If you were asked who the best social media creators to hire for an influencer marketing campaign might be, what names come to mind? Do you think of a micro influencer?
Chances are the first personalities you think of are the famous influencers with follower counts in the millions. After all, the bigger the influencer, the better the chances for a successful marketing strategy … right?
Well, as it turns out, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to sparking real engagement on social media. Instead, there’s a different group of influencers to be considering. While top influencers offer a tempting amount of star power, micro-influencers are emerging as the real winners when it comes to reaching your target audience.
Let’s walk through what the micro influencer is and why they’re so valuable for your marketing strategy.
Marketing’s Secret Weapon: The Micro Influencer
Believe it or not, marketing’s secret weapon is the micro influencer. A micro influencer provides all the benefits of influencer-based marketing without the risks and price tag of celebrity-level influencers. They provide you with access to a niche audience and provide you with high engagement levels.
That all sounds great, right? But who are these micro influencers, and what makes them such a marketing powerhouse? Let’s review the basics, before moving on to how you can work with these mid-sized but mighty creators:
- What is a micro influencer?
- Why are micro influencers better than larger (macro) influencers?
- How can you find and partner with micro influencers?
How many followers is a micro influencer?
How many followers is considered a micro influencer? The answer to how many followers micro influencers have can vary greatly depending on who you ask.
Here at Sway Group, we define a micro influencer as an individual with between 10,000 – 100,000 followers on any given social platform.
The reason we use 10,000 followers as the baseline for our definition of a micro influencer has to do with Instagram’s current functionality.
Once Instagram influencers have a business account with 10,000 followers, they gain access to the Swipe Up feature in Instagram Stories. While nano influencers (those with under 10,000 followers) are limited to a single link in their bio or links sent via direct message, micro influencers can drive action by encouraging audiences to “swipe up for details” within their Story content.
The swipe up feature makes clicking through to promoted content far less complicated for the consumer, which means they’re more likely to engage with your brand offerings.
We define someone who is able to use that Instagram function as a micro influencer, and using micro influencers with follower counts in that range will ultimately help you get more out of a partnership.
The range of 10,000 – 100,000 followers is the sweet spot where the influencer you work with can tap into the best features but without the downsides of too many followers (more on that below).
Are micro influencers better?
The million dollar question: Are micro influencers better than a macro influencer or someone with more than 100,000 followers? 10,000 followers may still seem like a fairly small number, especially when compared to, say, a Kardashian Instagram. However, there are many advantages to working with influencers who have a more manageable number of followers.
For brands who are looking to make a real connection with audiences, it’s important to look beyond an influencer’s number of followers and focus more on quality interactions. Are micro influencers better at quality interactions? Well, bigger influencers tend to equal less influence.
While nearly all accounts on Instagram have some level of spam followers or followers who are no longer active on the platform, fewer followers on a micro influencer’s account means fewer spam accounts and non-engaging followers.
Most importantly, micro influencers tend to have higher engagement rates than macro influencers. Even though they have fewer followers, their audiences are more active and loyal. Generally, as an influencer’s follower count rises, their rate of engagement decreases. So 10,000 – 100,000 followers is a nice sweet spot where you can have strong engagement.
Also, celebrities and celebrity accounts don’t hold the power they might have once had. Today’s consumers, particularly millennials, aren’t easily swayed by celebrities. In a recent survey of US millennial internet users from Roth Capital Partners, the vast majority of respondents, 78%, either had a negative view of celebrity-level endorsements or were indifferent to the practice with regard to making a purchase.
In other words, follower counts don’t dictate how well a message will be received. Macro influencer endorsements seem to be getting tuned out the same way we skip commercials or other traditional advertising.
So why should you use micro influencers? One of the big reasons is because they’re right at the sweet spot where you can experience high engagement with a good sized audience.
Why should you use micro influencers?
Micro influencers offer a personal touch by using their platform to create communities and build personal connections with the people who follow them. They are more likely to share personal stories and images, offer candid insight into their lives, and engage with followers via comments or direct messages.
Their followers are more likely to think of them as part of their social network community, as opposed to a branded account or a celebrity they follow.
When people care about not only the content that is being published but also the creator (and feel like the content creator cares about them), they’re much more likely to engage each time a new post or Story pops up in their feeds.
Micro influencers provide the genuine recommendations that consumers are seeking; their endorsements don’t feel like advertisements, they feel like valuable opinions from a trusted friend.
Micro Influencer Niche Targeting is Anything But Micro
Micro influencers often excel at creating content around a specific topic: food, DIY, parenting, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle are all popular niches. Thanks to their ability to forge personal connections with their audience, micro influencers often have a more dedicated following surrounding their particular niche than larger accounts.
Sometimes these followings and niches might be larger, such as these Sway Network Instagram accounts sharing recipes and food content, and other times might be smaller and more tightly focused on a narrow topic of interest.
Either way, a micro social media influencer offers far more targeting capabilities than a macro level account with sprawling audience numbers.
Thanks to the wide variety of niches represented by micro influencers, brands are able to connect with audiences who are perfectly suited for their product or service.
Celebrity-Level Influencer = Celebrity-Level Scandals
Engagement levels and audience aren’t the only things to consider when comparing micro and macro influencers. The celebrity-level status also matters and could have a negative impact. There’s no way around it: top social media influencers are more prone to big scandals. The college cheating scandal, Fyre festival debacle, and YouTube stars like Logan Paul getting into hot water all showcase how quickly online creator partnerships can turn into a brand PR nightmare.
Micro influencers simply don’t attract the same potentially negative attention as the macro accounts. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a micro influencer is impervious to scandal — but it’s much less likely that any missteps they make are going to make front page news. Because you won’t get the same level of scandal, you aren’t taking as much of a risk when you work with a micro influencer.
How much do micro influencers get paid?
Get More Bang For Your Buck with a Micro Influencer
Another advantage to hiring micro influencers is they are less expensive than celebrity influencers. Macro influencers can have fees starting at four figures and they only increase from there.
If you want an exact price for how much micro influencers make, 97% of micro influencers charge less than $500 for a promotion post. On the other hand, a macro influencer can charge $75,000 for a single post.
So for the price of a single post from a macro influencer, you could activate several micro influencers (maybe even multiple times!) for your influencer campaign. Already that’s more bang for your buck.
But there’s more to consider as well. When you look at the engagement rate and personal connections micro influencers have with their audiences, it’s clear that these creators offer many advantages over their more popular peers. Those connections and the engagement they have with their followers is ultimately what will make a micro influencer worth it in the long run.
When you need a strong campaign that fits within your marketing budget and produces measurable results, micro is the way to go.
How To Find a Micro Influencer
We’ve hopefully convinced you that micro influencers are more effective, less expensive, and perceived as more authentic by their followers.
The last question that needs answering is, “Where do I find micro influencers to work with?” We have three ways for you to consider:
- Do it yourself. Once you’re ready to run a campaign with micro influencers, there are several ways to search social media platforms to find the right people:
- Reach out to influencers you’ve worked with in the past. If you know somebody in or aligned with the vertical you’re looking for, ask them for recommendations. They will likely be able to point you in a good direction to start your search.
- Identify a few hashtags that fit within the particular vertical you want to reach. Looking through hashtags gives quick access to a multitude of influencers, and may lead to someone who’s perfect.
- Once you find an account you like, look at who they follow. A quality influencer will follow other quality influencers.
- Use an influencer marketing agency like Sway Group. Our diverse influencer network and proprietary dashboard technology means that we can easily identify and activate the best influencers for a campaign.
- The Sway Network includes a wide range of micro influencers across all verticals. Our influencer marketing campaigns are second to none, thanks to our hands-on approach and industry expertise. Want to see our work in action? Take a look at some of our case studies and clients.
- From research to recruitment to reporting, we masterfully handle any — or every — aspect of your micro influencer program. We evaluate your business needs, campaign KPIs, and target consumer mindset. We then deliver successful micro influencer media strategies to our clients.
- Our skilled Quality Assurance team checks all content before it goes live.
- Likes, views, clicks, comments, tweets, hashtags, repins, shares: we analyze every engagement metric for in-depth campaign ROI. Our data-driven focus combined with industry know-how means we have the expertise you need for micro influencer marketing success.
How to Make Micro Influencers a Part of Your Strategy
Micro influencers are obviously powerful. But how can you really work with micro-influencers effectively to boost your marketing strategy? Here are some tips:
- If you need to get a strategy off the ground, talk to leadership and get their backing.
- You may need to explain how micro influencers can be a powerful resource, and the evidence speaks for itself.
- Remember to cultivate relationships.
- Micro influencers are successful because of their ability to create relationships with their followers. The same applies here.
- When your company builds a relationship with the micro influencer, you have a true partner in promoting your products and services.
- Strategically choose what products or services a micro influencer should promote.
- Make sure the products and influencer align, so the promotion feels genuine coming from the micro influencer and will ultimately have more impact on the audience.
The Bottom Line
So where does this leave us? Overall, micro influencer relationships are a powerful marketing strategy that can help you reach actively engaged audiences via someone they really trust.
In a recent study with Rakuten Marketing, the vast majority of respondents say they discover new products thanks to influencers that they follow. So it’s important to use influencer relationships to reach potential customers. It works. But the shift in brand marketing spend is moving from celebrities with existing star power to micro influencers. Ultimately, micro influencers have more impact and more power, which makes these relationships the better option.
More and more businesses are realizing that micro influencers often outperform the big names because of their passion, knowledge, and accessibility. That’s why there has been growth in things like micro influencer platforms and influencer marketing agencies.
Ready to see how a micro influencer can boost your brand presence and drive real engagement with your ideal market? Talk to us today and learn more about what our team can do for you.