Micro-influencers can improve the impact of your brand’s influencer marketing strategy. Many conventional influencers are willing to promote any product for the right price but working with influencers that have smaller social media followings is an opportunity for brands to reach consumers through a more authentic voice.
Influencers, and especially macro-influencers, have become useful to many brands looking to reach audiences in ways that are not possible through their own social accounts or social media advertising.
Influencer marketing is establishing itself in marketing industries across the world. A report by TopRank Marketing and Traackr indicates that 43% of the marketers they surveyed worldwide said they were experimenting with influencer marketing.
The number of brands using influencer marketing could also increase in the next few years. According to TopRank Marketing’s report, 57% of marketers surveyed said they would be integrating influencer marketing in all marketing activities in the next three years.
Influencer marketing needs a change
Influencer marketing, however, is coming under scrutiny. For brands, one of the main attractions of influencers is their ability to reach audiences through a personal, authentic voice. With influencers becoming celebrities in their own right, it might be that much of their authenticity as honest, everyday social media users are becoming lost.
Some consumers have also indicated influencers are losing credibility. Writing for Venture Beat, Michael Quoc, founder and CEO of the ecommerce incubator Zipfworks, puts it this way: “Macro-influencers increasingly resemble commercialised media companies, with agents, press kits and frequent, highly visible brand collaborations.”
What is a micro-influencer?
Some say micro-influencers are social media users with between 1 000 and 100 000 followers. Others think it’s users with less than 30 000 followers. Regardless of the exact range, these social media users have much smaller followings than the likes of influencer Zoe Sugg, for instance, with almost 12 million YouTube followers, or South African celebrity DJ Fresh, who has more than one million Twitter followers.
Why micro-influencer marketing works:
Smaller influencers get more engagement. The influencer technology platform Markerly analysed 800 000 Instagram users and found that as influencers get more followers, the rate of engagement from their followers decreases. Influencers with less than 1 000 followers generally received Likes on their posts 8% of the time, the company explains. “Users with 10 million+ followers only received Likes 1.6% of the time.”
People trust someone they know or have interacted with, as opposed to a celebrity who endorses many products. Results of a study by Edelman, a global communications marketing firm, show that on social networking and content-sharing sites, people are more trusting of family and friends than of a CEO.
Not only that, but Facebook favours content from friends in the Newsfeed.
These influencers have targeted audiences. Micro-influencers often have a niche or very specific audience and, if that audience is your brand’s target market, you will be speaking to the right people.
Micro-influencers can be more affordable. But remember that in order to have the same reach as you would have with a larger influencer, you will have to partner with more people – adding to costs.
The downside to micro-influencers
There are arguments against micro-influencer marketing. Working with micro-influencers can, for instance, be harder than working with influencers, as Sophia Bernazzani explains in Hubspot’s guide to micro-influencer marketing: “It’s a lot of work to work with several micro-influencers. Brands have to reach out to them … and manage several different relationships.”
Micro-influencers are also not exempt from the requirements that global advertising regulators have of larger influencers. The US Federal Trade Commission, for example, has Endorsement Guides to regulate how social media users should promote products. The commission requires users to tell followers when they are being rewarded for promoting a product.
The same guidelines apply to both macro and micro-influencers. If you, as a marketer, feel this disclosure makes influencer marketing feel less authentic, the use of micro-influencer won’t solve your concern.
Where to start
Like any other form of marketing, micro-influencer marketing takes work. However, for brands that can see the benefits of influencer marketing, the use of micro-influencers can be a valuable investment.
For businesses looking to try out influencers for the first time, micro-influencers might also be a good place to start.
When done right, micro-influencer marketing can be cost effective, while allowing brands to reach an audience that is more likely to engage with their product. Collaborating with the right micro-influencers can also help your brand gain its authentic voice on social media – which, in many ways, is what social media communication is all about.
Your company’s employees can also play a role in sharing your brand’s content with the world. Learn why employee advocacy is so effective here: What Employee Advocacy can do for your Business.