The Rising Power of the Micro-Influencer

Shaun H. Ruff


Many brands make good use of influencer marketing. It has become a vital tactic when it comes to promoting your brand on social media. Influencers, being the stars of the social media universe, have the power to bring a brand to a vast audience, generating leads that marketers wouldn’t otherwise be able to realize. However, what if the sheer size of an audience is not the main target in your social media marketing strategy? What if you want to use influencer marketing to reach a niche, captive audience? Enter the micro-influencer – the social media marketer’s secret weapon.

What is the Difference Between Influencers and Micro-Influencers?

What exactly is a micro-influencer? Unfortunately, there is no precise micro-influencer definition since the numbers cited tend to vary. Essentially, the term refers to social media content creators who have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. These are respectable numbers but not enough for these content creators to become influencers in the sense that the term is generally understood. In contrast, major influencers – the social media celebrities – have hundreds of thousands of followers, perhaps even millions.

Macro-influencers are stars, while micro-influencers are more akin to your everyday consumer. While the sizes of their respective audiences are very different, each offers its own value and benefits to the savvy social media marketer.

And to be honest, one is not necessarily better than the other. You will need a macro-influencer with a massive audience to make your brand go viral for some campaigns. At other times, you need to target a smaller, dedicated audience consisting of precisely the consumers you want to engage with your brand. Before you decide whether to work with a micro- or a macro-influencer on your next campaign, consider the following factors:

  • Cost: The larger an influencer’s audience, the more expensive it will be to work with them. As a result, marketers will have to make a heavy investment in a single piece of content, banking on a significant return. While this can be a very effective and rewarding tactic, it isn’t always favorable. Sometimes you simply don’t have the budget for a social media star. You might have the budget on other occasions, but the ROI simply doesn’t justify the expenditure. In those cases, you’ll need to think smaller.
  • Authenticity: As an influencer’s popularity grows, more and more brands will come knocking on their door, offering them money to promote their products. If the influencer accepts offers from every brand that comes their way, questions of trust and authenticity will start to arise. The audience may ask: “Is this influencer genuinely promoting a product they love, or is this just for money?” On the other hand, a micro-influencer may not know precisely how to be an influencer at first, but they do have a small, dedicated following that has come to know their tastes and preferences intimately. This influencer only promotes a few products, thus appearing discerning and selective and dedicated to sharing genuine opinions with their audiences.
    You will need to research your prospective influencer. Take note of the size of their audiences and how often they post product promotions. Also, be aware of their audience’s reactions. And finally, study the content of the posts themselves: what they say about a brand can reveal how they engage with brands and their audiences. Ask yourself to what extent they care about both and what value they add to each.
  • Availability: Celebrity influencers are not only expensive, but they can also be too busy to consider your proposal. If you need to move quickly with your campaign, you may not be able to work with the macro-influencer of your choice. They may already be working on several campaigns with other brands. You may then need to look to a micro-influencer who can help you get your campaign going in the required time frame.

What is an Example of Micro-Influencer Marketing?

What would a micro-influencer marketing campaign look like? You can find many micro-influencer marketing examples online, but here is one involving Audible, Amazon’s audiobook division. A major brand like Amazon spends millions on its marketing every year and certainly has the power to mobilize celebrity influencers if it wishes to. However, to promote its audiobooks, it chose to work with a series of micro-influencers, such as photographer and filmmaker Jesse Driftwood. Driftwood’s following has grown since this particular campaign, but it was well under 100,000 at the time. All he did was post a simple, conversational post about how he loved listening to audiobooks while running. The post was framed as a friendly book recommendation and a suggestion for an innovative way to enjoy the book.

What Can Micro-Influencers Do for Your Brand?

As should already be clear, micro-influencers have small audiences. If you have a clear understanding of your ideal customers, you can find micro-influencers who speak directly to those kinds of people. In this way, you may not achieve mass appeal, but you will reach a captive audience made of people who are a perfect match for your brand.

By working with micro-influencers, you can reduce your costs since you won’t have to pay the fees that a major influencer demands. You also have a better chance of achieving authenticity because micro-influencers are more likely to work with brands they love (in fact, they may reach out to you instead of the other way around).

You may initially be concerned about reaching a comparatively much smaller audience, but remember that what you sacrifice in numbers, you will more than make up for in engagement. Micro-influencers have fewer followers, but these followers are dedicated and engage enthusiastically with whatever content they share. They also have a high degree of trust in the influencer and will be more likely to make purchases based on their opinions.

Since micro-influencers are cheaper, you can work with several of them on one campaign. Each influencer will take your brand to a different market. You can reach more than one captive audience this way. If your marketing personas span several different markets and industries, you can reach all of them by choosing the right micro-influencers. This multi-market reach is invaluable. The beauty of micro-influencer marketing is that you can target niche audiences, but there is no reason to stop at just one niche. Identify all the niches relevant to your brand and then promote yourself to all of them via the relevant influencers.

Need help reaching your target audience on social media? WSI can help you plan an effective micro-influencer campaign and implement your micro-influencer marketing tools to help you promote your brand to your ideal customers. We can also help with all aspects of digital marketing, from content marketing to SEO. Contact us to see how we can help, or read our blog for more expert digital marketing advice.


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