The value of influencer marketing is well established – but marketers can achieve superior reach with less hassle if they scale things down
84% of marketers say they have an influencer campaign planned for 2017. Influencers offer a highly effective way of avoiding adblockers and cultivating clout among desired audiences.
It is not, however, a failsafe solution. Contrary to popular belief, bigger is not always better as far as follower count is concerned – and many influencers are plagued by diminishing returns. Research suggests that social media influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a ‘like’ rate of close to 8%. However those with one to 10 million followers obtain just 1.66%.
Opting for a smaller influencer could mean much better engagement for far less cost. It’s also good sense to target your influencing campaigns, even if this means tailoring them to specific audiences.
Consider, for instance, a blender vendor poised to enter the market. A video of the Queen using it to make a smoothie would certainly cause a stir, but the short-term cost efficiency and long-term uptake from the backing of one of the world’s foremost foodservice consultants may be a better option instead.
Micro influencers are here to stay and, because anyone can be one, their numbers are increasing.
Here are a few standout examples in some key industries – all with 100,000 followers or fewer – to demonstrate how this potent approach to influence is creating a new frontier in content marketing.
Food and drink
When Felicity Spector isn’t writing for Channel 4 News, she’s embarking on a culinary conquest of London.
Her Instagram account is a mouthwatering journey through the eateries of Britain’s capital. She’s written extensively on the notable highlights – recent examples include a list of the best custard tarts in town and London’s burgeoning pop-up dinner scene.
Spector has built up a community of dedicated fans based on a shared passion. Food outlets featured on her Instagram and Twitter accounts benefit from exposure to followers who are seeking new culinary experiences and are ideally geographically placed to pursue them.
Lesson: Spector’s encyclopaedic insights into London cuisine show that micro influencers’ reduced scope allows them to cultivate unmatched expertise – something content marketers should tap into.
In addition to legions of followers hanging off his every move, Kash Bhattacharya has picked up the National Geographic Traveller Blogger of the Year award for sharing his intercontinental sojourns.
With his accommodation and travel recommendations reaching tens of thousands of tourism devotees, Bhattacharya’s success offers a launchpad for hospitality businesses across the globe. There’s a clear market for economical travel – making the most of key influencers in the field can pay dividends.
Lesson: Penny pinching and tourism don’t usually go hand in hand, but there’s a great deal of marketing leverage to be gained from using content to exploit hitherto under-appreciated niches. Bhattacharya’s example shows the role micro influencers can play
Davies might not have the abundance of followers that characterises many fashion industry figures, but her commitment and eagerness to communicate with fellow fashion enthusiasts – replying to comments, for example – highlights the prevalence of engagement in the micro influencer realm.
Attracting thousands of likes on pictures of piles of clothes is all well and good, but having a truly engaged audience is much more valuable.
Fashion influencers like Erica Davies demonstrate the importance of balancing large reach with enduring brand loyalty, something marketers are often guilty of forgetting.
Lesson: Major influencers in a given field might be the best at drumming up followers, but micro influencers’ ability to engage is an unequalled bonus.
Health and fitness
Despite having fewer than 3,000 followers, Jenny Francis is a big name in the world of fitness. She writes regularly for The Sun and has been inducted into the fitness elite through her acquaintance with Joe Wicks.
Francis’s example shows that a small following doesn’t mean diminished influence. Savvy marketers should be aware that building brand recognition among relevant communities is far more worthwhile than haemorrhaging money to get noticed by huge quantities of people – only to find they have no interest in engaging with your brand.
Lesson: No micro influencer is too small – social media personalities with modest followings often command the most industry clout and credibility.
Cultivating influence in a field can be difficult, especially if it’s very precise or you’re only just getting started. Making the most of micro influencers could be the best way to take your brand to the next level.