The Rise of the Microinfluencer

The new world of influencer marketing has many business owners stumped. Even well-thought-out and interesting campaigns partnered with major, high-profile influencers can flop, leaving an entire marketing team scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong. Due to Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, influencers with more than 30k followers have a lower engagement rate than that of who we now call “micro influencers.”

In a recent study conducted by HelloSociety, it was determined that campaign engagement rates can soar up to 60% higher when companies use micro influencers as opposed to partnering with much larger, more popular accounts. But how can an account with hundreds of thousands fewer followers be more effective at promoting a brand than an account with over a million?

There are quite a few factors that feed into this.


  1. Instagram weakens engagement on large accounts

Once an account reaches a certain amount of followers, its rate of engagement begins to decrease. Influencers with less than 35k followers have the highest engagement rate at 5.3% while accounts that boast between 50k and 500k get stuck with a rate of a mere 1.5%.


  1. Consumers now know when an Instagram post is an advertisement or promotion

Typically, when a major influencer or celebrity is promoting a product, regardless of whether or not the post seems authentic, followers may assume otherwise. They know the brand is paying a hefty chunk of change to the influencer, and thus, the authenticity becomes questionable. It’s pretty tough for many people to believe a model making millions of dollars a year is using inexpensive, drugstore hair dye. Someone with a much smaller, yet significant following has a much higher volume of followers who view them more as a normal human being rather than a celebrity (who are also human beings, to be fair, but who tend to have some sort of stigma slapped to their name once reaching a “celebrity” status).


  1. A million followers does not mean a million people who will care about your brand

No matter how much an influencer perfectly emulates everything you want in a customer, that does not mean their followers are your ideal target. In short, a beautiful “travel influencer” may have followers who are more interested in her photography (or body) than in whatever she has to say about your product. Companies not only lose out on product when they skip looking far into the quality of an influencer’s following, they also lose a ton of cash.


  1. The rise of automated services and bots have helped accounts grow considerably– but not always with quality (or even real) followers

This is an issue both with major accounts and with micro, and Instagram is doing all it can to put a stop to this type of inorganic growth. However, it’s not always clear when an account has purchased its followers or uses an automated service to gain likes and comments on each post. It takes some thorough research to figure out if the followers are a) real followers and b) ones who would likely be interested in both what the influencer has to say and the brand you are promoting.

Micro influencers who fall into and/or consistently post about a niche category tend to have followers also interested in that topic. For instance, someone with 13.5k followers whose entire account is boho-chic interior design will likely have followers who are looking for ideas, tips, and products with which to decorate their homes. This thwarts major Instagram models’ accounts, whose followers aren’t necessarily looking to them for product recommendations. 

As an added bonus, micro influencers will likely charge thousands of dollars less per post than someone with ten times as many followers. This allows businesses to partner with multiple micro influencers as opposed to just one or two larger accounts without the fear of draining their entire marketing budget on one post.

In short, doing your due diligence will help you significantly if you take the time to understand who you are trying to reach and whom they’re most likely to truly listen to. Understanding your ideal audience means knowing who they trust and look to for advice. Make sure to stay as authentic as possible by choosing an influencer who will genuinely appreciate your product when they go to promote it. Believe us when we say that genuity will show.


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