Over the last few years, influencer marketing has become one of the most popular and effective forms of marketing. Brands use influencers to reach highly targeted, engaged and loyal audiences that they otherwise couldn’t reach using more traditional advertising methods like Facebook and Google Ads.

There’s no doubt that influencers are a great tool for brands that are looking to increase their sales, brand exposure, and establish relationships with their consumers. However, many brands are under the impression that influencers with larger numbers of followers make better partners, which isn’t always the case.

Influencers with several hundreds of thousands or millions of followers are excellent to use if your brand is looking to increase its reach. Though, when it comes to increasing engagement and their ROI, studies have shown that using micro influencers will deliver much better results.

Below, we will discuss the difference between micro influencers and celebrity influencers, and touch on the benefits of using them in your brand’s next influencer marketing campaign.

Image: Instagram (@laurissawillems)

What are micro influencers?

When people think of influencers, they usually think of content creators with millions of followers and huge brand endorsements. These influencers are defined as ‘macro influencers’ or celebrity influencers.

Micro influencers are influencers that typically have between 3,000 and 300,000 followers or subscribers on their social media account. They’re content creators, who are also very normal, everyday people. They typically post less sponsored content than celebrity influencers and some even hold a day job in addition to being an influencer.

Image: Instagram (@blankitinerary)

What are the benefits of using micro influencers?

Word of mouth instead of idolizing

Most brands hire celebrity influencers because they’re counting on the fact that their followers idolize them. The belief is that their followers are persuaded to buy the advertised products because they look up to the influencer. The public idolizes and relates to influencers, which is what makes them such a powerful tool in the marketing world. However, micro influencers take this a step further.

Micro influencers are normal people who post interesting content that the public loves and trusts. The fact that their audiences trust them means that they automatically have the power of persuasion on their side, which is why most brands are starting to use more micro influencers as part of their marketing strategies. In a way, using micro influencers is a great way to market your products using ‘word of mouth’. Brands collaborate with smaller influencers because the public trust them the same way they trust an acquaintance or a friend.

Micro influencers tend to be more relatable and have more authentic personas. This makes them more credible when they promote new products and brands to their followers. In fact, studies show that consumers are seven times more likely to trust the recommendation of an influencer they follow than the recommendation of a celebrity. The perceived authenticity of micro-influencers is extremely effective when trying to reach consumers and promote products.

According to Socialbakers, “…consumers make most of their purchase decisions based on suggestions by close friends (86%), although distant friends (39%) and influencers (31%) also carry good clout in their decision-making.” The result of using micro influencers is similar to when your friend or acquaintance recommends a new product to you. You’re more inclined to try it out.

Higher engagement

If increasing engagement is a priority for your brand, you should consider using micro influencers in your next marketing campaign. Data has shown that influencers with larger numbers of followers tend to have lower engagement rates. On the other hand, micro influencers are very impactful when it comes to increasing campaign engagement rates. According to Adweek, “micro-influencers with under 30,000 followers have been shown to deliver 60% higher campaign engagement rates and those campaigns are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement…”

Micro influencers frequently like their followers’ comments and they reply to them, which makes their followers feel like they have a connection with them. By contrast, macro-influencers or celebrity influencers respond to comments less frequently and likely have a lot more spam in their comments. People are more apt to listen to the recommendation of an influencer that they identify with than a celebrity who seems very “out of reach” to them.

Image: Instagram (@cheraleelyle)

Stronger ROI

Another benefit of using micro influencers instead of celebrity influencers is that they can deliver a better ROI on campaigns. According to Experticity, data shows that micro influencers drive up to 22 times more conversions. The reason behind this goes back to the idea that micro influencers are more authentic than macro influencers and celebrities. The strong connections that micro influencer have with their followers can have a huge effect on purchasing behavior.

Because micro influencers don’t have the same amount of reach as macro influencers do, working with multiple micro influencers at once is an excellent way to positively impact ROI while making sure your ads are seen by millions of consumers. Not to mention, brands can easily hire many micro influencers at a relatively small cost.

They often work through agencies

Unlike celebrity influencers, micro influencers often work through agencies like Social Elite and Tribe in order to win new sponsorship opportunities. These agencies help to mitigate risk for both influencers and brands. Using agencies can be very helpful to brands that don’t want to deal with finding and reaching out to new influencers.

By working through agencies, brands can avoid doing in-depth research to find their next influencers. They can simply scroll through influencer platforms to discover thousands of micro influencers across multiple niches all in one place. Not to mention, much of the communication happens directly on the influencer platforms as well, which ensures smooth communication between both parties.

On-going partnerships

It’s much easier for brands to initiate long-term partnerships with micro influencers than celebrity influencers because they are much less expensive. As reported by Tapinfluence, 77% of marketers believe that long-term ambassadorships are a more effective form of influencer marketing. On-going partnerships with micro influencers are a much more powerful way to advertise your products than simply establishing a one-off collaboration with an influencer.

As we established earlier, consumers develop authentic relationships with micro influencers, which makes them more persuasive spokespeople. When an influencer continues to promote a specific product, it gives the impression to their followers that they genuinely love this product. In turn, they will be more likely to listen to the influencer’s recommendation.

Micro influencers are less costly

While influencer marketing can still more costly than other forms of advertising, it doesn’t have to completely consume your brand’s marketing budget. Using micro influencers is a great solution for brands that want to use influencer marketing, but can’t afford to pay $10,000 per sponsored post. SocialMediaToday reported that, on average, hiring a micro influencer costs roughly $180 per post on Instagram. This is much more affordable than the costs of hiring celebrity influencers to sponsor your products, and it’s effective.

However, as most micro influencers work through influencer agencies, brands should keep in mind that pricing works differently depending on which platform they used to hire the influencer. Some platforms, like Tribe, charge brands an additional fee to keep the influencer’s content (for reuse) and to use it on other marketing streams.