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Influencers are everywhere in 2022. And while influencers have become synonymous with the rise of social media, influencers as a concept actually pre-dates most current social media platforms. Many would credit Paris Hilton as being the first modern influencer. Although she lacked conventional Hollywood talent, she was an expert at branding and managed to turn herself into a household name through her reality show and active social life. Often described as "famous for being famous", she laid the groundwork for the internet influencer we know today.  

When most people think of influencers, they’re likely picturing someone as famous as Paris Hilton, or at least someone with a six, seven, or even eight digit follower count. However, there is a whole class of influencers who don’t get thousands of likes or have hundreds of thousands of followers called micro-influencers.  

What is a Micro-Influencer? 

While the definition sometimes varies, it’s usually defined as an individual with a social media following between 1,000 and 50,000. And while influencers have traditionally been associated with Instagram, currently they can be found on TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook as well as a myriad of other platforms.  

Micro-influencers differ from macro and mega influencers by their lower follower count. However, what they lack in followers, they make up for in engagement. Studies have shown that influencers with 1,000 followers have an 85% higher engagement than those with 100,000 followers and that as the number of followers increases, engagement decreases.

infographic of different influencer tiers

Their Follower Count is Low, But Their Engagement is High(er)

One of the reasons for the increased engagement comes down to trust. Influencers with less followers are seen as more accessible, relatable, and trustworthy. Micro-influencers have a much smaller, more close-knit following than their macro or mega influencer peers. Their followers feel more connected and are more likely to engage in the form of likes, comments, or shares. Unsurprisingly, “92 percent of customers trust a micro-influencer more than a traditional ad or an endorsement from a celebrity”. Most importantly however, they are more likely to buy what the influencer is promoting. In fact, Forbes reported that micro-influencers have 60% higher engagement and a 20% higher conversion rate and compared to macro influencers. 

Authenticity Driven Results

The perceived authenticity that micro-influencers have is a significant advantage and something large scale influencers can struggle with. “According to the Morning Consult study, 88% of people say it’s important for influencers to be authentic and genuinely care about their interests.” Ultimately, if an influencer is promoting a product or partnering with a brand, their followers want to know that the influencer genuinely believes in the product or brand. If an influencer isn’t passionate about the product they’re promoting, or if the product doesn’t align with their content, their followers will see it as inauthentic which can cheapen the quality of the partnership.  

 
 
 

Creating Value 

When considering the type of influencer that fits best, the brand should first acknowledge the goal of the campaign or engagement.

Should the campaign's objective be geared more towards brand awareness, matching your brand with an influencer with a significant audience within the market and audience segments will be vital. This exercise will also allow you to have a sense of the true value being offered by the influencer you are considering. It is critical to consider the effective reach within your desired audience segment(s), as this offers the ability to evaluate the true potential value. 

This will also ensure your investments and collective efforts resonate with the audience you aim to build awareness within. Ultimately, unlocking the true value. Should a micro-influencer offer an extremely aggressive rate, but fail to offer reach into the audience segment(s) you are looking to engage, they may be more costly than you think.

The key is figuring out the investment that creates the most value overall for your brand. 

When considering micro-influencers, they have smaller follower counts and correspondingly lower collaboration fees. Brands looking to contract a macro or mega influencer might only have the budget for one post, one time. Smaller or emerging brands might lack the budget for a large-scale influencer entirely. In these situations, working with a micro-influencer or even several might be more advantageous. Opting to work with micro-influencers means you could hire multiple influencers and purchase multiple posts for the same price as one post from one macro or mega influencer. Enlisting multiple micro-influencers also allows marketers to cast a wider net and reach several different target demographics within the same campaign. To give an idea of the cost difference, according to Shopify, the average cost per post for a macro influencer is between $5-10k and for a mega influencer, it's over $10K. A micro-influencer’s cost per post is typically between $100-500. 

 

For example, micro-influencer Ashley Hart has 15.4k followers and recently partnered with Cavendish to promote their waffle fries to her audience in a way that feels genuine and personal. Because of the type of campaign being run, a close-knit, quality audience offered more value than a larger influencer might have. 

What's Right for Your Brand?

All this being said, micro-influencers are not always the answer in the same way that macro and mega influencers are not always the answer. There are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. The overall goals of the campaign, the product, the target audience, and the marketing budget need to all be considered when choosing to work with an influencer. When making this decision however, it’s important for brands and marketers alike to recognize that when it comes to influencer marketing, bigger is not always better.  

It all comes back to what kind of investment your brand is willing and able to make to reach your target audience. 

What You Need to Know

When engaging with any size or genre of influencer, make sure you clearly understand how influencer marketing works. Not only should you know what influencer is best for your brand and campaign, but understanding the steps to ensuring your partnership is safe and successful is essential. Here are a few things to keep in mind when forming your influencer campaign:

  • Create Transparency:  The best way to avoid a legal or PR disaster and create transparency to your audience is to make sure the influencers you work with clearly disclose that they’re being compensated for promoting your brand. It’s as simple as putting #ad or #sponsored in their post.   
  • Validate Authenticity: Look at the follower to engagement ratio to ensure it matches. A lot of followers with a small amount of comments or likes is usually a red flag. Next, closely examine their posts and captions. If they regularly post generic captions or constantly retweet/share messages that don’t match their aesthetic, pass on the partnership. Lastly, look at the engagement quality from their followers. Make sure the comments are genuine - generic comments are another red flag. 
  • Consider Audience Alignment: An influencer may seem like the right content fit for your campaign, but be aware of where their audience is located. You want to make sure that the location of your audience is in your target market no matter the level of influencer you choose. 
  • Have an Amplification Plan: Ensure you outline expectations around content strategy, goals, and anticipated outcomes (KPI's). 
  • Audit for Bot Traffic: Human behaviour shows variety and flows naturally. Should your metrics be too consistent, too inconsistent, show straight lines or abrupt changes, you could be dealing with bot engagement. Create a plan to monitor and on how to deal with the situation should it arise. 
  • Conduct a Reference Check: There’s a good chance that your influencer has worked with other brands in the past. Don’t be afraid to reach out to ask for references. If other brands have had a negative experience, you’ll quickly find out. 
  • Create a Contract: The easiest way to alleviate concerns about brand safety and controlling content associated with your brand is to ensure you have a contract outlining content ownership and intellectual property rights.
  • Understand your Brand Values: At the end of the day, influencers are people, and people can mess up. Make sure your brand values are clear and aligned with the values of the individual you are working with. 

 

How Do I Proceed?

Even with all the boxes checked, at the end of the day, sometimes it's best to enlist the help of an expert. Influencer marketing can be confusing and daunting, especially for brands that are new to this particular facet of marketing. If you have any questions or concerns regarding influencer marketing, don't hesitate to reach out to us