The number of followers you have used to be the only thing that determined whether you were ‘influencer material’. If you had the numbers, you had promotional pull.
Now, you can have as little as 1000 followers and be equally as sought after as [insert Kardashian]. Enter, the micro-influencer.
What is a micro-influencer?
A micro-influencer has between 1–10k followers and is generally focused on a niche topic e.g. vegan bodybuilding or Matchbox cars restoration.
It’s actually a technical term in the world of social media — the second rung on the influencer size ladder. There are four distinct influencer tiers:
Reach: < 1k followers
Reach: 1–10k followers
Reach: 10k–1 mil followers
Reach: 1 mil+ followers
What micro-influencers lack in reach, they make up with high levels of engagement — the far greater metric of the two when it comes to influence. This is the key to their success — and yours as a marketing manager.
Pros of using a micro-influencer
It’s what today’s followers crave.
Unlike larger scale influencers who do not have the time to engage with their following on a personal level, micro-influencers often have the time and energy to develop dialogue, rapport and trust with an intimate group. In fact, you likely have some friends who fit into the micro-influencer category whose following has been created almost entirely via genuine in-person interactions. Still, personal interaction can happen online, too (in the comments section) and both forums lead to each other (at meetups, for example).
Authenticity breeds trust, which in turn leads to, well, leads (amongst other great social media results). What’s more, it’s something that macro and mega-sized influencers struggle to maintain as they grow — even with their perfectly created social posts — Why? With every additional sponsored post a large-sized influencer promotes, they run the risk of inching themselves closer to ‘sell-out’ status which is the opposite of authenticity. It’s a fine line.
In influencer marketing, it’s all about bang for your buck.
According to Experticity, micro-influencers are capable of getting 22.2x higher conversion rates for their brand sponsors than any of the other influencer types. Micro-influencers are highly cost-effective because they charge significantly less per post than their far-reaching counterparts.
Depending on your brand and business goals, paying $100 to 100 micro-influencers with loyal, highly-engaged followings might often be more effective than paying $10,000 to a single celebrity influencer.
There’s no point positioning your brand in front of people who have no interest in it or via personalities who have no stake in your brand’s game.
Let’s say you want to promote your new video game. Would it be wiser to partner with NZ prime minister, @jacindaarden, who has 297k followers or fictitious game reviewer/vlogger, @thetruegameboy, with only 5k followers?
Per marketing dollar spent, @thetruegameboy is the wiser choice not only because he charges less per post, but because he also holds a higher concentration of people interested in video games than the PM.
That being said, we’d be interested in seeing the results of the Jacinda campaign.
They didn’t build their following through existing fame or notoriety. They built loyalty on a foundation of great content.
If you give them creative license to promote your brand with their own authentic brand voice and style, micro-influencers are able to deliver results on budget, without compromising quality. Just be sure to give them a wide berth when it comes to executing your brief.
Cons of using a Micro-influencer
Poor at raising awareness
Sometimes you just have to have size on your side.
Because micro-influencers have restricted reach, they’re less effective at creating brand awareness and are sometimes simply too small to affect public perception in a big way.
More work for you
It’s up to you to find the needles in the haystack.
Unless you’re going through an agency or influencer platform such as Tribe, Takumi or Gnack, finding the right micro-influencer for your brand is hard work.
Additionally, if you are working with multiple micro-influencers, it arguably takes more work to manage all of them as opposed to one macro-influencer. (Unless they’re a diva—a very real possibility.)
If you don’t want to make your selections through a platform or agency, here are some simple ways to help you narrow the search for micro-influencers:
- Search hashtags
Use hashtags to find influencers who are already interested in your brand/product or at the very least, similar brands.
Look to your followers
Maybe your next micro-influencer is already following you. This is not only convenient, but it also makes it super easy to get them on board when they already like what you sell.
- Google search
Resort to good old Google to find influencers and links to their social accounts.
Considerations when choosing a micro-influencer
Does their brand match yours?
We revert you back to the video game example. Using a video game vlogger as a micro-influencer is a good idea. The prime minister of New Zealand? Not so much.
Do they post regularly?
Consistency should be a key attribute of your influencer selection, as it is the key to high engagement stats. After all, a well-fed follower is a receptive follower.
Do they engage with followers?
Investigate all their photos and see if real users (not instagram bots) are interacting with the posts. Are people liking them? Are they tagging their friends? Most importantly, is the influencer responding to questions and comments?
They might reject you
You don’t want anyone disrupting the natural order of your brand — neither do they. Some of these prospective micro-influencers don’t even want to be perceived to have a brand—it’s just their personal instagram account!
Even if you’re as convincing as the Wolf of Wall Street, your proposal might still end up on the no pile. An influencer’s credibility is everything and if your brand doesn’t align with theirs, or their audience’s, you might have to continue your search for the perfect micro-influencer elsewhere.