Less Is More: How “Micro-Influencers” Are Transforming Marketing
Until recently, the motto of any ambitious business was “Go big or go home.” Now, thanks to the rise of micro-influencers, the marketplace mantra has changed to “Less is more.”
Let’s look at why, because it is quite a remarkable story.
In the Beginning
Before we all had smartphones, advertising was a one-way street. Brand marketers used TV ads and radio jingles to influence purchasing decisions. That’s all changed. YouTube and social created the need for an intimate and trust-driven buying experience that is reflected in statistics like the following:
- Mobile ad blocking has increased 90% year-over-year. (Hubspot)
- Only 33% of consumers trust ads, while 90% place more value on peer recommendations
- 63% of consumers aged between 13–24 said that they would try a brand or a product recommended by their favorite YouTuber (Defy Media)
Brand marketers are now actively partnering with micro-influencers who are trusted by their followers, using creative content and authentic delivery to create a powerful -and winning- digital marketing formula.
What are Micro-Influencers?
The term ‘influencer’ has traditionally been synonymous with high-profile, which is why celebrity endorsements remain the Holy Grail for brand awareness specialists. Not all brands can afford to have Oprah or Kendall Jenner endorse them, but this doesn’t have to cost them sales.
A recent study suggests that micro-influencers, which include YouTube stars and social media celebrities are an excellent -and profitable -source of high-quality word-of-mouth results. Commissioned by Expertcity, it concluded that these micro-influencers, who have an average of 22 times more conversations per week than the average consumer, were trusted by their followers because they came across as:
- More knowledgeable
- More credible and believable
- Better at explaining how the product worked
But, what are micro-influencers exactly? They are trendsetters and opinion-shapers who typically have between 1,000 and 50,000 followers on their social media accounts. This may pale in comparison with the millions of followers boasted by Katy Perry and Jennifer Lawrence, but micro-influencers have a demonstrated ability to engage their followers at a higher rate: 8 percent, compared to 4 percent for those with over a million followers.
HelloSociety CEO and founder Kyla Brennan, who matches brands with influencers, few consumers attributes the effectiveness of micro-influencer endorsements to the following realities:
- Few consumers actually believe that celebrities are true fans of the product they’re trying to sell.
- Celebrities are in a higher social and economic realm that the average consumer can’t really relate to.
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, tend to accurately reflect the likes and dislikes of their followers, so when it comes to the value of a recommendation, quality appears to trump quantity.
Advantages of Working with Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers have a deep and intimate sense of who they are. They also have a direct and personal connection with their followers and perceive themselves as having a responsibility to continually supply these followers with fresh, exciting, and relevant information. They’re like your BFF gushing about a favorite new product.
Overall benefits of partnership with a micro-influencer include:
- Higher engagement: As stated previously, micro-influencers typically enjoy greater engagement on their posts than their higher-profile counterparts. According to a study carried out by influencer marketing solution Markerly, the engagement rates on micro-influencer campaigns are 60% higher than those on traditional ones.
- Greater sense of authority: Few micro-influencers are jacks of all trades. They tend to be experts in a niche topic and have loyal followers who are equally passionate about their preferred subject. Marketers promoting a product that dovetails with the influencer’s passion will enjoy access to a receptive audience and authoritative recommendations.
- Personal relationships with their followers: Because their follower count sizes are more manageable, micro-influencers have a more intimate relationship with their audience, increasing the value placed on their recommendations.
How Do You Find the Right Micro-Influencer?
Although micro-influencers abound on all social media platforms, the key to a successful campaign is finding the perfect one for the given brand. Here are some suggestions for finding that perfect partner.
- Check the brand’s current followers. A search of the brand’s Instagram followers could turn up a micro-influencer in the ranks. Since they are already fans, they will likely be receptive to promoting the product to their own audience.
- Use hashtags. Hashtags are an excellent way to find out who is talking about the brand in their posts. Social media networks that actively use hashtags include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Visit Buzzsumo. This powerful tool allows users to search for popular content. Pulling together lists of influencers for literally thousands of niche topics is both easy and efficient.
Micro-influencers are an excellent investment for any retailer that wants to cultivate a following and get their product information out to its target audience. By building trust, these influencers can increase customer loyalty and, by extension, build sales.
Raji Kalra is Co-founder and CEO at Peopletail, one Canada’s fastest growing product review communities.