Instagram has been around for a decade, and in that time it has revolutionized how we interact with the environment around us. The platform has also birthed an entirely new class of creatives: influencers.
These accounts have amassed huge followings with their unique mix of photography, tips, recommendations, and overall aesthetic.
You’re probably familiar with some common examples of celebrity influencers, like Kim Kardashian promoting Uber Eats.
Influencer campaigns with these huge accounts can quickly reach millions of people and get a brand trending. Because of this, many brands automatically gravitate to these accounts when it comes time to do influencer marketing.
But, what’s actually better for your campaign? You might be surprised to learn, micro-influencers are actually the best for brands to work with.
What is a micro-influencer?
You can think of micro-influencers as the hidden gems of influencer marketing. The most common micro-influencer definition is accounts that as little as 1,000 followers all the way to as much as 200,000 followers.
These niche influencers are relatively small accounts usually have a very developed voice and audience.
The relatively small size and clear passion that goes into accounts make them feel much more authentic and approachable, unlike giant accounts that are clearly commercialized.
They also come with several benefits that make them a no-brainer to work with for advertising and producing content.
Their relatively small size means they’re very nimble and efficient to work with, so they can turn around campaigns on a quicker timeline.
A smaller following also translates to them charging a lower rate — working with them won’t break the bank and it provides a cost efficiency on impressions.
And of course, that greater authenticity translates to them generating higher conversions and sales from your brand.
Brands that have truly excelled in recent years with a strong influencer marketing strategy, like Glossier, Allbirds, and Dollar Shave Club, have consistently embraced micro-bloggers and micro-celebrities.
There are several reasons that they’re so good to work with.
Why work with micro-influencers?
Micro-influencers tend to have a better relationship with their audience
Because of their relatively small audience size, they have a very direct and close connection with their followers. It’s more personal.
Think of the difference in college between a small, intimate class with 15 other students versus taking a class in a huge lecture hall with 150 other students.
Does the professor even know your name?
The same is true for micro-influencers.
Their audience is more involved with the influencer because there are fewer people.
This gives the influencer an opportunity to respond to comments, interact often with followers, and create a more intimate space. Over time, this solidifies the bond between the two, which is super valuable because at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships and connections.
Micro-influencers excel in this regard.
The close connection also has a lot of practical benefits.
Micro-influencers have higher engagement rates and conversions
Micro-influencer accounts consistently average higher metrics, both in engagement (likes, comments, saves, etc.) and in conversions (clicks, swipe-ups, and sales). This is especially truw when it comes to Instagram engagement.
There’s two reasons for this:
They feel more like friends than far-off celebrities, and people respond better to the recommendations given by a friend since there’s a greater degree of trust.
Additionally, these niche influencers have a specific segment they specialize in, like eco-friendly traveling or vegan baking.
This means that the audience is pretty specific too, and so influencer campaigns with micro-bloggers or micro-celebrities are more targeted. They usually align with the right demographic and ultimately experience a great conversion rate.
On the contrary, working with large accounts is more of a “shotgun” approach, where millions of people might be exposed to post, but a relatively small amount of viewers might be in the target demo and resonate with the brand / product.
Micro-influencers are more cost-efficient
It gets better: not only do these influencer accounts have better engagement, but they also have lower prices.
Working with large accounts can easily end up costing a brand hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post. And because these huge influencers are always getting new offers and juggling multiple campaigns, the end result can be less than ideal.
No one wants to spend thousands of dollars to have an influencer misspell your brand.
Micro-influencers are smaller accounts and are often starting out, meaning they’re looking to build a portfolio of brands collabs.
Translation: they are willing to complete campaigns with a smaller payment, or sometimes even just product trade (but this is becoming rarer as the industry matures and is not a best practice).
For the price of one post on a large influencer account, you can end up working with dozens of smaller influencers, which gives you, collectively, just as many impressions while generating multiple pieces of content and being exposed to diverse groups – all for less money!
Overall, micro-influencers need to be a part, if not the mean feature, of your influencer marketing tools.
How do you find micro-influencers for your marketing campaign
So, where do you find these hidden influencer gems? Well, first of all, you need to decide which platform you want to engage with! Influencers can be found on any major social media platform, from YouTube to Pinterest.
Instagram influencers are usually the primary target for brands. This is because Instagram is a great platform for driving sales.
So, once you’ve narrowed down your platform, it’s time to go on the hunt! There a few different ways you can users to fuel your influencer campaigns.
Use hashtags to find influencers
The simplest strategy when it comes to finding Instagram influencers is to manually search a hashtag that aligns with your brand. You can also go through profiles that are using the hashtag on their posts.
When you find a profile that you think is a perfect fit, you could then send them a DM to explain who you are and why want to collaborate with them.
Find influencers through databases
Another alternative is to search a database. This is similar to if you were to send an influencer a DM but allows you to refine and narrow the search.
You still have to manually go through individual profiles and see if they’re a fit, but now you’re able to tailor the search with additional filters like age, gender, or location.
In theory, this means that most of the results will be right on target.
However, a lot of influencer databases and search tools acquire their information by scraping and have no quality control, which means that a lot of junk ends up in the database as well – junk that you have to sort through.
Fuel your influencer campaigns with an influencer network
Another, better option is using a dedicated micro-influencer marketing platform, like Trend. These influencer networks act as a marketplace where brands are able to set up a campaign and influencers apply to join, which saves you a lot of time and busywork.
Since these networks are invite-only (which means they don’t just let in anyone whose data they scrape) they’re able to ensure good accounts.
And unlike databases or manual searching, the influencers in a network like Trend have higher engagement. These influencers have taken the time and initiative to request an invitation and set up their account.
They want to be there, and actively searching for partnerships, just like the brands. This means campaigns can have a very short turnaround time and can easily be managed at scale.
How micro-influencers impact your marketing campaigns and marketing efforts
These accounts have a highly engaged audience due to the authenticity and passion that’s evident in their account. People see this and respond positively to it.
They help you build relationships with customers
They are not just an account that is busy trying to make a quick buck. Instead, they’re trying to build something.
This means that the partnerships they do are well-aligned with the audience. This can lead to more clicks, swipe ups, and, ultimately, sales.
Using micro-influencers will save you tons of time
With huge accounts, you usually have to deal with a whole team, including assistants, agents, photographers and more.
Micro-bloggers or micro-celebrities often negotiate partnerships directly and charge less than the huge accounts. If you work through a platform like Trend, it’s even quicker since we’ve eliminated price negotiation and the need for contracts.
The quicker a campaign is fulfilled, the quicker there’s branded content out there that helps build your brand awareness.
They will fill your content gaps
Using micro-influencers can also result in the creation of content to use on your website, email, ads, Instagram shopping, promotions, and more.
Content generation is hugely important in today’s media ecosystem – having a fresh stack of engaging, high-quality photos to use across all channels is essential to maintaining brand awareness and ensuring you stay top of mind with current and future customers.
Using smaller accounts is a great way of “outsourcing” this need.
Overall, they represent tremendous value when it comes to doing influencer marketing right.