The simple answer is, It depends. Many factors come into play when deciding how to advertise your brand or product online. Are you selling high-end luxury products that only the top 1% can afford? Maybe you’re better suited to a celebrity endorsement. On the other hand, if you are a brand for the general public, the reach and value you could get from micro-influencers may be exactly what you’re looking for.
What Are Micro-Influencers?
Most people know what a social media influencer is. They are generally people with large social media followings in and around a million followers. Now picture that, on a much smaller scale. These are the micro-influencers. Different sources have different opinions on the exact count, but micro-influencers generally have between 10k – 500k followers and are less well-known to the general public.
One of the main benefits of working with influencers is that they are often speaking to a very specific demographic. Do they post about makeup and fashion? Their followers are likely a young adult, female demographic. Are they a video game streamer? They are likely speaking to a younger male demographic. That being said, it is not as easy to categorize the demographics of a large influencer such as Kim Kardashian. Once they get over 1M followers, some people follow them for the content, for the drama, or to keep up with pop culture; making their audience far more difficult to target.
The larger the influencer, the less likely you are to belive they use the products they are selling. If they’re making millions of dollars a year, do they really buy $15/month subscription boxes? Maybe not. However, micro-influencers can seem more authentic because they are far more relatable. Why wouldn’t they use the hair care brand they’re advertising? Maybe they do love it as much as they say, regardless of being paid to do so.
Part of the reason influencers are paid to show products on their social feeds is because it seems more genuine. If a brand just wanted to use the influencer’s image, they could put them on a billboard, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to present the product as an authentic suggestion from a relatable source. In some ways, working with micro-influencers is as close to word-of-mouth marketing as you can get online.
Working with a huge celebrity influencer like Kylie Jenner doesn’t come cheap. Some sources have reported that she charges up to $1.2M per post. For that price tag, you better hope her 145M followers are buying whatever you’re selling.
For the cost, the general rule-of-thumb is around $1,000 per 100,000 followers, per post. What this looks like for micro-influencers under 50k followers is about $250 per post. Not bad considering that many, if not most micro-influencers run their Instagram account as a side hustle.
Most brands don’t have a million dollars to drop on a single piece of advertising content. Micro-influencers make influencer marketing accessible to businesses of all sizes.
How to Work with Micro-Influencers
Instagram accounts today are often highly curated feeds comprised of photos that represent the exact image people aspire to portray online. Working with any level of influencer requires research and time to find the right fit for your brands’ image.
Before reaching out to influencers, you need to look at their audience demographics, their audience engagement, as well as if they have done brand deals in the past. Look out for anyone that may appear to have bought followers, and those that don’t accurately represent your brand image. Once you have found an account that seems to be a fit, there are a couple of options when it comes to partnerships.
If you are looking for an influencer to produce content to show on their feed, it is going to involve discussion and often negotiation with the influencer. You will need to collaborate with the influencer on the unique branded content that will match both their feed and your brand image. In the end, they may decide your product is not the right fit for their followers, or you could find the perfect ambassador for your brand.
Another option for working with micro-influencers is sending a PR promotional package of your product. It is common for large influencers to receive this type of free product fairly often, but it is less common for micro-influencers to receive this sort of thing. It is more exciting, and they are more likely to share it with their followers organically. Sending out free products is a risk, but it opens the door for natural engagement with your brand and product. This could also be an option for companies with smaller marketing budgets. Send out what you can as a test, and see who engages and shares.
Higher Engagement Rates
Instagram has recently made some changes to their algorithm that are affecting what content is shown to users. Their goal is to focus back on content from your friends and family, people you care about and are more likely to engage with. As a result, many large influencers have seen their engagement drop dramatically, while micro-influencers are often seeing an uptick in performance.
The goal of any influencer marketing campaign is to find the perfect account with a highly targeted and engaged audience. Some studies have found that while accounts with over 100k followers can have engagement as small as 1.7%, micro-influencers around 1k followers can have closer to 9.7% engagement. This is a huge difference, and will definitely reflect in the success of your campaign.
In many ways, micro-influencers are the new influencers. Their niche, highly engaged audiences are more valuable than ever to large brands that often have a hard time effectively contacting specific demographics. It seems as though the time to work with micro-influencers is just beginning, but watch out because nano-influencers might be next!