Influencer marketing has gained massive popularity in the advertising industry, with marketers and companies spending enormous amounts of money on influencers to promote products and services and reach a bigger audience than ever before. Customers have all but lost their trust in big business and advertising in general, prompting the shift towards honest recommendations from family, friends, and influencers. While large corporations have the necessary budgets to hire the biggest names in the industry, small businesses often find it difficult to get those names to help them out. This is where micro-influencers come into play.

Who are micro-influencers?

Unlike your typical celebrity, industry expert or a public figure, micro-influencers are basically social media users. They are individuals who specialize or work in specific vertical markets and often engage their social media audiences by sharing their particular interests. The average micro-influencer has a following ranging from 1,000 to 50,000 followers. Although this might seem as a rather large following to the average person, have in mind that Instagram celebrity and mega-influencers often have a following measured in millions of users.

Why micro-influencers and not influencers?

You might think that the use of micro-influencers is very counterintuitive. Why would companies pay someone who has a smaller following when there are more than enough influencers with much larger audiences? Although the price difference is a factor, it is hardly a deciding one. In fact, one of the main reasons why micro-influencers produce better results is because their audience engagement is through the roof. On average, micro-influencers with less than 1,000 followers will be engaged 8% of the time, whereas an influencer with millions of followers generates only around 4%.

What makes micro-influencing so effective?

Micro-influencers often have a personal connection with their audience. They have worked their way up from the bottom, earning new followers by posting genuinely interesting and engaging content and sharing their own personal tastes and interests. Big influencers and celebrities might have very large audiences, but these people are often worlds apart from one another. Micro-influencer following is often more tightly knit and very vocal about the things they love and find interesting, rather than simply following yet another trendy influencer.

This means that micro-influencers have a rather targeted audience of genuine followers who are ready to do whatever they can to support their shared interests. Having a smaller audience is exactly what allows micro-influencers to actively engage their followers, which is something large influencers could never accomplish due to their enormous audience. A smaller audience also makes professional media monitoring a lot easier, allowing micro-influencers to further improve their advertising efforts.

Micro-influencers are also more affordable, allowing startups and small businesses to enjoy their services without having to sacrifice a large portion of their budgets. In some cases, it can cheaper and far more efficient to hire a hundred of micro-influencers than it would be to pay a single celebrity for a single Instagram post. Additionally, micro-influencers are real and authentic people who share their own content, respond to comments and private messages and generally behave like an ordinary person and not like some spoiled celebrity.

Even the social media giants have realized just how effective micro-influencers can be. Instagram has made changes to its algorithm in order to mimic its parent company, Facebook. Posts from people you interact with are now shown first and authentic content has a greater priority than promotional content paid for by large brands. This could potentially make content made by micro-influencers far more visible on your feed than content coming from celebrities and mega-influencers, provided you show enough interest.