How to Use Micro-Influencers on TikTok to Grow Your Small Business
Small businesses typically invest less in social media marketing than larger companies. You may even believe that leveraging influencers must be out of your league.
That would be a mistake.
Micro-influencers can specifically help small businesses get noticed, differentiate from the competition, and sell more. This guide will help you get started with actionable plans, specific strategies, and examples that can inspire you.
What Are Micro-Influencers?
Micro-influencers are content creators with a reach and influence among a specific, smaller group of followers. As a result, they are more accessible than macro-influencers or celebrities.
Micro-influencers typically have:
- Instagram: 10,000-100,000 followers
- TikTok: 10,000-500,000 followers
The importance of this distinction is a result of the way content is shown to users on the different apps. TikTok’s algorithm offers users videos based on the previous clips they watched. By comparison, Instagram shows people content from the friends and creators they follow.
Here’s what that means:
TikTok influencers should have a wider and more engaged following to stay ahead of their competition.
Micro-influencers work within certain niches, meaning their posts usually focus on one particular topic or field. They often serve as a trusted source of information in that niche, providing valuable content and engaging their audience. While businesses can also operate their own social media accounts and start a blog to share useful information with potential customers, influencers can make things much easier.
Here’s one example:
Ilana Jacqueline is a patient advocate and TikTok content creator with 90,900 followers on the platform:
Her posts are filled with information and practical advice to help people interact more effectively with healthcare professionals. Ilana Jacqueline wants to help patients know their rights and access trauma-informed medical care.
Therefore, when Ilana discusses a product like the TheraICERX cap, her audience listens. Especially because she uses the same authentic and information-rich content in her product reviews as in her other videos:
Additionally, micro-influencers are usually more affordable than larger creators, making them a cost-effective option for small businesses looking to maximize their marketing budget.
What Are the Advantages of Working with Micro-Influencers on TikTok?
Working with micro-influencers offers several advantages for small companies, including:
Micro-Influencers Are More Authentic than Celebrities
TikTok is all about authenticity, and micro-influencers fit this bill perfectly. Their relatability is one of their key selling points and sets them apart from celebrities.
The numbers support this premise, as 88% of people want genuine influencers who care about their interests.
When users see a micro-influencer promoting a product, they are more likely to believe that the endorsement is genuine. According to one study, 92% of respondents said they would trust an influence over a celebrity when deciding whether to make a purchase.
Micro-Influencers Can Interact Better With Their Followers
One of the biggest reasons micro-influencers can be more effective than celebrities is because they can interact and engage with their followers more authentically.
Celebrities often have large followings, but they’re not always able to interact with their fans on a personal level. By comparison, micro-influencers are often viewed by their followers as peers, which enables them to engage with their fans in a meaningful way.
Besides, micro-influencers have the highest engagement rates on TikTok, reaching 13.33% worldwide in 2021.
Micro-Influencers Are More Affordable and Bring a Higher ROI
Micro-influencers are more affordable than celebrities, being paid an average of $1,500 per post. By comparison, higher-tier content creators will ask for at least $5,000 for one TikTok post.
And the math is in your favor:
Let’s say you choose just one micro-influencer with 100,000 followers to make one single post about your products. If that creator has a typical engagement rate for TikTok of 13.33%, one $1500 post can lead to 13,330 sales.
Even if you sell $1 products, that’s a considerable ROI.
5-Step TikTok Micro-Influencer Strategy
Any influencer marketing campaign relies on solid planning. Sure, content creators may sound very creative and not at all bookworm-ish. But you need to harness that creativity and maximize its results.
1. Set Your Goals
The first step in an effective campaign is setting goals. Remember:
- These goals must be “SMART”– specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
- You must establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that help measure your results. That’s how you know you’re on the right path toward reaching your goals.
Let’s review some examples of possible goals for TikTok campaigns, with SMART objectives and possible KPIs:
Goal: Increasing Brand Awareness
- Increase the number of followers on TikTok by 25% in 3 months.
- Increase the total reach of brand posts on TikTok by 50%.
- Followers count
Goal: Lead Generation
- Generate 300 leads from TikTok campaigns in 3 months
- Increase the conversion rate of leads generated from TikTok by 10%.
- Leads count
- Conversion rate
2. Define Your Audience
Once you have your goals and objectives in place, it’s time to define your audience.
You need to know who you’re targeting before launching a campaign.
That means understanding the demographics, interests, and behaviors of the people who are likely to be interested in your brand or product. Communicating to users that might be looking to buy some fashionable clothes or a trendy new consumer tech gadget requires a different approach than reaching users who are interested in complex technical topics or B2B services such as a colocation data center.
The stats tell us that TikTok users are typically:
- Between 16 and 24 years old
- Interested in music, beauty, and fashion
Still, nearly a third of TikTok users are between 25 and 34, and the app’s algorithm caters to an impressive variety of user interests. Users go to TikTok to watch funny videos, learn new things, and interact with other users. And more recently, TikTok users started leveraging this platform as a search engine to discover new brands and products.
Determining a broad interest group that aligns with your products or services will be key to maximizing your ROI and targeting the right audience.
3. Pick a Strategy that Works for TikTok
After defining your target audience, you will have to consider what strategy will appeal to them most based on the content they’re interested in watching.
Remember: Message delivery is arguably as important as the message itself.
Here are some worthwhile TikTok video formats to consider:
Brand takeovers mean handing your brand over to your content creator for a day and letting them run wild with it.
While this might sound like a recipe for disaster, it works well on TikTok because:
- It builds trust between brands and creators. TikTok users are constantly bombarded with ads, so they’re naturally skeptical of any content that looks like it’s trying to sell them something. But when they see their favorite creators using a product in their videos, it feels more natural and less like an advertisement.
- Brand takeovers are fun and creative, which is what TikTok is all about. They often involve some challenge or competition, which helps get users engaged and talking about the brand. They see the brand logo design so much on the platform that they start feeling familiarity with your brand.
Bonus for small companies: Brand takeovers are cheap and quick to produce.
- Creators have full control over the content, so you might end up with something that’s not quite what you had in mind
- This strategy requires a lot of trust on both sides of the transaction.
Hashtags give users a way to find content related to specific topics, and they also serve as an effective branding tool. Besides, hashtags can:
- Draw attention to your brand
- Help TikTok accurately categorize your content and show it to relevant audiences
- Get more people engaged in your content
- Spark conversations around important topics
Warning: You should understand the trends and dynamics of the TikTok community before choosing your campaign hashtag.
To get started:
- Consider what hashtags would be relevant to your brand and audience based on keywords they use to search for your products.
- Look into trending hashtags and create content around them, as long as it’s relevant to your brand. Just make sure not to go too far off-brand to capitalize on trends – it won’t be worth it in the long run.
- It can be hard to stay up to date with trending hashtags, and mistakes could cause confusion or backlash.
- Hashtags can easily become overused and lose their effectiveness.
These challenges often involve users performing daring or funny stunts, such as eating weird food combinations or daring each other to do the #InMyFeelingsChallenge.
- TikTok challenges are usually done in groups, which helps to foster a sense of community on the app.
- They are also highly shareable, which increases your company’s visibility.
A great example of this is when Italian photographic printing company PhotoSi ran a branded hashtag challenge called #ReviveconPhotoSi, challenging its followers to recreate childhood photos:
There are some disadvantages to this strategy, though:
- It can be difficult to control the user-generated content (UGC) around your challenges, as people have a lot of room to be creative.
- Challenges can quickly become out of date and lose their appeal.
- Promoting too many challenges could alienate more serious or business-minded users.
TikTok duets are a type of video that allows users to record themselves singing, dancing, or reacting along with another user’s video. This approach works well on TikTok because:
- It allows micro-influencers and users to interact with each other in a creative and fun way. Of course, make sure your product is still in the limelight.
- Your audience can show off their talent and creativity within a community.
- You get a comprehensive library of UGC.
- Hiring two or more micro-influencers to create duets with each other will automatically give you access to a wider audience. You can create awareness and generate buzz within a larger market in one go.
Possible disadvantages include:
- It can be challenging to keep your company in the foreground.
- You may disregard monitoring and curating your UGC library, relying on the current buzz.
Unboxing video content allows viewers to see the product in use before they make a purchase. This approach also appeals to TikTok’s largely Gen Z audience, who are often skeptical of traditional advertising.
Micro-influencers can build trust with their followers by being open and honest about their thoughts on a product. That is a definite advantage for small businesses like yours because you can get more quality leads.
In the clip below, you can see Valerie Sanders unboxing a weighted blanket from Nuzzie:
- You may not like everything your content creators say about your products.
- These campaigns cost more and take longer because you will have to ship your best products to your content creators. Afterward, you will have to wait until they test these products and see the results. This testing can stretch on a few weeks for some products (e.g., creams or food).
These videos typically feature someone singing or speaking along to a popular song or trending sound, with their lips synced perfectly to the lyrics. or dialogue.
The advantages are:
- This content is relatively easy to create – all you need is a song and your phone.
- These videos are often funny or entertaining, which is perfect for the short attention spans of many TikTok users.
- Lip-syncing trends are a train easy to hop onto, so your small business gets awareness without an exorbitant marketing budget.
- You become part of a trend, thus eliciting more interactions at a value-for-money cost.
On the downside:
- Lip-syncing may seem superfluous or unoriginal.
- This technique may not show off your product’s true virtues.
- It can be difficult to stand out since many people post similar content.
- Some users could see lip-syncing as tacky.
Tutorial videos are a practical strategy for your small company because your micro-influencers can explain how more complex or innovative products work without being boring. That’s because:
- They can take complex concepts and break them down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to understand.
- Savvy content creators have the wit and charisma to keep viewers engaged.
- “Cool” influencers will create more social proof and desire through their tutorials. They know how to pick the best lights, sounds, and words to be persuasive.
Pro tip: Tutorials are especially popular with younger viewers looking for advice on everything from finance to clothing or mental health.
On the downside:
- Your brand may have to invest more in content creation, as it takes time and effort to shoot quality tutorials.
- Alternatively, you may have to pick a more expensive content creator who uses the best equipment.
- You may reach a narrow audience if the topic of your tutorial is too niche or specific.
- Tutorials are less engaging than other types of content, so you must find ways to make them more interactive.
Here’s an easy tutorial from personal trainer and former gymnast Laura Novack on using the Thera Ice wrist strap:
Here’s Dylan Greeney, MD showing his TikTok fans how to use GoodSkin products correctly (and highlighting the benefits as he does so):
Videos Based on Trending Sounds
One of the unique features about TikTok is that it gives creators the ability to use the audio from other videos in their own content. The sounds themselves can go viral, with hundreds or even thousands of videos made using a single popular audio track. These videos are usually short, entertaining clips that rely on popular sound bites or songs to capture a viewer’s attention.
The advantages of this kind of content include the following:
- They’re easy to make and don’t require much effort or production value.
- They can help with product discovery; when TikTok users click on that trending sound, they can find your clip among the videos using this sound.
- It’s a great way to leverage existing trends, thus making your content more engaging.
The drawbacks are:
- These videos generally don’t have any educational or informative value and could be seen as unoriginal or boring to some viewers.
- You could end up pigeonholing your brand as something fun and light-hearted, which may not be ideal for serious or business-minded audiences.
- Getting a viral video takes a lot of luck, so success is not guaranteed.
4. Find the Right TikTok Micro-Influencers
You can find TikTok micro-influencers by:
- Using a third-party platform
- Searching on Google and social media sites
- Reaching out to potential influencers by e-mail or direct message
- Asking your existing network of contacts for recommendations
- Searching by hashtags or keywords relating to your brand
Here’s what you have to check:
- How many followers your potential micro-influencers have, and whether the followers are real or fake
- The type of content they post and how it resonates with their audience
- Their engagement rate (the ratio of likes and comments to followers)
- Whether their aesthetic is appropriate for your brand
- Their willingness to collaborate. Are they open to negotiations?
Pro tip: Research customer feedback on your micro-influencers’ previous campaigns to ensure they have a track record of success.
After finding and contacting these creators, you should:
- Set up a contract to ensure everyone knows their responsibilities.
- Arrange a form of payment for the work done.
5. Run and Monitor Your Campaign
Once you’ve set up your campaigns, it’s important to keep track of the results they produce:
- Monitor the number of views and likes on each post.
- If your goal is to have people purchase your products or visit specific web pages, use UTM links or discount codes to track conversions back to your micro-influencers.
Pro tip: Use analytics tools to get more detailed insights into how viewers interact with your content.
You should also monitor comments for any negative feedback that needs to be addressed.
After reviewing the performance of your campaigns, adjust them accordingly. If a specific type of content doesn’t resonate with your audience, for instance, you can try something different.
And if your campaign is working as planned, you can always consider scaling it up.
Pro tip: Extend your campaign to other channels by repurposing your TikTok content for your marketing emails.
This strategy will help you maximize the reach and impact of your campaigns. Besides, your emails will look more authentic, so they will persuade a larger audience to try your products. Make sure your emails reach the audience, use SPF flattening for your security against any hackers.
TikTok Micro-Influencer Campaign Examples to Follow
So that’s how micro-influencer TikTok campaigns work in theory, but what do they actually look like in practice? Here are some real-life examples you can draw inspiration from:
This post below is an excellent example of how to create desire for your products. A micro-influencer like @fittybritty knows their audience intimately and expertly addresses what these followers want:
- Comfortable, quality products that help them look good regardless of their body type and the chores they’re doing
Britney is a body positivity micro-influencer who understands that her followers want to feel represented. She speaks to an audience who may have some issues finding clothes that fit well – and that’s why Britney showcases the clothes she wears:
- From different angles
- In various social situations
The happy music, fast-paced video, and bright colors captivate viewers without letting them get bored.
All that explains why, even though Britney has 268,200 followers at the time of this writing, this one video got her 3.9 million views.
Lessons to learn:
- To differentiate yourself from the competition, associate your brand with one essential value for your target audience (in this case, body positivity).
- Choose micro-influencers who post genuine content and have deep insights into what their audience is looking for.
2. Always Pan
Always Pan partners with Melissa Tovar to showcase their products.
This creator kicks off the video with a strong beginning that keeps people interested in watching the whole video, “the only review for the Always Pan you’ll ever need.”
Melissa knows her audience is largely young professionals who rarely cook and don’t prepare complicated meals. Thus, she knows how to appeal to them based on what they’re looking for in a pan (e.g., style over functionality).
This is also a good example of how micro-influencers provide a balanced message. She doesn’t exaggerate the products’ benefits for the sake of making a sale. She is very upfront about the disadvantages, which increases her credibility. This strategy is best for creating quality leads with higher conversion potential.
A few other things to note about this video:
- The background checklist helps people understand faster. By taking advantage of everything this medium has to offer, the video packs in a ton of information while always staying focused on the audience’s needs.
- There’s a Black Friday discount. Discounts always help people make up their minds faster, especially when the purchase wasn’t very costly, to begin with.
- There are just two hashtags used. Melissa Tovar doesn’t clutter her post with overwhelming hashtags; there are just two of them – one for Always Pan and the other for Black Friday. This simple detail makes her post look more authentic and relevant.
Lessons to learn:
- If your goal is to create awareness and stand out from the crowd, pick a unique selling point for each audience you’re addressing.
- Be honest about who your product is for; don’t be afraid to outline certain drawbacks for specific audiences. This tactic helps you get higher-quality leads that convert.
3. Momentary Ink
Momentary Ink uses a slew of influencers with very diverse audiences that have one thing in common: they want temporary tattoos. The styles, designs, and size of their temporary tattoos are as varied as their customer base.
That’s why Momentary Ink has found different creators that address these audiences.
And, of course, each of them uses their own unique strategies to speak to their particular audience:
Lip syncing that creates desire:
Very honest unboxing of a micro-influencer trying temporary tattoos before getting the real ones. Notice the lively music and how this influencer creates authenticity by admitting she doesn’t know how to open the product package:
Trendy sounds to create social proof:
Lessons to learn:
- Your product can address different audiences. Pick micro-influencers that address all these groups with specific messages tailored just for them.
Starting Your Micro-Influencer Campaign
As you can see, there are many ways to leverage micro-influencer marketing for your small business. The strategies are practically endless because you can combine all the techniques above.
And a micro-influencer marketing campaign works just as any other campaign. Establish a step-by-step plan and find engaged, experienced creators. Follow the steps above, and you will grow your small business faster than you’ve thought possible.
David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat Agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.