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 “effective” or “highly 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 as “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, 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 people or more.
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 relatively lower follower counts.
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.
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.
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 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 chargers for one instagram post (rumoured £250,000).
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. A micro influencer campaign can have much greater 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 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 has dropped from 4.5% in 2016 to 1.9% in 2019 suggesting a growing weariness among consumers with this approach.
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”.
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 build 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.
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.
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!