In this day and age, as people are becoming more and more skeptical regarding traditional advertising methods, famous companies or smaller businesses need to reinvent their strategies and find ways to make their self-promotion more authentic. This is where so-called micro-influencers come into play.
A lot of brand names used to prefer working with famous celebrities with a large number of followers, through methods such as product placement, but over time people have become more apprehensive towards this promotion strategy. It seems like the tide is turning, and more and more companies seek for the increasingly numerous benefits of working with smaller influencers.
Difference between micro-influencers and celebrities
Being an “influencer” has become the newest trend this century. It is a lifestyle many people turn to, and as an Awin study states, “social media influencer” is the second most popular career option for people aged 11 to 16. Anyone can be a social media influencer these days, although people tend to call people with less than 10,000 followers micro-influencers.
These micro-influencers make up the majority of influencers on most digital platforms, and while their number of followers is small, their influence is quite big. In fact, because they have fewer follower bases, these small-time influencers have the tendency to be more engaged with their audience on a daily basis. This cannot happen with people with huge follower bases, as they cannot interact with all of them constantly.
Another thing that sets apart smaller influences and social media celebrities is that the first category tends to be more relevant to a more specific industry. Micro-influencers tend to be experts in niche categories, and their audience is also made up of people interested in that niche. Bigger celebrities will not have followers that are as invested in specific aspects of their brand.
Why do companies prefer smaller influencers?
First and foremost, many brands nowadays turn to micro-influencers as opposed to celebrities because they are highly cost-effective. Celebrities tend to charge a lot higher fees for their collaborations, which is a lot of the times not worth it for the value of the work they can deliver.
Any brand should include micro-influencers in their business strategy, as it will give long term benefits for their budget. The same amount of money they put into a top-tier influencer to promote their products through a single post could be used to pay a larger number of smaller influencers. By doing this, brands have a higher chance to reach a wider audience, a more engaged audience, and thus allowing them to build a genuine fan base.
2. Scepticism of the public over celebrity promotions
Not so long ago, promotions made by celebrities used to be highly effective. However, in recent years, the culture around celebrities seems to have diminished, as people became more and more skeptical. People nowadays seem to have become aware of the fake aspect of sponsored promotion, and instead prefer promotions based on actual preference. It is proven that once a smaller influencer crosses the line of 1 million followers on social media, most people will brush off their posts as sponsored deals rather than genuine passion.
3. They seem more genuine
People with only a few thousand followers generally give the impression of being genuine, trustworthy people, as they provide more authentic and relatable content to their audiences. Fans tend to engage more with an influencer if they have a certain aesthetic to their content, if they connect to a more personal level and if their tone is authentic, friendly, and engaging. They can also spread the message a company intends to send in a cleaner, more genuine way.
As they are sharing their personal content, micro-influencers show their appreciation towards their growing community more, and they are highly likely to attend certain events and interact with their followers by replying to their comments or messages. For someone whose posts get around 300 comments every day, it becomes increasingly harder to engage every single person on a personal level.
4. Smaller influencers have more specific content
Micro-influencers tend to have a niche audience, meaning a smaller number of followers, that is more connected to the specific topics the influencers represent. These follower bases will tend to have a lot of people usually engaging in similar content, and part of a similar demographic profile, assets which are really useful for companies looking to promote specific products.
“Smaller influencers often allow companies to target audiences interested in that niche. Not only that, but since the influencers themselves are familiar with that particular niche, they can provide detailed descriptions and recommendations for the products themselves. This makes for a better, more genuine promotion, which really helps in the long, as the relevance of the promoter to the brand is key in any marketing scheme,” explains Adam Kirrian, a social media writer at Assignment Writers and UKWritings.
5. It is easier to find genuine brand fans
When a smaller influencer is involved with a niche topic, chances are they may already be fans of the brand a company is trying to promote. This is particularly good for any business because it doesn’t take any time to convince them to help you promote your products. In fact, a lot of the times smaller influencers do promotions by themselves without the companies’ knowledge, so it is worthwhile to find someone who is already promoting the desired product.
6. They are better to work with
Typically, micro-influencers tend to be more engaging on a personal level, which makes it easier for businesses to establish personal connections to them.
“A lot of the times, businesses claim that smaller influencers go above and beyond to satisfy the needs of their client, as they show their gratefulness towards the people that notice them and value their work. They also claim that it is easier to contact them and that they tend to be more open to explore the tasks they are given and provide out-of-the-box content,” says Hillary Ian, a blogger at State Of Writing and Oxessays.
7. Great for small businesses and startups
Unlike big companies, which have bigger budgets and can afford to hire anyone to promote their content, smaller companies have to find cheaper options in order to compete with the big leagues in the market. This is not a problem since small business owners or startups can rely on micro-influencers who closely relate to their brand to work with, on a smaller budget.
This is great for anybody who is just starting up in the business, as it no longer means that only big brands and names compete in the market. In fact, starting with smaller fan bases can be a good thing, as you establish your relevance to the market while building up a reputation among the consumers, without having to spend a lot of money on promotion.
As it seems, there are many benefits to working with smaller influencers rather than people with large follower bases. Nowadays, people are becoming less and less interested in the traditional advertisements, resorting to Adblock software most of the time, so using micro-influencers can become the new, more creative method to reach your target audience, without seeming forced.
It has already been proven that influencer marketing is a valuable tool for marketing products or services, with some of the essential outcomes such as increasing awareness, reaching new audiences, improving brand advocacy and sales conversion.
In 2019, influencer marketing is considered as one of the most effective marketing tools to drive a higher return on investment. 80% of marketers think it is more practical, while 71% thinks that influencer marketing helps to drive customers and traffic of high quality. In comparison to the other social media platforms, Instagram abounds with influencers. According to statistics in 2016, Instagram had 9.7K sponsored influencer posts, and that was expected to increase to over 30K in 2019.
Although the influencer marketing is so widely used, marketers still face difficulties with identifying the most suitable influencers for their campaigns.
Choosing the most relevant influencers is critical because they can either make or break your campaign. There are so many factors you should give thought to before making the final decision:
Do they create relevant, authentic, and high-quality contents?
What is the demographics of their audience?
Do they have a high engagement rate and massive reach?
Partnering with macro-influencers with a broad reach usually charges thousands for a single post. But partnering with micro-influencers with a lower audience will bring a higher engagement rate. As many marketers decide to leverage the power of influence of celebrities, collaboration with micro-influencers is rising and becoming more popular.
So, which one is most suitable for your campaign: macro-influencer or micro-influencer marketing? Which one works best, and which one is a worthwhile investment? In further paragraphs, we will discuss each one in details to identify the main differences, and when to work with one of them?
Who are micros
Micro-influencers are considered social media users with a small audience. According to the definition of Forbes, they usually have followers within the range of 10.000-50.000. However, they initially categorized as having a higher engagement rate with their audience in comparison to the macro-influencers.
They usually comprised a focused and targeted niche market. Therefore they are experts on a particular topic and have more information about their niches. They are considered more reliable because they are usually everyman sharing their personal recommendations, everyday life, their passion, and dislikes.
Who are macros
On the contrary, macro-influencers have a broader audience. They usually have 50.000 to 300.000 followers on a specific social media platform. Their content is in high-quality and is made up of focused topic or passion.
They have a loyal audience which grows organically over time. It’s worth to note that they are typically well-known in the local community and sometimes worldwide; therefore, their power of influence is also high. We can think about macro-influencers as celebrities.
Unlike micro-influencers, macro-influencers require more budget, so small and medium businesses should always consider their budget prior to starting their marketing campaigns.
Micro vs. Macro: Know the difference
If you are not certain about which type is the best fit for your business, read on to identify the key differences and similarities before deciding which one is a really great option to ratchet up the return on investment of marketing campaigns.
This is one of the most important differences, since the micro-influencer has a higher engagement rate than celebrities.
According to research by SocialPubli, they produce 7 times more engagement rate than the average produced by macro-influencers. Micro-influencers are the most engaging and fast-growing influencers in the digital marketing industry.
Although they don’t have as many followers, their audience has a more natural interest in the shared content. Therefore, followers engage with their content even when they know it’s a sponsored post.
Research carried in 2016, shows that as the number of followers increases, the engagement rate decreases. Markerly studied about 5M posts from over 800K Instagram users.
The research found out that influencers with 1K followers or below gets 8% more likes; however, influencers with followers of 10.000 only get 1.6%.
What does this mean to marketers? Engagement rate is the best metric to measure the influence. Running a micro-influencer campaign is a great way to take your brand in front of lots of various audiences.
Authenticity is a key factor in each influencer marketing campaign. Consumers are more likely to follow the recommendations of influencers who appear more genuine, which means the influencer campaign can be a great way to establish an authentic bond with the target audience.
Brands were using celebrities in traditional promotions for decades; however, the report by Collective Bias shows that only 3% of customers would think about purchasing a product endorsed by a celebrity, and 30% would consider buying a product that was promoted by a micro-influencer who is a non-celebrity.
Brands that collaborate with micro-influencers see 20% more conversion rates. That doesn’t seem surprising for us, because customers are more likely to make their decisions based on word-of-mouth advice of close and distant friends or influencers. But this doesn’t mean that macro-influencers are not authentic or credible.
Let’s look at one example.
Maybelline wanted to increase brand awareness and sales for the new product launch at Walmart. In order to achieve this goal, they collaborated with beauty influencers who created video contents giving beauty tips and trick. They emphasized the benefits of the product and temped followers to visit Maybelline’s stores.
They managed to generate 73,700 views and 35.7 million impressions to the content they have created. Meanwhile, influencer’s blogs involved 10.900 engagements, that resulted in a 1.3x progress in total brand media value.
Massive reach is a major feature of macro-influencers or celebrities. Despite the decent number of followers, micro-influencers’ reach is trifle when compared to than that of their celebrity peers. They are able to spread any brand’s marketing message to large audiences through a single post thanks to so many followers. To achieve such a massive reach, you might need to work with several micro-influencers. Thus if your goal is to raise brand awareness and increase visibility, macro-influencers is a better opportunity.
Even though macro-influencers offer an extensive reach, to partner with them is costly, which makes them less approachable. Mainly, small and medium enterprises or start-ups with limited marketing budget might choose to go with micro-influencers instead.
As stated by the New York Times, working with influencers with 3-7 million followers can cost you $75,000 per Instagram or Snapchat post, following an average of $187,500 per Youtube video and they charge about $30,000 per Twitter post.
Nonetheless, starting micro-influencer campaigns are considerably less expensive. According to a report of Bloglovin’, 97% of micro-influencers costs less than $500; 87% of which cost about $500 and 96% of influencers charge $1000 for a sponsored blog posts. For Facebook and Twitter posts, your expenses will not be more than $500.
An extra significant benefit of partnering with a micro-influencer is that he/she can connect with highly relevant audiences. This opportunity can help marketers improve the return on investment of their campaigns positively.
They are usually experts in particular fields such as fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, gaming vloggers, and lifestyle coaches. Despite the fact that they have smaller followings, those followings include people who are genuinely interested in influencers’ niches. For that reason, they are expected to get easy conversions and more relevant leads.
Macro-influencers may be real experts in a specific topic as well. Nevertheless, they are sometimes seen endorsing products that are utterly unrelated to their expertise.
As an example, let’s say you are going to open a new restaurant. Instead of working with a macro-influencer who creates in high-quality contents about cars, collaborating with foodie micro-influencers whose followers might be more appropriate to your business is a better option to go with.
Making the final decision
Now you have a broader perception of how micro-influencers can benefit you accomplish your marketing goals. The main issue is to prioritize your targets. If it’s a matter of authenticity, go with micro-influencers. If generating more reach is more vital for you, then go with macro-influencers. No matter which one you choose, creating a strong bond with those who have the power of influence will define the success of your entire marketing campaign.