Should I Be Working With Influencers Who Have Smaller Followings?

Influencers can usually be split into three main camps: celebrities, (macro) influencers, and micro-influencers. Celebrities have long cashed in on brands paying them to promote their products, merely by wearing/using it; but in the age of globalisation, it is easier than ever to become famous. Enter the influencer.

Celebrity Influencers

Of the three camps, celebrities might be the most ineffective use of your time/money. Celebrities are very ungrounded in comparison to their audience, so there is no real connection between your product and the people you’re trying to reach. Would you trust someone’s recommendation that you barely know? Of course not. Celebrity influencers can most typically be identified by the fact that they have 1 million+ followers.

Macro Influencers

Macro Influencers don’t really solve the issues presented by celebrities, as most larger influencers are becoming celebrities in their own right, despite being more niche characters. Macro-influencers typically have 100K+ followers. This means that with macro-influencers, you face the same issues as you do with celebrities; high prices, disconnect from their audience and low engagement.

Which brings us to the subject of discussion: Micro-influencers.

What are Micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers essentially work and perform in the same way as all influencers, just on a smaller scale and with a much more niche audience. They also charge less for their services; however, they generate far better engagement and connection with their audience.

So why should you work with them? Well here are some pros to working with Micro-influencers:

Pros of working with micro-influencers

1. The Cost

The rise in influencers and the demand for their services has meant that social media promotion has transitioned from being a hobby to a full-time career. This means it’s not unheard of for some influencers to charge £500+ for just the one post, whereas some micro-influencers will be happy to promote your product purely for free samples, as opposed to a huge fee.

2. Higher Engagement

While your average micro-influencer will have a much smaller following than a professional influencer with millions of followers under their belt, their relative engagement rate can be much higher.

Take @BlissedHappiness for example. A small New York-based Yoga influencer with a small-ish following of 15K. Now compare her to Kim Kardashian with following of 131 million. BlissedHappiness has an engagement rate of 6.37%, whereas Kim only has an engagement rate of 1.98%. This is, of course, an extreme example, but illustrates the stark juxtaposition between celebrity influencers and micro-influencers.

3. Authenticity

What was originally the appeal of influencers has now become diluted and long-forgotten. Influencers with larger followings lose touch with their audiences and their endorsements of products becomes very transparent and unauthentic; once you lose these elements, what’s the point of using an influencer?

The benefit of using a micro-influencer is that their audience is far more engaged, and if you can find one in your particular niche, your product will resonate far better with the audience.

Cons of working with micro-influencers

1. Lower Reach

As their name suggests, micro-influencers enjoy considerably lower followers than larger influencers. The reach your brand would achieve with using an influencer with a few million followers would be far higher than using multiple micro-influencers; despite the higher engagement, micro-influencers simply can’t compete with larger influencers on numbers alone. This all, of course, depends on your niche. If your brand sells luxury cheese, you are part of the overarching food sector, however, there’s no doubt that there will be micro-influencers concerned purely with cheese that are followed by a more dedicated audience than larger foodie-influencers.

2. Inexperience

Despite the issues raised when dealing with larger influencers, there’s no denying that they are professionals; your products will be presented in exactly the fashion you want them to be and exactly when you want them to be. Micro-influencers simply do not have the sense of professionalism or experience you might desire when working with influencers. Imagine if your product was presented poorly or incorrectly by the micro-influencer. There is always the potential that your brand could be damaged in these types of situations.

3. More work

Let’s say to achieve a higher reach, you work with ten micro-influencers. This will likely be ten times the management time compared to one larger influencer. Micro-influencers are also much harder to come across, often taking a lot of research to find those within your niche. Of course, for many, this is a necessary trade-off.

It’s fair to say that both micro and macro influencers have their place within the marketing atmosphere of 2019, however, the influx of large-scale influencers over recent years suggests that the bubble is on its way to bursting. Micro-influencers soon may be the best way to go in coming years.

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