Influencer marketing has seen spectacularly successful development over the last few years. But as the industry has grown, it’s become a victim of its own success in some respects. Good influencers have become harder to find at a realistic price, while the number of shysters offering little for their fee has grown exponentially.
But that doesn’t mean the influencer technique as a whole is on the wain. A shift toward a refinement known as micro-influence is well underway, and it’s not hard to see why.
What Is a Micro-Influencer?
Whereas many old-school marketers assume an influencer needs a colossal reach to be effective, this type of thinking is a hangover from the old days of mass-market celebrity endorsements. Online campaigns can offer much greater granularity, and the sheer weight of numbers isn’t nearly as important. This is where micro-influencers can show their value.
Micro-influencers are defined partly by their audience’s size, often in the 10k-50k range rather than the millions. Given these relatively modest numbers, why are they considered so important? There are four main advantages that every seasoned digital marketer will appreciate.
1) Targeted and Engaged Followers
Some of the most famous traditional influencers rely primarily on their celebrity to keep the wheels turning on their bandwagon. They’re often more notable for merely being famous than for anything else.
On the other hand, micro-influencers generally have a very focused following centered around a specific niche subject, making their audience highly receptive to the right campaign.
What’s more, research shows that smaller numbers give followers greater feelings of community and loyalty to their group. According to Markerly, influencers with less than 1,000 Instagram followers received likes on their posts 8% of the time. Those with 10 million+ followers only received likes 1.6% of the time. Influencers with less than 1,000 Instagram followers generate comments about 0.5% of the time, compared to 0.04% for those with 10M+ followers – a difference of nearly 13 times.
The smaller numbers also mean that micro-influencers tend to be more trusted and seen as authentic. Their followers are more accepting of commercial activity than influencers whose whole business is centered around promotion.
If you get the tone right to chime with the followers’ interests, then the micro-influencer’s authenticity will rub off on your brand, giving your campaigns increased credibility right out of the gate.
3) Much Lower Costs
A typical micro-influencer works on the level of around $500 per post, although this will vary widely according to factors including niche, follower counts, and demand. But nonetheless, a micro-influencer campaign’s costs will be tiny compared to those of the vastly more famous big hitters.
And when each laser-targeted campaign costs so little, your budget can handle many more of them, covering multiple smaller niches comprehensively for excellent cumulative results.
4) Ease of Management
Lastly, micro-influencers tend not to have the ego issues of more prominent celebrities. They’ll also usually be highly protective of their own brand, and will know exactly what they expect on their side of the influencer arrangement. They’ll want creative input, and you’ll want to give them this freedom to use their authenticity to your benefit.
These three factors combine to mean management can be very straightforward: there’ll be no lengthy negotiations or control battles. If both parties agree on what they want in advance, the rest usually runs smoothly, with good long-term relationships being the norm. But if the partnership doesn’t work out for whatever reason, there’s no huge investment that needs to be justified by holding on to a sub-par relationship.
The simplest way for brands to find influencers is to do a hashtag search for your brand, company or industry. It will give you a clear view of who is already engaging with your brand.
Influencer databases are another solution to uncovering micro-influencers. Companies like Scrunch and Tinysponsor let you search for influencers by the area of interest. They also provide statistical and historical data on followers to find the right influencer for your needs.