The rise of micro-influencers and how you can work with them
Micro-influencers. It’s the newest buzzword in the influencer marketing community. If you look up any statistics on this group, it all says the same: they are great to work with and they deliver amazing results.
Small following. Big influence
As the name suggest, micro-influencers have a smaller following. Some sources put them between 2.000 and 50.000 followers, others say anyone with a following below 25.000 is a micro-influencers. A few sources put the upper limit at 100.000 followers.
They differ from bigger influencers and celebrities in not only in the number of followers.
As a rule, they run a blog or a social media account as a side project, and it is based around a specific topic or niche. About 48% of micro-influencers do that as a side gig and never intend to transition out of their primary job.
In other words, they run their social media accounts out of passion and interest.
Because of their smaller following, micro-influencers are able to sustain a much closer relationships with their audience, and therefore they possess a higher level of authenticity compared to bigger influencers.
Authenticity increases ROI
Because of this close relationship with their followers, micro-influencers are able to get better ROI for digital marketing campaigns.
One would assume that more followers would mean more engagement but that is not the case.
With macro-influencers and celebrities, the gap between their lives and the lives of their followers are often so big that followers look up to them rather than consider them equal.
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are people like you and me. When they tell their stories, followers can relate to them. They are considered more of online friends rather than celebrities. That is why people trust them a lot.
It is authenticity and expertise that results in higher engagement rates rather then their celebrity status.
For Instagram and Twitter, engagement rates drop from 8% to 2.4% as the follower count gets closer to 100.000.
In fact, the number of comments and likes tend to decrease already after a following of about 1.000 people is reached.
The price of using micro-influencers is another big reason why ROI they bring in is higher.
Micro-influencers charge, in general, lower fees for sponsored content.
Exact prices differ a lot depending on:
- Industry (fashion, food, personal development, etc)
- Social platform (Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube)
- Number of followers
- Engagement rates
- Type of product or service your brand want to promote
- Scope of the campaign
Some micro-influencers charge per post, others per 1000 views. Some might even have packages that revolve around longer partnership.
Although different studies report different numbers, one trend is clear: there is a significant jump in price per post once 100.000 followers are exceeded. Here are some numbers for Instagram, which is the most popular platform used by micro-influencers.
How to work with micro-influencers
Here are a few steps to consider when working with micro-influencers.
As mentioned, micro-influencers can be protective over their audience. In fact, according to a survey from 2018, 44% of micro-influencers accept only ¼ of the offers they get in a given month.
That is why it’s a good idea to establish a connection with them before reaching out to discuss a collaboration.
It can be something as simple as following them on their social channels and engaging with them. Share their updates and blog posts with your audience, leave comments and start meaningful conversations online.
This is particularly important is you want to build a long-term partnership.
Most micro-influencers are more likely to engaged with your brand if they genuinely like the products and service you offer. That is why they often want to develop a partnership with brand, not just be an ad channel that promotes a different brand with every post.
The nuances of a partnership will differ depending on your industry, the micro-influencers you work with, your product or service, etc. For example, your brand can send them free product or provide a free service in exchange for their honest review. The micro-influencers can also post content on their own social media channel, or to a take over of yours.
Hire multiple micro influencers
Although micro-influencers have better engagement rates, they still have smaller followings. To get a wider exposure for your brand, engage with several micro-influencers on one campaign.
Hiring a group of micro-influencers with a following similar to one big influencer will achieve a better ROI on a campaign because their total engagement rates will trump those of one macro-influencer.
Pick micro-influencers that fit your brand story
This one might seem like an obvious one but when it comes to picking the right micro-influencers, it’s important to find people who truly connect and represent your brand.
The goal is to find influencers who do or represent some of the same activities your brand does. For example, if your brand donates a percentage of the earnings to underprivileged kids, find influencers who work with or are passionate about the same cause.
A good example of how that was executed right is the #LetHawaiiHappen campaign made by the Hawaiian Tourism board. They used user-generated content together with paid posts from local Hawaiian micro-influencers who knew about attractions on Hawaii that are off the beaten track. They were the best people to show off Hawaii from a different perspective that people have not seen before.
Don’t be tempted by the high follower counts of big influencers and celebrities. Micro-influencers can be just as good, if not better, addition to your marketing campaign. The key is to find micro-influencers that fit your brand story. That way they can be the best brand ambassadors.