The Ultimate Guide to Boosting Your Med Spa Clientele with Instagram Micro-influencer Marketing

Micro-influencers represent the new frontier in medical aesthetic marketing. A micro-influencer is an everyday person who has harnessed between 1,000 and 100,000 followers on social media. Harnessing a micro-influencer and linking them to your brand can increase revenue by attracting new appointments, converting prospects, increasing awareness in your clinic and promoting brand loyalty. Instagram is the most popular social media platform for distributing influencer marketing content, a trend that is expected to continue in coming years.

Originally sourced from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/paying-social-media-influencers/

In this white paper, we will demystify:

  • Everything you need to know about micro-influencers;
  • The specific benefits micro-influencers can bring to a med spa business;
  • Effective, straightforward techniques for finding the ideal micro-influencer for your business;
  • How to screen potential micro-influencers;
  • How to create a deal with a micro-influencer, and the kinds of deals that can be made;
  • How to test if the relationship yields ROI;
  • Awareness concerning the legal regulations of using a micro-influencer.

What is a micro-influencer?

Micro-influencers are everyday people with social media influence who have garnered between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. What makes micro-influencers unique is not their reach, but the level of engagement and influence they exert over their followers. Effective micro-influencers may not be celebrities or experts, but they engage with their followers passionately and create authentic content, allowing them to influence their followers’ purchasing decisions.

It’s helpful to know that more followers doesn’t necessarily mean better.  As an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) with followers decreases. Influencers with a smaller, more dedicated following boast higher engagement than mega-influencers.

Using the services of a micro-influencer with a receptive audience can put your clinic’s name in front of thousands of new potential clients. Micro-influencers are an easy and cost-effective method of placing your services and treatments on the social media map or increasing your existing social media presence. In 2017, businesses acquired an average $7.65 ROI for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.

Here are some statistics from Brandwatch to think about:

Sourced from https://popularchips.com/dailies/infographic-influencers-macro-vs-micro/

Want to see what integrated payments can do for your practice?

Why are micro-influencers ideal for medical aesthetics marketing?

  • They help you build credibility among referrals

Micro-influencers are more likely to have followers who are friends or acquaintances. The trust and rapport that they build amongst their followers is comparable to that of a friend providing advice–so when you harness micro-influencers to represent your aesthetics clinic, you derive the same benefits as when someone makes a referral . Straight off the bat, there’s a higher purchase price, less negotiation, and less time on spent on sales . 

Longstanding, successful medical aesthetics practices can spend years building trust and reputation among clients before their hard work trickles down, resulting in referrals which increases business. Micro-influencers help hack and scale this process by referring you to a large, receptive network of people.

  • Authenticity and specialization

The success of micro-influencers rests on their authenticity–they’re real in their reviews of products and services, and they’re personally invested in what they do. Micro-influencers also often concentrate on a niche. Their content is much more geared to a specific topic, like holistic beauty or facial treatments, and so are their followers. They follow the influencer because they are interested in this niche topic. Followers are therefore more likely to engage with influencer content compared to followers of much larger accounts.

 When it comes to aesthetic treatments, and the potentially uncertain outcome of achieving less-than-ideal results, potential customers are uniquely sensitive and receptive to the recommendations of friends, or the social media equivalent, the micro-influencer.

  • Trusted guidance

With cosmetic dermatology growth currently exploding and new clinics opening all the time (the global medical aesthetics market is estimated to reach USD 26.5 billion by 2024)the deluge of options can drown some consumers in uncertainty. Knowing which clinic or procedure to choose can be mystifying at best, and overwhelming at worst. 

Micro-influencers cut through the advertising noise and offer directive advice to those who may be thinking about aesthetic treatments, but don’t know how or where to get started. They walk the talk and as a result, their recommendations are heard and trusted by their followers.

  • Profiling existing and new aesthetic treatments

At present, medical aesthetics practices are currently using micro-influencers primarily for non-invasive treatments such as Botox, dermal filler lip injections and CoolSculpting, or to tout the benefits of product lines carried by the practice. However, the potential of micro-influencers to raise awareness around lesser-known aesthetic techniques such as microneedling, hydrafacials, dermablading and body contouring should not be underestimated. 

Micro-influencers are becoming a key factor in the patient’s journey and one of the central players in guiding the aesthetic clinics that patients choose. Check out the level of engagement evoked by this micro-influencer profiling a hydrafacial provided by Milk and Honey Spa in Houston:

Or this video post from acknowledging the injection work performed by Savvy Chic Medspa:

Five fast effective hacks to find the perfect micro-influencer for your clinic

For those new to micro-influencer marketing, knowing where to find a suitable micro-influencer can be challenging. These five tips will help you fast-track your search, and identify the perfect micro-influencer for your clinic.

  1. Start your search for a micro-influencer by checking existing followers of your clinic who have 1,000 plus followers of their own. 

Find an intern or assistant to scroll though your Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram channels. Ask them to check who your clinic’s followers are following. Chances are, most regular users of Instagram follow several local micro-influencers. Construct an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the findings.

  1. Use a tool like Gatsby.ai to help you search through your customer database for micro-influencers who have bought your products or services. 

Gatsby.ai enables you to swiftly identify micro-influencers so that you can reach out to them directly.

  1. If your clinic’s social media accounts yield no viable options, conduct a hashtag or keyword search relevant to your spa. 

Use geocentric hashtags to find micro-influencers in your location–i.e. #hydrafacialNYC. Note that this function only works when micro-influencers geotag or hashtag their location when they post. Alternatively, you can search for micro-influencers by location. Open the Instagram Search tab, then select the Places tab. Enter your location. The results will enter the latest posts geotagged with your selected location. Posts with the most engagement will show under the top posts section. From here, you can scan through the posts and see if any of the users have 1,000 followers or more, and would be a good match with your clinic. You can then send them a direct message.

  1.  If undertaking your own micro-influencer search feels overwhelming and confusing, try using a hashtag analytics tool such as this one from Keyhole to help you pinpoint hashtags and influencers related to your ideal audience. 

Keyhole’s influencer marketing tool allows you to find highly relevant influencers for your search terms, ranked by engagement and followers. The tool also allows you to measure the engagement impact of influencers you find; and compare influencers. When you have some micro-influencers aligned with your clinic you can then use Keyhole to carry out analytics regarding their performance, comparing them and vetting their accounts (to ensure they don’t have fake followers). While the service is not free, you can request a free demo to check if it is a good fit for your clinic.

  1. Use a dedicated influencer marketing solution such as BuzzSumo. 

BuzzSumo helps you to find truly influential influencers on Instagram and Twitter relevant to your brand and campaigns, weeding out those who are employing vanity metrics. The platform is effective and simple. For example, you can search a topic relevant to your brand or campaign to get a list of the most shared articles. From the most shared content, you can find the top sharers and reach out to them.

How to vet micro-influencers 

Once you’ve collated a selection of potential micro-influencers, the next step is to vet them. Careful screening prevents you from investing money in an influencer who may be a fake, have purchased followers, or not provide ROI. According to Econsultancy, finding the right micro-influencer is one of the biggest challenges in micro-influencer marketing.

  1. Firstly, make sure you aren’t being duped by a fake. Some influencers purchase followers. A cursory glance at their account can be a giveaway–big spikes in followers may mean they’re buying bot followers. Generic, nonsensical comments from followers may also reveal a dubious account. You can investigate more closely by using Snoop Report, which tracks any public Instagram account to check their engagement levels, their level of activity, and their most liked content, allowing you to determine if the micro-influencer is the right one for your clinic. There are also tips and tricks available for detecting bot followers.
  1.  Examine how well your potential micro-influencer aligns with your brand’s buyer personas. Ensure the micro-influencer is located within your city, or close to it. What are their followers like? Which posts resonate with their followers the most? The micro-influencer you choose should resonate with both your clinic and your target audience.
  1. Review your potential micro-influencers social media accounts to see how many likes, comments, and shares their posts get. Although likes are a great starting point, it’s better to focus more on the number of comments and shares a post receives. It requires significantly more effort for a follower to leave a comment or share a post. 

If the micro-influencer you’re vetting generates posts that receive significant engagement in the form of non-generic comments and shares, this is an encouraging sign. Also check the number of social media platforms they are using. While 80% of micro-influencers identify Instagram as their favored platform for creating and publishing content, some have their own blogs and social media channels. The more platforms a micro-influencer can use to promote your content, the better for you.

  1. Check that the micro-influencer’s content matches your brand. There must be alignment between your brand image and the micro-influencer. Natural alignment between influencer and clinic will result in genuinely effective social media campaigns. Trying to engage someone who doesn’t naturally fit with what your spa is selling will feel forced or inauthentic.

Once you’ve thoroughly vetted your micro-influencer options, take the next step of befriending them! Establish your clinic as their follower, like their posts, and make comments. If the influencer is friendly and responsive, court them and make your move.

Making a deal with a micro-influencer

As with any formal business relationship, developing a contract and articulating expectations, obligations and payment will increase the likelihood of a positive, productive outcome for both parties.

  • Construct a list of deliverables

It’s useful to discuss expectations before you begin work with a micro-influencer to ensure you are both in agreement. Clearly outline what you want them to deliver with respect to content, quality, quantity and the time that posts go live.

  • What can you expect to pay and receive in return?

Payment expectations will vary between micro-influencers. Some will be happy to create posts in exchange for free treatments. By providing an influencer with a free procedure, you can gain significant exposure to the audience you want. To contextualize the benefits: By offering a free Botox consultation and series of injections valued at $500 and seeing an additional ten patients from the influencer’s reach, your clinic stands to gain an extra $5,000 in ROI. 

One single free treatment can thus provide extensive return when staged well. It’s vital to note, though, that you adhere to the legal guidelines provided by your state for offering free treatments in lieu of payment. Most states require that the influencer state explicitly that they have received treatments in exchange for promotion, which is usually disclosed on the post or in the story in the form of an affiliation partnership

Check out the following useful chart from Sprout Social that explores the benefits and disadvantages of paying/not paying a micro-influencer:

For micro-influencers with a more established online presence, payment may be expected. Most influencers set their own rates. Pricing takes into account:

  • The number of followers that a micro-influencer has
  • The level of engagement their posts garner (use this tool to calculate the influencer’s engagement rate–above 6% engagement is good)
  • The type of post, story or live that you request
  • The number of posts, stories or lives that you request
  • The level of effort required from the influencer (do you provide images, or do they? Who edits the images?)
  • Whether you cross-post onto other forms of social media

Here’s an updated guide to what you might expect to pay a micro-influencer in 2023.

Finding a micro-influencer with a committed group of 1,000 followers or thereabouts is ideal and extremely cost-efficient.

  • Think about suggesting mutually-beneficial deals

Exploring options outside the parameters of payment may also be mutually beneficial. You might try offering:

  1. A special discount rate for the influencer of their choosing: for example, for every ten units of Botox they purchase, two units are offered free in exchange for one post.
  2. An upgrade in services: for example, pay for a microneedling session, receive a vitamin-boosting skin facial free.
  3. Instead of running a Groupon deal, ask your influencer to post the deal directly onto Instagram and pay them the fee you would have paid Groupon. Any referral that mentions the Instagram post or promo code can redeem the deal. You could even include an incentive for the influencer if more than 50 people redeem the deal–a free treatment of their choice, for example. Make sure you check the legal regulations in your state before proceeding with this type of engagement.

Making the most of your micro-influencer partnership

Choosing the right micro-influencer will raise the profile of your clinic and its services among a more receptive, target audience, and increase the number of new patients walking through your doors. Here are some tips to help you derive the most from your collaboration:

  • Be clear about exactly what it is you want them to showcase in your original contract with them. Communicate all necessary information so that you can collaborate effectively. Let your influencer know the services your clinic offers, your key demographic and the vibe of your clinic (i.e., edgy, nurturing, efficient). 

If your goals are highlighting your beautiful space and general services, be explicit. If your aesthetics practice is carrying a new range of products, let the micro-influencer know you want a step-by-step story with before, during and after shots of them using the products. If you want to show off your clinician’s brilliant Botox skills, mutually determine the most effective way to portray this–perhaps an Instagram Live and a follow-up story a week later.

  • Wow your micro-influencer with your clinic, your services, your staff and your offerings. If they’re already a client, they’ve hopefully already been impressed. The success of micro-influencers on social media is due to their authenticity, so it’s vital your micro-influencer truly connects with your medical aesthetics practice to enthusiastically sing your praises.
  • Be professional and respectful. Micro-influencers are contractors. Treat the relationship respectfully as a formal business partnership.
  • Share influencer content and campaigns on your own platforms. Some businesses generate more revenue from using the influencer’s content on their platforms to reach a new audience. Check with influencer before doing this, however, as they will expect to be notified before you re-share their content.

Measure the impact of your micro-influencer

Be aware that ROI from micro-influencer marketing may not occur in the way you expect, and it’s not always easily measurable. 

While a micro-influencer can sometimes capture how many direct clicks to your clinic’s website come from their social media posts, blogs or articles, what often happens is a delayed effect. For example, a follower may make note of or bookmark the clinic’s name for future use, or visit the clinic website at a later point when the need arises. The ROI from micro-influencers who genuinely love and stand behind your brand and recommend it to others is not immediately measurable, but extremely valuable nonetheless.

In an interview with Spa Executive, micro-influencer Lisa Linh explains that there are myriad ways your clinic can receive ROI from aligning with a micro-influencer.

For example, personal influencer recommendations drive traffic:

“What I found over the years is that my recommendations usually drive offline traffic. For example, the brands I stand behind and love, I will always recommend to everyone and anyone I meet. While they may not directly click or shop the link I provide on my website/Instagram, it doesn’t mean they aren’t physically going to the store to purchase it.

Clinics also receive ROI when micro-influencers share access to valuable assets such as photographs:

Now with assets, if the collaboration consists of high-quality imagery, the client is getting those sets of photos right away. These photos are for their marketing and social usage, and it’s often much cheaper to work with us than a professional production team.”

What’s more, 85% of businesses who employ a micro-influencer find ways to repurpose content after a campaign has finished, thus squeezing more value from it.

That being said, there are also ways you can metrically gauge the effect your micro-influencer has had on your medical aesthetics practice:

  1. Track engagement as much as possible: Encourage them to add custom links to your clinic’s website, influencer promo or coupon codes, giveaways, anything you can that directly traces sales back to your micro-influencer. Tracking provides concrete feedback about the efficacy of your micro-influencer campaign.
  1. Check engagement on their posts about your aesthetics clinic including likes, comments, views and shares, then calculate the engagement rate (there are abundant online platforms that enable you to do this). A 6% engagement rate or more is excellent. Check engagement, new followers and likes on your social media channels, too.If your engagement has increased, you know you have reached your target audience who actually wants to engage with your content.
  1. Use tools such as Google Analytics to track website traffic. Google Analytics can help you track metrics such as new users, page views, time spent on site, total sessions recorded during a date range period, and who is driving traffic to your website. While it might not provide specific feedback about the influencer, it will provide succinct feedback about website traffic at the time of the campaign and directly after.

Legal considerations related to micro-influencer marketing

As social media marketing in medical aesthetics practices becomes more commonplace, legal precedents are being established to protect consumers. Medical advertising laws adhere to strict rules and regulations, and there can be serious consequences for violations.

The American Medspa Association urges medical aesthetics practice owners to use written agreements, clearly articulating the influencer’s responsibilities, and the clinic’s responsibility to ensure anything the influencer says is truthful and not misleading, aggrandizing, or exaggerated. Micro-influencers also have their own responsibility to release a disclosure when they are being compensated in exchange for coverage. You can read more about legal guidelines for med spas and micro influencers here.

Conclusion

Micro-influencer marketing is a highly effective emerging marketing technique for medical aesthetics practices. The visual nature of social media platforms makes it ideal for advertising aesthetic treatments and products. Well-matched micro-influencers offer a bridge between medical aesthetics practices and potential receptive clients, and can use their authenticity and engagement with followers to raise awareness and drive sales.

Finding the right micro-influencer requires careful screening, with a focus on locating an influencer with good engagement levels and followers who fit with your clinic’s target audience. To develop a successful working relationship with your chosen micro-influencer, you must set clear goals and objectives, find a method of remuneration that both you and the influencer are happy with, and carefully track campaigns to measure whether or not they are yielding sales benefits for your business. 

Lastly, ensure you familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations regarding micro-influencer marketing within aesthetic contexts. Micro-influencer marketing can be lucrative, but will be costly if state or federal law is violated.

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