Social Media Marketing

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Part
01

Overview: Social Media Usage

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A successful social media strategy starts with an alignment to the restaurant’s vision and goals, as well as the qualities their brand represents. Presenting a consistent brand message across all social media channels and being a “name to trust” are both keys to an effective strategy. The most popular social media platforms for restaurants include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and Google, with LinkedIn and YouTube following along behind. Each of these avenues has different user demographics, different options and rules for profiles and posts, and different methods of content management. Understanding how to use each to reach maximum potential is also key to success. Best practices for small restaurants to follow include: Identifying and focusing on your primary demographics; preparing the smartest content and presenting it in the right format at the right time; focusing on building your audience rather than just selling your wares; addressing all feedback with the right timing and tone; applying smart management techniques; and measuring success through analytics with adjustments made where necessary.

We’ll begin … well … at the beginning – with a brief discussion on where to start, what to build, and how to focus your social media marketing strategy. Then, we’ll dive into the major social media platforms that restaurants are using, and lastly, review six best practices that you can apply to your restaurant. I’ve also included some additional information and links – to hot trends in social media for restaurants, and other useful and/or insightful articles. It is my hope that the information provided here gives you exactly what you need to kick-start a phenomenal social media marketing strategy!

WHERE TO START / WHAT TO BUILD

FourTenCreative states that, “Businesses often need a clear picture of social media best practices to know where to start and how to move forward with their work”. They note that all businesses should start with a clearly outlined social media strategy that is directly aligned with overall organizational goals. Begin by asking yourself what your purpose is in using social media, as well as what you hope to gain from expanding that usage. Frame three to five social media goals that align with your corporate strategy – then ensure all social media-related actions reflect the focus on those goals. Review them often (say, every quarter) to ensure that you are not only meeting the goals you want to meet, but still on the path you want to follow. We’ll talk more about adjusting your goals as you go (based on quantitative data/metrics) later in this response.

Additionally, you will want to ensure that all posts across all social media sites reflect your brand AT ALL TIMES – through your logo, color schemes, taglines, etc. RestaurantEngine notes the importance of carrying “your brand identity through all of your social media so you are easily recognizable to others.”
In addition, highlight and reflect the qualities your brand represents. ZimmerCommunications notes that “64% of consumers say that shared values are the main reason they have a trusted relationship with a brand”. So, don’t be afraid to show the public what your organization stands for. However, they also note that avoiding political stances or hot-button topics is often best, as “65% of consumers say they have been disappointed by a brand’s political stance”. Total brand consistency must hold true for everything that gets posted, for all comments or responses made by individuals representing your organization, and for all re-posts (or re-Tweets and the like). Maintaining brand consistency is one of the keys to success on social media.
ZimmerCommunications offers some insightful statistics on the importance of maintaining brand consistency. Their research shows that “77% of marketers say that branding is critical to future growth,” and that it “should be a key part of your strategy to expand and thrive”. Additionally, they found that the “consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 23% on average,” which is quite significant! “Repetition and consistency are two cornerstones of any successful branding efforts. By presenting your brand consistently, over time, consumers will internalize your brand values and be more likely to purchase.”

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: THE LOW-DOWN

Chances are you have several social media profiles set up already. Before beginning on a new strategy, make sure you understand the benefits of each different social media channel, as well as the specific best practices for utilizing each to its ultimate potential. FourTenCreative lists the following as the key social media platforms on which to start and/or focus: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. RestaurantEngine adds these to the list: FourSquare, Yelp, YouTube, and Google. Next, we’ll review some specifics about each of these channels so you are fully educated on how to best use each one.
• FACEBOOK: On the world’s most popular social media platform, set up a page for your restaurant, using a dedicated restaurant email address. Add your highest-resolution logo (making sure it’s the right size), as well as an interesting and noticeable banner image. Add as much information as possible to the About Page, as well as complete Contact details (phone number, restaurant email address, physical address, etc). RestaurantEngine recommends posting a video or image on every post since they grab the most attention. They suggest posting useful information (like closures or holiday events), sharing tips (like the best menus for dates or families), as well as discounts and any special promotions you’re offering. Use the Call to Action button when needed. Additionally, you can explore Facebook’s paid advertising if you want to expand your reach even further.
• INSTAGRAM: This platform is used most often used by those aged 18 – 34, so if that is your key age-bracket demographic, then definitely work this site to your fullest advantage. Statista shows that 38% of Instagram users are female, which works out well for you since women are most often those in the home who make the food-decisions (like staying at home to cook or eating out at your place!). This site features visually-interesting content, so make sure that all posts of your food are tantalizing, all posts of your guests are at their happiest, and all posts of your location show the establishment at its best. Forbes notes that you could also leverage the site’s Stories Feature, which bolstered business-based Instagram followers to 80% following at least one business.
• TWITTER: FourTenCreative notes that this channel is most often used by the B2B crowd or those targeting specific markets (like young mothers, for example). They recommend identifying if your primary demographic holds a strong Twitter presence before spending much time with this avenue. RestaurantEngine suggests that “Twitter is great for short message such as daily meal deals, promotions, last-minute menu additions and changes, fun facts and photos, and more”. It is always recommended to add hashtags to your posts – and keep those consistent across all your social media postings.
• PINTEREST: For this site, create a profile for your restaurant “and create different boards to represent the interests of different customer groups,” recommends FourTenCreative. Hootsuite notes that “two-thirds of Pins now showcase a brand or product,” which “means big business for brands”. Similar to Instagram, the primary demographic on this site is female (45%) with “36% of Pinterest users falling between the ages of 18 and 29,” though “Gen Xers make up 34% of Pinterest’s audience,” as well. One item of note is your location. If you are located within a larger city or suburb, your potential audience will include 64% of Pinterest’s regular users (as compared to the 25% living in rural areas). (For more interesting statistics leading toward the best ways to use Pinterest, check out this article from Hootsuite.) One additional item of note: If your restaurant offers catering or catered events (like in private rooms), you can feature those on Pinterest to get a greater audience share. Hootsuite notes that a Millward Brown study “found that Pinners were 47 percent more likely to be planning for a life event (think weddings or trips) within the next six months,” with a whopping 96% of them using Pinterest for their research. This site is also very visual-driven, so make sure each of the pins on this site are eye-catching.
• LINKEDIN: Although this is more focused on the B2B crowd, it is important for every business to have a presence on this site. Create both a company page and personal profiles for all management-level employees. Encourage all employees (at every level) to do the same, and make sure you let everyone know how important it is to fully complete the LI profiles. FourTenCreative notes that “an incomplete profile can do you more harm than good on LinkedIn”. On this site, regularly share articles (short informational articles are best) or your favorite recipes even – as long as your posts are focused on the demographic served by this site.
• FOURSQUARE: This site allows users to check in from locations on their own social media profiles. Begin by claiming your business on the app. RestaurantEngine suggests that you offer those who check in from your location a special deal or an on-the-spot discount. You can also track loyal diners (those who check in often) with bonus promotions or additional coupons if they tag your restaurant’s social media profiles in their own personal profiles.
• YELP: This site is often used by those seeking the “best restaurants” in an area, so it’s important that you not only register your business on Yelp, but that you actively manage all reviews that come through. Add photos of your delicious dishes and full menus (in PDF or interactive format), and participate in their advertising options if you so choose. For every review you get, make sure to respond. For exceptional, stellar, or eye-catching reviews, offer these patrons a coupon on their next visit. For negative reviews, handle these immediately and with the utmost respect and consideration for making the unhappy customer happy once again. This site can also give you great insight into where any issues in your restaurant may life. For example, if you get multiple reviews stating the wait-staff is surly, then you’ll know what to focus on in your next company meeting.
• YOUTUBE: This video-focused site takes more effort on your part to create and maintain, but can be a great way to catch the eyes of those who might not see your restaurant otherwise. RestaurantEngine suggests a few ideas for videos, including recipes (like creating “your own cooking show”), interviews with guests (like customer testimonials), “cooking tips, chef highlights,” or special events. Any videos posted here will also show up on your Google+ feed, which doubles your visibility! Lastly, cross-post all your videos to your other social media profiles – making sure to tailor the posts to each site’s specific focus / presentation-preference.
• GOOGLE: Begin by claiming your Google+ Page. Via this avenue’s integrated resources, diners can “leave reviews, upload photos, and browse the latest hotspots” (including your restaurant), according to RestaurantEngine. As with your other profiles, make sure your brand and messaging is consistent, your photos are top-quality, and you address any reviews or messages immediately and with care. You can also set up a Google Alert that will track any mention of your restaurant on the web. If you’re interested, this article from SearchEngineJournal offers tips on how to boost your Google Search visibility through SEO (search engine optimization).

Something important to check into would be software (like Hootsuite) that you can use to easily manage all your social media profiles from one dashboard. This makes the task much more manageable than handling each account separately. If you’re interested in which programs would work best for your particular restaurant (group), Wonder will be happy to research that for you; just let us know!

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: BEST PRACTICES

Next, we’ll dive into some specific best practices to follow when engaging a social media strategy.

BEST PRACTICE: IDENTIFY & FOCUS ON YOUR KEY DEMOGRAPHICS
CapterraBlog recommends that you “start where your customers are”. They say, “Figure out where your ideal customers are already hanging out and learn how to use that platform to reach them”. Hootsuite furthers this idea by specifying what you need to find out: “age, gender, location, pain points, goals, average income, etc” – or basically all the demographic and psychographic information that can be found on your target audience (who you will be most-often marketing to directly). Without understanding to whom you are (or should be) marketing, you will just spread your messages scattershot in hopes something will stick (like spaghetti on the wall), which is not the best method. Conduct research on your own, like collecting surveys from your customers (in-restaurant and online), or let professionals do the work for you (Wonder would be happy to help, of course).

BEST PRACTICE: CONTENT IS KING
CapterraBlog notes that “entertaining and useful content is better than promotional content”. Shameless or continual self-promotion only turns your customers off. In fact, FourTenCreative’s research shows that “45% of consumers will unfollow a brand if their activity is dominated by self-promotion”. Additionally, they note that “50% of consumers feel like most brand communication is irrelevant,” so it’s important to keep your content not only engaging, but also relevant to your customers (and possibly your city, state, nation, or world as a whole).
Authenticity of content is highly regarded, as well, considering 80% of people cite that “as the main factor as to whether or not they follow a brand”. FourTenCreative identifies the “most effective content” as “video, photo, links, and text in that order”. They also note that, “the most engaging social media content educates, inspires, and entertains”. So, keep your content fresh, engaging, and current with what today’s consumer is looking for – as well as what your particular demographic wants. It is important to note that, although sponsored content was once very popular (and still is in some respects), “53.9% of consumers don’t trust sponsored, branded content,” so it’s best to put out these types of posts on a very-limited basis.
Additionally, it is important to not post the same exact things across all your social media channels. To reach the greatest number of potential customers, tailor each post toward the particular channel on which it is being posted. Follow best practices for each site – for each post – for best results. Finding opportunities to stir up user-generated content is the best method for gaining new followers (and potential new customers). Hold social media contests (very popular right now) or ask patrons to snap pics of their meals when dining in – anything to get them interacting with your brand on social media.
Lastly, CapterraBlog recommends finding cross-promotional opportunities. Are there any businesses you already partner with or could partner with for events? Identifying and connecting with those businesses will increase your local reach significantly and bring in customers appreciative of both businesses.
One additional note: If you don’t know much about A/B Testing (and other types of tests) for your content, you’ll want to learn about it – so you can apply those techniques successfully in your social media marketing. This article from AdRizer will get you started.
BEST PRACTICE: BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE RATHER THAN SELLING
ZimmerCommunications notes that, “For over 70% of brand managers, building an audience is more important than converting sales. When it comes to branding strategy, success isn’t always measured in direct sales or dollar figures. The point of brand marketing is to build a following and establish trust. Over time, these people will convert into customers, but only after establishing trust with your brand.” The best way to build your audience (in-house) is to make sure that every patron to your establishment is introduced to at least one of your social media channels within the visit. Online, that means connecting with them – on emotional levels – rather than just hawking your wares.
BEST PRACTICE: ADDRESS ALL FEEDBACK
Hootsuite notes that “more than 80 percent of all customers expect a business to reply within 24 hours of a social media posting,” so it’s important that you address any and all feedback as immediately as you can. This is especially true with negative feedback, which can wreak havoc on your bottom line over the period of just one day. ZimmerCommunications notes that “there are 2.1 million negative social media mentions about brands in the US on a daily basis.” Consumers have no compunction with posting a bad review or a snarky comment on social media (their own pages and brand pages), with “57% of people say[ing] unaddressed negative reviews are a good reason to ‘break up’ with a brand”. Brands that handle negative feedback with respect, humor, and a down-to-Earth attitude are most successful. Don’t be afraid to show a friendly persona online – and use tactics to turn a negative-Nellie into a brand advocate. Learn more about this from the Toast Restaurant Management Blog.
BEST PRACTICE: MANAGEMENT IS VITAL
Maintaining a strong, constant social media presence can be extremely time-consuming, so make sure to use the right tools (like platform integration and management tools), and hire the right people to represent you via social media. A small restaurant will likely not have a dedicated person doing this type of work (though a small group of restaurants should consider it). The smaller you are, the more you need to pull in other resources – like asking your employees or customers to post on your site. Additionally, you’ll want to schedule your posts ahead of time to save valuable time (and, of course, money).
BEST PRACTICE: MEASURE & ADJUST
First, take advantage of all analytics tools built within each social media platform (and built within your management system, like Hootsuite, if you use one). CapterraBlog recommends that you “define what success looks like to you and build from there”. Build on what we talked about in the beginning of this repsonse – and make sure that your social media strategy is serving your overarching business goals. Armed with regular and highly-specific data, you should tailor your marketing strategy to your findings of what is working best (or not working so well) and who is interacting most with you on social media. This should be a non-stop, continual process that includes monthly (or at the least, quarterly) reviews and adjustments to the marketing tactics in order to account for what the data shows. To find out the specific measurements to use, check out this article from Forbes.

CURRENT HOT STRATEGIES & TRENDS

If you’re interested in seeing what some restaurants are doing (though these include larger and smaller restaurants), check out this article from the Toast Restaurant Management Blog for cool ideas! The article also offers some excellent tips that add to what you already have here – and may provide further insight into how to build the most successful social media strategy possible. A similar article from RestaurantInsider (UpServe) offers more “fresh ideas for restaurant social media content” (some of which we’ve mentioned already and some of which we haven’t!). Additionally, this article from TheSocialSavior offers insights into the current social media trends for restaurants – and why you should be jumping on those ideas – and transforming them into specific strategies that work for your restaurant.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Also, this article from SmallBizTrends adds value to the information above, plus offers a variety of other useful tips. I recommend checking it out – as well as the links found within – for valuable insights. Lastly, Hootsuite offers a wonderful collection of insights and useful links in this article, which I highly suggest you read. It even includes links to the company’s marketing guides for a variety of different social media channels.

SUMMARY

Small restaurants can utilize similar strategies as larger businesses in creating their own successful social media set-ups. Utilizing the optimal social media channel with the best-possible content geared toward a specifically-identified audience can bring even the smallest restaurants superior social media / online success.

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Part
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Overview: Marketing Spend

According to the National Restaurant Association, the US restaurant industry earned a revenue of about $799 billion in 2017, of which about three percent was spent on marketing budgets. This number is expected to increase as the TripAdvisor's 2017 Restaurant Marketing Study found that 85 percent of US restaurant owners believe they should be doing more to promote their restaurant. A survey by cmosurvey.org found that marketing spend is slowly increasing and reached almost 10.9 percent in February 2017.

In recent years, these small independent restaurants are coming together and forming their own marketing cooperatives to create consumer awareness that would be unattainable for them as individuals.

Best Practices

It is recommended by the US Small Business Administration that small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate seven to eight percent of their revenues to marketing. According to Aaron Allen, restaurant consultant, if a restaurant is spending three percent of revenue on marketing, then it should spend at least 40 percent of the marketing budget on digital marketing. The restaurants should break up their digital marketing budget in the following way:

* SEO (15 percent): This would include a listing of the restaurant on Google My Business and other local listings like Yelp and Trip Advisor. These listings should be active, claimed and verified. In addition to the reviews on the Google My Business listing, Google offers a host of features unique to restaurants on its SERPs that can increase visibility and offer compelling calls to action.

* Pay-Per-Click or PPC (10 percent): This include advertisements on Google’s Display Network that offers the ability to advertise via images across a number of sites to users that meet the target demographic. This will also include different types of display advertising, banner ads, and any geo-targeted ads.

* Social Media (10 percent): This would include promotional posts and customer engagement content on social media sites like Facebook, and Instagram.

* Content Marketing and Blogging (5 percent): This include articles and blog posts written by guest bloggers that can build brand awareness, build shareable content, and earn mentions and citations for the restaurant website.

The 60 percent of the marketing budget spent on traditional strategies should include point of sale leaflets, posters, banners and signs, pricing material, packaging and wrapping material and local advertising in newspapers or trade magazines.

ACTUAL

Small, independent restaurants also follow the industry trend and spend three percent of sales on marketing. According to the US Small Business Administration, businesses actually spend two to three percent of their gross revenue on run-rate marketing and up to three to five percent on start-up marketing. Also, the InfusionSoft 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report" stated that 70.8 percent of small businesses reported doing their marketing in-house.

* According to Clutch’s third annual Small Business Survey, 29 percent of small businesses still don’t have a website. Although for the businesses that do have a website, 83 percent of those sites are mobile-friendly.

* Another survey by WASP Survey found that only 28 percent of small businesses do any search engine optimization (SEO).

* Facebook (71.8 percent) is by far the most common platform for a small business to be on. It’s also where consumers go to check reviews of the business. Other platforms include Twitter (36.5 percent), Instagram (33.1 percent) and LinkedIn (24.4 percent).
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Overview: Social Media Pain Points

The eight biggest challenges small businesses, such as small restaurants or small retailers face when it comes to managing social media marketing, are measuring ROI, tying social activities to business outcomes, securing enough internal resources, developing a social media strategy, tracking results in a centralized dashboard, integrating various social tools, keeping up with ever-changing social networks and monitoring the competition.

OVERVIEW

The main source used to identify the biggest pain points for small restaurants and/or retail stores in terms of managing social media marketing is a study done by TrustRadius on social media marketing trends. This study was conducted in July 2015 and is, therefore, older than the standard sourcing limit of 24 months we would use here at Wonder. However, such a study hasn't been repeated afterward and it gives the biggest value, as it provides answers by business owners on three levels: small, mid-size and enterprise. On top of that, it is noted in the study that there are very small differences when it comes to pain points in businesses of different sizes. All businesses note the same eight largest pain points, the only difference is the percentage of answers identifying the paint point as most significant (e.g. developing a social media strategy is a more common challenge for small businesses, and securing enough internal resource is a more common problem for larger companies).
Therefore, we used this study as the starting point and then listed additional paint points related to social media marketing from the most recent sources. In order to focus exclusively on small restaurant/retailers and not just generalized paint points related to social media marketing in the research, we considered this to be the best approach. This way the pain points of small businesses linked to statistics were listed first, and then a more generalized overview from the most recent sources is provided.

2015 STUDY

TrustRadius conducted a study where small business owners were asked to identify the 3 most challenging aspects of their social media program. The results (in %) are as follows:
1. Measuring ROI (58% of small businesses)
2. Developing a social media strategy (53% of small businesses)
3. Tying social activities to business outcomes (49% of small businesses)
4. Securing enough internal resources (32% of small businesses)
5. Tracking results in a centralized dashboard (31% of small businesses)
6. Keeping up with ever-changing social networks (28% of small businesses)
6. Integrating various social tools (21% of small businesses)
8. Monitoring the competition (18% of small businesses)

Additionally, the study results also show that the challenges companies face vary little between companies of different sizes: "When segmenting responses by small businesses (1-50 employees), midsize companies (51-1,000 employees), and enterprises (more than 1,000 employees), measuring ROI and tying social activities to business outcomes are significant challenges across all groups".
The biggest difference is noted to be the development of a social media strategy, which is a more common challenge for small businesses, and securing enough internal resources, a more common problem for larger companies.
There are also differences in pain points when it comes to experience level. "Measuring ROI is a more common problem among organizations with significant social media experience, whereas developing a strategy is a more common challenge among companies without as much social media experience".

SMALL BUSINESS ONLINE MARKETING CHALLENGES (general approach)

This report by DigitalLogic gives a more general approach to pain points small businesses face when going forward with their social media marketing:
1. Explaining the target customers
2. Not knowing how to turn the audience into customers
3. Not being able to see if the social media marketing is working
4. Keeping track of the results of social media campaigns
5. Not knowing how much should be spent on marketing and cost per acquisition.

Copy Press, a social media marketing company, compiled a list of online marketing challenges (relating to social media) that small businesses face. These challenges can be seen as an addition to the list above, and an introductory approach to establishing a social media presence:
1. TOO MANY PLATFORMS TO CHOOSE FROM
One of the biggest challenges small companies face when they’re starting with social media marketing is the number of platforms available. The best approach is to learn about your existing following and see if they’re part of your buying audience: "If your audience is irrelevant to the people that you’re marketing to, it might be time to leave that platform".

2. SOCIAL ACCOUNT ABANDONMENT
Social account abandonment after creating brand profiles is extremely bad for your brand in the short run as consumers will find the accounts associated with your brand, and perceive them as "abandoned ghost towns".

3. NO REASONING BEHIND PLATFORM CHOICE
The solution to knowing whether you should create a platform profile is as follows: "Come up with 10 network-specific ideas that you could post. If your company wants a Vine account, create 10 Vine ideas. This way you already have a jump start on content creation. If you can’t think of 10, you should probably avoid the network".

4. LACK OF RESOURCES
Each platform requires different posts. Platform-specific content is crucial for each social network you’re using: "Taking Facebook posts and shortening them for Twitter is not an effective strategy".

5. DIFFICULT TO MEASURE CONVERSIONS
Twitter had a conversion rate of 0% when it comes to the latest Black Friday sales. Choosing a platform may be crucial when it comes to ROI.

6. TIME
According to Forbes, "it takes 32 hours a month to manage a single social media platform correctly, that’s roughly 6-8 hours per week. Only 25% of small business owners spend 6-10 hours per week on social media".

7. SHORT-TERM FOCUS
Many brands are focused too much on short-term results: "New social media brand managers that feel like they’re posting out into the void can quickly grow defeated, when they’re really just in the beginning, establishment stages".

8. LONG-TERM GROWTH IS LIMITED
Small brands usually only target local or regional audiences, which brings smaller growth long term. Small businesses can’t expect "to have the same size audience and pull the same numbers as national brands".

9. BRANDING IS MINIMAL OR INCONSISTENT
Facebook cover photos, Google+ banners, Twitter wallpapers and Instagram posts should be created and branded to fit specific platforms and post sizes.

10. NOT ENOUGH TIME SPENT LISTENING
Even if a business has the resources to have their social channels updated, posting regularly is a fraction of what is considered social media managing: "A large part is joining communities and listening. Success on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ all depend on how much time is spent in different groups, engaging, and noticing the content of others. Social media is about the conversation, not the broadcast".

11. JOINING FOR WRONG REASONS
Signing up for a social network in order to censor people or argue with them will only lead to damaging your brand.

CONCLUSION

The eight biggest challenges when it comes to small businesses such as small restaurants or small retailers face in managing social media marketing are: measuring ROI, tying social activities to business outcomes, securing enough internal resources, developing a social media strategy, tracking results in a centralized dashboard, integrating various social tools, keeping up with ever-changing social networks and monitoring the competition. Additionally, small businesses also face challenges such as explaining the target customers, not knowing how to turn the audience into customers, not being able to see if the social media marketing is working, keeping track of the results of social media campaigns and not knowing how much should be spent on marketing and cost per acquisition.
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Part
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Overview: Micro-Influencer Marketing

The main benefits of working with micro influencers are higher engagement rates, specific niches in which they operate and the perception by their audience as being more authentic. In addition, they are actively seeking partnerships and, in being smaller, will charge a lower cost than macro influencers. Micro influencers with a following between 2,000 and 100,000 across all social platforms charge, on average, between $137 and $258 per sponsored post. The average return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent on influencer marketing is $6.85. ROI rises as high as $11.33 for food micro influencers and $10.48 for influencers specializing in retail and apparel.

Benefits Of Working With Micro Influencers

Micro influencers are a good investment because they provide a bigger variety of benefits when compared with those who are bigger influencers. The main benefits are:

1. Higher engagement rates
2. Very specific niches
3. Perceived as more authentic
4. Looking for partnerships and brand opportunities
5. Cheaper.

AgoraPulse's article: Does Working with Micro Influencers Bring in Big ROI, notes that "Micro influencer ROI can outperform larger influencer ROI because it will cost you less to work with micro influencers. Many times larger influencers have already started to monetize their following, which may mean they are charging for endorsements on their channels."

So rather than trying to gain attention through those who have already built a significant following, small restaurants or retailers have an opportunity to obtain better returns by focusing on micro influencers. In creating partnerships with micro influencers there is also an opportunity to leverage cheaper costs or alternative payment methods such as bartering goods or meals, for example.

When looking for the right micro influencer or niche, a small restaurant would look for food bloggers whilst small retailers would try to find a micro influencer blogging about the products they sell, such as beauty or fashion bloggers. Though the niche itself isn't the key to successful advertising with micro influencers but rather the engagement they have with their audience of followers.

MICRO INFLUENCER MARKETING COSTS AND ROI ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS

According to Forbes, micro influencers with a following between 2,000 and 100,000 across all social platforms charge between $137 and $258 per Instagram post. In comparison, when an influencer reaches over 100,000 followers, their rates go up to $400 per post.

A study by HelloSociety found different engagement rates during the non-holiday period and holiday time. During the non-holiday period, the average engagement rate is 3.8 percent whilst during holiday times this rate goes up to 4.3 percent.

They also conclude that influencers with smaller followings create the largest engagement: "Influencers with 35,000-500,000 followers generate between 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent engagement. When you look at influencers with more than 500,000 followers that engagement drops to just 1.6 percent or less." They consider the category of influencers with a following between 35,000 and 500,000 as the "sweet spot" in micro influencer advertising.

Markerly conducted a study to find the correlation between the following rate and likes received per post, finding that micro influencers with:

— less than 1,000 followers on average receive likes on their posts 8 percent of the time.
— between 1,000 and 10,000 followers receive an average 4 percent of likes on their posts.
— between 10,000 to 100,000 followers on typically receive likes on their posts 2.2 percent of the time.

Similar observations were noted between the following rate and comments received per post where micro influencers with:

— less than 1,000 followers receive comments on their posts, on average, 0.5 percent of the time.
— between 1,000 and 10,000 followers typically receive comments on their posts 0.26 percent of the time.
— between 10,000 and 100,000 followers on average receive comments on their posts 0.18 percent of the time.

Emarketer reported that the average ROI for every dollar spent on influencer marketing is $6.85. ROI rises as high as $11.33 for food micro influencers and $10.48 for influencers specializing in retail and apparel.

The Rakuten Marketing research shows that marketers "typically look at improving brand reach, site traffic, and brand awareness, before they consider the impact on sales".

Instagram STATISTICS

According to a report from 2017 undertaken by influence.co, a social media marketing company and an influencer platform, identified the sponsored Instagram post rates by follower count for micro influencers:

— with less than 2,000 followers charge on average $124 for one sponsored post.
— that have between 2,000 and 5,000 followers charge around $137 for one sponsored post.
— who have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers typically charge $93 for one sponsored post.
— with between 10,000 and 25,000 followers charge on average $133 for one sponsored post.
— with 25,000 to 50,000 followers charge on approximately $185 for one sponsored post.

The report also provides average engagement rates per follower count micro influencers:

— with less than 2,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 10.7 percent.
— that have between 2,000 and 5,000 followers have an engagement rate of around 6.0 percent.
— who have an average of 5,000 to 10,000 followers typically have an engagement rate of 4.9 percent.
— with between 10,000 and 25,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 3.6 percent.
— that have between 25,000 and 50,000 followers have a smaller engagement rate of 3.1 percent.

The same report also sorted micro influencers by the category and on average, travel influencers charge the most, with $220 per sponsored post, which is 49 percent more than business influencers which garner $134 per post. Entertainment and home, together with lifestyle niches, also rank high achieving with over $200 per sponsored post. Micro influencers in the food and drink category on average charge $169 per sponsored post.

CONCLUSION

Micro influencers with a following between 2,000 and 100,00 across all social platforms charge, on average, between $137 and $258 per sponsored post. The average ROI for every dollar spent on influencer marketing is $6.85. Engagement rates for micro influencers on Instagram are as follows: less than 2,000 followers: 10.7 percent, 2,000 – 5,000 followers: 6.0 percent, 5,000 – 10,000 followers: 4.9 percent, 10,000 – 25,000: 3.6 percent, 25,000 – 50,000 followers: 3.1 percent.
Sources
Sources