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Influencers Gen Z Brand Strategy

I was a micro-influencer – here’s how brands should work with us

By Dami Oladapo, Youth marketing intern

Raptor Marketing


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June 19, 2024 | 7 min read

Micro-influencers are a great way to reach a gen Z audience, says Dami Oladapo of Raptor – who should know, having been one. Here’s what brands should consider when working with these digital gatekeepers.

A miniature figurine of a person being watched by a crowd of other miniature figurines

Micro-influencers often have a targeted, and trusting audience / Etactics Inc via Unsplash

In today's digital age, influencers are transforming the way brands engage with audiences. Recent data from Fashion & Beauty Monitor reveals that nearly 60% of fashion and beauty brands have an influencer marketing strategy, but many fail to leverage the unique appeal of micro-influencers – those typically with an audience of 10,000-100,000 followers.

As a student micro-influencer myself, I’ve collaborated with brands such as Harrods Beauty, Superdrug, and Pot Noodle. I was interested to explore this topic further to support brands in reaching a gen Z audience so I interviewed a selection of student micro-influencers who focus on the beauty category. Here’s what I uncovered.

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How to reach out to micro-influencers

When reaching out to micro-influencers, be sure to compliment their content. Express genuine appreciation for their work. Mention a recent or favorite video of theirs that stood out to you. One influencer noted that they tend to engage more with brands who pick out individual videos and compliment them, as it shows that they’ve paid attention.

When reaching out, make sure to properly introduce yourself and your brand. Provide a personalized introduction, highlighting who you are and what your brand represents. "I appreciate when brands introduce themselves and include links to their social media profiles,” one micro-influencer told me. Influencers are likely to check your profile for authenticity. Ensure your LinkedIn and outreach efforts are up to date. Remember, influencers can often verify follower counts and conduct their own investigations.

Be clear, specific, and informative. The first message you send to them should clearly outline the purpose of your outreach, including details about the collaboration opportunity. Being clear and specific from the outset sets expectations and ensures both parties are on the same page from the start.

Important things to avoid doing include messaging from a faceless account. Avoid reaching out from a profile that lacks personalization or could appear to be a bot. "I always ignore messages from faceless accounts,” said one influencer. “They feel inauthentic.” Emails are often a good solution for this unless the DM is from the actual brand itself.

Lastly, refrain from sending vague, generic messages that lack clarity. Influencers may receive numerous collaboration requests, so it's essential to stand out by providing clear and relevant information about the collaboration opportunity.

Next up, the brief

It’s important to keep briefs clear and concise. Provide a document that outlines the campaign objectives, content guidelines, and deliverables. Incorporate a clear list of do’s and don'ts, outlining what you expect and what you don't want to see in the final content. Also, offer a summary checklist to aid influencers in meeting your expectations and delivering high-quality content. All the influencers agreed that these are the most useful parts of a brief.

Use visual content. Incorporate different examples of content, to enhance clarity and engagement. Consider including key points and keywords you want to be mentioned in the video. Visual representations of the desired content can help influencers understand what the brand is looking for and ensure successful alignment with your expectations."I always go straight to the content examples whenever I get a brief,” one influencer said.

Then, avoid micromanaging the creative process. Allow influencers some creative freedom to interpret the brief and create content that aligns with their style and audience. At the end of the day, influencers know their audience the best and what they will and won’t engage with so they should be given the space to produce content that’s authentic to them.

The approval process

When approving influencer content, be sure to provide constructive feedback made up of clear and constructive comments. A survey by Zenger and Folkman found that 92% of people believe that constructive criticism is effective at improving performance. Highlight what works well and provide suggestions for improvement to ensure the final content aligns with your brand's messaging and objectives. This collaborative approach fosters a relationship of mutual respect while empowering influencers to create content that resonates authentically with their audience.

Be sure to be transparent about expectations. Communicate your expectations regarding the content approval process, including timelines and any specific requirements. Transparency helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures a smooth approval process. When influencers understand your expectations, they can better tailor their content to meet your brand's needs, fostering trust and open communication.

Then, refrain from disregarding the influencer's input or suggestions during the content approval process. One influencer shared, "A brand didn't like my pronunciation and insisted I redo the audio, even though I told them my audience understands and relates to my accent." Collaboration is key, and incorporating the influencer's opinions and ideas can lead to more authentic and impactful content.

Lastly, avoid setting unrealistic expectations and don’t make last-minute changes to content requirements. These can cause frustration for influencers and result in rushed or compromised content quality.

In a world driven by social media, where authenticity is key, the power of micro-influencers shouldn’t be underestimated. By following these guidelines, brands should be able to better guarantee success and forge genuine connections with their target audience.

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Influencers Gen Z Brand Strategy

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