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Micro-Influencer Marketing: When Less is More

Marketing, Research

Influencer marketing is, without a doubt, a number one go-to strategy for many brands. As the world changes, life moves more and more into the online space – and let’s be honest, we can hardly live without social media either. Recently, a niche strategy known as micro-influencer marketing has joined the social media scene; humble social media followings, authenticity, and friends of the powerful Gen Z, micro-influencers are essential to your marketing strategies, and “the more followers, the better” is passé. 

To help you navigate this niche sphere, VOCAST sat down to talk to three experts within the field of influencer marketing.

Meet Mathilde, Emil & Candice

Mathilde Moberg, Partner and Management at Nter_Action

Mathilde Moberg works as an influencer manager and has been working with PR and influencer marketing for some time now and has been in love with the wild industry ever since she started. Mathilde and co-founder Oliver have the company Nter_Action, an activation agency that provides help and service to both the brand and the influencer. 

 

Emil Brandt: Influencer Agent, Marketing Manager & Partner at AA Agency

Emil Brandt Jensen works as an influencer agent, marketing manager, and partner at AA Agency. He helps companies find the right influencers for their brand and help them plan out the most profitable strategy to succeed within this area. Inside the company, he also has a handful of Danish influencers with whom he helps grow their social media channels with commercial cooperation.

 

Candice Sophia Antoine: Micro-influencer

Candice is a 23-year-old Franco-American living in New York who’s passionate about vintage goods, fashion, jewelry, and cooking. She describes her style as a combination of funky, eclectic, and chic. Currently freelancing as a content creator, Candice is also the founder of the Vintage Deli, a fun, and colorful jewelry brand.

Instagram: @so.candice

 

 

The rise of micro-influencers

We have reached a point where influencers, in general, can give you a higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, and in fact, 49% of consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations when making purchases. However, brands are stuck in the belief that the more followers an influencer has, the better. Some early-adopting brands now focus on having a base of micro-influencers instead of putting their buck on the traditional expensive mega-influencers. According to recent research, 77% of all brand partnerships nowadays are with micro-influencers.

In a world where customers tend to feel reluctant towards targeted ads, and overly obvious “influencer sponsored messages”, and with GDPR issues on the legal side, brands now strive for more personal contact with their customers. With a good match between your brand and the micro-influencers own personal brand, micro-influencers are gold and know how to help you sell indirectly.

Mathilde distinguishes a growing interest in brands working with micro-influencers. The industry of influencer marketing is growing every day, and it is relevant for brands to be aware of the targeting following base that micro-influencers often have. Even if customers want the same product, they come with different preferences that several micro-influencers can reach, compared to one expensive mega-influencer. She explains:

“If you as a brand are not aware of the possibilities and different targeting ways of the micro influencer’s followers, you are overlooking the potential”

Mathilde believes that micro-influencers play a big part in a new strategy of influencing and marketing. Not necessarily a bigger role, but definitely on its way, to having an equally important influence on both branding and collaborations on social media and marketing in general.

Emil also gives us an interesting reflection where he pinpoints the lower risk of failure for brands when collaborating with micro-influencers since the cost of collaboration is usually reflected by the number of followers:

“We see a bigger interest for companies and brands to establish micro-influencer collaborations as the entry barrier is much more risk-free.”

Mathilde similarly argues that they definitely see a growing interest from brands, when it comes to working with micro-influencers. She explains that every day, the marketing and influencer business is growing, moving, changing, and evolving, so it is impossible to predict where we stand in just five years.

Going bigger isn’t always better: Why partner with a micro-influencer?

No doubt, partnering with an influencer who has a huge audience will generate a lot of traction, but that is not always the best option. The success of influencer campaigns is assessed based on engagement rate. Statistics have shown that micro-influencers have the highest engagement rate of any other type of social media creator – due to them having a smaller audience, these influencers can engage with people more personally. This also has a huge effect on trust, as consumers consider them as relatable and trustworthy people they can trust, and recent statistics have shown that 70% of teens trust creator content more than celebrity endorsement. 

Emil stresses the importance of follower engagement and that there is a clear correlation between the number of followers, and engagement in general. The more followers someone has, the weaker the engagement rate gets as it is hard to reach and get interaction with all of the followers when having a bigger follower base. Depending on what the KPIs are for the campaign, the company can decide whether micro-influencers or macro-influencers would be a great fit for the campaign depending if your goal is to increase awareness, attract interest or get conversions. 

Mathilde explains to us that she thinks brands look for diversity, authenticity and how much engagement the influencer has with their followers. Nowadays, she sees a huge escalation of micro-influencers, because they also have a targeted following, even though it doesn’t seem as much if you have 5000 followers compared to an influencer with 300.000 followers. We are all different and find inspiration and information in different places and platforms. She further explains:

“For some brands, it is not always important to activate their brand with just one mega influencer, but to select several micro profiles, to achieve a more frequent frequency for the same budget.”

Micro-influencers are often also more niche than mega-influencers, enabling you to find a much better fit for your brand by picking them carefully to precisely comply with the kind of consumers that you want to engage with your brand. Micro-influencers will give you access to an audience that fully connects and enjoys content in the niche your brand may be looking for.

Candice tells us that although Instagram is a big social media platform, she feels like she evolves in a small and trusted community of “internet friends” with similar content and styles. She further explains that the attractiveness of micro-influencers lies in the fact that they are truly being followed for their styles aside from celebrity endorsement, which we can often perceive with bigger influencers – making the following community in its whole more niche.

A Mindful Approach

By working with micro-influencers, brands simply become associated with a trusted community voice in the industry and have a direct connection to the target audience of the brand. With close relationships with their followers, high commitment, and more credibility than the industry’s bigger names, micro-influencers are often a perfect strategy for brands. And in an industry that will become evermore dominated by Gen Z – authenticity and mindfulness are highly valuable.

Marketing to young generations is all about being more transparent, authentic, and raw with promotions. Gen Z, in particular, are looking for a true voice to influence their purchases and lifestyles. As the modern-day, digital bestie Candice tells us, she considers her social media as her “own personal journal”:

“I want people to relate to myself, I’m not just someone that promotes products on the internet. I consider myself a lifestyle, and I want my lifestyle to influence and inspire people – not just the products that I use.”

Candice explains that she finds it crucial to only promote products that are part of her daily routine – as her followers see her daily routine, they are only occasionally met with affiliate links or promotional codes, as Candice argues it creates a more “natural and organic manner to shop”. 

Consumers nowadays are no longer looking for the “one-size-fits-all influencer” and are on the search for mindful influencers, who support important causes. Candice explains that being a micro-influencer makes her more mindful of sustainability: 

“As an influencer, I try to be more mindful of my own consumption, but I also want to push people to do the same by only engaging in partnerships that I know fully fit myself and my needs”.

Emil similarly explains that it is now much easier for micro-influencers to be taken seriously and speak out loud, which is one of the reasons that they keep receiving more and more credibility and trust in the industry.

A short guide to working with micro influencers

As established throughout this article, micro-influencers can have a lot of potential for your marketing strategies. They do not only have the highest engagement rate, but they also enable your brand to reach a more accurate target group for a smaller budget. This means a more efficient campaign, with fewer potential risks. But partnerships with micro-influencers could feel like being out of your usual brand reach – so, how should you partner with a micro-influencer? And, most importantly – how can both your brand and the influencer make the most out of the partnership?

1. Find the right match

It is crucial to conduct background research to find the right collaboration match for your brand. Mathilde believes that the most important aspect of ensuring a good collaboration is to find the right match; by giving and receiving the right brief, content will be created and delivered to the highest standard. If brands only focus on the price or reach of the influencer they are collaborating with, rather than the genuine match, the authenticity of the collaboration may decrease in the eyes of the audience. She adds:

“To get the best possible outcome, the processing and post-processing are just as important as the execution itself.”

2. Suggest long lasting partnerships

Partnerships can often seem rushed and overwhelming to consumers as promo codes and affiliations are showcased everywhere. Candice has a preference for brands that suggest long-lasting partnerships that unfold over several weeks or months, not only to make the product promotion as authentic as possible but to also build a relationship with the brand, and to mutually enhance each’s success and growth. This will take time but will be rewarding once a bond is established between the brand, creator, and consumer.

3. Let the creativity spark

There is nothing better than using your creativity as a content creator – and as mentioned by Candice it is important that a brand partnership lets influencers fully use its creativity to make the partnership representative of the influencer, whilst also making the brand stand out and shine.

References: image: Copenhagen Fashion Week image bank Moeez Ali. Shopify Blog, 30+ Influencer Marketing Strategies to Have on Your Radar (2022). 

Ema is the Lifestyle Researcher for the French market at VOCAST. She grew up in Brussels and previously worked with fashion PR. She is currently studying a master’s degree in international development and business and has a strong interest in sustainable and ethical practices within the fashion industry.

 

Bianca is the Swedish Lifestyle Researcher at VOCAST. She is currently studying a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Service Management at Copenhagen Business School. She grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden and has an interest for the fashion industry as well as influencer marketing.

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