Instagram influencers are content creators who have developed enough of an online following to hold real marketing power. Bids to be a part of their sponsored posts can reach the five figure range. The number of followers is the metric used to separate the major players from the small-time ones in this space. But there is such a thing as having too many followers. As a brand, you may want to seek out “micro-influencers” instead. Read on to find out why.
What Counts as a Micro-Influencer?
It just makes sense that those Instagram users with the most followers would command the biggest fees. The connection between impressions and cost will always be strong. While this math makes sense for the influencer, it doesn’t always translate into good value for the brand. In fact, engagement with sponsored posts often drops when an influencer has millions of followers.
Engagement actually peaks when influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. These sound like small numbers, but there’s unquestionable value to seeking out these little fish in Instagram's big sea.
1) Higher Levels of Perceived Quality
There are a few reasons one can point to when trying to understand why micro-influencers have such great engagement. The first is that influencers with small audiences have less at stake. They don’t have to worry about upsetting a contingent of their audience the way that bigger influencers do. That means they can offer their real perspectives on products and services. The perceived honesty of their opinions is in turn appreciated by the audience, who will continue to look to this influencer for insight.
2) Trustworthiness Plays a Major Part
At the core of the aforementioned phenomenon is the theme of trust. Some of the audience’s trust in an influencer is built through quality content, but plenty of it is earned through personal connections. A good portion of a micro-influencer’s audience will comprise of friends and peers. Because they are familiar with the influencer as a person in real life, the trust built through relationships continues online.
3) Micro-Influencers Offer Community
This trust breeds something beyond just an influencer-to-audience broadcast. The small group of followers, made up of friends, peers and strangers, transforms into a community of sorts, bound by the content produced by the influencer. The tight-knit nature of this network of relationships serves to increase engagement, as the content becomes more than just content, but a water-cooler of sorts to share ideas. Furthermore, because micro-influencers have a closer relationship with their audience, they can create engagement on an unprecedented level.
4) Loyalty is an Underrated Factor
The nature of this community can be boiled down to loyalty. Influencers understand the important role their audience plays. Without the audience, the capability of earning money through Instagram is a lot more difficult. Conversely, the audience appreciates not just the content itself, but the virtual meeting place the influencer has created through the content.
This symbiosis means that each party will return to the other. Influencers will continue to post the kind of content the audience likes. The audience likes the content, and will continue to engage with the influencer. The influencer nurtures the connection created through content by personally reaching out to audience members, which further helps the audience to feel good about being a part of the community, and thus keep the cycle going.
It’s important for brand managers to understand this. Choosing the right micro-influencer to highlight your product or service, particularly one that actually enjoys said product or service, will help you buy your way into the sense of loyalty fostered between the audience and content creator. This is something that the biggest influencers just can’t offer. Their audiences are too big and disconnected to feel a sense of loyalty that translates into buying power. They might be able to get in front of more people, but those people just aren’t as likely to let any given post resonate with them in the same way.
5) Micro-Influencing is Scalable
Your brand might not ever attract the attention of the major influencers of the day, and you don’t need it, anyway. What you need is scalable influence, which is exactly what micro-influencers offer. There are massive amounts of micro-influencers, which means you can find a collection that fits your niche and appeals to the audience you want to attract. The close connection these influencers have with their followers creates a sense of trust that can translate to your brand, which can develop into loyalty over time. As your brand grows, so too can your micro-influencer operation. It’s a nimble way to ensure your marketing strategy keeps pace with the ambitions of your company.
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