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The Micro-Influencer Seeding Strategy Every DTC Brand Needs to Grow Sales

The Micro-Influencer Seeding Strategy Every DTC Brand Needs to Grow Sales

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

Most brands don’t have the money to pay for a Kardashian. Even if you did—it’s not always going to be a surefire way of success. Personally, I wouldn’t even entertain a macro-influencer unless I’m a $20million brand or above.

We know the algorithm is favoring real, authentic, short-form video content. The potential of virality is not based on followers, it’s based on content quality.

Micro-influencers have built their success on social media platforms through their content creation abilities, not fame. This makes them an ideal target for your influencer marketing campaigns.

The strategy I’m about to share is going to help you:

  • Build an army of influencers making hundreds of engaging organic posts about your brand
  • Achieve a constant stream of ad content with usage rights
  • Get an ad account setup that tests and scales winning creatives to drive sales

You don’t need to spend six figures to do this, and you don’t need macro-influencers to see these results.

Let’s jump in.

The G.O.A.T influencer marketing strategy

Most brands don’t know where to start. And if they do, they normally start with the pay-for-post model. This can only lead to one outcome: a one-and-done, transactional post and relationship.

Where’s the compounding return of new customers and sales?

Rolling out a successful influencer marketing program boils down to getting these three stages aligned:

  1. Influencer identification: Finding micro-influencers with the right brand fit
  2. Product seeding: outreaching to hundreds of eligible influencers and getting them to opt into receiving your product. Then, collecting any organic assets posted by influencers to build your own library of unique, ad-ready influencer-generated content (IGC)
  3. Paid media: running dynamic creative testing campaigns to discover winning creative and only spending on ads that are generating you sales

A word to the wise: This is a long-term gameplan. Allow yourself 2-3 months to identify, outreach, and scale your ad account. Timing can also depend on whether you have someone doing this full-time, part-time, or working with an agency. And if you’re using specific tools (i.e influencer identification discovery) to create efficiency.

You know what they say, good things take time. Let’s dive into each of the strategy steps in more detail.

Stage one: Influencer identification

It’s important you are selective in this process and stop yourself from wasting precious energy and money on working with the wrong influencers. But, how?

Side note: This is a whole topic in itself. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend checking out our podcast episode on how to find influencers for your brand.

What you need to do:

  1. Identify 500 (minimum) influencers you want to reach out to:  Instead of burning money on tools, you can use Instagram’s Creator Marketplace or TikTok Creator Marketplace—both free tools to help you identify influencers for your brand and reach out to them directly. From the 500 creators you reach out to, the minimum expectation should be 20% opt in rate (100 influencers). Obviously, the more people opting in the better, but this is the benchmark to aim for. If you aren’t hitting 20% opt in rate, you could be outreaching the wrong way or outreaching to the wrong people (See our guide to influencer outreach).
  2. Analyze the influencer using a mix of qualitative and quantitative metrics: Quantitative metrics look at their follower count, engagement rate, impressions, and the quality of content they are making. Qualitative metrics look at what the influencer posts about, helping you consider if the type of content they post is aligned with your brand.
  3. Adopt the creator over distribution philosophy: Look at the influencer’s ability to create amazing content, rather than their distribution capabilities. At the end of the day, you will be able to distribute this content better than the influencer.
Micro Influencer DTC Brand Grow Sales Content

Once you create a list of influencers you want to work with, it’s time to begin your outreach and seeding process.

Stage two: Product seeding

Product seeding describes the process of sending your product to an influencer, without asking for anything in return. We refer to it as ‘no strings attached messaging.’ This is how you are going to build long-term relationships with the influencer.

What you need to do:

  1. Craft your influencer outreach email/DM: An outreach email/DM should include a quick introduction about who you are/about your brand, one sentence on why you have chosen them, and explicitly saying ‘no strings attached.’ To get you started, use the template below:
Micro Influencer DTC Brand Grow Sales Content
  1. Send out your product to opted-in influencers: Instead of creating orders individually, use The Influencer Seeding App to streamline this part of the process. You’re welcome.
  2. Set up an account with MightyScout: This is the tool we recommend to help you monitor and track any mentions of your brand. Expect to see a minimum of 30 influencers (30%) posting around 2-3 assets each, free of cost. By this point, you should have 60-90 pieces of unique, ad-ready influencer content.
  3. Reach out to the influencers who posted asking for usage rights: The general rule of thumb is if you didn’t create it, you don’t own it. Cover yourself by reaching out to the influencer and asking for usage rights. Use the message below verbatim:
Micro Influencer DTC Brand Grow Sales Content

Most of the time, you should be able to get the usage rights for free. If the influencer asks for money, offer them no more than $500 if they have 150k followers or less. Use your own negotiating skills at your discretion.

To truly be able to judge performance on ROAS and purchases, you have to redistribute the influencer content within your Meta ad account.

Stage three: Paid media

It’s time to put your library of influencer-generated content to the test, so you can discover the winning creatives and ditch the losing ones.

Hot tip: Take personal biases out of the equation. Trust Facebook’s machine learning system to decide for you. The goal is to set up as many creative campaigns as possible to allow Facebook’s machine learning to find your most successful ad creative.

Here’s how you can set up your ad account in a tactical way to launch mass amount of influencer creative.

What you need to do:

  1. Get your influencer-generated content ready to test: once you get the influencer’s content, do the following:
  • Add captions (videos with captions always outperform those that don’t)
  • Reformat the content into 1x1 and 9x16 for optimization purposes
  • Repurpose the original post into multiple versions to test (e.g. create iterations that include text overlay, graphics, branding, and logos).
  1. Set up 25 Dynamic Creative Testing Campaigns (assuming you have 100 ad creatives):  For every campaign you set up, ensure you:
  • Optimize for conversions
  • Turn on Campaign Bid Optimization
  • Set budgets up to reach 50 purchases per week for campaign optimization purposes
  • Turn on Detailed Targeting / LAL Expansion
  • Select Automatic Placements
  • Use Cost Per Result Bid Strategy - the leading success metric here is spend. If the campaigns aren’t spending, Facebook determines this as “losing” creative and the campaign won’t spend any money.
  • Use naming conventions (for e.g we use “Kyn - DCT - Prospecting - CBO - CC $ - Insert Date - NEW SEEDING CONTENT”. After the initial DCT campaigns start showing results, we’ll change each individual campaign based on “losing” or “winning”)
  1. Scale the “winning” creative by increasing spend:  To keep your “Winning” DCT campaign from reverting back to the learning phase and out of optimization, Facebook recommends increasing your budget by a maximum amount of 15% each day.
  2. Remove “losing” creative from your ad account, but don’t bin them entirely: You might want to use these pieces of creative with some different ad copy or new graphics later on.

Wrapping up

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to fill a content library of high-quality influencer generated content. But you do need the right strategy and process in place to support it.

This strategy is how we’ve managed to scale brands from $0 to $7 million in 12 months:

  • Identify the right creators based on their content creation abilities and the right fit for your brand (micro-influencers over macro-influencers)
  • Outreach to the influencers using our specific ‘no strings attached’ messaging
  • Use the Kynship seeding app to scale your product seeding efforts
  • When an influencer posts about your product, ask for usage rights to repurpose
  • Set up Dynamic Creative Testing to test and scale winning creative within your own ad account

Bonus tip: To help you track the efficiency of your micro-influencers, use Triple Whale's Affluencer hub. This tool will help you track, manage and analyze all your affluencers (influencers & affiliates) across every platform.

Now it’s your turn.

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