Approachable and Authentic Micro-Influencer Marketing Strategy

Micro-Influencers at Santa Fe Opera.JPG

The term “Influencer” has been a buzzword in the social media marketing world for years. Influencer marketing uses individuals with social media followings to help drive the message of a brand. When you break it down, an “influencer” is someone who affects or changes the way that other people behave. And while “more than 50% of Internet users say they follow some sort of celebrity or influencer account on social media,” (Hubspot, 2018). We have found that too many of these “influencers” are inauthentic and not relatable. Micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have a significant and engaged social media following. There are many different definitions of the follower counts that define micro-influencers, but typically it is anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000.  

With new changes to the platform taking the "Insta" out of Instagram, we believe it’s more important than ever to create community, connection, and collaboration through social media. We are in the unique position of being influencers ourselves AND working with them for our clients. We want to share our strategy of micro-influencer marketing to encourage genuine, authentic, and approachable partnerships.

Our partnership began when we met on Instagram in December of 2014 and instantly bonded over our love of local community. We started our first Instagram community, @SimplySantaFeNM, with a focus on supporting local businesses, organizations, and events through a grassroots effort of featuring photography from local photographers and businesses that use our hashtag #simplysantafe. Our second Instagram community, @TravelNewMexico, began in May of 2015 and documents our beautiful state of New Mexico by offering guest Instagrammers the chance to do a “takeover” of the account, during which time they share their unique New Mexico road trip experiences through imagery and stories. There is so much beauty and local pride here in New Mexico that this was the perfect way to bring everyone together and bond over storytelling.

In January of 2017, we attended a presentation of La Placa Cohen’s Culture Track 2017. They shared their study of audience behavior to help organizations understand the changing cultural landscape. One of the statistics that stood out to us the most was,  “Over ⅓ of Gen Z and Millennials feel that engaging on social media is an act of loyalty.” (La Placa Cohen, 2018). We feel that this statistic not only applies to Gen Z and Millennials, but anyone on social media. If you believe in a business or have a great experience somewhere, sharing about it on your social media channels is a great way of putting your stamp of approval on it and spreading the word to your network. Social media is the new word-of-mouth!

When someone you trust posts on social media about a fabulous experience they had somewhere, or a product they recently purchased that they could not love more, you believe them. It is a true peer-to-peer endorsement in terms of recommendations for places to go, things to do, products to purchase, and most importantly experiences to be had.

Our social media strategy has been to work with our business clients to create unique events, called InstaMeets, that involve micro-influencers. InstaMeets are gatherings of people coming together to create, connect and share an experience through Instagram photography. These events usually involve a behind the scenes tour, access to something that isn’t normally available to the general public, or giveaways of product in support of the promotion. Instagram conceived the idea as a way to bring Instagrammers together in real life and we have evolved this model to benefit both organizations and the micro-influencer community.  

In the summer of 2018, we hosted our 4th year of InstaMeets with one of our premiere clients, the Santa Fe Opera. Like many cultural institutions, they are interested in connecting with a new demographic of younger and novice opera goers. We leveraged our local community to bring over 200 local micro-influencers to experience Santa Fe Opera in a way that was second nature to them - through photography. Santa Fe Opera provided backstage tours of their world-renowned campus, exclusive talks with members of their production team, and special reserved seating with non-obstructed view where attendees were not only allowed to photograph the dress rehearsal performance, but highly encouraged. Before we began working with the Marketing and Public Relations team at the Santa Fe Opera, photography of performances by anyone other than their staff photographer was strictly prohibited. To this day the attendees of these InstaMeet events are the only exception to the “no photography” rule. See our case study of this incredibly successful series of events here: 2017 #sfoInstaMeet Season at the Santa Fe Opera. (2018 case study coming soon!)

Do you need to start a community building feature account in order to work with micro-influencers? No, but you do need to develop an authentic relationship with your online community. We recommend doing research to see if there are online communities similar to the ones we have built in your area. The organizers of these communities will often have unique insight to the local Instagram community and would be a good asset when planning an InstaMeet of your own. Please keep in mind that the organizers of that community have spent a lot of time cultivating their relationships and they deserve to be paid for their assistance.

You might think this would require a large marketing budget, but we’ve found influencer marketing can work on even limited budgets. We are paid a fee for hosting these events but the micro-influencers who attend our events do not pay a fee to attend and (most of the time) are not paid for attending. The agreement is that attendees trade limited usage of their user-generated content and promotion to their social media following for this truly unique experience.

We are living proof of the positive power of social media done well, and the potential for lasting and meaningful relationships. Curating and creating great content, engaging with our community, and helping promote local businesses here in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico are what we live and breathe.

Sources:


#SeasonalSunrise 2018 Best Social Media Campaign at NM Hospitality Association's Top HAT Awards

 
 

We are SO proud of our team, our #SimplySantaFe community, and with our partnership with Sunrise Springs Spa & Resort! Our #SeasonalSunrise Influencer Marketing campaign won the BEST social media campaign in New Mexico at the New Mexico Hospitality Association 2018 Top HAT Awards! A huge thanks to everyone who attended our InstaMeets at Sunrise Springs and for Bri Wright and Mara Bouvier for opening up your beautiful resort to our community! Congratulations also to Sunrise Springs for winning the best full service hotel for the second year in a row. We are so excited to dive into this next year of influencer events!

Here are some photos from the New Mexico Hospitality Awards Top HAT Awards on November 8, 2018 at the Santa Ana Star Casino.

2018 Top Hat Awards Best Social Media Campaign Simply Social Media Santa Fe.jpg
 The Top HAT (Hospitality and Tourism) Awards celebrates an outstanding team or individual that has shown exceptional dedication to their company's brand promise. As the premier awards ceremony of the travel, tourism, and lodging industry in New Mexico, this annual dinner and awards ceremony celebrates the finalists and announce winners of the prestigious Top HAT Award. Recognition as a finalist is an impressive accomplishment and the winner displays best-in-class and innovative practices.

The Top HAT (Hospitality and Tourism) Awards celebrates an outstanding team or individual that has shown exceptional dedication to their company's brand promise. As the premier awards ceremony of the travel, tourism, and lodging industry in New Mexico, this annual dinner and awards ceremony celebrates the finalists and announce winners of the prestigious Top HAT Award. Recognition as a finalist is an impressive accomplishment and the winner displays best-in-class and innovative practices.

Client Love Letters - Santa Fe Business Incubator

 
Simply Social Media Santa Fe Business Incubator Workshop Xerb
 

“We couldn't be more grateful to have had Santa Fe's own, Simply Social Media as one of our presenters for our Elevating Entrepreneurs Fall Workshop Series. Rich content and high energy made for a great end to our series. Thanks Amy and Caitlin! #simplysocialnm #elevatingentrepreneurs”

Santa Fe Business Incubator

SILVER Cumbre Award for "2017 #sfoInstaMeet Series at the Santa Fe Opera" Campaign

 
 

We are so proud of our team! This was our first time submitting for this award for an initiative all our own and we are so excited to have won a SILVER Award for "2017 #sfoInstaMeet Series at the Santa Fe Opera" Campaign - for the Social Media Tactic.
Here are some photos from the New Mexico Public Relations Society of America Cumbre Awards on October 18, 2018 at the Sandia Resort & Casino.

Simply Social Media 2017 sfo InstaMeet Silver Cumbre Award 2018.jpg
 Recognition and feedback from our peers is an important element of professional development. Annually, the New Mexico chapter of the Public Relations Society of America seeks to recognize the best work of our colleagues in the industry with the Cumbre Awards.  Modeled after PRSA’s Bronze and Silver Anvil Awards, the Cumbre Awards recognize outstanding strategic public relations campaigns and tactics by New Mexico’s communications professionals.

Recognition and feedback from our peers is an important element of professional development. Annually, the New Mexico chapter of the Public Relations Society of America seeks to recognize the best work of our colleagues in the industry with the Cumbre Awards.

Modeled after PRSA’s Bronze and Silver Anvil Awards, the Cumbre Awards recognize outstanding strategic public relations campaigns and tactics by New Mexico’s communications professionals.

Simply Social Media Speaks at the PRSA 2018 International Conference

 
PRSA-ICON-2018-Communications-Convergence-Austin.png
 

Speaking at the Public Relations Society of America’s 2018 International Conference in Austin, Texas was an incredible experience! Our presentation," Leveraging Micro-Influencers in Social Media", was a huge hit. Our session was very popular and after the seats were all taken, attendees opted to sit on the floor and then they, unfortunately, had to turn people away at the door!

We got great feedback from the session attendees and were really glad to have such an engaged and captivated audience. We are glad so many people felt our model was attainable and something they could bring back to their teams.

What is an InstaMeet?

 
 Instagrammers at the  #sfoRSJ InstaMeet at Santa Fe Opera hosted by @simplysantafenm, July 20, 2017.

Instagrammers at the #sfoRSJ InstaMeet at Santa Fe Opera hosted by @simplysantafenm, July 20, 2017.

 

Instameets are gatherings of people coming together to create, connect and share an experience through Instagram photography. The events usually involve a behind the scenes tour, access to something that isn’t normally available to the general public, or giveaways of product in support of the promotion. Instameets have a unique hashtag designated to identify the particular event. Users include this hashtag in the caption of their images so they will be part of the conversation and social media storytelling told through the collection of photographs produced at that event. Many Instagrammers have developed real connections and friendships with the people they have met through these experiences, making each subsequent gathering a true community event.  

The participants who come to the Instameets vary depending on their interest in what the event has to offer. The images produced during and after an event have potential to reach an international demographic because posts are seen by a diverse group of followers.  

The benefits of hosting or participating in an InstaMeet are threefold:

  1. The event brings people to your brick and mortar location and/or brand awareness.

  2. Your business/organization receives publicity through the images produced at your location as they are broadcast to the Instagrammers diverse social media networks.

  3. Your business then has a collection of “User Generated Content” which can be used to promote your business/organization on your social media platforms, with proper photo credit. (Learn more about UGC in our blog post “How to Correctly Utilize User-Generated Content on Social Media”.)

Client Love Letters - Chris Jonas, Emerging Media Alliance

 
EMA_Launch2018-37.jpg
 

“As a result of the incredible work of Simply Social Media, the summertime 2018 social media campaign for the launch of the Emerging Media Alliance reached 1.5 million people internationally.  Simply Social provided day to day support for this program, strategically placing content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and maximizing the reach and impact of this program. Consistently, I found Simply Social to be exemplary in their professionalism, the intelligence of their tactics running this campaign, and a joy to work with.”

Chris Jonas
Chair, Emerging Media Alliance
Executive Director, Littleglobe

@SimplySantaFeNM Voted First Place Best Instagram Feed in the 2018 Best of Santa Fe

 
@SimplySantaFeNM Best of Santa Fe 2018
 

We thought the best way to post about being awarded First Place as The Best Instagram Feed in Santa Fe was to create a mosaic of all of YOUR photos! You all are the reason this #SimplySantaFe community has gotten to be as great as it is today and we could not do it without you.⠀
Since 2014, we’ve featured almost 2,000 photos from Santa Fe’s Instagram community here on @SimplySantaFeNM, sharing about local businesses, upcoming events, insider tips, and of course beauty shots from The City Different. We’re proud of how warm, welcoming, and inclusive this group is. ⠀
THANK YOU for voting us #1 for @sfreporter’s 2018 Best of Santa Fe! 

View this post on Instagram.

Best Santa Fe New Mexico Instagram Feed @SimplySantaFeNM