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THE MODERNIZATION OF BUSINESS

Expand Your Parking Brandís Reach with Micro-Influencers

April, 2019

Kathleen Laney

Over the past few years, social media influencers have emerged in every conceivable category, industry and market with increasing power to affect purchasing decisions. From Instagram stars to Twitter heavyweights to YouTube millionaires, key social media personalities now reach more people than TV or print advertising could ever hope for. This new breed of celebrity can connect instantly with thousands and in some cases, millions of people as their every post, vlog or tweet is consumed by a highly captive audience.


Influencer marketing is not an original concept. Interestingly, what the most successful social media influencers are doing is nothing new. Influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and modern marketing tactics, taking the idea of word-of-mouth referrals and celebrity endorsements, and then placing them into the content-driven marketing of present day.


There has been a shift from person-to-person conversations that happen while two people are physically together to sharing opinions on review sites, and more recently, following influencers on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms.


Today, people are increasingly putting their trust in the opinions of people they know and can identify with, and as such, we have seen the rise of the micro-influencer.


What are micro-influencers? Micro-influencers are individuals who have a strong influence on their network, but have a smaller reach than typical influencers such as celebrities, athletes or major public figures. They are considered experts in their niche and generally have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are more relatable than celebrities. 


This makes them better able to connect with their followers on a personal level. When micro-influencers recommend something, their word is taken as expert. Done right, this type of marketing will not only get your products and services in front of the right people, but also brings with it a shiny coat of approval by a trusted expert.


What niche influencers lack in size of following, they usually will make up for in engagement. Compared to celebrity influencers, micro-influencers interact more with their audience via likes and follows, and they tend to respond to questions or comments more quickly. This high level of interaction generates a strong connection.


Why should parking industry brands consider micro-influencer marketing? Micro-influencers can uniquely tap into very specific, niche markets. And as opposed to those major influencers who appeal to audiences in the hundreds of thousands or millions, micro-influencers exist in every sector you could think of, including the parking industry. 


Micro-influencer marketing also works well for brands with longer sales cycles. Selling a solution to a business, government, or institution is a process that is multi-stepped, largely logic-driven and often impersonal, unlike an impulsive consumer purchase. Which means you can’t neglect the power of getting quality content in front of those who might purchase your products or services. In fact, it means you need better quality content that will withstand the review processes of buyers and c-suite executives.


Furthermore, the parking industry is a small, tight-knit community of professionals always on the lookout for relevant content that will help them solve the problems they face. Parking as an industry is often overlooked as a significant sector in general business articles, statistics and studies. Because of this, parking professionals tend to follow each other more closely than in many other industries. 


How do you do micro-influencer marketing? Micro-influencer engagements can include occasional content collaborations to ongoing arrangements to attend events, host webinars or Q&As or create content for your website. Some of the more popular partnership arrangements include guest blog posts, webinar series and various types of content co-creation. 


The process starts with building relationships with influencers within your industry and approaching them to collaborate. For industry integrity, it’s a good idea to come up with a mutually beneficial agreement, rather than buying advocacy.


Who are the micro-influencers I should connect with in parking? You may want to start your quest for parking micro-influencers by looking close to home, even within your organization. Is there someone who has established a significant social media presence, who speaks at conferences, who writes a blog, or has found other ways to make their mark in parking? 


Sometimes your customers are themselves influencers. Look to those who have written reviews of your products or services. If their area of expertise doesn’t align with the content you plan to share, the collaboration might not make sense. Your micro-influencers absolutely must add value to your brand.


Think outside the box. Micro-influencers represent a unique approach to social media marketing efforts. Every company has a different approach and way of implementing influencer marketing. There are no set rules to this practice. It’s ok to do something no one else has done before, really.



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