micro-influencer program, with may of them highlighted by Sinha and Fung as well as a VentureBeat post on how micro-influencers are essential. The elements of a successful program include:
- Use micro-influencers to target highly segmented audiences. This channel is not the right option to reach millions at once. Instead, micro-influencers are a great way to amplify a feature that largely appeals to a niche or helps you recruit a specialized segment.
- Understand who you want to reach. There are millions of micro-influencers, you need to understand exactly who you want to target and the goal(s) of your campaign. Once you have a clear understanding of your target, you can then find the micro-influencers who reach that audience.
- Look at micro-influencer work as a long-term investment. Build a long-term relationship with the most appropriate micro-influencers, so they can continuously weave your brand into their stories.
- Effective micro-influencers integrate their personal narratives with the brands they endorse. Rather than trying to foist a message on the micro-influencers, use their story-telling ability to create a compelling message.
- Avoid heavy-handed or aggressive push-marketing and instead have the micro-influencer give their audience a gentle nudge.
- Before approaching micro-influencers, follow and engage with them. As VentureBeat writes, “this helps you better understand their personality and interests so you can determine their fit with your brand. It also helps you approach them with a more personal request, which is more likely to get a positive response.”
- Allow the micro-influencer to create compelling content rather than directing them. As Sinha and Fung write, “young, creative micro-influencers are good at producing innovative content that features the brands in an interesting way. They know their audience would want to be educated about new offerings, while being entertained at the same time.”
By following these steps, you can build an effective micro-influencer program that will support your marketing initiatives.
- Marketing continues to evolve quickly, with it increasingly difficult and important to find effective advertising channels. Nano marketing is one of the most promising of these channels.
- Nano marketing entails working with micro-influencers, people with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers, to promote your brand or products.
- Micro-influencers are particularly effective because consumers consider them more genuine and they have much greater focus than celebrities who have huge followings.