Influencers are promoters of your brand that are a part of your target market. In higher education, you already have a group of promoters for your brand right at your fingertips - your students. You don’t need social media influencers with millions of followers for your marketing campaign to be effective. Micro-influencers are generally a better choice. Followers are more likely to engage with a post from someone with 1,000 followers. This is because the followers feel personally connected with the person who posted and are more likely to receive a reply back.
Micro-influencer campaigns are 6.7 times more cost-efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings and have 60% higher campaign engagement rates. For macro-influencers (100,000+ followers), an engagement rate of 1% is considered high. Micro-influencers tend to be more engaged with their followers with replies and personal interactions, which leads to a much higher engagement rate - which is one of the most important metrics. For example, on my personal Twitter account, I have close to 2,000 followers with a high engagement rate and monthly impressions.
Higher engagement means means genuine connections with your audience. It also generates personal connections and trust. My followers regularly and somewhat consistently engage with me. This leads to higher impressions and mentions - which means that if I, or any other micro-influencer, tweeted for a brand or a higher education institution we could reach an audience that is already a part of the community and would be more likely to get clicks or engagements. This doesn't mean that this content will be seen by more people than if you ran a promoted tweet or hired a larger influencer, but the content will be more authentic and get more engagements from people directly in your target market.
So where should you begin? First, you need to find micro-influencers that create content for your intended target market. This could be current students, professors, alumni, or prospective students. Make sure that they are actively engaged in the community you are seeking out and that their tweets align with your brand. Ask about their engagement rate, mentions, and tweet impressions. High engagement rates and mentions show how involved they are with their followers and how much influence they can have on them.
Once you find a micro-influencer that fits your needs, decide on how much you are willing to pay them or what incentives you will give them. Usually, micro-influencers (especially the ones on Twitter) don’t charge very much for posts and some can even be rewarded in t-shirts or other swag. Some may even do it for free to have something to put on their resumé.
Next, implement your campaign through the influencer. Use hashtags to attract prospective students. Have your influencer attend and post about exciting events on campus. Let them share their true authentic college experience. Millennials are less trusting of advertising and brands so the posts need to be trustworthy and fit in with the content the influencer was already posting. Also, encourage prospective students to contact your influencers. They will have a lot of questions that they want answered and asking someone on Twitter could be less intimidating to them.
No one knows college like current college students. The cookie-cutter advertisements of "students" tossing frisbees on campus are no longer connecting with students and prospective students. Micro-influencers can give a well-rounded view of college life from a first-hand experience. This brings together the trust, authenticity, and engagement. To learn more about higher-ed marketing and more, subscribe to our newsletter below!