While influencer marketing may have been the trendiest trend of 2017 with brands falling over themselves to align with influencers that boast impressive numbers of followers, this year’s rise of micro-influencers has proved the old adage is true: bigger isn’t always better.
I’ve noticed a flurry of articles recently heralding micro-influencers as the force of the future – but what exactly are micro-influencers? Are they really more beneficial than macro influencers? And how do you find the perfect one to boost your brand?
Macro versus micro
Let’s first look at what it means to be a micro-influencer.
Micro-influencers tend to be normal people with an eye for photography or a relatable online personality. While the jury is out on how many followers actually constitutes a micro-influencer – Forbes suggests the golden number is between 10k and 500k on social media while Social Media Today believes under 10k is the sweet spot – it’s a given they have a much smaller following than the macros.
At first, micro-influencers flew under the radar of brands who prized the macros – those with tens of thousands or even millions of followers. After all, the more followers, the better, right?
However, soon the research began to roll in that bigger didn’t always mean better in the world of influencer marketing. An analysis of 800,000 Instagram users, with the majority possessing at least 1,000 followers, revealed that as an influencer’s following rises, the rate of engagement decreases. The stats – from influencer marketing organisation Markerly – demonstrated that those with less than 1,000 followers generally received likes on their posts 8% of the time while those with over 10m followers only received likes 1.6% of the time.
Why does this matter? Because if you’re hoping to collaborate with an influencer in the hope of boosting your brand or upping your ROI, you want the audience to be engaged. Users just aren’t as keen to interact with a celebrity who doesn’t take the time to respond or develop a meaningful relationship than they are with those they can relate to more closely and feel a real emotional connection to. Plus, even if the content might feel a little more ‘staged’ than that of ordinary folk, it still comes across as authentic.
How to find micro-influencers
Research is the name of the game when it comes to finding the right micro-influencer for your business. Not only do you need to take into account the type of content your audience enjoys, you need to study the number of users your influencer reaches and the engagement rate they achieve while also ensuring they match your brand’s aesthetic and values.
Marketing and business advice site iMPACT suggests using tools such as Iconosquare to search out lists of influencers – you can search by category and number of followers as well as sort by country. However, while this is a common starting point, iMPACT also warns you can’t be absolutely sure that the followers of the micro-influencers selected will prove a match with your target audience.
Searching within your own followers or those of your competition may prove more fruitful – look for those with a few thousand followers at least. Snoopreport markets itself as the ‘world’s only Instagram user activity tracking for professionals and individuals’, enabling brands to track likes, comments and follows.
An article by Snoopreport, for marketing advice site iMPACT, suggests using its service to identify users who like your posts and those of your competitors, developing a pool of a few hundred users to track for a few weeks. The resulting report will rank the users by engagement rate to help you identify the influencers.
You can also scour relevant hashtags to search for the sort of content that would prove a good match with your audience. Just remember to look at the quality of an influencer’s followers – whether they have authentic engagements and also check they don’t already go too overboard with promotional content. There’s nothing more likely to switch an audience off than ‘yet another’ branded post from an account they follow.
Micro-influencers might not enjoy the celebrity status of the Kardashians, but nurturing partnerships with the right ones could drive A-List results.
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