What is a Micro-Influencer in Social Media Marketing

You’ve spent a great deal of time using a tool like Visme (which I founded) to make the stunning content you know your audience will love. You’ve got it all – thoughtful presentations written from the perspective of your target audience, incredible flyers that can’t help but attract the right type of attention, social media graphics to show off as much of your personality, and more.

You post all this content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, and you absolutely cannot wait. You hit “Send,” sit back, and wait for the reaction.

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And that reaction never comes.

You may get a bite here or there, but for the most part… nothing. It’s like nothing ever happened. Skipping a stone across a mighty river, as it were.

This is something that happens to everyone, yes – especially when they’re just starting out. But it’s also a clear-cut example of why micro-influencers in social media marketing are so important. What are they, why do they matter and how can you use them to your advantage? You’re about to find out.

What is an Influencer in Terms of Social Networking?

In order to get a better understanding of social media micro-influencer, you first need to learn more about their larger counterparts – influencers.

In the context of social media, an influencer is a user on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more who have already established credibility in a specific industry. They usually already have largely established user bases (and a whole lot of followers, to boot) and their opinion is one that, to put it mildly, matters. Thanks to the authenticity they’ve established and the reach they’ve developed, it’s easy for these people to persuade people using the power of their opinion alone.

An example of this idea in action is playing out across pop culture right now, where certain movie review sites seem to have a great deal of sway over the general public. It’s gotten to the point where even if you see the latest blockbuster in the theaters and legitimately like it, you probably still want to wait and see what Red Letter Media has to say before forming your own opinion. Once you hear their latest takedown of whatever Marvel or “Star Wars” movie hit theaters that week, it will likely sway your own in some way. This is the power of influencers in action and makes no mistake, it’s happening across every industry you can think of.

Recent studies go a long way towards confirming just how powerful influencers have become:

1. 70% of all millennial consumers, in particular, say that they are now influenced by the recommendations of their peers when it comes to making buying decisions on a daily basis. Influencers absolutely fall into that category.

2. That very same study revealed that a full 30% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy a particular product if it is recommended to them by a non-celebrity blogger (read: influencer).

3. Just 3% of consumers, for the record, say that they are influenced by actual celebrities like actors or actresses.

4. 86% of women in particular now say that they turn to social networks before making any type of purchase.

5. 71% of consumers said that they were more likely to make a purchase based on some type of reference or recommendation from social media, according to a separate study.

The problem with influencers, however, is that it’s very easy to amass an audience that is TOO large. Once you get more than 100,000 followers, average engagement levels start to taper off – which ironically makes someone less influential, not more.

Thus, micro-influencers were born: accounts that may not have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers like their larger counterparts, but who have voices that are heard by your target audience just the same.

Why Micro-Influencers Matter

At their core, social media micro-influencer matters because they’re far better at a lot of the goals you’re working towards when compared to true “influencers” on the other end of the spectrum. If your only goal is to raise brand awareness, someone with a million followers can do that just fine. But if you want to drive engagement and social buzz in a cost-effective way, a micro-influencer will usually be the better choice.

Another study recently revealed that micro-influencers are:

1. Capable of delivering 60% higher engagement than influencer campaigns, for all of the same reasons as outlined above.

2. They’re typically under-priced because they don’t have as many followers, making them an average of 6.7 times more cost-effective per instance of engagement.

3. They also drive genuine social buzz up to 22 times more (!) than influencers or your larger campaigns can on their own.

Remember that at the end of the day, so much of your marketing success comes down to your ability to get as specific as you possibly can. Gone are the times when you would craft a single piece of “one size fits all” content to attract as many eyeballs as you could. It’s not about getting views – it’s about getting the right views at the right time, meaning those people who actually care about who you are, what you’re doing, and what you have to say.

There was a time when influencer marketing was all the rage, but that does seem to have tapered off. True influencers are regularly getting far too big, to the point where diminishing returns become very likely. If you really want to reach the specific niche audience that you’re after in an effective way that saves money at the same time, you’ll want to find a micro-influencer within your industry and establish a relationship with that person as quickly as possible.

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Payman Taei
Payman Taei
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.
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