An image depicting brands working with health and fitness micro influencers

The benefits of working with health and fitness micro influencers

Just what are health and fitness micro influencers? And how can they help running brands with their marketing efforts? Here’s our beginners’ guide…

 

Influencer, it’s a funny old word. After all, no one likes to think their tastes, opinions and behaviours can be easily swayed by those of others. But, even if you consider yourself immune to the charms of TV presenters and Love Island contestants hawking charcoal toothpaste on the ‘gram, you’re probably being influenced in many more subtle ways.

 

Buying a new running watch? You’ll likely ask the opinion of your coach or another runner whose opinion you value. If the trend in your CrossFit box is for short shorts, it probably won’t be long before you’re ditching the capris. And do you think all the runners in your club just happened to buy Stance socks and Ciele caps completely independently?

 

Turns out you’re probably already engaging with micro influencers, be it online or offline. Rather than the big-name celebrities these are trusted sources, often experts in their spheres, those who excel in a certain area or just someone who’s damn cool – people you look to for advice and inspiration.

 

Our co-founder Kieran even has a cheeky sideline as a micro influencer with his Manvmiles content

A post shared by Manvmiles (@manvmiles) on

 

While the labelling of micro influencers may be a recent phenomenon, it certainly isn’t a new concept. Influencers were the popular kids in your circle who dictated the bands you wrote on your homework diary and which way you wore your school tie. They were the glowing university gym instructor who inspired you to take up Pilates, and they probably even influenced whether prehistoric man/woman used charcoal or bison dung in their cave paintings. Maybe.

 

The only difference now is that the popular kids, gym instructors and lead cave dwellers are on social media sharing their opinions via YouTube, Instagram, podcasts, blogs and more, making it much easier to gauge their interests and seek their advice.

Influencer vs micro influencer

Influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements have been big business in recent years, with brands all vying for a mention from Kim K or Joe Wicks – The Body Coach – who now has over 536,000 YouTube subscribers, 3 million Facebook fans and 2.1 million followers on Instagram.

 

Joe Wicks is one of the world’s biggest health and fitness influencers

A post shared by Joe Wicks (@thebodycoach) on

 

But the tide is turning. Many brands are realising that in the influencer marketing sphere, the social superstars with millions of followers aren’t always the best choice.

 

“When it comes to celebrity accounts, who have maybe millions of followers, nobody actually believes that a celebrity is a real fan of a product they’re trying to sell,” Kyla Brennan, the CEO of HelloSociety, an agency that connects brands with influencers, told AdWeek.

 

In fact, her agency has found that micro-influencers (in this case those with 30,000 or fewer followers) produce better results than those with much larger followings, resulting in 60% higher engagement rates and content that’s 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than that using larger influencers. Interesting.

 

“Engagement goes down once you reach a certain threshold of followers,” Brennan said. “You might get eyeballs, but they won’t be eyeballs that care.”

Working with micro influencers

Aside from increased engagement, another big advantage of working with micro influencers is cost. While big-name influencers and celebrities come with hefty price tags, micro influencers are usually trusted sources in your market who have a genuine interest in your product/concept (crazy, huh?) and will want to try it, rather than just posting anything for the right price.

 

This means that, rather than putting all your eggs in one expensive basket by picking a single influencer based solely on follower numbers, you can choose a number of smaller influencers who are experts in the field and will increase your reach among the right audience. Big fish in smaller ponds.

 

Typically, brands will work with micro influencers by offering them something of value in the hope of receiving positive coverage in return. This could be in the form of a product to test, competition prizes to give to followers, a press trip which helps them create brilliant content, an interview opportunity, or it could simply mean paying them to create branded #ad content related to your brand.

 

A successful partnership of this kind will see the micro influencer create great content that their audience love, helping their influence grow even further, while the brand benefits from affiliation with that influencer, improving brand awareness and perception, ultimately leading to increased sales.

 

 

Building relationships with micro influencers

With larger influencers, unless you have the money to shell out for a long-term contract, it’s likely you’ll only be able to afford a certain number of social media posts.

 

In the fast-moving world of social media, where users scroll through 300 feet of content per day (that’s the same height as the Statue of Liberty), this morning’s Instagram post is this afternoon’s digital chip paper.

 

On average, 75% of the reach a social post gets will happen in the first 110 minutes, so it really is worth building a long-term relationship if you want to increase the longevity of the ROI you get from working with influencers. And micro influencers are much more affordable in this regard.

 

It pays to choose someone who has a genuine interest in your brand and will remain loyal. So if you’re in the marketing team of a brand targeting runners, and you’re going to build long-term working relationships with influencers, how and who should you choose?

 

Which influencers will have an impact on your business, and which won’t?

Two female health and fitness micro influencers at work

 

Choosing health and fitness micro influencers

Choosing micro influencers obviously depends on your brand. You want someone who reflects your brand interests and ethos and has sway in that arena. If you’re immersed in social media, you probably already have an idea who some of those micro influencers are – in fact, they’re probably already following you – but trawling through endless social feeds takes time and it’s very easy to miss the right people.

 

Easier ways to keep on top of things include signing up to a database listing influencers, contact details and follower numbers. The disadvantage of this can be that not all areas are covered and if you have a niche brand, well, those listed simply may not be suitable.

 

Another way is to get someone else to do the legwork for you. Agencies such as BlueJam will select a number of appropriate influencers for you and gauge their openness to working with certain brands. They will often already have a relationship with those influencers, so they can make an approach to ensure your proposal doesn’t get lost in an overflowing inbox.

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