The Power of Micro-Influencers in 2020by: Dustin Hawley | Thursday January 2, 2020
**Originally published March 21st, 2019. Updated January 2nd, 2020**
For many, when they envision a social media influencer in their mind, they likely picture people with flawless Instagram aesthetics, millions of followers, all living a lifestyle many of us could only dream of. And while there are certainly plenty of online personalities that fit that bill, those are not the people we're focusing on today. This is an opportunity to provide some insight into the often underestimated power of micro-influencers. These individuals with only slightly above-average follower counts can have significant levels of influence over their audience within a niche demographic.
The authentic connection these influencers have with their audiences, often developed by being a leader or expert in a particular field, comes as a result of directly engaging with their communities and building a tight-knit relationship on social. And if your company relies on social media or brand ambassadors to generate interest and relevancy in your industry, we have some insight to help you in your efforts.
Here's why you should be considering micro-influencers in your digital marketing strategy.
They Have Authentic Relationships with their Audience
Micro-influencers don’t bring the cookie-cutter like, copy-and-paste content approach to their brand partnerships. In fact, most don't even endorse brands they don’t truly believe in and have brand loyalty towards. In turn, their followers view them as highly credible sources because they are authentic in their promotions.
Their audience in many cases views them as not only celebrities in their own right but also real friends, which means when they give your product a great endorsement, their recommendations hold weight. This relationship is what separates them from their celebrity counterparts.
"A-List" users might have a massive amount of followers, but those followers likely don't truly believe that they support every brand they post about. This is especially true of course when their captions are followed by #ad, or even worse, is a poor match from a branding perspective and comes across like a blatant money grab.
Best practice when first attempting to establish a relationship with a micro-influencers is to simply send them your product or let them try out your service and have them give it an honest review. This will either generate positive publicity around your brand, or point out areas where your product or service can be improved, and appeal more effectively to its target audience.
They Have Higher Engagement Rates
When making an argument around the value of micro-influencers, one would be remiss if they didn't mention this reason in their first response. Engagement rates are (disputably) the most important factor that separates celebrities and micro-influencers.
What separates a good post from a great post is the rate of which your followers like, comment, or share it. And being that they have fewer followers, micro-influencers often are able to maintain very active relationships with their followers by replying to most of the comments or questions on their posts. Most times pretty quickly at that. Maintaining this constant connection can make followers feel like they have a genuine relationship with the influencer, and in turn, often make a habit of engaging with more of those users' posts in the future and beyond.
They Come At Lower Cost than their Celebrity counterparts
As we have officially come of age in the era of influencer marketing, Instagram sponsored posts no longer come cheap. Remember the recent Fyre Fest documentaries? They revealed that Kendall Jenner was reportedly paid $250,000 for a single Instagram post announcing the launch of ticket sales for the event.
Now imagine how many micro-influencers you could get to post for you for a fraction of that fee - or potentially for no fee at all?
The fuel that influencer marketing runs on is social proof. Influencers who may not be household names but are leaders in a particular niche who support your company and products steer their followers to follow suit.
As your grandmother likely used to say to you when giving you a $20 bill for Christmas, "Don't spend it all in one place". The same idea applies to your influencer marketing efforts. Avoid concentrating all your budget into a single post with a short lifespan. Instead, you can invest in dozens of posts that will have a longer shelf life and maximize your budget.
They are the cream of the crop when it comes to content creation
For brands with influencer marketing goals that are more focused on content creation, micro-influencers are typically the best of the best! While we have already mentioned that they are cost-effective and may not have a huge following (yet), they regularly create great content that is often the keystone to their appeal and highly-engaged audience base. Whether it’s written content, pictures, video or multimedia content that you’re looking for... micro-influencers can get the job done on a budget, and without compromising on quality or professionalism.
They Translate into Sales
One thing both micro-influencers and celebrities have in common is they both can help companies push products into the consumer marketplace. However, the manner in which they individually do that comes in different parts of the sales cycle. On one hand, celebrities and their large audiences are great for creating awareness of your company and its products. With that said, simply being aware of a company doesn’t necessarily do much good if that awareness doesn't translate into sales.
This is where micro-influencers have the advantage. As mentioned above, micro-influencers can act as friends to their followers, and their promotional posts are therefore often interpreted as the word of mouth marketing we touched on earlier. This is a key contributor to why micro-influencers often generate more direct sales and leads than the bigger names.