Size isn’t everything: micro-influencers show it’s how you use it that matters

Since the advent of social media, online influencers have shaped the way people interact with brands by bringing context to products outside of typical advertising channels. But the perception that more followers equates to more consumer sway is not always true. So how exactly is influencer marketing evolving?

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When Huda Kattan, creator of beauty blog HudaBeauty with over 15.9 M followers on Instagram, posted about the launch of her Lip Line with Sephora, the products had a record sell out in less than 12 hours. Clearly making impact. But while the discussion around influencers is well-trodden ground, their role in the marketing landscape is ever-evolving.

And influencers today aren’t always bloggers and vloggers, or even people actively attempting to impact others at all, sometimes they’re just in a video with the right product at the right time. When a Twitter clip featuring a boy wearing Vans went viral – affectionately dubbed ‘Damn Daniel’ – the footwear brand saw online sales spike 30% in the following weeks.

Clearly the idea that more followers equals more influence is no longer always true. A growing number of marketers are redirecting their resources towards a new generation of ‘micro-influencers’.

So, who are today’s most influential online voices and how can brands harness their potential?

The rise of the micro-influencers

A survey of two million influencers by Markerly (an influencer marketing platform) found that Instagram users with 10,000 to 100,000 followers have a 2.4% like rate, compared to 1.7% for those with over a million. “We’ve seen some micro- influencers on certain campaigns get up to 25% engagement” says Chico Tirado, chief revenue officer of social advertising platform Gnack. With influencers now commonly included in marketing budgets, micro-influencers create content that can feel more authentic and realistic than their super-user peers.

The effectiveness of these online personalities all comes down to trust. Because while Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows trust in establishments to be at an all-time low; online influencers have a very different rapport with their fans. User-generated content is 7 times more likely to be trusted than company-made ads, and with the use of ad blockers surging 30% globally, increasingly savvy consumers only identify with emotionally relatable marketing, much of which involves influencers. The role of the micro-influencer has never been more certain.

Micro-influencers have more influence than the superstars?

We know big followings still pack a punch, but there’s a high price tag attached to product placement – a single placement with a vlogger of Zoella’s status is reported to cost as much as £4,000, and how much influence they have is still relatively unknown. Micro-influencers do feel more like best friends than their superstar peers, and those that understand their audience want to maintain that relationship by being authentic – a win win for brands they work with.

So as marketers shift away from targeting the masses, instead specifically speaking to niche groups led by interest rather than demographic, this move towards smaller-scale influencers is a logical one. It’s about appealing to the microcosms of culture that the internet is bursting with, tapping into micro-moments and helping brands connect on a more meaningful level.



Written by Abigail Coleman – Mid-weight Strategist 

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