Influencer Marketing: Macro, Micro & Everything in Between

By Olivia Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer at RepHike

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Influencer marketing is nothing new. There I said it. Brands have always used an influential marketing strategy. Think about celebrity endorsements, they pay big time actors, models, athletes, or even business owners to promote their product. Like that famous ad Mark Wahlberg did for Calvin Klein underwear back in the 90s (included here for your reference 😉).

So why is influencer marketing getting so much hype in recent years? The only difference between what Wahlberg did and what is being done now, is that it can all be done online with the help of social media. There is no need for a studio nor a big production team, it's now as easy as snapping a photo and sharing it online.

What is an influencer?

An influencer is basically someone with a large social media following. Whether it be from a blog, a YouTube channel, or on a social channel like Instagram, these users have found a way to make a living by sharing their lives online. Big time influencers are paid hefty sums to post pictures of a makeup product, clothing brand, or even those infamous hair gummies.

Sounds awesome, right? Brand exposure to hundreds of thousands to even millions of target consumers!

Despite the crazy high reachability, these posts face some serious problems. For one, they usually lack any sense of creativity and it comes across that way to their followers as just another #ad. Not to mention the engagement rate for these posts rarely reaches above 5%.. And yet the biggest pitfall that these posts face is that they don’t come off as a genuine suggestion from a friend, they come across as a commercial with a familiar face.

However influencer marketing does have a place and definitely still works for certain brands, dependant upon your budget and goals. But for brands that see this opportunity as out of reach, there is always another option…

Micro-influencer marketing!

We define a micro-influencer as someone who also has an active following on social media and a “trend-setter” in their community. They have somewhere between 2,000 and 25,000 followers on Instagram. The difference here is that their following is comprised of a lot of people they actually know and/or engage with on a regular basis. Since their followers know them, this increases their engagement --  more likely to be hitting between a 10-20% engagement rate.

When micro-influencers share products it feels and comes off as a genuine suggestion from a friend. Their following is more likely to purchase these products because they see them as real life recommendation. The micro-influencers posts look less like a staged commercial and, if they’re really good, you can’t even tell that its an #ad at all. Many of them have gained followers on the platform by using it as a creative outlet showing off art they have made, or simply by curating and sharing photos they took. Either way, it doesn’t come off as overly polished or productionalized.

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Are micro-influencers right for you?

If budget is an issue, micro-influencers make sense, because they come at a lower cost. So you can achieve the reach of an influencer through multiple collaborations on the budget of a startup without a fancy shmancy marketing team.

For bigger brands rolling out new collections or products, using micro influencers can be a great way to carry out targeted product testing. Their promotions can gather real consumer feedback and product perception from a targeted audience. Along the same lines, micro-influencer marketing makes sense for targeting a specific geography since they’re leaders in their community and their followers are comprised of people close to home.

If you’re looking for a familiar face to tie or affiliate with your brand, macro-influencers definitely makes sense. Plus they’re usually well-versed in the process associated with sponsored content, since this likely isn’t their first rodeo. With that said, it’s unlikely that a micro-influencer will be able to support themselves on “influencing” alone. So their feed is not cluttered with too many sponsored posts, or if any at all. Therefore if your end goal is to create authentic user generated content, micro-influencers can easily slip in a sponsored post in their personal feed without it screaming #ad.

Really the best advocates for your company should be, at no surprise, customers. The best micro influencers will genuinely appreciate and already be fans of your products making their representation of it more sincere and effective as they’re reaching out to a more engaged following.

In short, micro-influencers work for personalized recommendations and focused content which attracts a defined audience. Their authenticity makes them a special breed of Instagram users that might just be what it takes to bring your brand to the next level.

RepHike is a micro-influencer discovery and analytics platform. Brands and agencies connect with their targeted micro-influencers for product promotion, creating authentic content, and grassroots advocacy. Meet them and find out more at YMS18 SFO this June - Early Bird tickets on sale now.