Digital Marketing and the Rise of the Micro Influencer
In 2018, it is hard to deny just how viable this niche is to a brand’s digital success.
We talk constantly about the rapid ascension of certain digital marketing practices and how effective they are in particular markets. In 2017 and onwards into 2018, experts are hard-pressed to refute the formidable viability of the Micro Influencer. It might seem counterintuitive, but an individual with a smaller following might just be the solution that certain clients require. Whilst a celebrity might have hundreds of thousands of followers or fans, can it be said that they exert enough influence to change or adapt their follower’s beliefs, behaviors and actions? That is the essence of a Micro Influencer.
In 2012, ‘social media marketing’ was a search term that eclipsed ‘influencer marketing’ by a factor of five. As influencers became more commonplace, that factor narrowed, but in 2017, the relationship finally became inverted and the latter exceeded the former by 150%. Brands with in-house social media marketing teams often found it hard to build solid followings because they didn’t have the insights to develop solid and meaningful content. This meant expensive celebrity attachments didn’t often yield the ROI desired because brands just didn’t have the social impact to penetrate the marketplace effectively.
Early Influencer Marketing Strategy
When it rose to prominence, it undoubtedly suffered from ‘newness’…marketers didn’t really know how to measure success off the back of it. One of the simplest ways to do this was to ascertain likely success by merely targeting those with the most amount of followers. But as these influencers cottoned on to their perceived value within competitive niches, the rates they charged increased accordingly. Eventually, brands began to question their contribution and ponder the relationship between following and engagement. A high following did not necessarily produce the ability to influence or change behaviors.
Meanwhile, whilst traditional digital marketing strategies still performed well, certain elements like banner ads began to perform very poorly. ‘Banner Blindness’ and ad-blocking software impeded the effectiveness of many digital strategies and hindered the reach of many brands looking to connect with their audiences. With all of these factors coming into play, the micro influencer came to the rescue.
The key to micro influencer success is in their name. They may be comparatively ‘micro’ in reach, but they genuinely ‘influence’ people’s decision-making. Depending on just how niche a market is, a brand may gain the best results working with a micro influencer with a reach as low as 8-10k. If their engagement is high enough, this will make up for lack of followers. Nowadays, traditional influencer marketing is seen as an example of the law of diminishing returns. Having 100k followers does not necessarily yield double the results of someone with 50k. This observation is supported by a survey by Markerly that researched the correspondence between followers and likes. Their key finding was that as an influencer’s number of followers rises, the rate of engagement with their followers decreases.
Benefits for Brands Working with Micro Influencers
icro influencers have established authentic relationships and trust with their audiences. If a micro influencer agrees to work with your client, they are likely to provide a positive commentary on your product to their followers. Assuming you have targeted the correct micro influencers for their product, their followers should match your target market. No micro influencer will agree to work with a product they do not believe in, as that would send an incongruent message to their followers and damage their credibility. If your client succeeds in building a relationship with a micro influencer, you’ll know that he or she is likely to promote their product or service with poise and gusto. Not only will they endorse your product to their followers, but they will tell them why they should buy it. Naturally, the content opportunities are endless and many favour video as their preferred form of delivery.