When it comes to choosing key figures for your marketing campaign, it makes sense on the surface to link up with high-profile people who boast huge social media followings.
A bigger audience = more exposure and sales, right?
Honestly… not really.
While it seems logically sound, more and more businesses are finding out that working with the right micro-influencers is often more effective and less costly across the board.
Social media and lead generation expert Lilach Bullock asserts that you simply can’t get the same results working for the biggest and most popular names as you can get when you work with micro-influencers who have smaller, more targeted audiences.
The big advantage of working with micro-influencers is that they have highly targeted audiences, which means that even if you’re reaching fewer people, the important thing is, you’re reaching the right people – the people who would be genuinely interested in your products or services and have a bigger chance of taking action based on your campaign and buying from you.
The bigger an influencer gets and the more followers they have, the likelier it gets that a large part of their audience is no longer targeted, but rather people who are simply following them because of who they are and their popularity.
Because of this and their huge audiences, the top-name influencer can no longer have the close relationship that micro-influencers have with their audience – a relationship which is very important if you want to drive more results from your campaign.
So what is a micro-influencer, and how does it all work?
In this article, we’ll look at:
- A micro-influencer definition
- Different types of micro-influencers
- Benefits of working with micro-influencers
- How to choose the right ones
- What Is a Micro-Influencer?
- Key Types of Micro-Influencers
- Benefits of Working with Micro-Influencers
- More Reasons To Choose Micro-Influencers
- How to Choose the Right Micro-Influencers
- Want to Learn More?
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What Is a Micro-Influencer?
You could think of micro-influencers as everyday people with a highly-engaged following on their social media channels. Their content usually revolves around a particular niche or passion – health and beauty, fitness, business, travel, and everything in between.
Here are some of the core ways that micro-influencers differ from high-profile influencers:
It’s not just niche stores that use micro-influencers. Even big brands like Disney and Microsoft are turning to these individuals to boost their marketing campaigns.
Why? Because these regular folks create and share genuine content about the things they love. They have a credible voice and loyal fans who trust what they say.
Here’s an example of a micro-influencer talking about Disney and its offerings in her authentic voice:
In a world where people are tired of the Kardashians and paid advertising, micro-influencers are able to stand out with the kind of authenticity that people crave.
The real value, however, comes from the fact that marketing engagements can be as high as 60% with micro-influencer marketing than with celebrity marketing.
Brands used to compete rigorously for celebrity endorsements. But today, all people want is an authentic recommendation from an individual they can trust. No BS. Just a real, transparent opinion.
Key Types of Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers engage their audiences in several ways, from explaining their gym routine, to giving makeup tutorials, to helping people replace their 9-to-5 with magical digital nomad journeys around the world.
There are oh, so many opportunities for brands. But the key to an effective micro-influencer marketing campaign is choosing the right ones to work with.
Let’s start by exploring some common personalities you’ll find in the influencer world.
As humans, we love entertainers not only because of their personalities, but for their ability to transport us to another world. They’re often funny and outgoing characters, giving witty or controversial commentaries on pop cultures like current events, movies, or music. But not every entertainer is funny. For example, they may also be confessional, influencing audiences by sharing more vulnerable aspects of their lives.
These micro-influencers use ‘edutainment’ to engage people on a more intellectual level than other kinds of micro-influencers. They’re life-hackers, subject matter experts, DIY enthusiasts, and fix-it gurus. They creatively use Instagram, YouTube, and other channels to help viewers achieve goals that they may not feel equipped to accomplish on their own.
Those who constantly seem on-the-move to new, fascinating, and exotic places. They’re known for sharing some of the most breathtaking photos – particularly on Instagram. Examples of such micro-influencers include backpackers, mountain climbers, skydivers, wildlife photographers, and other thrill-seekers. Whatever experiences they gather are vividly detailed and proudly displayed on their social profiles.
These micro-influencers have an open mind and a passion for exploring uncharted territories. They love to work with brands that further their curiosity and help take their creativity to new heights. They’re often tech gurus and enthusiasts, excited to get their hands on cool and interesting innovations.
Benefits of Working with Micro-Influencers
As I’ve mentioned before in my intro to influencer marketing, relationships are the heart of any strong influencer marketing effort.
This concept is showcased when you take a closer look at the unique benefits of micro-influencer marketing and how it compares to working with bigger names.
Just ask marketing influencer and owner of OPTIM-EYEZ Sam Hurley:
The primary strengths of micro-influencer marketing are rapid engagement, bottom line results (that compound over time) and much warmer, ‘human’ interactions that genuinely last.
It once seemed to be the hottest trend to only hire celebs and mega influencers – now, brands are increasingly aware that audience size does not always correlate with ROI.
For this reason, it’s becoming ‘fashionable’ (and reliable) to actually partner with micro-influencers with smaller, more engaged audiences.
Audiences can truly relate to these ‘real’ people! They generally can’t adhere to the dreamy lives of celebs. This deeper connection through relatable storytelling really matters.
Micro-influencers have a niche following – a ‘tribe’ that shares the same interests and passions as them. In influencer marketing, the relevance of an audience to the content creator is key, and if they aren’t closely aligned, there’s a strong chance your campaign won’t succeed.
Let’s examine a case study to illustrate the value.
Case Study: Micro vs. Mega-Influencers
Influencer marketing specialist Stephanie Robbins set up a campaign for a health food business. It consisted of both micro-influencers and what she calls ‘mega-influencers.’ Here’s how she classified them:
- Has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram
- Has more than 8,000 followers on Facebook
- Is well-respected in niche communities
- Possesses experience in both performance-based and sponsored campaigns
- Offers high-quality content and visuals
- Has more than 600,000 followers on Instagram
- Has more than 24,000 followers on Facebook
- Gets over 300+ engagements on all content
- Possesses experience in both performance-based and sponsored campaigns
- Is well-respected by brands
- Offers high-quality content and visuals
Why the huge difference?
As Stephanie puts it, “People buy from friends. As a smaller influencer, the micro influencer can engage more closely with followers. The influencer is like a close friend whose advice or recommendation is more actionable than an inspirational celebrity.”
This case study goes to show that just because people are watching, it doesn’t mean they’re interested. Micro-influencers are a one-two punch in building engaged and targeted audiences, while also generating their trust.
And that’s not all they have to offer.
More Reasons To Choose Micro-Influencers
1. They’re Affordable
If you’re a small business or a startup, getting micro-influencers on board for your campaign may be your best bet as they don’t charge as much as high-profile influencers for sponsored posts.
How much do micro-influencers charge?
An article published on Later’s blog found that micro-influencers with an audience of 80,000 charge about $300 for a single Instagram post and $500 for 2. If a brand wants them to post across all channels (Facebook, Instagram, Blog, Twitter), they’ll charge around $400.
In contrast, an influencer with over 100,000 followers pitched the following rates:
These numbers suggest that partnering with micro-influencers is just more cost-effective.
If you work with influencers with more than 500,000 followers, you might have to spend about $1,000 for one sponsored Instagram post. For extensive blog posts and giveaways, the expense could go much higher, and might even reach as high as $2,000.
And large corporations have been known to spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands working with big-name influencers.
So if you have a limited budget to work with, you could start contacting micro-influencers who have a sufficient following and a highly-engaged audience.
2. They’re Authentic
What makes people engage more with one influencer than another? It’s their personality, tone, content aesthetic, and most importantly, their ability to be personal and authentic with their audience.
Micro-influencers are known to cherish their communities, and are readily available to answer questions, interact with followers, and even attend local events.
On the other hand, top influencers have a ‘celebrity’ status that often prevents them from engaging with their large audience on a personal level. (Can’t blame them… not everyone has time to reply to 500 comments a day.)
The other thing that makes micro-influencers an attractive choice for campaigns is their ability to craft and share authentic content.
Unlike the popular social media stars who simply tag a brand for a sponsored placement, most micro-influencers spend hours creating the perfect Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter post. They choose the best hashtags and descriptions while styling the elements of the photo or video just right.
3. They’re Easy to Build a Relationship With
Maybe you’ve heard that Drake song that goes, “started from the bottom, now we’re here.” That’s sort of how micro-influencers work too.
Since they don’t have millions of followers at the start, they have to grow their audience one by one, engagement by engagement.
They show their followers respect and interact with them by replying to comments, sharing promos, and hosting giveaways.
For these reasons, they’re much easier to reach and contract than their better-known counterparts.
Overall, they’re thought leaders on subject matters that genuinely interest them, and are often open to collaborations with brands that share their passions.
Dropshipper Tim Vangsness suggests using micro-influencers with audiences between 1,000 and 10,000 to promote your products.
I normally found that you break even with people who have around 1,000 followers.
Above 10,000 followers and you’re probably going to need to pay them to promote the product too.
I find that bigger influencers are sort of a mixed bag.
Some people you’ll pay a lot of money, and get nothing. Others you can get really good returns.
How to Choose the Right Micro-Influencers
As we dive into different social media platforms later in this ebook, we’ll discuss more in-depth strategies for finding influencers who really fit with your brand. (Browsing websites and databases, using keywords and hashtags in searches… all that fun detective stuff.)
But for now, here are a few quick tips for choosing the right micro-influencers once you’ve found some good candidates:
- Look closely at their posts and content. Do their image and lifestyle easily complement your brand? Could you see them rocking your product or service without any strain or inauthenticity?
- Look at the engagement of several posts. Apart from the number of likes and shares, what do the comments say? Are they generic, spammy, or weird? Do the same people comment on every post, or is it varied?
- See if they’re already doing sponsored content. This can give an idea of the ease and cost of working with them. For example, if they’ve just started, they may be less expensive (though they may also need more guidance).
- Be selective and don’t rush the process. It may take some time to find the perfect micro-influencers, but they’re more than worth the hassle if they understand and amplify the core of your brand.
As you get a feel for their ‘vibe,’ see if they check the following boxes. Top-performing micro-influencers typically share these traits:
- Credibility. Top micro-influencers are experts in their niche, and their audiences trust that they know what they’re talking about.
- Intrigue. Whether they’re as sweet as sugar or known for starting fires, people just can’t pass up their new posts and discussions.
- Ingenuity. Many micro-influencers pave their way to being influential by offering a unique perspective on the status quo.
- Passion. There’s no question about it: you can tell that they love what they do, which is part of why they’re so credible and intriguing, to begin with.
- Regularity. They post content (photos, videos, blogs, etc.) at least once a week, and have built consistent engagement from this reliability.
Micro-influencer marketing won’t improve your sales overnight, but if you look at the companies that are leveraging this new trend, you’ll realize they have powerful stories to share. And we believe them.
One study shows that micro-influencers drive 22.2 times more brand conversations per week than the average person.
Now, you better understand the inner workings of micro-influencers and how they can help improve your marketing campaigns. The next step is to start the search for influencers whose content and audiences are just the right fit for what your brand has to offer.