What is a Micro-Influencer?
As a savvy marketing machine, you’ve heard of influencer marketing, but what about micro-influencers? Your influencer marketing strategy most likely includes YouTube stars, bloggers, celebrities or a mix of all of them, but what you may not know is that micro-influencers are more effective than any other category of influencer marketing.
Micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have 500–5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant topics. Below we provide you with the ultimate micro-influencer breakdown: who they are, how they’re different from other types of influencers, and why they can drive major ROI on your business objectives.
Prepare for take off.
Influencer Marketing, and its Evolution
The influencer marketing industry has grown exponentially over the last two years, becoming the disruptive marketing strategy to traditional methods of inbound and paid ads. However, not all influencers are created equal. The most well known type of influencer category is celebrities. No, Kourtney Kardashian doesn’t just love that brand of detox tea, she has actually been paid to advertise it as a form of word-of-mouth promotion that has huge reach and a more “personal touch” than paid social advertisement.
This form of influencer marketing may appear to be effective, with Kourtney’s 31 million followers and her 312,000 likes on this post alone. You couldn’t ask for better engagement or reach, right?
Influencer marketing in this context can often be about as helpful as shooting an arrow into the woods and hoping you hit something. In fact, the greater the reach of influence that a person has, the less engaged that reach will actually be. As much awareness that celeb or social media star drives, the majority of their followers are only going to remember them, not the advertised product. In fact, studies have shown that celebrity endorsements consistently underperform in comparison to regular advertisements — especially when the celebrity had no apparent connection to the product.
It’s time to start thinking of influencers in terms of impact — by definition, their power to change or affect someone or something. In this case, tangible conversion on bottom-line business objectives and return-on-investment.
Consider this scenario, instead:
Your friend posts a status update about a new brand of tea. You trust her tea preferences — she’s always posting about herbal remedies and she’s tried several brands, so you know her opinion has resonance. She’s not some annoying cookie-based ad that follows you around from site to site, and she’s not a blogger tooting the next hot product’s horn. She’s a person that you trust. So you buy the tea, and you find out that your other mutual friend bought it too after seeing the same status update. In other words, you’re more likely to buy the tea that your friend posted about than the one in Kourtney’s Instagram post, even if you see both.
This is a micro-influencer at work.
The Rise of the Micro-Influencer
As a marketer working to gain market share for your brand, you already know that not all your customers are created equal; some have more relevance on social media in certain areas of interest than others. Some buy your product occasionally, while others live and die by it. Which of those customers would you rather have promoting your brand?
For example, if you work for a fitness apparel brand, you want the habitual marathon runner who belongs to five different Facebook exercise groups to post about your sweat-wicking shirt, not the guy who bought those thermal socks that one time and has three Facebook friends. If you want to cut through the noise on social media, you don’t just need to tap into your loyal customers or advocates, but to tap into the pool of your most influential customers. These customers are identified by their influence around topics relevant to your brand, whose promotion carries the most weight and drives the most tangible action from their friends.
Micro-influencer marketing is discovering those customers who are relevant and influential around your brand, and through creation of co-developed posts on social media, drive conversions towards your business objectives.
Micro-influencers generally have the smallest reach, but they also have the highest engaged reach and are mightier in numbers. More importantly, they’re generating authentic conversions among like-minded consumers, individuals with shared connections to the micro-influencer that are far more powerful than the superficial engagements and conversions you may get from a paid advertisement, blog or impersonal public endorsement.
In addition to their high engaged reach and collective capacity, micro-influencers are far more easily motivated than any other influencer category to promote your brand. As micro-influencers relevant to your brand, they already rank higher for brand affinity. They are motivated by “VIP” treatment, such as discounts, exclusive promotions and special offers, instead of cash. Of the types of influencers to choose for a marketing strategy, incorporating micro-influencers provides the best bang for your buck; we’ve proven that every one micro-influencer activated results in three friends converted on average.
Micro-influencers are your best brand asset you didn’t even know about. They may not have Kourtney’s following, but what they do have is the key to driving the most conversions for your brand. It’s the difference between a fast-moving tidal wave and a singular cannonball splash.