According to estimates from the research firm Insider Intelligence, the amount that brands spend on influencer marketing is set to reach $15 billion by 2022. That’s an enormous increase from the $1.7 billion spent in 2016—and it makes it very clear just how important influencers are in today’s digital marketing landscape.
It’s not just the amount being spent on influencers that has changed. The type of influencers that brands are seeking out has also evolved alongside consumers’ ever-changing online and social media habits. While influencer marketing was once the exclusive territory of celebrities with huge followings, brands today are just as likely to seek out influencers with much smaller followings.
These micro-influencers, as they are known, are individuals who have between 1,000 and 10,000 social media followers. This is a far cry from the millions of followers that many celebrities and other public figures can boast, but this doesn’t mean that micro-influencers are less powerful than their macro counterparts. On the contrary, when it comes to engaging audiences and impacting their decisions, micro-influencers usually punch far above their weight. Read on for a look at five reasons why smaller can sometimes be better in the world of influencer marketing.
1. Micro-influencers have better engagement rates.
According to a recent study of Instagram content conducted by Markerly, the influencers that do best at engaging their audiences have only about 1,000 followers. These micro-influencers generate likes on their content about 8 percent of the time (likes are used here as a measure of engagement). Interestingly, though you might expect the reverse to be true, the study further revealed that as follower numbers get bigger, engagement rates go down. After the 100,000-follower mark, influencers are only earning likes about 1.7 percent of the time.
2. Micro-influencers can help you reach more targeted audiences.
If your brand is pursuing influencer marketing to reach niche or targeted audiences, micro-influencers are the way to go. Influencers with bigger followings may be able to reach a larger audience, but there are no guarantees about how many people in that audience will be interested in your brand. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have typically built up their smaller followings around a particular area of interest or expertise, not merely around their celebrity status. This means that if your brand has something to offer that falls into that area, a micro-influencer’s audience will be far more receptive because your offering will resonate directly with what they are already interested in.
3. Micro-influencers are more affordable.
Celebrities or other influencers with millions of followers may be able to give your brand a boost, but at what cost? It’s not uncommon for influencers at this level to charge tens of thousands of dollars for just one promotional post on a platform such as Instagram. By contrast, according to data from the digital marketing news firm We are Social Media, 97 percent of micro-influencers charge $500 or less to post a product promotion on Instagram. Even if your brand needs to increase its reach by working with multiple micro-influencers, your costs are still likely to be much lower than if you were working with a single celebrity influencer.
4. Micro-influencers can bring authenticity to your brand.
Authenticity is perhaps the key factor in digital marketing today. Contemporary consumers are looking beyond the polished and perfect lifestyles promoted by the advertising of previous generations and are instead gravitating to real, relatable people whose lives are just as messy and complex as theirs. This is why micro-influencers have become so popular: many of them are simply ordinary people creating authentic content about their everyday lives and interests, and this relatability is what makes them attractive.
From a brand perspective, this means that many people will see a promotion from a micro-influencer that they follow as a genuine recommendation, like one you’d get from a friend, and consequently will be more likely to want to learn more about your brand.
5. Micro-influencers can communicate directly with their audience about your brand.
Influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers can’t communicate or respond directly to all, or even most, of the comments they receive from their audience. However, given the much more manageable size of their base, this is something that a micro-influencer can feasibly do. A micro-influencer with several hundred to a thousand followers is better positioned to engage directly and personally with these followers about your brand. They can answer questions, provide more detail about their experience with your brand, and even direct followers to your website or customer support team. In other words, they can do a great deal of your customer support work for you, with the added benefit of a personal touch.