Micro-influencers are redefining the scope of marketing for startups with their niche expertise and in-grown target audience group. Digital marketing has been taken over by a storm with the evolving influencer culture that has captured the crux of audience/buyer and promoter/seller relationship. The recent statistics suggest that micro-influencers have had a significant share in driving consumer traffic by real-time engagement and building brand visibility.
Who Are Micro-Influencers?
Influencers are people with the social capital to determine or impact their audience’s opinions, buying habits, or other actions. This social capital is cultivated by and is visible on their social media handles, wherein they promote mostly sponsored content for their viewers.
Influencers could be roughly categorized under four units based on their followers and reach. These are – celebrity, mega, macro, and micro. Micro-influencers are those whose followers range between 1000-100,000 (the claim is disputed and should be taken as an approximate number of followers). These people have generated a loyal support base of an audience amongst their specific niche or area of expertise and knowledge.
How Micro-Influencers Impact the Market?
Micro-influencers work best because of their credibility quotient. They are simply more believable than a celebrity or a mega influencer because they are relatable. This further impacts their followers’ engagement levels because their expertise in their defined niche is more trustworthy, and their approachability creates a sincere level of accountability. A 2019 study on Instagram influencer engagement showed that the level of engagement steadily increases as followers dip. It showed that for influencers with around 10,000 followers, there is a steady engagement rate of over 3.6 percent. Meanwhile, those influencers with followers between 1000-5000 have the highest engagement rate at about 8.8 percent.
How and Why Should Startups Engage With Micro-Influencers?
Early-stage startups need to scout for the top micro-influencers by spotting them or hiring them via their affiliated agencies. First, they need to identify an influencer in the niche (travel, food, clothing, etc.) whose audience they wish to target for their product/brand and build a contract to discover and reach new customers over time.
Take, for instance, the Instagram page of ‘Terminator88888’. A micro-influencer with around 12k followers, it has an engagement rate of up to 11.7 percent. The page basically deals with the themes of major cars and motorcycles in and around the country. Like most micro-influencers, the page is responsive and hyperspecific, which has enabled it to grow its engagement traffic resulting in better marketing.
Micro-influencers create a bridge between the startups and their target audience. They help the brand build its authenticity by engaging with the community while generating sales at significantly lower costs. With micro-influencers holding the court, the focus has shifted.
Choosing Community Engagement over Internet Traffic
With choosing micro-influencers over mega and celebrity ones, startups make a conscious choice of focusing more on audience engagement keeping the customer’s benefit at heart as opposed to internet traffic. With micro-influencers, they establish a more authentic brand value which translates into better sales. In the words of Richard Edelman, micro-influencers work because “People want to hear from real people, not celebrities.” For startups, this becomes a cost-effective way of churning sales and building brand names.