What Are Micro-Influencers and How Do They Benefit Brands?

Micro-influencers are in demand for brands of all shapes and sizes right now.

Because marketers are finally seeing the value of smaller creators over celebrities.  Recent research confirms what we’ve seen firsthand: micro-influencers drive massive results.

More brand awareness. Ad-worthy, authentic content. Increased engagement and reach.

Heck, these are just a few of the benefits of micro-influencer marketing campaigns. There’s a reason why big box brands and major retailers still partner with smaller creators.

“Okay, but what is a micro-influencer?”

Good question! Below we explain what micro-influencers are and what they can do for brands.

Defining Micro-influencers: Who They Are and What They Do

Let’s kick things off with a quick definition we can work with:

Micro-influencers are social media content creators that resemble everyday consumers. 

These influencers create content that’s more authentic and less polished than celebrities. 

Creators with a follower count between 10k and 100k are typically considered micro-influencers

Micro-influencers (Everyday Creators)

Macro-influencers (Celebrities)

  • ~10,000 to ~100,000 followers
  • Promotes products and brands they’re passionate about or believe in
  • Notable for their authenticity and engaged audiences
  • Posts branded content that closely resembles their organic content
  • ~100,000+ to 1,000,000+ followers
  • Promotes products full-time (or as part of endorsement deals as a celebrity)
  • Notable for their notoriety and audience size
  • Branded posts are typically less subtle

“Wait, How Many Followers Do Micro-Influencers Have?”

We get it. Having 100,000 followers doesn’t exactly seem very “micro,” right?

The question of how many followers micro-influencers have is widely debated. Depending on who you ask, you’ll drum up totally different follower count numbers. 

A follower threshold between 10,000 and 100,000 is what we see cited most often for micro-influencers. At Statusphere, we stick with the “10,000 to 100,000-follower” definition. We typically look for creators with a minimum of 2,000 followers for our own network. 

Terms like “nano-influencer” and “power-middle influencer” are sometimes used to refer to non-celebrity creators, too. Sometimes these terms get used interchangeably. They all reflect the same concept: influencers that aren’t celebrities.

The shift toward smaller creators has been a long time coming. As influencer marketing has grown and evolved, follower count doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Instead, brands are interested in quality over quantity when it comes to a creator’s audience. Research shows that authenticity and relatability outweigh follower count for brands.

influencer follow count data

Source: Sprout Social

Why Micro-Influencers Are Better Than “Big” Creators

Brands rightfully want to get their products in front of as many people as possible.

This might make micro-influencers seem counterintuitive to celebrities at a glance. Thing is, follower count doesn’t define the quality or even the reach of an influencer’s content. 

Below are just a handful of reasons why micro-influencers are better than celebrities:

Smaller Creators Produce More Authentic Content

Fact: authenticity is the most important factor that influences shoppers on social media. 

Micro-influnecers’ audiences see them as fellow consumers sharing recommendations versus celebrities making endorsements. 

Authentic content drives authentic engagement. Not to mention increased trust from consumers.

READ  Top 13 Influencer Analytics Tools for Decoding Digital Influences

Micro-Influencers Can Target Niche Audiences More Effectively

The bigger an influencer, the more “generalist” they are in terms of the products they promote. 

On the flip side, micro-influencers can build communities interested in very specific products. 

For example, a skincare influencer might primarily post about her experience with eczema. Her content focuses on reviewing products and solutions for dry skin. 

Sure, her content isn’t for everybody. But for her audience dealing with dry skin, her advice is invaluable. The products she recommends in her skincare routine are, too. Since she shares the same struggles and challenges as her audience, they trust her. She speaks their language.

The result? That influencer’s followers will be more receptive to the skincare products she promotes. Those same followers will listen closely to her recommendations, too. 

Micro-Influencers Have More Engaged Audiences Than Celebrities

Earning millions of followers is an impressive milestone.

That said, follower count doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to an influencer’s reach.

Consider the correlation between higher follower counts and lower engagement rates. The graph below reflects this phenomenon on TikTok. Similar trends apply to Instagram micro-influencers, too.

TikTok Benchmark Report data

Source: Rival IQ

What gives? Well, there are a few reasons for this. 

For starters, bigger accounts attract more fake followers and spam. The larger your follower count, the more diluted the quality of your audience. This creates a snowball effect where celebrity influencers see lower reach.

Contrast this with micro-influencers who boast higher engagement rates among more enthusiastic followers. Again, followers do not reflect the marketing potential of an influencer. 

The relatively high engagement rates of smaller creators are a huge benefit for brands. Food for thought: follower count is not a factor in how content ranks via the TikTok algorithm. This explains why smaller creators with niche audiences go viral on the app all the time.

For example, check out this TikTok micro-influencer who earned over 650,000 likes and 8,000+ comments on a post featuring her favorite self-tanning product.

micro-influencer example on TikTok    example of micro-influencer post on TikTok

Source: @kahliazaire

Unfiltered content and high engagement go hand in hand for brands that get their products into the hands of skilled creators.

5 Big Benefits of Working with Micro-Influencers 

Working with smaller creators is becoming more and more common among B2C brands.

If you’re running your first influencer campaign, micros should be absolutely in the mix. Below we dive deeper into the benefits of using micro-influencers in your marketing strategy.

1. Higher Engagement Rates and More Meaningful Reach

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to smaller creators’ reach and engagement. 

Here are a handful of recent statistics that highlight what we mean:

Consider that micro-influencers have engaged audiences that they’ve grown from scratch. Smaller creators know how to balance personality and promotion to engage their audiences.

READ  17 Influencer Marketing Effectiveness Statistics to Know for 2024

example of food micro-influencer content

Source: @fashionmejen

2. Earn Authentic Content That Builds Brand Trust

Brands are spoiled for choice when it comes to potential content creators to work with.

And so the creator space is super competitive. 

Micro-influencers have to work hard to keep their audiences engaged and growing. This gives small creators an incentive to go the extra mile when promoting products.

In our experience, micro-influencers tend to find super creative ways to show off products. Their authenticity and creativity result in high-quality posts that social shoppers love. Below is an awesome example from a creator in our own network.

example of high-performing influencer content on TikTok

Source: @motherhoodonpurpose

Note that 71% of consumers like to discover brands via friends, reviews and social media over ads. Many shoppers treat recommendations from creators like those of friends and family. 

Content from micro-influencers is most effective when posts feel like honest recommendations. Low-effort, phoned-in endorsement won’t do them (or brands!) any favors. This shows the value of hiring creators that actively want to promote your products.

3. Micro-Influencers Are More Scalable Than Macro-Influencers

Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be a matter of either-or when it comes to creator size.

There are plenty of brands that successfully work with macro-influencers. No denying that!

However, small creators help brands stretch their budgets and see longer-term results. That’s because micro-influencers can be part of an always-on influencer marketing strategy. 

Unlike one-off celebrity campaigns, ongoing partnerships with small creators provide ongoing benefits. This includes social proof, fresh pieces of content to repurpose and greater reach.

Working exclusively with big accounts is risky given how fickle social algorithms are. As noted earlier, smaller creators’ audiences are more engaged and relevant by default.  

Even corporate brands are using micro-influencers in their marketing despite having the budget to hire celebs. Below is a branded hashtag campaign from Target featuring content from everyday creators. Using the tags #TargetFinds and #TargetRun, the brand reposts satisfied shoppers. 

target influencer marketing example on Instagram   target influencer marketing example on Instagram

Source: @target

4. Boost the Effectiveness of Your Paid Social Media Strategy

Paid ads are a staple of social media marketing at large.

That said, placements are getting pricier and optimizing your campaigns can be tricky. Anything you can do to improve ad performance from the word “go” is a plus.

That’s where micro-influencers can come in. We’re seeing more and more brands promote their influencer content and UGC in ads

social media ad example featuring an influencer

Source: @thebachparty

With small creators, promotional posts don’t have to feel like ads at all.

Consider also that 64% of shoppers prefer branded social posts featuring UGC over traditional product shots. You can apply the same logic to ads. There’s a reason why TikTok’s Spark ads and Instagram’s branded content ads (now “Partnership Ads”) perform so well.

Industry Examples of Micro-Influencers in Action

Honestly, creative micro-influencers can promote just about anything. They’re fair game for so types of brands that we’d be hard-pressed to cover them all. 

To wrap things up, here are some examples of micro-influencer campaigns across industries.

READ  6 Takeaways for Brands Working with Influencers

Beauty

Word of mouth is make-or-break for beauty brands. Given how fierce the competition in the beauty space is, brands need all the social proof they can get.

Haircare and skincare brands rely on creators to prove that their products actually work. These types of videos make it easier for potential customers to see how products work. Not to mention what makes them unique.

beauty brand influencer marketing example

Source: @nathalievelozz

Fashion

Fashion brands are another industry that benefits massively from micro-influencers. Shoppers want to know what products look like on real people versus models.

fashion brand influencer marketing example

Source: @danthman1999

This is why “What I Bought Versus What Got” videos are so popular. The example above also highlights how creators can bring your products to life.

Health and Wellness 

This is yet another industry where micro-influencer marketing is a natural fit. Health and wellness creators can seamlessly show off products while providing lifestyle advice. These creators often present products as their best-kept secrets and hidden gems.

Health and Wellness influencer marketing example

Source: @drooling.bae

Food and Beverage

Conveying what something tastes like via social media is easier said than done. Creator content on behalf of food and beverage brands lets satisfied customers do the talking instead. Beyond taste tests, recipe videos are a popular way for influencers to entice their audiences to try something new.

Food Drink Example

Source @socal.mommy

Children’s Products 

Parenting communities are massive across social media. Creators with kids are the perfect candidates for showing off toys, games, books and more.

Childrens product beauty brand influencer marketing example

Source: @keepingitrizza

Note: This is just a snapshot of what micro-influencer campaign content can look like for brands. For more inspiration, check out our post sharing examples of TikTok micro-influencers and creative ways they’re promoting products on the app.

How to Get Content from Micro-Influencers Faster

Despite their “smaller” follower counts, micro-influencers are invaluable to brands today.

Because their authenticity and creativity are truly one-of-a-kind.

As more flock to social media to research and buy products, having an army of creators posting on your behalf is a huge plus. Crowded competition on social media means that word of mouth is more important than ever.

But managing a high volume of creator partnerships can quickly eat up your bandwidth. Especially when you’re juggling other marketing efforts.

That’s exactly why we built Statusphere.Get-More-Content-4 (1)-1Our micro-influencer platform matches brands with creators from our vetted influencer network using 250+ unique, first-party data points. Unlike other platforms, Statusphere provides brands with guaranteed posts from relevant influencers to support scalability.

We’ve already generated 75,000+ pieces of authentic content on behalf of 400+ brands.

Want to learn more about how our software works? Contact one of our experts to see how we can get hundreds of micro-influencers posting about your brand.

This article was first published in October 2016. It was last updated September 27, 2023.



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