Micro-influencers and the

Micro-influencers and the "less is more" argument

Monday, 13 august 2018 | Redacción CEU

They have an exorbitant number of followers, know the recipe for success and are the new idols of the digital world. Their sector has been professionalized and their hiring is on the rise. Influencers are aware of their power and exploit it, they increasingly negotiate harder with brands and companies. It is not surprising, since their profitability seems to be confirmed. However, are all kinds of influencers equally effective? Is the number of followers an useful criterion for their hiring? What have marketers learned in recent years?

 

"Less is more". This is the new line that influencer marketing experts defend. Until recently, when brands or firms decided to use influencers in their marketing strategies, the decisive criterion which had guided their search was the number of followers that the personality in question had. In other words, the effectiveness of the influencer was measured in popularity terms. Over time and with the accumulated experience, this theory has been refuted by a considerable number of  brands. They are aware of the fact that these figures do not necessarily translate into an engagement which is proportional to them or reflect their real capacity of influencing.

All influencers are not the same

Naturalness, visibility and credibility are terms which are used frequently to define these personalities. However, not all influencers are equal, and these adjectives are more or less adequate according to the kind of influencer being considered. Before getting into detail, we consider that it is necessary to narrow down the different types of influencer according to their level of popularity:

  • Celebrities (+500,000): Their sphere of influence is usually found both inside and outside the social networking sites. Their success on the digital world may be related to the one that they already had outside before or because their fame has served as a springboard to gain strength on this territory. When brands work with celebrities who adapt to their values and strategies, the campaign in which they participate is very likely to be a success. With regard to their real ability to influence, a point to bear in mind is that users can follow celebrities by inertia or due to their notoriety, and not because they have a real interest in them.
  • Macro-influencers (100,000 - 500,000): These influencers do not necessarily have to be relevant outside the digital world, for sure, they have a high profile on online platforms. They have turned their experience on the Net into their profession, and, therefore, they face the brands' assignments with due diligence.
  • Medium influencers 10.000 – 100.000): They are in a preliminary phase to become macro-influencers. Their activity cannot be considered a job, because they do not earn a regular income from it. Therefore, they do not have much experience dealing with brands. However, they usually have a high level of specialization, which, on the other hand, gives them more credibility in their field.
  • Micro-influencers (up to 10,000): Compared with the rest, their audience is small. However, they are very specialized, and they are treated as opinion leaders by their hundreds or thousands of followers. They also keep a very close relationship with their fans because the size of their community makes it possible.

When developing this classification of influencers, especially when we had to delimitate the figures, we took as inspiration the event Influencer Marketing: how to use it efficiently to reach your audience which took place a few months ago at the headquarters of CEU IAM Business School and which had as a guest the singular intervention of Francesc Pumarola, Head of Digital Go To Market of Hijos de Rivera SAU (Estrella Galicia, 1906, Cabreiroá). To be precise, it is necessary to clarify that when he talked about "potential influencers" in this conference, he referred to what we called "micro-influencers" in this article.

Although other analyses present a different categorization, they also agree on the same premise: when influencers have more followers, they generate less engagement. On the contrary, small influencers have more possibilities when it comes to reaching their target, that is, they have an extraordinary ability to influence. It is not surprising that these personalities, which were previously ignored, now come to occupy the center of attention of brands.

 

Micro-influencers and the

The big potential of the small influencers

According to a report carried out by the Brandwatch consultancy, out of 72% of users that follow influencers, only 38% believe that these influencers are "trustworthy". Their naturalness has been during all this time their great ally when it comes to exerting their ability to influence, but, as time goes by, some of these personalities have lost that power. Their behavior is questioned. Macro-influencers and celebrities are those who most experience this lack of credibility; their speech is likely to be perceived by the users as forced. Brands must be able to find the most appropriate influencers, those who best adapt to their strategies and values and who manage to work with them more spontaneously. Only in this way will they be able to avoid this situation.

Influencers' ability to influence depends on the level of authenticity and honesty that users perceive in them to a large extent. These are precisely attributes that micro-influencers possess. The influencers with smaller audiences are characterized by their high degree of specialization in matters that their followers are interested in, this circumstance allows them to generate more engagement. In addition, they have a greater capacity to interact with their audience. The personalization of the message is, therefore, another competitive advantage.

The figures support the "less is more" argument. According to the data showed by The Startup, micro-influencers achieve 60% engagement, the campaigns in which they participate are 6.7% more profitable and effective, and they generate 22 times more conversations than the average consumer does. Other studies carried out by firms such as Tapinfluencience or Experticity also highlight their great potential when it comes to generating a return on investment or their ability to influence  customers.

Micro-influencers have a small audience, but they also have a great potential. As their name indicates, the great charm of the influencers lies in their ability to influence and, in this case, the smallest can be the biggest.

At The CEU IAM Business School, we have designed an International MBA in Marketing Management with which you will be able to acquire a strategic vision that will allow you to successfully manage the marketing of any brand, whether it is a national or international firm. Sign up and discover the experiences of great brands and startups by the hand of their protagonists themselves.

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