Micro Influencers: Authentic and Effective in 2019?
6 Minute Read
2019 was set to be the year of the Micro Influencers. The social media personality who has built up a following between 1000-100,000 by posting valuable content in niche industries.
In the busy world of blogging and social media, the micro influencer gained popularity because of the organic, authentic feel of their content. Plus their ability to hold a healthy engagement with their following. Using micro influencers makes it easier to access specific target demographics and the cost is kept fairly low.
The notion that we are loosing trust in celebrity (macro) influencers has been looming for some time. The recent publicity of Fyre on Netflix didn’t help the cause much either. Some people thought it showed a lack of care and responsibility from macro influencers about the legitimacy of their posts. Although in the same vein, it did prove just how influential popular people can be online.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it seems as if it’s getting easier for people to see through the bullsh*t.
To throw another spanner into the works, Traackr recently conducted a study into the effectiveness of micro influencers. With the help of 4 leading beauty brands, some very interesting data emerged.
In this article, we’ll look at various sources to assess the effectiveness of micro influencers. Do they have a valuable position in eCommerce marketing today?
Micro influencers are usually individuals who’ve built up a following by posting about the things they love. Their journey seems organic, so their following perceives their word as authentic and genuine.
Usually, a micro influencer will receive little-to-none financial reward for posting. Brands will send out packages of their products in exchange for a post, review or blog article. It works well for both sides; the brand receives promotion and the individuals is given material to create content.
In the situations where no financial attachments are involved, the individual has free reign to express their own opinion. This increases their perceived authenticity because they have no bias. It wouldn’t make sense for them to praise a rubbish product because it would tarnish their reputation. In fact, it’s quite ironic how a poor review could be damaging for a brands image, but be beneficial to the integrity of the influencer.
This idea rings true if we look to a report conducted by Econsultancy. Data tells us that 55% of marketers believe that micro influencers obtain a better connection with their audience. Whilst macro influencers can often appear untouchable, micro influencers are very much in-reach.
Although, nothing good comes without its controversy.
Scares into the authenticity of some accounts has surfaced over the past couple of years. There have been examples of micro influencers who have paid for their following through third-party sources. Numbers matter in the digital world and influencer fraud is pretty real.
The good news is, there are tools and apps that can help detect suspicious activity, you can find out a little more here. Sending products to a fake account is a waste of time, money and resources – you don’t have to get caught up in it.
If we know one thing about micro influencers, it’s that they spend an awful lot of time on their social media accounts. This is good for everyone really. It gives them a lot of opportunity to respond to comments, mentions and direct messages. They are heavily engaged with their audience that is usually fairly easy to manage.
They’re able to maintain their influence as effective because they keep a healthy relationship. In fact, in the same Econsultancy report as stated earlier, 61% of consumers said that they engage with micro influencers because they post ‘relatable’ content.
The study conducted by Traackr also gave weight to this idea. Indeed, micro influencers outperform macro influencers with levels of engagement. But even in groups their level of reach let them down. In fact out of 4 brands, 3 received less than 10% of their overall reach through the use of micro influencers.
Unfortunately for micro influencers the numbers do matter. Especially if we consider that L’oreal Paris (1 of the 4 in the report) generated 82% of their brands engagement through the use of macro influencers. Reach is a powerful thing, but that doesn’t mean micro influencers should be ruled out too soon. There is still a large place on social media for their engaged, loyal following to reside.
Enter your niche
Using micro influencers is a very effective way to tap into niche markets. They are experts within their specific industries and have an audience who have a vetted interest in their work.
Because their audience is more manageable in size, it’s easier for micro influencers to understand what resonates well. Although these groups may seem small, spread your strategy over multiple accounts on various platforms and you begin to see the bigger picture. It’s about hitting that niche target audience through multiple channels.
However, the audience is smaller and the amount of influencers in your campaign is bigger. Managing your campaign will take more time and effort. In addition, using micro influencers is a longer game to play. You can’t expect to see instant rises in traffic and conversions, but we’ll speak a little more on this below.
You will however generate a lot more brand awareness and hopefully convert more sales. But if you’re looking for a ‘break the internet’ campaign, you’re better off considering investing in a macro influencer.
The small-scale of micro influencers means that they typically have other priorities; jobs, businesses etc. They don’t tend to be financially reliant on their social media role, but they do push out content that will grow their following. They are made to be more resourceful and innovative in their approach and are eager to stay on top of the latest trends.
Whilst a micro influencer will post, share or blog about your product if they like it, a macro influencer will not work the same. Marketers will usually abide by the ‘£100 per 10,000’ followers rule for a social media post from a macro influencer. It might not sound much upfront, but if you’re eyeing up an influencer with a million followers, your campaign can cost a small fortune.
You realistically have 2 options; spend money for immediate exposure and traffic, or play the longer game at a much lower cost.
Platforms and backlinks
Macro influencers typically reside on Instagram and Youtube – not always, but for the majority. This makes sense, they are both visual platforms which makes it easier to create ‘shareable’ content. This works well for eCommerce, a single post can have huge reach and drive a lot of traffic to your site. For micro influencers however, a little more groundwork is required.
The Traackr report suggests that 75% of the social media ‘mentions’ throughout all samples came from micro influencers. It is fair to say that micro influencers are required to invest a bit more time into their content. They are on a journey of building up a following, so will spread their efforts over various platforms to get the exposure they need.
Increasing your internet mentions and backlinks is great for SEO. The aim is to develop an army of brand advocates who drip feed your brands name all over the internet. If you haven’t already, you can even create a brand blog to share your new content. This approach isn’t about going viral, it’s an investment. Create yourself a strategy to maintain, build and expose.
Building up content and exposure is an effective way to increase your traffic and sales, but it will require a good amount of time and affection.
Micro influencers: Final word…
Whilst the Traackr report does show that micro influencers may not be as effective as marketers first anticipated, they are still extremely valuable tools.
They are typically very cost-effective and maintain a great engagement with their niche followings. Because they do not generate nearly as much reach as macro influencer, you will need to use multiple micro influencers to tackle an effective campaign – spread across various platforms. Whilst people seem to be loosing trust in macro influencers, their ability to reach large audiences and convert sales cannot be ignored. You just have to be able to front the cost.
Whichever works best for you, it’s fair to say that there is space for both of these marketing methods in the eCommerce industry.