Why is Micro-Influencer Marketing on the Rise?
Influencer marketing isn’t new—in fact, it’s almost 250 years old! Josiah Wedgwood has to be the very first example of successful influencer marketing. An 18th-century potter, he shot to popularity after Queen Charlotte endorsed a tea set that he gifted to her. The potter built an entire brand with the help of just one influencer and his brand Wedgwood still exists!
For the longest time, there were no better ways to pull consumers towards a product than to get famous people talking about it. “Influence” and “celebrity” remained synonymous. But that changed with the sudden meteoric rise of social media and the power to influence moved away from celebrities to prominent content creators on YouTube, Instagram, etc. When they speak for a brand, people listen. However, like everything on social media, over-saturation was inevitable, which lead to a new kind of influencer—micro-influencers.
So, who are they and why do brands need to know how to integrate them into their marketing strategies?
Going Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Brands see large follower counts and think that will accomplish their goals. However, the broad reach can lead to overlooking certain things.
- The cost of working with influencers rises according to their follower count. This creates a situation where brands must go all-in on just one content piece. While many people will see sponsored content from a macro-influencer, the number of followers who will purchase the product is lower, restricting the brand’s ROI.
- Macro-influences tend to be in high demand due to their massive audiences, which the brands aim to leverage. The elevated demand for collaborations with these influencers usually leads to more complex and long-lead contracts, limiting brands that need to move fast.
- The more popular an influencer is, the more brands want to work with them. And an influencer’s authenticity is integral to his/her success. So, when an influencer posts more sponsored content, the more likely their followers will doubt their genuineness and wonder if they are merely interested in the payout. This mistrust can also limit the brand’s ROI because followers will be less likely to purchase the product.
Pros of Choosing a Micro-Influencer
Here’s how brands can benefit from micro-influencer marketing:
- Easier to Find Your Niche
According to Mention, 15.7% of Instagram users have 1000-10,000 followers, which fits right into the niche of micro-influencers. They have better relationships with their followers that are built on trust and expertise. A micro-influencer caters to more niche audiences and can be advantageous to a brand because they offer access to a small subset of a targeted demographic curious about the brand.
- Authenticity—“People Like Me”
Usually, the conventional influencer with thousands of followers could be more of a celebrity than a friend. This doesn’t happen with micro-influencers because they are a lot more relatable and like a peer to consumers. A survey found that relatability is almost twice as significant as popularity. Additionally, survey respondents ranked the credibility of various groups on social media and the “people like me” subset accumulated the most trust; 61% of people find information from “people like me” to be more believable.
- Real Engagement
A survey by Hit Search discovered that not all influencer followers are real; 98% of survey respondents claimed they encountered some questionable behaviour in their follower count. This is expected—to a certain degree. Bots often target successful accounts and the influencer’s popularity is bound to attract all types of people, real and otherwise. Simultaneously, fake followers aren’t much of a possibility for micro-influencers. The followers are real people, which ensures authentic engagement that will translate into sales.
As the era of social media expands, the days of brands looking only at follower counts for collaborations are long gone. There are more alternatives than ever before. Cutting-edge influencer marketing revolves around determining micro-influencers suitable to the brand’s marketing goals. It is preferable to incorporate those accounts into the more expansive marketing program in an authentic and customized way. Therefore, the trend of micro-influencer marketing is not much of a surprise in an over-saturated market.