With the increasing popularity and success of influencer marketing, businesses of almost every size are looking to embrace this form of marketing. However, it’s easy to go wrong when you are trying it out for the first time and don’t have certain crucial information about it.
One common challenge that many brands face is in choosing the right influencers for their campaigns. Many of them are faced with the question of whether to go all guns blazing and rope in a celebrity influencer or play it safe with long-tail influencers.
There are, of course, multiple factors that should influence this decision with the budget being the prime concern. However, even if you have the budget, can celebrity influencers really give you the results you want?
Most brands, in fact, have seen greater success from long-tail influencers. But who are they? And what exactly do I mean by “long-tail influencers?”
In this post, I’ll answer all of these questions and help you understand why long-tail influencers are your best bet when it comes to running successful campaigns. So, let’s get started.
I know that many of you might be wondering what exactly I mean by “long-tail.” So, let me explain.
The term “long-tail” (applied in business) was coined by Chris Anderson, the founder of Wired Magazine in 2004. He first introduced this term in one of his articles in this magazine and later went on to elaborate more about it in his book “The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More.”
Anderson’s thought was that consumers are moving steadily away from mainstream products and services towards more specialized “niche” markets and offerings. To support these changing consumer demands, it might seem like businesses would need to take a lot of risk as the demand for these products would be low. However, it’s quite the opposite.
With increasing incomes and technological advancements, businesses can easily offer tailor-made solutions to their customers. In fact, Anderson argued that the collective market for these niche products or services could rival or exceed the mainstream products if the distribution channel is effective.
To put it simply, “long-tail” refers to a distribution in which a large number of data points lie quite far from the most popular or common outcome. This common outcome is known as the “norm.” The following graph explains the concept well.
This long-tail theory has been successfully applied in countless industries and provides a superior alternative to mass marketing. And the same theory applies to influencers as well.
On one hand, you have celebrity influencers like the Kardashians, who many brands still flock to. While on the other, you have hundreds of thousands of macro or micro-influencers who are experts in their niches. They’re the ones we classify as long-tail influencers.
So, who exactly are these long-tail influencers? One way to categorize them is by the size of their followings.
For example, most celebrities have really large followings (usually millions) with little in common with their many followers. They cater to a really broad audience that might greatly differ in their demographics, locations, interests, and preferences.
Long-tail influencers, on the other hand, cater to really specific audiences. Their follower sizes might be small - anywhere between a thousand and a million. However, they have extremely loyal followers who value their ideas, opinions, and thoughts on their respective niches. They’re considered to be authority figures or subject matter experts in their niches.
So, typical examples of long-tail influencers are your yoga gurus, mommy and daddy influencers, food influencers, diet gurus, or fashion experts. Most of these influencers usually start off as hobbyists in their respective areas of expertise as opposed to celebrities who acquire their social media followings as a result of their fame.
Long-tail influencers acquire followers owing to the passion they have in their niche, their insights, and their personalities. People who are interested in their particular niches follow them to learn something new and to get inspired. They trust and value the recommendations of these long-tail influencers greatly.
For example, travel vloggers, Alex and Mark, are loved by their followers for their authentic content, ideas, and inspiration that they share. A look at some of the comments on their Instagram photos or YouTube videos makes it clear how much their fans value them.
Now that you know who long-tail influencers are, you must be wondering how they can really benefit your business, right? Well, for one, the followers of these influencers have very specific or niche interests. And so, long-tail influencers are able to connect with their audiences on a far deeper level through their authentic content.
The followers of these influencers are able to relate to such content and find it valuable as those niches already interest them. To add to that, the passion and expertise of these long-tail influencers give consumers a strong reason to trust them and their recommendations. These are recommendations that they look up to, much more than those from popular celebrities.
So, collaborating with long-tail influencers can be greatly beneficial for your brand. When you collaborate with relevant long-tail influencers, you’ll be able to showcase your brand and products in front of the right people. And since these people value the recommendations of these influencers, this can actually result in increasing your conversions.
In addition, their endorsement can help you build your reputation, authority, and credibility. Working with long-tail influencers can help you leverage the power of real relationships that these influencers have built with their audiences.
How to Work with Long-Tail Influencers
When you work with these influencers, remember to focus on building long-term relationships with them. This needs to reflect in the way you conduct your outreach as well. Start following them on social media and comment meaningfully on their posts to put yourself on their radar.
Then, when you craft your pitch, make sure that it explains clearly how the relationship can be mutually beneficial. Offer fair compensation to them and make sure that you communicate your campaign goals clearly. Only then will they be able to deliver their best.
In addition, you should also invite them to events that you participate in, share free product samples, and introduce them in your network. If you can show them that you really care, they will be more invested in your campaigns and put forward their best work.
Long-tail influencers are authority figures in their niches and are greatly trusted by their followers. So, collaborating with them can help you reach your target audiences effectively and win their trust.
Endorsements from them can make your marketing messages more credible and can help you tap into the right markets. So, make sure that you look for relevant long-tail influencers in your niche and collaborate with them to make your campaigns successful.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.