In recent years, influencer marketing has managed to position itself as a valuable tactic for brands to reach their marketing objectives. Millennials have become a bit more wary of traditional advertisements and commercials, and find themselves looking for consumption advice from their friends, family, and people they look up to instead. And that’s where the influencer has come in. Thanks to social media, the influencer marketing industry has skyrocketed like crazy. In fact, by 2020, it is projected to take up somewhere between $5 and 10 billion advertising dollars. If you have been wondering if your brand should give it a go, and how to go about it, then you’ve come to the right place.
Celebrities, Influencers & Micro-influencers.. What’s the difference?
Some sources in the marketing field include celebrities when they discuss influencer marketing, but we rather refer to it as what it is: celebrity endorsement. This is when a celebrity uses a product/service and tells all their fans about it. As a result, the fans are inclined to believe that it has to be worth something. Over time, more and more celebrities began being open to collaborating with brands, but of course, for a hefty price. And when we say hefty, we mean it. Take for example Kim Kardashian who charges up to half a million per post.
But celebrities are not the same as influencers. Where you have to deal with very complex agreements between the brand and the celebrity, an influencer is completely different. These are ‘everyday people’ who have been so diligent and hardworking with their online content that people had no choice but to notice and want to follow them. Their followers are not in the millions, but anywhere above 100,000. They are savvy with connecting with their audiences simply because they are passionate and strategic about what they post. And the most important thing: they engage with their followers.
While there is a big difference between celebrities and influencers, it feels like they’ve begun to start costing the same. With advertisers seeing more and more positive results from influencer marketing, more accounts started to jump on board and try to cash in. These days, just about everyone wants to be an influencer. A quick Google search starting with “How many followers..” supports that assertion. That increase in competition inflated the market and gave much more power to the influencers. So, it’s now possible for them to charge a whole lot more than what they used to per post. Realistically, not every brand has that type of money available. And that’s where the micro-influencer comes in to save the day.
Unlike influencers, these accounts have followers in the tens of thousands. Their accounts are developed enough to be considered a reliable source of information, but not too large to have lost their authenticity and cost brands an arm and a leg.
Why use Micro-influencers?
It’s More Personal
The big reason why a brand should go for micro-influencers is that they cultivate actual relationships with their followers. Instagram is a social networking site, and like any network, as it begins to scale, value among users may start to drop. If there are too many users, the quality of the interactions starts to go down. It’s the same principle when you just have too many friends to speak to. Instead of going in depth with a few people, conversations start getting way more superficial and spread out among many.
On top of that, the content on larger accounts starts to change in order to continuously appeal to the mass amount of followers the influencer has now accrued. The personal touch of the posts begins to fade away. This loss can definitely be a problem. To make influencer marketing especially successful, followers should have positive feelings towards the influencer and feel personally connected to them. So when they review a brand’s product or endorses it, that opinion elicits some sort of affective response among their followers. People value opinions more from people that they feel like they have relationships with; it’s simple consumer behavior theory! Now, who do you think your target audience is more connected to… The big influencer with 300k followers or the micro-influencer with a solid 12k?
They Tend to Engage More
A quick search online about how to be successful on Instagram will result in you finding tons of blogs and material all telling you the same thing: you need to engage with your users. It’s even the number one factor we identified when it comes to learning how to increase your account’s organic reach. And when it comes to engagement, micro-influencers are winning. For them, it’s actually possible to respond to their comments and interact with the accounts of their followers as well.
Simply put: there’s more to it than just being famous on Instagram. Influencers should understand what works for their followers and be active in engaging with them on a regular. As accounts begin to grow, the like rate drops. And if users aren’t liking posts or commenting on them, the Instagram algorithm simply will stop showing posts from those accounts to users. So this is definitely something to consider when looking into whether or not to go for larger or smaller influencers!
They are More Affordable and Reachable
Because their audience is smaller, they cannot charge brands as much as larger accounts would. Depending on their size, some micro-influencers would even be open to collaborations based on barter. They receive your product for free, and in exchange, will post about the brand. Others may cost as low as $50 per post or as high as $500. Either way, it’s a much more feasible amount for smaller brands looking to collaborate! It all depends on which influencer you’re talking to.
Besides the lowered marketing expense, micro-influencers are more reachable than macro ones. Can you imagine how many messages macro-influencers receive in their DMs or business email? Yeah, it’s highly likely that your request gets lost in all that noise. Micro-influencers have fewer brands competing for their attention, so it’s easier to get your foot in the door. Plus, the logistics of working with a macro-influencer or celebrity for that matter may be tight. Oftentimes, micro-influencers are much more flexible and open to including the brand in the creative process. This could entail the creation of real quality content that satisfies all parties involved.
In a Nutshell
Micro-influencers are trusted, engaging and knowledgeable about the audience your brand probably wants to reach. They are also cost-effective. Besides costing less than a macro-influencer overall, their production of user-generated content can also help in lowering costs. For instance, if your brand has agreements with about 50 influencers and they all produce high-quality pictures that align heavily with your brand, that’s a minimum of 50 great visuals you can reuse in other campaigns or your own account. In other words, that’s less of the budget your brand needs to put into creating visuals in house! Thus, more money to allocate to other areas of the marketing budget.
Now, full disclosure: working with micro-influencers isn’t only rainbows and sunshine. There are some definite administrative struggles. Identifying the right influencers for your brand and keeping up with every single one of them requires manpower and time. It gets even more complicated if you bring competitions in it or special discount codes, plus measuring everything and ensuring the process goes smoothly isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Yet, we still believe it’s one of those tactics that are worth the work you need to put in, and when it’s done well, the payoff will be great. It’ll just take some time to get your system in place and learn how to go about it in the most efficient way possible. You will get there eventually!
Using influencers on Instagram can be a huge asset for brands looking to increase their following or generate buzz around their products or campaigns, so we encourage you to try it out! You may need to work with many micro-influencers in order to generate your desired reach, but for a fraction of the cost that a larger influencer would be. Overall ROI is highly likely to surpass what you would get taking the macro route. Plus, these micro-influencers come with a load of benefits. So, what do you say, are you going to try out micro-influencers in your next campaign?