Why using micro-influencers could be better for your brand than macro-influencers.

Using influencers for promotion on social media is a growing business model that most companies, from fake tan to hotels, have used at some point. When you think of an influencer, you think numbers: a huge following that will then be seen by a huge amount of people, and a message that can be spread far and wide. Plus, companies are willing to spend the big bucks on these campaigns; large percentages of budgets are being dedicated to using influencers and it is generally seen as a cheaper way to market a product. If own brand social media does not have a huge following, then they can swiftly pass on the branding and message to accounts that do and let them create the content, in a way that seems more authentic and real than a product-heavy branded shot.

Over the last 12 months, influencer marketing has matured. Influencers themselves are now facing the same challenges as brands in achieving organic reach, often having to amplify their commissioned content. This has meant that legislators and regulators are pushing down harder on transparency with posts to ensure that paid and gifted posts are clearly labelled which can then affect results. These new rules and regulations around posting means that it is more important than ever to get the branding and message right, and picking an influencer with similarly aligned messages and a more genuine fanbase could be more profitable than simply choosing one with a large following.

So, we have compiled a list of reasons why you should be looking at the smaller stars, micro-influencers, in social media to get the most out of your marketing strategy:

1. Engagement on posts tends to be better.

Thanks to the change in the Instagram algorithm and a rise in people buying followers, a big following does not always mean big engagement. A study in 2017 found that those with around 5k followers had an average engagement rate of 5.7% on Instagram, those with around 10k a rate of 4% and for those with 100k, their engagement rate can drop as low as 1%. With such a huge focus on following, brands are missing out on the fact that individual posts are gaining as much, or even more traction, than those with more followers. In some cases, it could even be the case that influencers with fewer followers could be getting MORE likes on each post, yet are charging less. Winner!

2. They’re going to give you more bang for your buck.

Probably an obvious one, but those with fewer influencers are going to charge less, and this doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality posts. They might be slightly newer to the game and are therefore more likely to put their heart and soul into content without worrying too much yet about costing out their work. Their feeds are an easy way to determine this: it is literally a live portfolio of work that you can access for free. Have a scroll through their posts to see how high-quality they are and, more importantly, if their feed works well with your brand. There is no point in marketing your new weight loss product to an influencer who promotes body positivity!

The engagement rates explored in the last point will also have an effect on cost. For example, if an influencer has 100,000 followers, but their average engagement is 1%, then a brand is paying to engage with only 1,000 people. Depending on the cost of the influencer service (for argument’s sake $2000), then you’re paying $2 per engagement. On the other hand, an influencer with fewer followers may have engagement percentages as high as 8%. So, if you’re looking to amplify your brand, do a quick comparison of the cost versus engagement – the numbers just might shock you. It might also make sense to target 10 smaller accounts at 10k followers in a campaign than blow a large chunk of budget behind someone with 100k. You’re technically targeting the same amount of followers and realistically, a group of micro-influencers is more affordable, you’ll reach a wider and diverse group and it is more effective than a single endorsement.

3. They have a more authentic and loyal following.

Macro-influencers will be seen as celebrities in the Instagram-world: aspirational and out of reach, with content that is barely relateable. Their sponsored posts might be too fine-tuned and perfectly executed, looking and feeling like a glossy advert, so the audience is less likely to buy into the product being sold. Plus, engagement rates are notoriously lower for posts which seem inauthentic, although this is admittedly harder to get around, regardless of follower count, with the newer rules around sponsored posts and gifting – having to put #AD kind of gives the game away even on the most subtle of promotion. Yet undeniably, micro-influencers have an audience who are more engaged and the influencer is more likely to interact with them and build up a real relationship, which means they’re more likely to take their advice and buy into what they are posting. They probably have a bit more of a niche too, which is something you can really channel into: for example, they might have an Instagram account based around cleaning their home and interiors, and you may be a brand that sells cleaning products. The audience following this account will already have a vested interest in cleaning, and therefore your products. Trust between the audience and a brand plays a massive role in all marketing, and social media is no different. This also means YOU will be able to build a better relationship with the influencer, as you won’t just be one of the million messages sitting unread in their inbox, and can then create more meaningful content over a longer period of time.