Recently we had a chance to focus on the topic of micro-influencers. While our previous blog post highlights the relevance of collaborating with these engaging and quality content creators, we’ve invited a micro-influencer @thomieyourhomie for an Instagram Live Q&A.

He answered some questions that should help both brands and other micro-influencers with navigating collaborations.

We’ve written down some of the most relevant questions and answers, but you are always welcome to watch the full Q&A on our IGTV.

Can you give us a short introduction of who you are and what you do?

Thomie: I am a micro-influencer; I have under 10,000 followers. I do a lot of different things, but I see myself as a creative person, and I share that across Instagram and other platforms. I’d call myself a content creator, because I’m always looking for different ways of doing things, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m still a micro-influencer because what I do is a bit different.

What is a micro-influencer for you?

Thomie: I think a micro-influencer is someone who sticks to their type of branding, and it’s very tricky to be a good micro-influencer because the content you make is for a smaller amount of people. I also think these people follow you because they believe in what you’re doing.

With macro-influencers, people follow them because they’re used to that sort of structure, and the same kind of photos come by. For me, as a micro-influencer, I like to stir the whole thing up once in a while and do things that people don’t expect me to do! For example, a few months ago, I posted a photo of my grandma and me and didn’t expect anybody to like it, and the next day a brand contacted me to work on a similar campaign!

I think it’s important as a micro-influencer to stick to your brand and to be inspired by what you do, and it’ll all work out.

Do you think that there are any cons to being a micro-influencer?

Thomie: The biggest con, of course, is whenever a brand asks you to work together, there usually is no budget or very little budget. It’s difficult for me to talk with the brand and ask for money for a campaign because I think to myself, like ‘I don’t have that many followers.’ But if you look at it plainly, it’s still marketing, and they’re still asking you to do something for their brand. So I think it’s also a win-win situation whenever a brand asks you to promote them, because you feel like you’ve done some good work for them, but also something for yourself as well.

It is difficult to talk to brands, especially if there is no budget, so I think it’s important to consider the brand before you start any work with them. For instance, it is deciding whether you like the brand, or if it’s a good fit, and if your followers will like this brand.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t do some work with a brand that makes headphones because it’s just not something I’d use, and it isn’t something that fits with me and my personality.

When you talk to a brand about working with them, do you think they listen and understand how much work you’re doing?

Thomie: From personal experience, I think that they always listen. For me, there are two ways of doing it. You either get the mail in your mailbox, and you consider whether I’m the only person that’s getting this or if another 100 people are as well.

I think you can tell from that initial email whether they want to put the time and effort in with it, or whether they view you as just another person with some followers.

It’s important to screen your emails and direct messages, and I think you can easily tell if they specifically really want you to do their branding.

I never really react very business-like! I always tend to communicate in a very ‘Thomie’ way, like being very polite and using nice language and such, but I won’t be like “dearest collaborator.” I tend to keep it a little more informal.

How do you know if a campaign is successful, and how can you measure that, and make sure both you and the brand are happy with the result? 

Thomie: The way I evaluate it is by seeing whenever a brand uses your picture on their platform, or they use it more than once, or they ask you to work with them again. I can tell afterward when you feel the appreciation for the work you’ve done – through mail or a direct response from a brand! I measure success by the response of the brand itself. I’ve also worked with brands, and they haven’t responded personally, and you then don’t feel like you’ve made that connection.

How long did it take for you to build your community?

Thomie: I think growing your community starts from day one. I downloaded Instagram in 2012 and started with family and friends, and then you begin to notice that other people are showing appreciation for what you do.

Of course, there are other ‘pushes’ like working for TV or going to events, and that helps to grow your community. But just by sticking to what you do, that gives people the feeling that they’re looking at something very personal and very true.

Also making sure that you approach the right brands and are doing the right campaigns. I think part of my success is that I do a wide range of campaigns while still staying true to myself. My followers know they’re always in for something new! I feel like I have ten different people within myself, but all of these ten people show themselves on my Instagram page!

Can you give some tips to brands, maybe on how to set up collaborations with micro-influencer? 

Thomie: The only tip I could give to a brand is to make sure that there’s a win-win situation. Regardless of whether you’re a micro-influencer or a macro-influencer, there shouldn’t be a situation where you’re just doing things for free.

Brands want to be unique and so working with the right influencers can help them do that, and that the person promoting your brand has something personal to say about your brand. So brands, whenever they approach an influencer, should make sure there’s a personal connection. I’ve had that with brands, and it’s great when you can have that conversation about the brand and their ideas. Brands seem to know already who they want to work with and why, but there needs to be that message and connection! 

I love it when I see that an influencer believes and has connected with a brand. It’s refreshing because so many campaigns aren’t that personal and have no feeling whatsoever.

Do you have any tips for your fellow micro-influencers for when they reach out to brands? 

Thomie: Whenever I think about working with a brand, I already have an idea in my head. Stick to this initial idea; it’s fine to go on Instagram to get inspiration. So the tip I would give is to stick to your initial idea and vision of what you want to do with the brand.

Also, sometimes you have to be a bit upfront and send the brand a message and say that you love their product and ask to work together and say that you feel like there’d be a connection there! You might get an answer, or you might not.

Brands love the passion and thought that micro-influencers put into campaigns! It’s just a number, and you have to stick with yourself and believe in yourself, and if you do that, the number will grow from that!

What platforms are you focusing on?

Thomie: Of all the platforms, of course, Instagram, because it’s in a way like a little resume of all of the things that you’re doing like visually. I started with YouTube 7-8 years ago, and I felt like it was an overpopulated platform, there were so many people, and I felt like I didn’t want to do that anymore. But a week ago, I decided to try and pick it up again because it’s an extra platform, and what you’re putting there can reach extra people.

Tik Tok as well! I’m so addicted, especially as a dancer. Tik Tok is awesome because it’s so inspiring! 

What was your favorite Influo collaboration?

Thomie: Zalando! You get a budget every month to shop with, which is great for making content. That way of doing things is perfect for being creative! It’s kind of like a family; it’s nice knowing that it comes around every month because it’s an ongoing collaboration. They’re open in a you-do-you way, and allow me to do my own thing and be creative, which is great.

Do you often get requests that you have to decline because it doesn’t fit with you and your niche?

Thomie: Yeah, I think I’m a very open person that does a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that each brand fits you. It’s hard sometimes, and I sometimes regret it because it can make me feel arrogant in a way, saying no to a brand as a micro-influencer. It’s so important to have that personal connection. I always try to think about it, wondering if I’m going to use the products.

Is there anything else you want to say?

Thomie: The only message that I could give to people on Instagram is that people realize that Instagram is just a very small particle of what life is about. It’s more important to share your life and what you do and who you are, than being so focused on Instagram and the numbers. Stay true to who you are, and show that through your Instagram!