What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?

Two-thirds of luxury brands use influencer marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy, with 40% of brands striking micro influencer brand deals to promote their products and services. Interestingly, 73% of brands working with micro-influencers described the results of an influencer marketing campaign as “cost-effective ” or “highly cost-effective ”.

We take a look at why micro-influencers  could have a greater impact on your influencer marketing strategy, and explain how your brand can work with micro-influencers . 

What is influencer marketing?

The modern definition of the term “influencer marketing” was coined in 2004 as blogging had started to become popular. Brands saw the value in gaining product mentions and endorsements from bloggers whose content addressed the audiences they wanted to promote their products and services to. From 2001-2004, “influencer” content lived predominantly on blogs, and the talent, now known as influencers, were seen and called “bloggers”.

More formally, in today’s market, “Influencer marketing” is the practice of getting your product mentioned or endorsed on the feeds of social media users with large numbers of followers or fans, particularly Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook stars.

The number of people searching for “influencer marketing” really jumped in popularity starting in 2014 as we can see from Google Trends: 

(Source: Google Trends)

What caused the spike in influencer marketing?

Around the same time as this spike, Instagram experienced a surge in user numbers jumping from 200m in March 2014 to over 1 billion just four years later.

(Source: Google Trends)

“Influencer marketing” is the practice of getting your product mentioned or endorsed on the feeds of social media users with large numbers of followers or fans, particularly on the major social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook stars.

In 2019, Instagram Shopping was introduced which allowed followers for the first time to actually purchase products directly using links embedded in influencers’ posts. At around the same time, Amazon also introduced its own influencer selling program.

Does influencer marketing work?

Yes. In Launchmetrics 4th “State of Influencer Marketing in Fashion, Luxury and Cosmetics” report

90% of companies believed that the practice generated brand awareness 

73% that it helped build customer loyalty 

69% that it drove revenue

What is micro-influencer  marketing?

In the early days of influencer marketing, many brands, including luxury brands, focused on reach by choosing to work with macro influencers who had the largest followings – usually 100,000  or more subscribers. 

Marketing agencies would send influencers a plethora of free products in exchange for sponsored posts. These high-quality posts attract followers’ attention as they get to see in real-time what the product is truly like. And reaching people on such a personal level goes a long way when it comes to conversion rates. 

Over time, however, a greater proportion of companies’ advertising budgets began to be spent on developing relationships with micro-influencers  as well. The term micro-influencer  generally means they have a smaller following than macro or mega-influencers.

How many followers does a micro-influencer  have? As little as 1,000 and up to as many as 100,000 followers instead.

A micro-influencer  may have a lower follower count but they are likely to have a more engaged audience.

What is the difference between a micro-influencer and a macro-influencer?

The main difference between these two types of influencers is purely the number of followers they each have in their niche audiences. Those considered to be macro influencers have between 100,000 to 1 million followers, whereas micro-influencers are the tier below, with between 1,000 to 100,000 followers.

While they both play a major part in the world of e-commerce, they do have different demographics, and deciding which is the right influencer for your brand is a decision not to be taken lightly.

Why use micro-influencers ?

First, and perhaps, counter-intuitively, micro-influencers  are not “celebrities”.

Their social media followers view them as trustworthy, honest, relatable, and down to earth. Micro-influencers  rarely stray from the core topic they cover because that’s the content their audience wants most and reacts best to.

They’re perceived as being very knowledgeable and passionate on that core topic – whether it’s travel, tech, fitness, fashion, business, cars, or beauty. Therefore, their opinion is considered credible and it carries weight.

So much so that 82% of followers are “highly likely” to trust the recommendations they’re exposed to by the micro-influencers  they follow. It just goes to show that a product doesn’t need to have a celebrity endorsement to become the next best trend.

Second, marketing budgets.

The more people an influencer has, the greater the cost of appearing on their feed. With higher followings, influencer partnerships are more akin to direct publisher media buys. 

The difficulty is how unregulated the costs are to buy an influencer partnership. The influencer sets the price. Most marketers have heard the rumours of how much Kendall Jenner charges  for one Instagram  post (rumoured £250,000). 

Third, engagement.

Engagement is the measurement of how an influencer’s audience reacts to and interacts with the content they create. Engagement rates are determined by various factors including the number of shares, reports, comments, likes, and so on. Amicro-influencer  campaign can have much higher engagement with your target audience than a macro influencer in some cases.

So, what is a typical micro-influencer  engagement rate on Instagram?

Influencers with 100,000 or more Instagram followers have an average engagement rate of 2.4% while micro-influencers  with 10,000-99,999 followers have a much better 4% response rate.

Even higher than that though is the average engagement rate of nano influencers (up to 10,000 followers) at a sizable 8%.

Engagement rates with celebrity influencers’ content have  dropped from 4.5% in 2016 to 1.9% in 2019 suggesting a growing weariness among consumers with this approach.

Examples of brands using micro-influencers

Just take a brief look at some of the following brands that are solid proof of how successful a micro-influencer marketing campaign can be:

  • Lush Cosmetics is very in-tune with the world of influencer marketing. Most of the influencers they use are generally natural brand advocates anyway who already utilize the products regularly. Followers get to see a genuine reaction to a product that’s already appreciated, and it’s this type of user-generated content that can really help to optimize sales.
  • La Croix Water was one of the early players to recognize the true value of micro-influencers. With the help of a load of Instagram-savvy millennials, the brand saw sales more than double in the first year of stepping into the micro-influencer realm.

Finding the right micro-influencers  for a luxury brand to work with

Brands have already begun to adapt their value proposition in the age of “new luxury”.

Jian DeLeon, Editorial Director for Highsnobiety, told Forbes that “streetwear and sneakers have not only infiltrated the upper tiers of fashion but became it”.

For millennials and Gen Z, the generations most likely to be exposed to influencers and micro-influencers , what they define as “luxury” is often much broader than the traditional definition.

Luxury now reflects what they like, what they want, what they need, and who they aspire to be  – as seen with the recent reclassification of certain brands of streetwear and sneakers mentioned above as luxurious in the eyes of many.

Sometimes, this new luxury is fleeting and ephemeral, for example, sampling a new and previously unknown exciting cuisine prepared by a chef of national or international renown in a breath-taking setting. For others, luxury could be the memories and experiences they create with friends and family on a safari.

Today, luxury is more personal, individual, and authentic and it can be an experience just as much as it can be a tangible object. Our State of Luxe report put “Experience” as the second most valued attribute when approaching the term “Luxury”. 

When choosing prospective partners, an influencer’s personal brand should closely align to the brand of the company they’re promoting. 

Without that natural alignment, the partnership will not appear to be “authentic” and 90% of millennials state that authenticity is a significant factor in choosing the brands they want to support.

Prior to engaging with a micro-influencer , it’s prudent to check whether the product or service you wish to promote feels at home on their feed by examining the content they’ve created to date. And does a potential micro-influencer  you’re considering know enough about their subject matter to make their endorsement of your product or service credible?

Last but not least, in the age of offence archaeology where an influencer’s past content is finely examined for what some consider to be unacceptable opinions, check to see that there aren’t any posts from years ago which would reflect negatively on the influencer and your association with them.

How to work with micro-influencers 

When you’ve found the micro-influencers  you want to work with, how can you gain the maximum value out of your partnership with them?

Long term partnership

In marketing, the chances of success increase the greater the number of times a consumer is exposed to your product or service.

While you should expect positive returns from even single collaborations with micro-influencers , consider it the start of a relationship between your brand and their feed. Think of this as the first opportunity to present your brand and its products and services to a targeted and defined audience likely to share the same tastes and aspirations of your micro-influencer  partner.

Building good relationships with your micro-influencers  will give them every reason to follow your content as individuals and this will increase the chance that they will repost without being paid each time. 

Invite them to your events

Create a buzz around your brand events by inviting micro-influencers  to chronicle and post their experiences to their followers.

If a number of micro-influencers  attend your event, you can repost their content to your followers and benefit from additional credibility when you reveal them as your brand’s ambassadors.

Likewise, if enough micro influencers attend your event and use the same hashtag, you may go viral.


The foundation of the credibility micro influencers builds  up with their audiences over time is trust.

Send your micro-influencers  free samples and give them the freedom and the leeway to review their experience honestly with your products honestly so that their and your authenticity is not sacrificed.

And encourage your influencers to let their followers know where they can purchase your product or service, preferably in a way where you can track the source of each sale to determine how much revenue each individual review generated.

Product promotions

You can also generate extra sales by asking micro-influencers  to show how they use your product and posting it as if it was native content.

The most successful types of product promotion have longer passages of text accompanying the visual images. As with reviews, you’ll be able to track which promotion created the greatest number of sales to help you determine which feeds are likely to bring in the most sales on future campaigns.

What is the Best Way to Measure the Success of a Micro-Influencer Campaign?

Unless you have pre-determined your influencer marketing metrics, how will you ever know what true success looks like? The first step to measuring the success of a micro-influencer campaign is to select a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) in which to benchmark. These influencer KPIs should closely relate to your business goals.

For example, if your main business objective is to increase brand awareness, you may put your focus on KPIs directly linked to website referral traffic and follower growth. Other KPIs you may want to benchmark against include:

  • Engagement rates. High engagement rates may not be the be-all and end-all, but along with other KPIs they are definitely a good way of seeing if your campaign was well received.
  • Growth rate of audience. This KPI will help give context to your campaign. It will also help to ensure you are using the best influencer to optimize your brand.
  • Conversion rates. Measuring how many people acted on your offer against the number of people who saw the content is a great indication as to whether you’re on the right path with your marketing efforts.
  • Return on Investment (ROI). This is a very commonly used KPI that compares the total revenue generated by the campaign against the amount it cost to launch.

Get in touch

At VERB, we have a team of experts who are native in the world of influencer talent. We can support you on your influencer marketing campaigns whether you want to work with macro or micro-influencers  so if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some support, get in touch here. We would love to hear from you!