How Microinfluencers Are Holding Their Own in an Industry Built on Follower Counts 
Sat, April 10, 2021

How Microinfluencers Are Holding Their Own in an Industry Built on Follower Counts 

If you are an Instagram native, it’s likely that you’ve scrolled through it and found via the Discover page some relative unknowns with at least a thousand followers to their name / Photo by: Yulia Grogoryeva via 123RF

 

If you are an Instagram native, it’s likely that you’ve scrolled through it and found via the Discover page some relative unknowns with at least a thousand followers to their name. Whether it’s just selfies or great photographs of places you have been to before, rendered in balanced high saturation, these accounts can be considered microinfluencers, and they are the new target of brands continually looking to make bank on the influencer economy. 

There’s a fine print to these influencers, of course, specifically, if, based on their content, they should be considered for the title. Because of this, brands have been more discerning about which influencers they put their trust in, and recently, the trend seems to be that they don’t mind putting their trust in more of them. 

Determining Micro-influence

How do these brands know the magnitude of influence one influencer has? 

New York City-based influencer marketing manager Francesca Gariano shared to the Huffington Post that it’s not really that hard to check for signs of authenticity in an influencer, the cardinal quality that needs to be seen in every aspiring influencer. 

The title itself defines what you need to do in order to succeed, and that is to completely influence the decision or sway your audience into buying or availing of services you offer on your platform, or the services you offer in partnership with a certain brand. 

When an influencer is put to the authenticity test, Gariano shares that she would first check the comment-to-likes ratio on each post. That’s already a pretty reliable measure to use to determine if a microinfluencer is the real deal. 

“An account with 75,000 followers and seven comments or 200 likes on a post is a bad sign to me… If I see a lot of comments that are just emojis, comments in a language that the influencer doesn’t speak, etc., those are red flags. I also scroll through their likes and followers and check for similar signs of fake accounts or fake engagement,” Gariano shares. 

On Engagement 

If the microinfluencer turns out legit, then they are sought out by brands who value authenticity. Additionally, the irony is that the bigger an instagrammer's sphere of influence is, the harder they are to reach. Smaller accounts tend to start off tightly-knit with their followers, almost like a family, and so feel their support much more than, say, Kendall Jenner advertising expensive cologne. 

According to business news website Forbes, microinfluencers also tip the scales against more established accounts because their proximity to their audience gives said audience the confidence to engage and participate in conversation with them. Ellen Sluder of RingBoost says that this level of engagement is crucial because it also allows brands to get the “best response from their audience and work with them to make the posts authentic.” 

Smaller influencers will also naturally gear towards their niche audience rather than going mainstream; such is the power of the increasing content on social media. According to Jessica Terashima of EZ Texting, “Microinfluencers have the ability to reach smaller, more passionate audiences that broader campaigns may miss. Think about messaging and offers that can be tailored for the microinfluencer’s audience. Your offer should feel organic for their brand in order for them to fully embrace.” 

If the microinfluencer turns out legit, then they are sought out by brands who value authenticity. Additionally, the irony is that the bigger an instagrammer's sphere of influence is, the harder they are to reach / Photo by: Daniel Ernst via 123RF

 

The Microinfluencer’s Place

To conclude, the microinfluencer’s tight circle of influence is the reason why, according to the publication PR Week, more brands are reaching out towards them than other, bigger accounts on Instagram. 

It is also cost-effective, so companies and brands can try their hand at it casually and still have something come out of it. PR Week writes, “Beyond this, microinfluencers are proving effective in breaking down geographical barriers. The social commerce space which routinely uses microinfluencers in new markets, has proved shorter cycles as customers are directly from social posts to shopping carts.” 

This is no truer than in China where e-commerce is so accepted, about 87% of internet users are receptive to this kind of advertising. Of course, there will always be some of the more critical consumers, but in China, in particular, brands like WeChat and TikTok have foreseen pretty easily that this is where the market is headed. 

An example of this is L’Oreal Malaysia’s campaign in which they also pushed L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline, and Garnier. In the campaign, “the company worked with local micro-influencers’ own assets. Overall, the campaign saw a 12.9% improvement in engagement rates, 7,000 mentions, and 1.9 million trend impressions.” 

From the perspective of the influencer themselves, they also state that it usually doesn’t matter to brands if their followers are only in the thousands. Take Gabby Whiten, for example, a beauty retailer on Instagram. Whiten shares with the Huffington Post, “Our high engagement rates are a great negotiating tool and very valuable for brands looking to convert brand awareness to sales.”