In light of the growing distrust towards any sort of branded content, Influencer Marketing has been stamped as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And on paper, it makes sense. Influencers have established a deep connection with their fans, and in their eyes, they come across as more independent, trustworthy, genuine, and relatable than a cold branded post.
But audiences will eventually distrust influencers… This is where micro-influencers come into the picture.
Today, great content is of paramount importance, but sadly it usually falls on deaf ears because brands share it on their own channels. Businesses often even have to pay for distribution, as algorithms are making it harder and harder to get brand messages in front of users’ eyeballs. By partnering with a social influencer, brands aim at swaying consumer behaviour, by tapping into their credibility to build positive associations and generate leads.
The term “Influencer Marketing” has never been more popular on searches.
And some of the partnerships have been working wonders for marketers. Despite the fact that attribution modelling remains a challenge for many, reports claim that Influencer Marketing generates 11 times the ROI of all other types of digital strategies. As businesses continue to shift their money from traditional to digital media, Influencer Marketing budgets will inevitably rise in the months and years to come. And if you’re already working with social influencers, here’s the bad news. For two reasons.
Firstly, influencers are only starting to realise the power they have at their fingertips, and whilst the fees they charge vary greatly, be prepared to see them rise immensely. More marketers looking for partnerships means more competition, and more competition requires more budget.
Secondly, over time, more and more folks will see Influencer Marketing as just marketing (and they will be right to do so). While recommendations from people you like will always outdo advertising, people may start to question how genuine influencers really are when they promote a brand and get loads of money for doing so.
In comes Micro-Influencer Marketing.
“What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?” you may ask. To this day, there is no widely accepted definition, but Influencer Marketing platform Experticity had a crack at it and came up with a good one:
[quote]Micro-influencers are not traditional celebrities, but rather individuals who work in their category or are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic, and are seen as a trusted source when it comes to recommendations for what to buy.[/quote]
Typically, micro-influencers would be industry experts whose voices are heard and heeded, regardless of the size of their audience.
Take social media marketing for example. Micro-influencers may be bloggers, agency CEOs, community managers, social media directors or indeed anyone who has robust experience, shares industry news, and regularly has his or her say on the state of the industry. The last bit is the most important of them all: you can be credible in your industry, but if you’re not vocal, you can’t be considered a micro-influencer.
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It’s still early days for Micro-Influencer Marketing, yet early research found that engagement is negatively correlated with the size of the audience. In other words, the smaller the following, the bigger the influence. Social media users tend to follow celebrities, but that doesn’t mean what they share is gospel, right? On the other hand, when consumers follow industry experts, even with a limited audience, the message appears to be more relatable and authentic.
A handful of marketers tried micro-influencer strategies and reported promising results.
In an interview with DIGIDAY, social ad platform Gnack CEO, Chris Gonzalez, said that
[quote]micro-influencers get an average of two-to-five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers[/quote]
Also, micro influencers content “will be organically performing better on the platform due to the inherent superior engagement.”
He’s right. And Facebook’s latest algorithm change is here to prove it. As consumers progressively ignore branded messages in their feeds, algorithms increasingly pick up content from friends and families, as well as people who share content that resonates with their audience.
Compared to traditional Influencer Marketing however, working hand-in-hand with micro influencers is more labour-intensive. As the size of their audience is nowhere near the biggest social celebrities, marketers need to be ready to spend time building relationships with more influencers, to generate the same amount of leads.
So, can micro-influencers be a marketer’s new best friend? Well, perhaps… But, I wouldn’t be surprised if things take a similar turn to Influencer Marketing. Once every marketer is out in full force chasing them up… that will be the beginning of the end of it. Only time will tell however, whether Micro Influencer Marketing will truly become something huge, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, keep an eye out for it.
But don’t just take our word for it. We asked a few readers about Micro-Influencer Marketing, here’s what they had to say:
— Lila Stavropoulou ⭐ (@l_stavropoulou) June 26, 2016
micros are fab for example when a new bar is opening in a city and everyone in the city needs to know. They're PR #WeRSMChat
— POLLYANNA WARD (@Pollage) June 26, 2016