Imagine you’ve decided to make a new friend. Who would you target: the president of the United States or somebody who shares your interest in barefoot waterskiing, your love of miniature schnauzers, and your passionate opposition to vinyl flooring?
Although the first candidate is powerful, and has the media watching their every move, the second might present a more obvious and immediate choice. When it comes to making a meaningful connection, shared interests matter more than public profiles.
Brands can apply the same logic in the influencer marketing space. While partnering with an influencer with a massive Instagram following can be an effective strategy, influencers with smaller followings whose interests align with your brand can help you increase brand awareness, boost sales, and reach new audiences—and for a lower cost.
Table of Contents
What is a micro-influencer?
Micro-influencers are typically defined as social media creators with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. Traditional influencer marketing privileges follower counts. Both brands and creators frequently value an influencer's social media presence based on their total number of social media followers. But compared to influencers with huge followings, micro-influencers represent a more cost-effective, targeted option for marketing partnerships.
Here’s a breakdown of influencer categories by follower count:
- Nano-influencers. Creators with 1,000 to 9,999 followers
- Micro-influencers. Creators with 10,000 to 99,999 followers
- Macro-influencers. Creators with 100,000 to one million followers
- Mega-influencers. Creators with more than a million followers
How working with micro-influencers can benefit your brand
If you’re new to the influencer marketing game, you might think the more followers an influencer has, the better your results will be—right? Not necessarily. After all, for most brands, the total number of people who see a sponsored post is less important than what those people do when they see it. In other words, engagements and conversions often matter more than reach.
Micro-influencers can deliver these results—in some cases, for a lower cost than other influencer types. Here’s an overview of what makes micro-influencer marketing different and how this type of partnership can benefit your brand.
1. High engagement rates
Micro-influencers tend to have more engaged audiences than influencers with more followers. In fact, influencer engagement rates tend to decline as follower counts increase. One study found that Instagram micro-influencers see an average engagement rate of just under 4%, while mega-influencer engagement rates average just over 1%. This can allow businesses to secure more post engagements including likes, comments, and clicks through to a company website.
2. Superior audience targeting
Working with micro-influencers also allows brands to target niche audience segments. While celebrity influencers tend to serve large and diverse audiences, influencers with a smaller following likely serve audiences with an interest in their specific influencer niche.
For example, a celebrity mega-influencer in the beauty space will have followers of all ages with an interest in makeup and beauty, fans with no interest in makeup and beauty trends, and folks with a general interest in keeping up-to-date with internet culture.
A micro-influencer, on the other hand, might have a specific audience of social media users focused on performance makeup for gymnasts and dancers. Partnering with this influencer type can allow brands to target tightly defined audience segments.
3. Lower cost
Partnering with micro-influencers can be a cost-effective strategy. Although exact rates vary, many micro-influencers charge between $100 and $500 for a post, while a mega-influencer may charge $10,000 or more for a sponsored post. Working with micro-influencers allows you to engage influencer marketing strategies with a smaller total budget and distribute available funds across multiple influencers. This has the added benefit of allowing you to test different types of content and measure results across different audience demographics.
Shopify Collabs: Drive sales through influencer marketing
Collabs is your all-in-one solution to find influencers and run an affiliate program that boosts sales—all within your Shopify Admin.
How to build a micro-influencer marketing strategy
- Determine budgets, goals, and audiences
- Identify platforms
- Find influencers
- Approach influencers
- Monitor campaign performance
Micro-Influencer marketing campaigns can help companies build brand awareness, boost sales, and elevate their brand reputations. Here’s how to build yours:
1. Determine budgets, goals, and audiences
The first step is identifying how much money you have to pay influencers. Review your digital marketing budgets and allocate a percentage to micro-influencer campaigns. If you’re new to influencer marketing (or if your budget is tight), you can always start small and adjust later. Budgets between $1,000 and $2,000 are usually enough to test the strategy.
Next, identify campaign goals and target audiences. Start by reviewing your overall business goals and audience information, then identify specific campaign goals and audiences that support your broader objectives.
For example, let’s say you have an ecommerce store that sells vegan protein powder. If one of your business's goals is to increase sales by 10% and your overall target audience is women between 25 and 35 with an interest in healthy eating, you might set the campaign goal of increasing traffic to your site from social channels by 20%. You may then decide to specifically target women between 25 and 35 with an interest in vegan cooking.
2. Identify platforms
The next step is to identify the best platforms for your influencer campaign. You can use platform demographic information to identify where your target audiences are most active. If your target audience is women between 25 and 35, you might select Instagram because a large number of Instagram users fall into this category.
3. Find influencers
Once you’ve chosen your social media platform, you’re ready to find the right influencers for your campaign. To find micro-influencers, search for relevant hashtags and brand mentions on social media platforms and review top posts. Use influencer marketing platforms like Shopify Collabs, which connects brands with available influencers, or contact an influencer marketing agency for help.
Consider these factors to identify the best influencers for your brand:
- Engagement rates. You can identify influencer engagement rates by using an influencer platform, analyzing their posts and crunching the numbers yourself, or asking the influencer to provide metrics.
- Personal brand. Before selecting a brand advocate, make sure that the influencer’s brand values, public persona, and any political activities align with your company’s brand identity and values. You can perform a search and set up a search engine alert for a particular partner’s name and social media handle to be notified of any related news.
- Content quality. Many influencers create their own content for paid partnerships. Review recent posts to confirm that potential partners publish quality content that is up to your brand standards and complements your brand voice.
4. Approach influencers
If you’re using an influencer marketing platform or agency, these services can also help you approach influencers and determine rates. If you’ve found potential partners on your own, you can pitch a partnership by sending an email or a direct message on a social platform. Here’s what to include:
- Brand alignment. Specify why you’ve chosen the influencer for your campaign, including your brand values, target audiences, and perceived alignment with the influencer’s work.
- Campaign goals. Let the influencer know your campaign goals and include the metrics you’ll use to analyze results (such as impressions, engagements, or conversions).
- Proposed activities. Specify the proposed influencer activities, such as the number of Instagram posts, reviews, or product mentions you expect to get. It’s generally considered a best practice to include a proposal instead of asking the influencer to create a custom pitch, but you can invite potential influencers to amend or add to your suggestions based on their experience reaching goals like yours.
- Content creation process. Specify who will create branded content; in most cases, this responsibility falls to the influencer. Outline your timeline for campaign activities, and determine whether or not you require editorial review prior to publication.
- Compensation. Specify your proposed budget for the partnership. You can also ask the influencer to provide a rate sheet or influencer media kit, if they have one.
- How to respond. Include your contact information and response date for your proposal.
5. Monitor campaign performance
Once you’ve signed an influencer, you’re ready to launch your campaign. Review the micro-influencer content if allowed by the terms of your contract and monitor the influencer’s social media feeds. If you haven’t already set up a search engine alert for your chosen partners, now is a good time to do so. You’ll want to be informed of any newsworthy activities undertaken by your brand advocates.
Once your campaigns are up and running, use your social media management tool or in-platform analytics features to monitor results. If you’re seeing strong results from a particular influencer or with a specific audience segment, you can use this information to inform future influencer marketing campaigns.
How many followers does a micro-influencer typically have?
Micro-influencers typically have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers.
Are micro-influencers as effective as macro-influencers in driving engagement?
Yes. Micro-influencers typically see higher engagement rates than macro-influencers, making them a cost-effective partnership option. However, the total number of interactions and impressions with a micro-influencer campaign may be fewer than one with a macro-influencer.
Is it possible to establish long-term partnerships with micro-influencers?
Yes. You can approach micro-influencers for both short-term partnerships and long-term brand ambassadorship deals.