Why are more and more big brands focusing on influencers with thousands of followers when there are celebrities with millions of them? Because it simply works better and the decision-makers with billions to spend on marketing are starting to realise it.
Micro-influencers are simply more engaging than macro-influencers and celebrities. In fact, studies have shown that there is an inverse relationship between follower count and engagement rate. There are a number of reasons for this and it’s important that you understand them if you hope to harness the power of micro-influencer marketing for your brand.
Reason 1: Trust
The reason why influencer marketing works so well in the first place is because it replicates the oldest form of marketing on earth: word-of-mouth. The problem with massive influencers with millions of followers is that they tend to lose authenticity and start to look more like a brand than a human being.
Micro-influencers tend to have more intimate relationships with their followers which generates more trust. Even huge brands are harnessing this increased trust to get people to pay attention to their products.
American food conglomerate, Kraft, ran an innovative social media contest using micro-influencers to generate content for their Super Bowl ad. Instead of using celebrities, they focused on ordinary people that emphasised the brand’s wholesome values which in turn built trust in their brand.
The competition called for people to share photos of them and their families watching the game using the hashtags #FamilyGreatly and #KraftEntry. They then took the best content and edited it into an ad which oozed with authenticity and wholesome appeal. This sort of trust could never have been generated by featuring a bunch of high-profile celebrities.
Not only does this campaign illustrate the power of using micro-influencers to build trust through authenticity, it also shows how influencer content can be creatively repurposed to great effect.
Reason 2: Relevance
Micro-influencers tend to be more knowledgable about their niche and are generally more focused on one topic or type of post which causes specific types of people to follow them. Think about how vast and diverse Kim Kardashian's audience is. Her sponsored posts may get a ton of reach but will likely only appeal to a small percentage of her audience.
On the other hand, you can be sure that a yoga instructor with 5,000 followers is mostly going to be followed by people with a keen interest in yoga. So if you're marketing something like yoga tights, you can be sure that her posts are going to be relevant to most of her audience.
One of our recent clients, R3vitalize, is an organic, Australian tattoo-aftercare brand and we ran a highly effective campaign for them using the power of micro-influencer relevance. We saw an average engagement rate of 5.5% across the board with our highest performers going up as high as 7.8%. Not bad considering that the average engagement rate on Instagram is between 1%-3.5%.
Case in point: micro-influencers are more relevant to their followers.
Reason 3: Affordability
Would you believe us if we told you that, as an agency, we've never once paid an influencer? One of the biggest benefits to micro-influencer marketing is the affordability factor. If you're clever about how you approach them, you can often get them to do a post in exchange for a free product.
Even if you do decide to pay them, you can get away with paying them a LOT less than your average macro-influencer. The biggest reason for this is that they're unaware of their value. This allows you to approach them casually and offer them a free gift in exchange for a post. So not only are you getting higher engagement than you would with a macro-influencer or celebrity; you're getting it for a fraction of the price.
Here at The Brand Army, we focus exclusively on gifting relationships with our micro-influencers. We have our recruiters approach them in a casual, friendly manner and offer them a free product in exchange for a post. The hit rate is surprisingly high.
Tom's of Maine tripled its community growth while spending next to nothing using a gifting strategy like ours. They spent very little on micro-influencer marketing but managed to increase their consumer engagement by over 600%. The campaign reached 1.72 million people and grew their Instagram community by 8%.
Reason 4: Volume
Obviously there are a lot more micro-influencers out there than there are macro-influencers. It's much easier to get three thousand followers than it is to get three million. This comes with a number of benefits.
Firstly, it's easier to find influencers who are willing to work with you. Negotiating with large influencers can take time and become a hassle to manage, whereas smaller influencers are far more responsive and less money-oriented in general. And if you do find a micro-influencer who is a pain to deal with, there are so many other options out there that you don't need to care.
Secondly, you can rain down exposure on your audience. Imagine you're following a number of small fashion bloggers on Instagram and suddenly all of them start posting about the same exciting new brand. You're going to think this is the hot new trend. With micro-influencers, it's easy to create the illusion of something going viral by getting a number of micro-influencers with followers in common to post around the same time.
Reason 5: Content
The final and most criminally underrated benefit of micro-influencers is their ability to generate highly relevant, engaging ad content that can be used to scale hugely profitable paid campaigns. Setting up a photo or video shoot can cost thousands of dollars and often produces sterile content that fails to truly connect with your audience.
Why not use your micro-influencers' highly relevant photos, videos and testimonials as ads? It works incredibly well and not enough marketers are doing it. Here's another example from R3vitalize:
Not only do the creatives look authentic and relevant, they're also accompanied by testimonials that address the audience in language that resonates with them. Instead of a hyper-polished, sterile marketing message, we've got our audience to do the work for us resulting in more engaging, relevant content.
You can use this content to warm up cold audiences or to retarget those who have engaged with your brand before. Check out the detailed breakdown of the strategy we use to combine micro-influencer marketing with Facebook Ads for massive ROI.
Micro-influencer marketing is something that brands both big and small can use to engage and grow their audience. It doesn't cost much and the results can be staggering. If you have a deep understanding of your ideal customer, you should easily be able to find micro-influencers who resonate with them.
If you want some help developing your micro-influencer strategy and using it to scale your brand to new heights, get in touch through our website and one of our team will happily jump on a free consultation call with you.