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May 20, 2021 Last updated on June 15th, 2021
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Everyone knows (and probably follows) several influencers on social media. Whether it’s a professional athlete or musician or actor, our favorite celebrities are getting paid to represent brands and products that they use.

Of course, those are the macro influencers, the ones with millions of followers. So it should come as no surprise that these people tend to talk about big, successful products that are basically a household name.

Think of it like traditional TV ads that feature celebrities. These big brands have the budget to pull in a popular figure, using their cultural influence to generate excitement about a new or existing product.

And there’s a reason for that investment: The average ROI from influencer marketing is $5.20 per dollar spent. When you compare that to other sections of your marketing budget, it can quickly become obvious that influencers are worth investing in.

…assuming you can find the right partner, that is. After all, 80% of people make a purchase on a product they clicked to from an influencer’s page. Isn’t that the kind of risk that’s worth taking?

Why Brands Love Micro Influencers

Social media has evolved a lot in recent years, with video-driven content becoming the top performer. Instagram and YouTube have grown to be content hubs for influencers and advertisers alike — in 2020, 97% of marketers planned to partner with influencers on Instagram.

But it’s important to remember that not every influencer has 5 million followers and a Beverly Hills mansion. In fact, all a person needs is 1,000 followers who look forward to and even rely on their content.

It’s easy to write off micro influencers as amateurs. They might be young, or inexperienced, or unprofessional. And there are some inherent risks you’ll take by partnering with a personality.

But the reality is that the cost of the investment is often worth the gamble. You can work with several micro influencers for the cost of a single macro influencer partnership, allowing you to engage different niches or double down on your key target audience.

And that’s just one of the reasons why brands love working with micro influencers.

Keep Costs Down

It sometimes feels like influencer marketing exploded overnight. The trend has grown to become a staple in the last few years, and experts predict that companies may spend upwards of $15 billion on influencer marketing in 2022.

That means there’s a lot of competition out there, and brands are scooping up the biggest influencers and fighting over the most popular markets.

Enter, micro influencers.

We already established that these accounts tend to have a defined niche and an active following. The truth is they’re also much more affordable and more willing to build long-term partnerships with brands they like.

You can easily find different cost breakdowns to help you estimate how much an influencer will charge. For micro influencers, you’re looking at a couple hundred dollars on average — that’s the “price of entry” to leverage a trusted voice to recommend your brand.

(If $100 for an Instagram post sounds pricey, here is some context: Nano influencers charge $10+ per post on an Instagram account with 1,000+ followers; mega influencers charge $10,000+ per post on an account with millions of followers.)

Of course, you aren’t paying for a guaranteed success. Global brands can partner with mega influencers and know they’ll recoup their costs…but they also have the budget to risk.

Not all brands have an annual $100 million ad budget. So if you want to reap similar benefits for a fraction of the cost, all you have to do is scale back a little bit. Micro influencers provide the perfect starting point to get into this sector and avoid the more risky investments.

Leverage Trusted Voices

Here’s the thing: Influencer marketing works because the audience trusts the influencer and shares their interests. A common reaction to a branded social media post is, “If [insert influencer] loves [insert product], then I will probably too.”

It’s like a recommendation, in that sense. Except instead of a customer referring four friends to check out a brand, they’re promoting the product or service to thousands of people who often check out the brands that person uses.

48% of people discover influencers because of recommendations from friends or family. There’s an inherent level of trust within these communities, and that raises the value of engagement. 

Partnering with an influencer doesn’t just get you brand exposure to their current followers. The content algorithms and social media shares can help your sponsored content stay relevant and push it to an even bigger audience than you expected.

In this case, under-promising and over-delivering is the best-case scenario.

Access Engaged Followers

One big draw of influencer marketing is that you’re not just paying for a spokesperson — you’re paying for direct access to their audience. 

These social media personalities build their brand around very specific topics, whether that’s video games or makeup tutorials or wildlife photography. And they tend to attract audiences that share their interests and opinions, or even just like the vibe of their content.

As a rule of thumb, micro influencers have audiences that range between 10k and 50k followers. And since these personalities tend to just be “normal people,” their followers see them more like another friend than a celebrity. That sense of connection translates to easy conversations and frequent interactions between the influencer and their followers.

In other words, the audience is engaged.

People follow brands or celebrities from a distance, usually only interested in big updates. But micro influencers can interact with their followers more, and that means there is more activity on their social media channels.

And for brands, that activity turns into more clickthroughs and (hopefully) more sales.

Build Valuable Partnerships

In most situations, influencer marketing is a case-by-case basis. Brands pay for a single post, or perhaps a series of posts spread across a time period. But you don’t often see lasting, recurring collaborations outside of those million-dollar partnerships mentioned above.

Micro influencers often break that mold. Their smaller audiences means they don’t receive as many sponsorship offers — they aren’t as interesting to the “big fish” in advertising, and that means their value increases for marketing teams working on a smaller budget.

Branded content is another attractive option for advertisers. You can easily turn an influencer partnership into a source of testimonials, step-by-step tutorials, and any number of other popular “marketing material” formats. There’s an obvious draw for businesses to capitalize on.

And for up-and-coming influencers, a good partnership enables them to make more content. It adds credibility and a sense of professionalism, which can often be the push to help that person grow their audience in new ways.

However, negotiating those types of partnerships can be a challenge without a dedicated expert on your team. And while not every micro influencer will be a good long-term partner, most will at least consider it. These deals can be mutually beneficial for the brand and the influencer.

Once you start to see the other benefits of working with a micro influencer — starting with affordability and audience engagement — you’ll understand exactly why a lasting partnership might be a perfect fit for growing your business long-term.

Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that helps businesses with music licensing by providing resources like royalty free background music.

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