What Are “Micro-Influencers?” Definition & Examples
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How Micro-Influencers Fit Into The Influencer Marketing Landscape
UPDATE January 29, 2019 — When we think of influencers, we often think of mega stars with millions of followers on social media. By now, most people on social media are familiar with high-profile influencers posting sponsored content in partnership with major brands, but there’s an opportunity in marketing with smaller influencer tiers, too. There have been initial studies supporting higher engagement with micro-influencers.
A recent Digiday article highlighted how working with micro-influencers can have its pitfalls, though. “Everyone talks about how these “micro-influencers” have such high engagement,” an anonymous marketing executive said, “but who cares about a 20 percent engagement rate on a post when only 10 people liked it?”
Micro-influencers have been touted for high engagement rates, but as the Digiday article points out, these aren’t the only metrics relevant to marketers. As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow, it’s important that marketers understand the role that micro-influencers play in the industry, the pros and cons that come with working with micro-influencers, and how they might prove effective for some marketing goals and strategies and ineffective for others.
What Is A Micro-Influencer?
Micro-influencers are creators on social media platforms who typically have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. These creators typically build followings around niches like travel, fashion, beauty, and photography, and cultivate communities surrounding their content. Many of them interact with fans and followers regularly and, as a result, micro-influencers often generate high engagement and active audiences.
Though micro-influencers may exist on a number of different platforms, Instagram is the primary hub of micro-influencer activity on social media. Instagram is popular for micro-influencers because of its ease of content and influencer discovery tools that make it a natural fit for building followings around specific interests.
On the other side of the influencer spectrum are macro-influencers—with anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million followers. What they lack in one-on-one engagement they make up for in larger reach and brand lift. Micro-influencers work well for small campaigns that are simple and straightforward, whereas macro-influencers are often a part of massive advertising and branding efforts.
What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?
Marketing with micro-influencers gives brands an opportunity to reach small, active audiences with tailored and specific messaging. Where macro-influencers have the potential to reach millions, micro-influencers sometimes have the advantage of higher engagement with their smaller followings.
Because they aren’t posting content to millions of followers, micro-influencers may be seen as more relatable or reachable than macro-influencers, which could lead to more activity and engagement among followers. Micro-influencers also come with a proportionately lower price tag because of their size, allowing brands to work with them at much lower budgets.
That said, a micro-influencer’s smaller following means less potential for reaching large audiences and achieving significant brand lift. In order to reach wider audiences, brands will need to work with multiple micro-influencers to boost reach, but more influencers mean more work and opportunities for marketing mishaps. Influencer marketing campaigns can be complex and nuanced, and multiplying the work may not be the right solution.
What’s more, as fake followers continue to plague influencer marketing, it’s also important that brands take the time to review the authenticity of a micro-influencer’s popularity to avoid overpaying for underperforming campaigns.
How Micro-Influencers Leverage Niches & Personal Brands To Cultivate Followings
There are countless ways to find and engage audiences, but the micro-influencers who do it best find a specific niche and use their personalities to inspire and communicate with audiences. Most micro-influencers include glimpses of their lives on their channels, but their content is typically focused on a specific topic and recognizable aesthetic.
Smaller followings also give micro-influencers the opportunity to build relationships with their followers through direct engagement. They don’t all take advantage of it, but those who do may find that their followers are more loyal, more active, and more invested in their lives and success.
Steven Onoja is a photographer and a micro-influencer with a loyal following of fashion enthusiasts on Instagram. Onoja’s content blends his way of life and personal style with sponsored campaigns seamlessly, as shown by his partnership with Movado watches.
Sarah of The Cutting Veg engages fans on her Instagram account by chatting with them on both sponsored and organic posts. This direct communication allows her to build genuine connections with her fans.
Alyssa Lenore shares dispatches from her daily life, from weekend getaways to iced almond lattes. Though the content is varied, it all has a unifying aesthetic that makes Lenore’s content feel singular and consistent.
Krystal Schlegel is a style blogger from Texas who sets herself apart from the fashion blogging crowd by specializing in “classic neutrals.” Schlegel highlights her signature personal style and provides links and information on where her followers can find featured pieces (and for how much).
Influencers also connect with fans through Q&A’s, giveaways, and meet-ups. Micro-influencers don’t have quite the celebrity status that macro-influencers achieve, which means that fans often feel a closer connection to them than they might to influencers who are posting content to millions every day. A delicate blend of personality and high-quality content that caters to specific interests within the Instagram community is vital to a micro-influencer’s success, and as they build their followings, the authentic connection to fans becomes paramount.
Micro-influencers may be one of the biggest buzzwords in influencer marketing right now, but they’re far from a perfect solution to every brand’s campaign needs. Working with micro-influencers has as many pitfalls as it does benefits, and taking into consideration the unique pros and cons of micro-influencers is key to making the best decision for every brand campaign.
July 14, 2017 By Mediakix Team