Often, when businesses think of influencer marketing, they imagine investing in the influencers with millions of followers. However, micro-influencers (defined by having around 5,000-15,000 followers) also offer a unique value. If you can get any size of influencers on board to help share your message, do it. Speaking from experience, it has changed the game for my company and our product exposure.

As for getting started in influencer marketing, it's all about identifying, contacting, and offering collaborations with them. The exposure potential of hundreds of micro-influencers posting about your business or product fairly rivals one post by a major influencer with millions of followers. Here's how I've learned to engage hundreds of micro-influencers in 2020 to scale your brand to new heights.

1. Find clear connections between what the influencer is already posting and what you need promoted.

My team has one rule when we search for influencers: it has to be a "glove-like fit." This means that we look for influencers who are already doing or posting something related to what we want them to promote (in our case, coffee.). This way, it's more genuine to their followers and they're more likely to say yes.

This piece of advice doesn't just apply to micro-influencers, either. This strategy is exactly how I landed a partnership with Daymond John from Shark Tank. I noticed that he was in the middle of the launch for his book, and the synchronicity between what he was promoting and my coffee grinder was too perfect to ignore. So, we worked out an influencer affiliate promotion between his book and our coffee grinders, and also created a branded coffee of the month oriented around him. 

2. Do some digging to find relevant nano and micro-influencers. 

If there isn't an influencer who's clearly standing out to you with a similarity or synchronicity, get to work finding micro-influencers in general. Self-made e-commerce millionaire Gretta Van Riel and founder of Hey Influencers teaches a course on Foundr about finding micro-influencers that has been quite helpful for me. In it, she states that the best way to start the search is to create a brand new Instagram account, follow five micro-influencers who are related to your brand, then use the "similar to" tab to follow hundreds of other micro-influencers who have commonalities with who you follow. 

In my team's case, this is how we keep our eye on coffee-loving or mindfulness-oriented influencers who could naturally align with JavaPresse and Stay Grounded. Every now and then, we check the account to see what the influencers are posting and see if there's a commonality between one of our products and what they're currently up to. Then, Van Riel says to direct message (DM) them, like three of their photos, and comment on their most recent post. Since these micro-influencers still have quite a few followers, it's important to stand out from the crowd and make sure they know you sent them a DM. 

3. Offer clear creative direction for the influencers. 

Finally, once an influencer has agreed to promote your product, make sure to be as transparent as possible about your brand feel. Luckily, if you've done diligent enough research and searching to find an aligned influencer in the first place, there won't be many miscommunications on this pointer. But, it's important to still share visual assets and give them everything they need to create great content. 

Influencer-generated content is great for reposting on your own social media page and website because it's likely high quality, and it has a genuine feel to your social page and website visitors. It shows a real user with or using your product, which is great. But, that's also why having branding and clear visual guidelines is so important. 

If you're ready to scale your brand, I strongly recommend staying on the hunt for influencers who you can align with your company. White label your offer to what they need on their own profile or with their own promotional efforts.