Influencer marketing has been gaining momentum amongst brands. Particularly in a climate that gets easily annoyed at “consumer” content (as evidenced in the recent Facebook algorithm change to submerge consumerist posts), influencer marketing can provide the reach and engagement that companies are looking for.
However, consumers are becoming smarter and pickier. Celebrities’ immense follower pools are highly diverse and often disengaged due to users not being able to relate or create a personal connection with the celebrity. Therefore, some of these celebrities can lose their credibility when promoting products.
In this dilemma of brands desiring promotion to the right channels but not wanting to overwhelm consumers, “micro influencer” marketing has emerged.
What Is a Micro Influencer?
Micro influencers are niche celebrities – passionate thought leaders who vocalize their opinions and are thereby trusted as a result of their expertise in the field. Conversations on their posts are meaningful and authentic, as followers find their content relatable and interesting. Their targeted and active followers, along with their independence and authenticity, make micro influencers a powerful resource for marketers.
These social media users have a pool of typically “500 – 5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant and relatable topics.” Although the reach provided by micro influencers may be small, it is immensely powerful. It has been found that “the smaller the follower pool, the bigger the influence.” With higher engagement rates among their followers, these micro influencers are the perfect vehicle for marketers to leverage. In comparison to social celebrities, micro influencers get two to five times more engagement on their posts. In another study, 82 percent of respondents said that they were “highly likely to follow a recommendation” if it was made by a micro influencer. This may be why micro influencer marketing is the “fastest growing customer-acquisition channel, as well as the most cost-effective marketing channel.”
On average, businesses make “$6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.” Micro influencers’ credibility, believability and knowledge makes their reach more influential due to loyal followers listening and trusting their input, which can be used to gain positive brand recognition.
Pros, Cons, and New Developments
Unfortunately for some companies, micro influencer profiles often don’t quite have the reach many brands yearn for. Companies can certainly recruit multiple thought leaders, yet this drains resources due to the work, money and time that must be dedicated to taking care of the relationship between user and brand. This can make micro influencer marketing more intricate than other marketing strategies.
Fortunately, technology hopes to solve this problem. New influencer marketing software and platforms aim to help brands and micro influencers get a wider reaching audience. By simplifying this process, companies can focus their attention on creating better campaigns — as opposed to finding the right connections — particularly if they desire to use numerous micro influencers.
Balance Needed Between Supply and Demand
Supply and demand dictates that micro influencers can start charging more as they gain recognition. Competition amongst brands seeking out the same accounts may also escalate prices. However, if these thought leaders have expertise and true passion for their respective fields, they should probably avoid swaying their audience towards products they themselves may not use.
It’s possible for micro influencers to go too far when promoting brands. Once followers see through thought leaders’ commercial-only endorsements, they will likely engage less and unfollow these accounts. Active, trusting following pools are what makes micro influencers so advantageous – without them, micro influencers lose their credibility and thereby their value to marketers. If this influencer marketing becomes too common, followers may tune out to suggestions the same way consumers have learned to disregard many celebrity endorsements. Thus, influencer promotions must find a balance of providing helpful advice without going overboard into purely commercial activities.