A “bigger is better” mentality often prevails when planning influencer marketing campaigns. We aim for big-name influencers with bigger audiences (while spending bigger budgets) because we think they’ll be worth the investment. More eyeballs equal more engagement, right? Not necessarily.
Mega-influencers like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid do gain attention for the brands they promote, but they’re often juggling multiple campaigns at once. And while some of their millions of followers might rush to buy the latest cosmetic, beverage or piece of clothing showcased on Instagram, many others will tune out the noise over time. When celebrities are constantly hawking products, savvy consumers start to question their authenticity (and Fyre Festival didn’t help).
Micro-influencers, on the other hand – bloggers and social media users who specialize in certain areas of interest – have a more modest reach, but they tend to cultivate a loyal and engaged fan base.
HelloSociety, an influencer marketing agency acquired in 2016 by the New York Times, released data showing that campaigns using micro-influencers (those with 30,000 or fewer followers) are actually more beneficial to marketers. According to the agency:
- 60 percent higher campaign engagement rates are driven by micro-influencers
- Micro-influencer campaigns are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings, making them more cost effective
- Micro-influencers drive 22.2 times more weekly conversations than the average consumer
For example, a gluten-free baking blogger who has built a dedicated audience of 10,000 Instagram fans is a valuable potential influencer. When she posts recipe photos and videos, her followers are highly engaged, liking, commenting and clicking through to links – because they find her content helpful and relevant.
She also keeps the conversation going, replying to comments, answering questions and cultivating relationships. Her fans feel like they know her, and that she’s a real person who gets them. A brand with a similar audience – such as a gluten-free flour company – would see significant benefits in working with her as an influencer. Her niche audience, excellent content and trustworthy reputation make her a valuable long-term partner.
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