News & Views

Why size doesn’t matter

by Contagious Contributor

Sanjeev Jasani, chief digital officer at Cheil Worldwide India, explains why brands must be working with micro influencers in 2018

Micro Influencer

The term 'micro influencer' has become a buzzword within the industry, and it’s going to stick around for good reason. So, what are they and what exactly is all the hype about? Let’s try and unravel the mystery.

Micro influencers are typically people with a small but highly-engaged following. Their follower base could be only as large as 10,000 followers on Twitter or Instagram and they are creatively inclined. Their follower base loves their content, which explains why they are so highly engaged.

Studies show that 82% of consumers have a higher likelihood of acting upon recommendations from micro influencers and these micro influencers can generate 60% greater engagement than other campaigns. The main reason for this is they can create a stronger bond with their followers. So their recommendations are trusted and valued more.

What’s more, their content is 6.7 times more efficient at engaging audiences than bigger influencers, according to research by HelloSociety. In a single week, micro influencers are likely to have purchase-related conversations 22.2 times more than an average person. Such conversations involve product recommendations too.

Micro Influencers

From my perspective, there are six reasons why micro influencers are so important for brands:

1. They are cost effective

First and foremost, they are highly cost effective because their rates are significantly lower. Macro influencers (the ones with 500k+ followers) or celebrities tend to charge high fees for branded collaborations. For example, you could pay upwards of $5K for a top-tier influencer or celebrity to do one tweet, or you could invest the same into a campaign with 20 micro influencers to reach a wide audience that is more highly engaged.

2. Brilliant content creation capabilities

If your influencer marketing goal is more focused on content creation, micro influencers are the Holy Grail! As I’ve mentioned, they are cost effective, and although they might not have a huge following, they can create great thumb-stopping content. Whether it’s written, imagery, video or multimedia content that you’re after, seek smaller influencers to get the job done on budget, without compromising on quality.

3. Highly-engaged, loyal audience 

Generally speaking, micro influencers have a loyal following because their audience is still growing and is made up of people they have met, people who have followed them from the beginning, people who generally love their content and people in their personal friends and family network. Macro influencers, on the other hand, often have a lower average engagement rate. 

What does this mean for marketers? Don’t go after follower base alone. Engagement is a much better metric for measuring and understanding influence. While an influencer may have 100,000 followers, their engagement rate is likely to be around 1%, which means only 1,000 out of 100,000 are actually engaged with their content (according to Facebook). Meanwhile, a micro influencer with 10,000 followers and an average engagement rate of 8% has an engaged community of 800 people. The cost difference between the two can be huge considering that you are only reaching an additional 200 engaged people.

4. Authentic and personal

Now let’s assume you are following two influencers, one macro influencer (Let’s call him John) and the other a micro influencer (Let’s call him Peter). One day you decide to tweet both John and Peter praising them for a piece of work they have done and asking them out for a coffee. Who do you think will respond to you? More importantly, who do you think will drop in for a cup of coffee? Micro influencers cherish their growing community, and they are readily available to attend events, interact with followers, reply to comments, engage with their community and have a presence offline, as well as online.

5. An opportunity for small businesses 

If you are a big brand, you probably have big budgets and can afford to work with anyone and everyone, so you would often ignore micro influencers. Smaller businesses and startups can work closely with micro influencers who closely align with their target market and budget.

My point is, influencer marketing with micro influencers is a great way for growing brands to tap into influencer marketing and really start to see some great results.

6. Belief in people rather than celebrities

Assume we want to buy a mobile phone. We search for our specific brand, check out its specs on the brand website, check its price on a few ecommerce portals, read the reviews and then see what people (more importantly, my network on social) are saying about that model. On this basis, we make up our minds. It’s a rational decision and our friends and network influences us. We even believe a stranger that’s put up a review for the product. A celebrity or a macro influencer pushing a product is considered advertising push, which brings down the believable quotient. This is why micro influencers are important. They are normal people who could be part of your network.

Micro influencers are the perfect vehicle to distribute marketing messages in a digital capacity, because 1) there are so many of them, 2) they are authentic, genuine and natural in their content and recommendations, and 3) they are not impacted by Adblock software, so there is nothing standing between the influencer content and consumers.

So, if you still haven’t considered micro influencers as part of your influencer marketing programme, then think again. It’s time to smarten up.