What’s a Micro-Influencer? There’s no official textbook definition of a micro-influencer, yet the term is receiving more and more recognition in digital marketing. A micro-influencer usually is a person with an engaged social audience. He or she is often considered an expert within a specific field and therefore has a big impact on the buying decisions of his social network. You probably have several micro-influencers around you. Think of that one friend on Facebook that loves music and keeps recommending new bands while receiving authentic comments by friends with a similar interest. Imagine the impact this person could have on the sales of an upcoming band if activated by the label.
There’s no official textbook definition of a micro-influencer, yet the term is receiving more and more recognition in digital marketing. A micro-influencer usually is a person with an engaged social audience. He or she is often considered an expert within a specific field and therefore has a big impact on the buying decisions of his social network. You probably have several micro-influencers around you. Think of that one friend on Facebook that loves music and keeps recommending new bands while receiving authentic comments by friends with a similar interest. Imagine the impact this person could have on the sales of an upcoming band if activated by the label.
A study by Wharton School that surveyed over 6000 consumers found, that respondents perceived micro-influencers as substantially more influential, believable and credible than celebrity influencers. Respondents also pointed out that they felt micro-influencers were better at explaining how a product worked in context and seemed more knowledgeable than both regular consumers and major influencers.
Additionally, over 80 percent of participants stated they were likely to follow a recommendation - if it was coming from a micro-influencer. Looking at this study and other studies in more detail, we can find many marketing actions for which micro-influencers are highly relevant.
Micro-influencers work better or worse depending on the type of service or goods you are promoting. According to a study, sporting goods and gear get the highest amount of recommendations, while at the same time these recommendations also have the highest impact on sales. Besides sports goods, fashion and footwear, fitness and nutrition, beauty as well as consumer electronics are responsive for micro-influencer marketing. At Referanza, we have found that in addition entertainment and travel are categories that respond well to micro-influencers.
So, what do all these product types have in common? They’re more than just a product, they are lifestyle related. This means people that reflect a certain lifestyle naturally seem trustworthy and reliable as promoters. Think of that friend that used to be skinny, started working out and gained a lot of muscle - wouldn’t you trust his recommendation of a gym or protein powder?
Nielsen found, that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 33% trust ads. Because micro-influencers are perceived as peer recommendations, they are highly effective compared to glossy ads. There’s a reason why certain beauty brands have seen a boom in sales: the beauty industry was one of the first industries to truly acknowledge and use the power of both micro- and bigger influencers on Youtube. Today’s teens say that their favorite YouTubers understand them better than their friends.
The advertising industry has been fighting to gain customer’s trust from day one. With micro-influencers and related recommendation-based marketing activities there finally is a solid tool to sustain and build trust.
Who would know more people similar to your customers than your customers themselves? By activating micro-influencers, chances of finding people within your already activated target group are higher. It’s always easier to market and sell to people who you know have similar needs to existing customers. Your micro-influencers are likely to have a network of people with similar interests, demographics and needs.
These are easy wins if your product is already satisfying customers within this group. You can save a lot of money by focusing on finding more people within an already targeted customer group instead of researching and testing out different target groups.
Several independent companies have found, that on Instagram, people with less than 5k followers have over 5 times the engagement rate of major influencers with over 100k followers. This means that if you get a bigger group of micro-influencers to promote your product, you can achieve a higher engagement than by activation one big influencer. As more and more companies struggle with engagement and ensuring conversions, micro-influencers become a powerful marketing tool.
“A direct referral lead is over 36x more valuable than a lead generated by a cold call, 10x more valuable than a trade show lead, and 4x more valuable than a web lead,” says Ken Krogue, Co-founder and President of InsideSales.com. Micro-influencers fall into the category of direct referral leads and are therefore highly effective.
While most major influencers come with high costs and a long negotiation period with their network or agency, micro-influencers often work in exchange for free products, promotion of their own website and social media handle or a significantly smaller price-tag.
US Shoe retailer Sperry compensates their micro-influencers by offering them products to promote in combination with a budget the micro-influencers are allowed to spend on promoting their account. By doing this, Sperry ends up spending less money on each influencer, but rewarding them by allowing them to grow their network and influence. A Win-Win situation for the brand and each micro-influencer. This way Sperry manages to work with roughly 100 micro-influencers simultaneously creating an impact much bigger than by working with a major influencers, while also spending less money.
Micro-influencers are cheaper than major influencers, while achieving more organic growth as they activate their direct network and are perceived as more trustworthy compared to celebrity influencers. They’re a good source to communicate product knowledge, especially related to lifestyle products. Micro-influencers have engagement rates significantly higher than celebrity influencers and can thus help you achieve long-term growth and valuable conversion. Finding new customers can be hard, but by activating micro-influencers you can quickly find more potential customers within the group you are already targeting.
March 23, 2017, Nicole Michaelis