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Published October 17th 2022

Is Bigger Always Better? When to Opt for Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers are on the rise. They may not have big follower numbers, but they still can be incredibly valuable for brands.

Do you remember the festival that never happened and which shook the influencer marketing field? 

In 2017 big celebrities promoted the event to their fans and hundreds of enthusiastic music fans traveled to the Bahamas only to experience one of the most awful festival experiences in history. The Fyre Festival became famous not only for the fraud but the celebrities promoting the festival. 

It damaged the trustworthiness of influencer collaborations, especially with big names. Brands became more careful with their collaborations and they discovered the benefits of smaller influencers, the micro-influencers.

Authenticity and trust are key to win new customers and one benefit of micro-influencers is that they are seen as trustworthy. With micro-influencers you can reach people in a more authentic way. Social Media is becoming a more and more difficult place to cut through the noise and ads are often seen as untrustworthy and annoying. In 2022 27% of Americans on the internet are using ad blockers compared to only 15.7 % in 2014. 

Influencer marketing is a way for brands to reach their target audiences and capture their attention. Influencer marketing is not a new invention, but this discipline has changed since its inception. In the early days, influencer marketing was associated with celebrity endorsements. Since then, the field of influencer marketing has become a lot more sophisticated, and there are now a lot of players in the influencer field. 

The field of influencer marketing is enormous. 93% of marketers say influencer marketing is part of their overall marketing strategy, and more than half collaborate with influencers regularly. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing market will grow to a whopping 16.4 billion U.S. dollars a year (in 2016, it was only 1.7 billion U.S. dollars). And 52% of Gen Z say they seek advice from an influencer before making a purchase decision. It is therefore a fair assumption that collaborating with influencers can be important if you want to reach a younger audience.

Which influencers should you choose for your marketing campaigns? I’m here to tell you that ‘the bigger the better’ isn’t necessarily true when it comes to influencers. Bigger is not always better. In fact, influencers with a smaller follower base operating in a niche have a higher engagement rate than big influencers. These micro-influencers can boost your marketing campaign and can become a trusted ally.

What are micro-influencers?

Influencers can be split into different influencer groups based on their follower count. Big influencers, known as macro-influencers, have 500k followers or more. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, operate in the 10-100k follower range.

A smaller follower base isn’t the only difference that sets micro-influencers apart. They often concentrate on a niche. Their content is much more focused on a specific topic, like plus size fashion or cycling gear, and so are their followers. They follow the influencer because they are interested in this niche topic. They are more likely to engage with the influencer content compared to followers of big accounts.

They are also seen as experts in their field, and their opinions have a higher impact on their community. It’s no wonder working with micro-influencers is becoming more popular among brands. In a survey from Linquia in 2021, 90% of marketers said they want to work with micro-influencers (this number is up from 80% in 2020).

Let’s have a closer look at why brands should work with micro-influencers.

Why should brands work with micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers have a more engaged community

Micro-influencers have a much more engaged community than macro-influencers. According to a report from Later and Fohr, the amount of followers influences the engagement rate. The higher the follower count, the lower the engagement rate. Influencers with a lot of followers are more likely to have a higher percentage of passive lurkers that don’t engage with the content. While micro-influencers receive an average 2% engagement rate on sponsored posts, macro-influencers only receive an average of 1.2%. 

Micro-influencers are experts in their fields 

As said above, micro-influencers usually focus on a niche. People follow them because they are experts in their fields and they want to learn more about a specific topic. Micro-influencers are passionate about their content and engage with their community. They are seen as more authentic, relatable, and honest than macro-influencers.

For that reason, their followers are also more open to their recommendations. 82% of consumers say they are highly likely to follow advice from micro-influencers. 

Micro-influencers have a more targeted audience

With micro-influencers, brands can reach a much more targeted audience. Macro-influencers usually cover more broad topics, and not every follower of them will be interested in your brand. As micro-influencers serve a specific niche, their audience is more likely to be specifically interested in recommendations in this area. Followers of a micro-influencer interested in hiking are much more likely to engage with hiking gear and wear posts than followers of a macro-influencer covering sports activities in general. 

Micro-influencers provide more value for money

Spend in influencer marketing is often tied to the number of followers an influencer has. As micro-influencers have a much smaller fanbase than macro-influencers, working with them is also more affordable for a lot of brands. Smaller brands can do influencer marketing campaigns within their budgets and allow them to work with more than one influencer.

Brands working with macro-influencers spend an average of 5-10k U.S. dollars per post, while micro-influencers only cost an average of 100-500 U.S. dollars per post. Their conversion rate is 20% higher than macro-influencers, indicating that brands get more value for their money. 

How to choose the right micro-influencer

Choosing the right influencer is key. Micro-influencers should share your values, and their tone of voice should match your brand. Influencers can boost your brand awareness and sales but choosing the wrong one could damage your reputation. When influencers and brands have nothing in common, followers will be confused at best, angry at worst about the collaboration, and ultimately won’t trust the recommendation. 

A good first step, before choosing a micro-influencer is to have a look at your influencer marketing goals. What do you want to achieve with your campaign? Is it increased brand awareness? Are you launching a new product? Are you trying to increase sales? Looking to get more reviews? Always keep your goals in mind before you reach out to influencers. In our blog ‘How to Develop an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy’ you get an overview and useful tips for developing a successful influencer marketing strategy. 

I’ll leave you here with a quick checklist of questions you should answer before picking a micro-influencer.

Things to check up on before choosing an influencer:

  • What are your influencer marketing goals?
  • Are the followers of the micro-influencer real people?
  • How is the micro-influencer communicating? 
  • What does the audience of the micro-influencer look like?
  • Does the micro-influencer buy into your value proposition?
  • Is the micro-influencer already working with other brands? 

Another way to find micro-influencers is to use influencer marketing tools. With an influencer marketing tool like Influence, you can find the right influencers in no time. 

You can set different filters in your search to get a list of influencers that fit your criteria, like follower count, engagement rate, location, or influencers that cover a specific topic. In Influence, you can search in a pool of more than 30 million creators. Apart from finding micro-influencers, you can also manage your influencer relationships and measure the success of your campaigns. You can find out more about Influence here.

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