Micro influencers: the little-known key to influencer marketing success. While many marketers chase after the ‘big guns’ – the Kardashians of this world – many have yet to embrace and understand the power of working with more modest personalities. Commonly an individual with a following of a few hundred to a few thousand people, micro influencers inspire, engage and regularly interact with their followers.
As selling on Instagram is becoming a channel of choice by brands both big and small, figuring out how to effectively scale work with micro influencers is on top of marketers’ mind. It’s thought that by the end of 2017, brands will spend over $1 billion working with Instagram influencers alone. So – does it really work? And is working with micro influencers the right call for your business?
Micro influencers drive higher engagement
Influencer marketing is most effective when users actually interact with the influencer’s content. So the ideal influencer, therefore, is one who is regularly getting good levels of engagement. But did you know that as an influencer’s following size grows, their average engagement level drops?
It’s true: micro influencers actually get around 6 times higher engagement than their top tier counterparts. Another reason for this is that they often target a specific niche, one in which their followers have a strong vested interest. It’s understandable to assume that famous influencers with large followings would have the greater impact on their audience. The truth is that micro influencers, by having a smaller audience, have more time to work on the personal connections that actually drive results.
Micro influencers cost less
New brands and startups rarely have the budget to drop $1000 or more on a single Instagram post from a top influencer. If you’re an individual with a cute niche Shopify store, for example, this one post would cost you more than three times what you’d pay to run your store for a year. One of the benefits of working with micro influencers is that their rates are much more reasonable – around $75-$250 per post, on average.
Working with influencers of all shapes and sizes is undoubtedly effective, and what micro influencers offer is the ability to scale your influencer marketing budget according to what you can reasonably afford. Finding that follower count sweet spot is key. As soon as an influencer starts to hit 100,000 followers and higher, their rates will soon begin to climb.
What’s more, smaller influencers are often more willing to work with new or unknown brands. They are happy to take risks and to support small niche businesses that appeal to them. This is ideal if you’re just starting to get your name out there.
Micro influencers have credibility
The difference with micro influencers is that they’re normal people. And they’re personally invested in providing content that their modest, but engaged, the audience will enjoy. You can see the effort they’ve put into creating a useful, interesting or entertaining post. They don’t have the luxury of relying on infamy to generate likes.
They also treat their followers as friends or peers, rather than a sea of admirers. In terms of social status, micro influencers are on a par with their followers, rather than above them. Think of it this way, would you be more likely to buy something if it were recommended by a celebrity or a friend?
Micro influencers can tell ongoing stories
Here’s another thing: influencer marketing isn’t as simple as getting one photo featured on an Instagrammer’s page. You can’t assume their followers will remember your brand after noticing it briefly, one time, while scrolling through their feed.
To really make an impact, you ideally need to get micro influencers to tell a story around your product or service. This story should come from them, and be in their own voice. Again, authenticity is key. It has to be honest and relatable to their audience, while subtly diverting their attention towards your brand.
Once you’ve found a good set of micro influencers, get them involved for the long haul. The more consistently their followers start to notice your brand popping up in their feeds, the more they will start to remember and identify with it.
Working with micro influencers is one of the best ways you can promote your brand online, building genuine, productive relationships with influential people who actually have a relevant reason share to your products. And in turn, these relationships are the ones that will connect you to an engaged, niche audience with a higher conversion rate than your average fan of Kim K.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. Now a full-time entrepreneur, she shares tips on how to create a successful business using ecommerce and content marketing.