If you are active on social media it is extremely likely that you have come across this terminology with increasing frequency. You may have even jokingly referred to yourself as a micro-influencer once or twice when you posted a photo of you sipping a seasonal latte at your favorite cafe. But what does it actually mean to be a micro-influencer, and how and why do businesses create micro-influencer programs to support their brand?
What is a Micro-Influencer?
The typical follower count range of a micro-influencer is typically somewhere between 1,000-100,000 followers, which is quite a wide range, but the larger point is that a micro-influencer is not a well-known global or national figure/celebrity with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. The goal of a micro-influencer is to NOT be a celebrity brand ambassador like we have all seen so many times: George Clooney drinking Nespresso, Michael Jordan wearing Hanes underwear, or even Kim Kardashian promoting Charmin (yes that happened).
After a while the typical celebrity endorsements begin to feel unrealistic and deceiving because most of the time they do not actually reflect authentic interest or passion for a brand. The choices consumers make are increasingly becoming more and more based on authenticity and connection - this is why the micro-influencer is so powerful, and will only grow in importance for the rest of 2023 and onward. Micro-influencers are often already fans of your brand, and may regularly post about your product with no prior incentive. This completely organic content is what makes micro-influencers so valuable.
Engagement vs Impressions
Another benefit of using micro-influencers is the very high engagement rates seen with the content these smaller content creators produce. Creating a campaign with a massive celebrity figure is sure to give you the upper hand when it comes to the sheer number of impressions. This is perfect if your primary target for a campaign is awareness, and quality engagement is a secondary metric. However, if you really want to increase engagement with your brand or product, micro-influencers are a very effective option.
But why do micro-influencers have on average higher engagement numbers than macro-influencers and celebrities? This is primarily due to the fact that micro-influencers' followers are typically a cohesive group of people who share very similar interests when it comes to specific lifestyles, products, and brand preferences. Additionally, many of the followers of micro-influencers may be actual friends with the specific micro-influencer, or have relationships that exist outside the realm of social media. All these factors contribute to more likes, more comments, and more shares - which is way more effective for your brand.
What Does a Micro-Influencer Campaign Cost?
Cost is always a factor when it comes to pursuing an influencer strategy, and once again this is where the micro-influencer takes the top step. Creating a marketing campaign with a celebrity or extremely well-known influencer is a massive investment, both in terms of time and company resources dedicated to the project. This can still be very effective if you are a large brand that has the bandwidth to support a project like this, however, for businesses with fewer resources, or businesses that are hesitant about entering the world of influencers, micro-influencers are a great way to see the benefits of an influencer program without the high cost.
In many cases, you can even start with one micro-influencer to test the waters before jumping in full force. This allows you to get a feel for how much the campaign will cost you, how much time and energy you need to devote to the campaign, and how effective the program will be when you begin to scale it.
How to Choose Micro-Influencers
After you have decided to pursue a micro-influencer strategy, the next step is to actually choose who you want to reach out to. This can be a somewhat overwhelming process, considering the vast number of social personas that exist.
For many brands, micro-influencers may be sitting in plain sight. All you need to do is take a look through the accounts that regularly engage with your brand and have tagged your brand in their own posts in the past. Many companies will find a small segment of dedicated customers that are already regularly promoting your brand. This is a perfect customer segment to reach out to, as they are already acting as brand advocates with zero incentive.
However, it is not always this easy, especially if you want to use your micro-influencer program to break into a new market or expand your audience. In these instances, you may have to look outside your audience and identify specific micro-influencers who don’t have any current affiliation with your brand. This can be accomplished by looking at various attributes of social media accounts.
Aesthetic and Post Style
What is your initial impression of their account as a whole, what do they post about on a regular basis, and does their own message sync with your brand?
Just as important as the type of content a micro-influencer produces, is who follows the micro-influencer, as this is who you will effectively be targeting through the collaborative content you create. Take a look at who follows this person’s account. Do you want to target this audience? Does this audience represent your brand?
Who They Follow
In order to gain greater clarity about a potential micro-influencer, take a look at who they follow. What accounts do they gravitate towards? This can tell you a lot about who this person is and what their personal preferences are, which will ultimately inform the content you create together.
As we previously mentioned, a primary benefit of a micro-influencer program is engagement, and thus it's important to check engagement levels for all potential influencers. How many likes and comments do they have on their posts? If you take a look at their Instagram story, do they often share stories of their followers interacting with their account? These are all positive signs that this user has a highly engaged audience. You want to make sure that you are choosing candidates based not only on follower count but on the number of high-quality engagements you will be receiving relative to follower count.
Once you have decided who you want to reach out to, you can begin the process of reaching out to these influencers and creating collaborative content. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new strategies with these influencers until you settle on a strategy that works for both you and the micro-influencer!
This year micro-influencers are only becoming more and more popular. Get a head start on your marketing strategy and start exploring how your own brand or organization can implement a micro-influencer strategy to boost the quality engagements your brand receives and ultimately grow the authentic community based on a love of your brand’s products and message.