What is a micro-influencer?
A micro-influencer is a small-scale social media personality with an influential presence – hence the name “influencer.” These are content creators that often act as peers to their niche following by forming strong bonds and a sense of community.
Now you may wonder: “What’s the difference between a micro-influencer and the influencers I know like Kim Kardashian and David Beckham?” We’re glad you asked.
In most cases, the broad term “influencer” references those top-tier celebrities that everyone knows, loves, or aspires to be, otherwise known as macro-influencers. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, fall under the same umbrella as top celebrities, but they are structurally different when considering the following qualities.
A comparison of micro-influencers to macro-influencers based on following, reach, engagement, and audience perception.
Micro-influencers generally have between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. This smaller following allows micro-influencers to respond back and interact with their audience more. Macro-influencers have a larger following (100,000+) that can extend into millions.
Due to their smaller following, micro-influencers have a more shallow reach but a specific and targeted audience. Macro-influencers have a very wide reach, but their audiences encompass a large assortment of individuals.
Micro-influencers are proven to have higher engagement with their followers, who are more likely to comment, like and take action on their posts. Audience engagement with macro-influencers is less prevalent and usually not personal.
Audiences perceive themselves as friends or peers of micro-influencers, while audiences perceive themselves as fans of macro-influencers who hold celebrity status.
At the end of the day, both micro- and macro-influencers function to increase awareness and sales for the brands they partner with. They influence consumer decision-making through their actions.
Why should businesses care about micro-influencers?
Micro-influencer partnerships can function as valuable assets in any marketing campaign due to the following characteristics.
Research shows that 84% of consumers trust recommendations from peers over advertising. Authenticity functions as a key factor in social media engagement trends across the board as consumers are becoming wary of artificial or inauthentic content. Due to their smaller following and relatable, authentic conversations with their audiences, micro-influencers provide a degree of authenticity that top tier influencers lack.
To highlight best practices, let’s look at an example.
In a partnership with the diaper bag producer Lily Jade Co., @Littleprinceleopold of Columbia, S.C. achieved authenticity in product promotion by weaving it into content that is expected from the parenting/lifestyle micro-influencer. @Littleprinceleopold’s brand feature did not feel forced and the seamless partnership maintained a relatable, authentic nature.
Micro-influencers create the opportunity for brands
to tap into specific, targeted audiences under the
influencer’s niche following. Audiences mimic the
micro-influencer’s personality, so it is easy to identify
market personas that brands will reach based on the
influencer’s personal characteristics.
Continuing the example above, comments identify that
@Littleprinceleopold’s following consists of fellow parents
or child caretakers, ensuring that Lily Jade Co. reached
the appropriate target audience for its products.
As an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of audience
engagement (meaning likes and comments) decreases.
That being said, audiences are more likely to engage with
micro-influencer content, and consumers are eager to try
out their recommendations, as well.
Micro-influencers are affordable partners to work with,
so the return on investment is relatively high. For instance,
in 2019, 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram charged
less than $500 per promotional post.
In contrast, top tier influencers can cost hundreds of
thousands of dollars per post.
By developing partnerships that are targeted to match the brand’s intended audience and maintaining authenticity in promotional posts, micro-influencers can function as valuable tools to inspire consumer decision making.