Micro influencer marketing is all the rage – but do you really fully understand who they are and how they can make – or break – your brand?
Let me speak from experience, because my job is to basically stalk influencers daily.
Okay, my real job is to hunt down influencers on every corner of the internet, consume their content, check out their post comments, analyze their data, then turn it into interesting enough stories that people like you will want to indulge in over your morning coffee. And hopefully, scribble down a few notes to take with you into your influencer marketing activities.
So, I’m a white hat influencer stalker.
Macro and micro-influencers, my eyes are on them all. And the more I learn about them, the more I’ve developed a bias in favor of micro-influencers. And you’ll discover why later on in this post.
But today, I’m willingly bringing out all the case files of both macro and micro-influencers onto this coffee shop table where I’ll be hanging out for the day.
Leaving my bias at home, I’m hoping to give this an objective perspective but also a detailed context that will fairly validate both sides.
So you can max out on the influencer opportunities that are available for your brand.
So, Who’s Who?
I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this, you have a general concept of what macro and micro-influencers are.
One has a large following and the other has a smaller following?
Yes. That’s at surface level. Actually, follower numbers are just one lateral characteristic of macro and micro-influencers.
So, let’s give this the polish that it deserves.
The Confusion About Micro-Influencers
There’re a number of descriptions flying around the internet about what influencers are classified as micro. Some say influencers with 2,000-50,000 followers, others say 10,000-500,000 followers and I’ve even come across 1,000-1,000,000 followers.
But what exactly is it?
The problem I have with the latter two is the margin is too large and the influence differences on the varying ends are quite significant.
To give you some context, let’s say, for example, that a high school has an average of 1,000 students. If the principal makes an announcement for all students to download the school’s app, the potential reach of people to follow that action is 1,000.
Now, let’s say this announcement reached 1 million students. That would be equivalent to 1,000 schools. The result? Server crashes before the announcement is over.
1 school and 1,000 schools. Big difference.
So, in all logic, we really can’t put them in the same box.
And here’s where I’d like to propose a new perspective to micro-influencers.
Stay with me.
A New Perspective on Micro-Influencers
In the world of micro-influencers, follower numbers are a mirror of their experience.
An influencer with 1,000 followers is a newbie to the game. They’re likely experimental with their content and may be a little more flexible with their niche – trying to figure out where their influence strength is.
Whereas, an influencer with 100,000+ followers has been in it long enough to be clear on their niche, image and content style. They’ve experimented enough to figure themselves out and what their followers are interested in. This influencer has produced a lot more content than a newbie and has experienced insights into their followers’ behavior.
This idea introduces a tiered approach to micro-influencers based on their experience level.
And because I know your brain is craving for this, what exactly is the cut-off for micro-influencers?
Before I give you my answer, I’d like you to know that it goes beyond a simple metric. Rather, certain characteristics come into play such as what all micro-influencers have in common – which will be discussed next. So, hang tight.
But for now, let me indulge you with 250,000-500,000 followers as the transition point between micro-influencers and macro-influencers.
Influencers around about this point have climbed higher up in the food chain.
They are doing big things. They’re in demand and out of reach because now you have to go through their agent to enquire about collaborating. And if you’re one of their followers, getting a reply to your comment is like winning a raffle.
Which brings me to the next conclusion.
What Do All Micro-Influencers Have In Common?
Whatever the experience level of any micro-influencer, they all have one thing in common:
Micro-influencers are highly engaged with their followers.
Their comment reply rate is high and they’re likely entertaining DM convos with their followers.
And what’s the result? Their followers continue to reciprocate the engagement.
As long as this communication flow continues, that engagement rate swells. Assuming their content is worth engaging over, of course.
There’s a relationship in the mix. Followers become friends. And of course, the influence is much stronger between friends.
Now, if you’ve done a bit of reading on micro-influencers, you may have come across the idea that micro-influencers have more of a niche than macro-influencers. I argue this.
The niche quality is not exclusive to micro-influencers so we can’t entirely credit it to them. And in the same breath, not all micro-influencers have a niche audience.
However, we can agree that most influencers have somewhat of a niche audience. i.e beauty, fashion, fitness, health, music, etc. But how specialized that is, varies on influencer – regardless of whether micro or macro.
So, I suggest we dismiss the weight that the niche characteristic has on micro-influencers.
Now, let’s get into how this all ties in with your brand.
Making Your Brand with Micro-Influencers
Of course, micro-influencers are great – but let’s uncover all the good stuff that they’re made of:
High Engagement Rates
The DNA of most micro-influencers features fantastic engagement rates. Because they’ve established strong personal relationships with their followers, their engagement activity is buzzing.
You’re looking at 3-8% engagement rates (I’ve seen some super micro-influencers with engagement rates over 10% – legit). Compared to macro-influencers that are less than 3% (and from my experience, macro-influencers usually have an engagement rate in the range of 1%).
For your brand, this translates to more engagement with your campaign.
IDEA: working with micro-influencers is especially a bonus if your campaign objectives include conducting market research, gathering feedback and even running product tests. Your micro-influencers will deliver on fantastic engagement activity for your campaigns.
High Conversion Rates
According to Experticity, micro-influencers have 22+ times more sales conversions than other influencers. This is what happens when micro-influencers’ highly engaged followers become loyal as a result of the strong relationships built.
Followers value the opinions of authentic micro-influencers.
What happens when a friend makes a recommendation? It’s valued and trusted.
IDEA: get micro-influencers to create product review campaigns to drive those sales conversions.
Collaborating with a micro-influencer is pretty much a DM or an email away. Contacting them about a collab opportunity is usually easy and quick. No dealing with agents. No long processes and waiting periods just to reach them.
There are so many micro-influencers out there. And all of them are looking for opportunities to grow. Your collab invitation will make their day.
And the best part, micro-influencers are usually no-fuss. They don’t come with a long list of requirements and demands, unlike their macro counterparts.
What this all means is that dealing with micro-influencers is like going through a drive-through – it’s quick, easy and super convenient.
IDEA: need to get an online campaign flying asap? Micro-influencers will help get it flying for you in no time.
Micro-influencers are the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed of the influencer universe. Their interests are all about growing and they’ll likely bend over backward to impress.
They are certainly more excited and appreciative about collab opportunities that come their way and will put all their energy (if not more) into a campaign.
Micro-influencers likely also have more time on their hands, hence why they can afford to offer more of themselves into promoting your brand and even being available to you on call.
IDEA: if you’d love the energy of an enthusiastic micro-influencer to stick around to promote your brand, keep them motivated. You’d be surprised at how ecstatic they’d be over a freebie and more so how they’ll put an extra effort into doing an awesome product review.
Micro-influencers come with a pocket-friendly price tag. Reward them with commissions and give them some decent freebies and they’re good to rock and roll with your brand.
And for the micro-influencers that prefer to be paid a cash rate, this is pretty reasonable. I’m talking $100 per 10,000 followers.
Now, how does this all translate? Well, remember these micro social media stars come with high engagement rates?
So let’s do a bit of math for a sec.
Say your micro-influencer with 10,000 followers is hitting an engagement rate of 3% (average-case scenario although this metric could likely be higher), which means 300 people are engaging with your campaign. With an average conversion rate of 2.55%, that means that you’d get about 7 sales or conversions. At the cost of 100 bucks. Depending on the price point of your products, even for low $30 items ($30 x 7 = $210 sales) – this is a pretty decent ROI. Even from a customer acquisition cost point of view for subscription-based businesses, this is great.
Average metrics are used in this example. Please ensure that your business economics makes sense. I.e, spending $100 on an influencer won’t work if you’re selling $2 products unless you’ve decided to run generous campaigns for testing purposes.
But as you can see, micro-influencers are an affordable option to drive your business targets with little investment.
IDEA: to multiply your ROI, engage a number of micro-influencers for your online campaign. The more micro-influencers you collaborate with (within your capacity to manage), the better your results.
Breaking Your Brand with Micro-Influencers
As with all good things – sorry to burst your bubble – things can go wrong with micro-influencers.
But forewarned is forearmed.
So here we go.
If you’re looking to boost your brand awareness, micro-influencers are not going to do it for you. Their follower numbers are small and will have little effect on scaling your brand visibility up.
Unless you reach masses of micro-influencers (which is challenging), getting your brand in front of millions as fast as possible is not happening here.
HEADS-UP: skip the small stars and go for macro-influencers if you’re looking for brand awareness in the millions.
As we discussed earlier that micro-influencers come at various experience levels, they may not come as skilled and as equipped as you’d like them.
They may not be knowledgeable on creating polished reports for you and they may be clueless when you request things like category exclusivity from them.
HEADS-UP: you might want to lower your expectations from micro-influencers and be a little patient with them while they learn and grow.
Micro-influencers have a positive potential on a brand’s campaign – only if executed well. And here’s where a campaign’s performance can have a poor impact with micro-influencers. Especially if you assume a lot and leave them to do as they best think (with their minimal experience).
Micro-influencers may make mistakes. Their content quality may not be great. And their abilities may be limited.
HEADS-UP: support is key to setting your micro-influencers up for success. Pre-equip them with campaign ideas, tools, and resources to help get them started.
Conclusion on Micro-Influencers
Even after unfolding the possible downsides to using micro-influencers for your brand, the pros, however, certainly still make them appealing enough to collaborate with. As long as they’re fairly equipped to succeed.
From high engagement rates, higher conversion rates, accessibility, enthusiasm to affordable ROI. Micro-influencers are the small stars with the capacity to do big things for your brand.
If micro-influencers have won your heart, Afluencer releases regular influencer roundups across various categories that you’d find valuable in your search.
Now that you understand the potential for micro influencer marketing, check out these additional resources from this blog:
- 6 Steps to Strategically Building an Influencer Marketing Program
- 20 Influencer Marketing Trends to be Realized by 2020
- Influencers vs Brand Ambassadors: What is the True Value of Influencer Marketing?
- Free Influencer Marketing Ebook: How AI is Revolutionizing Influencer Marketing
- The Definitive List of Influencer Marketing Tools
Learn all you need to know about Micro-Influencers: the what, who, and why you need to start working with them – in this great infographic from Shane Barker.