Pippa Brindley, Director of leading boutique and specialist PR firm, VIM & VIGOUR PR, discusses how Instagram presents new opportunities for communications professionals to leverage their micro-networks.
An influencer is defined as someone that inspires you to think in a way that you wouldn’t usually think, or act in a way that you wouldn’t usually act. As the social media space continues to grow, so does the potential for a brand to reach a wider audience through influencer marketing, endorsements and paid partnerships. Those with more followers have a higher visibility – and the more exposure the better, right?
Instagram users with over 50,000 followers are qualified as ‘macro influencers’ and we now have a market saturated with these, each attempting to capitalise on a supposed ability to inspire their audience by working with brands to filter into the news feeds of hundreds of thousands. What’s resulted is a space flooded by repetitive, generic user behaviour and a lack of consumer trust. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that no one is actually influenced to do anything aside from close off their networks, increase their privacy settings and live satisfied within a domain of individuals who they legitimately know, respect and trust. We all heard of 2019’s #NoChella – a backlash motivated by fatigue of the content heavy, brand plugging, overpriced annual music festival. And of course, 2017’s Fyre Festival whose engagement with macro influencers had an equally macro impact on consumer confidence.
Igniting a fresh wave of social media engagement, the new aspiration and ultimate status symbol is to be part of close-knit circles and exclusive communities with exposure to products and services available to a privileged few. With this in mind, the ‘micro influencer’ sector continues to head to the forefront of digital marketing. Defined as having anything between 2,000 and 50,000 followers, what lacks in numbers is made up for with knowledge – micro influencers work in their relative industry, are passionate about it, and add value to it. if Instagram were to collapse tomorrow, micro influencers wouldn’t be out of a job.
So here are 5 reasons why micro influencers represent the future of social media marketing:
- Consistency. From their personality and their page’s visual aesthetic to their expertise and opinion, micro influencers maintain a consistent set of core values, making them stronger and more reliable brand ambassadors. Their influence goes beyond the screen into their professional and personal lives, activity and interactions, providing steady and holistic opportunities to influence in all daily situations.
- Loyalty. Micro influencers foster a community they care about and work with brands they’re passionate about. They won’t be no-shows at events or only engage with their communities when the camera is rolling – they take pride in supporting individual businesses and building a solid long-term working relationship with them, with a shared vision to succeed.
- Credibility. Micro influencers have a history of success and authority in their specific field – whether its fashion, art, design or nutrition – they’ll have a portfolio of evidence to prove their integrity and wealth of experience over the millennial and Gen-Z influencers who are still on the lower rungs of the career ladder. In the rise of fake sponsored content posted by aspiring influencers in a bid to fool brands they already have credibility, micro influencers stand out with a firm and existing reputation as thought leaders, and a larger ability to achieve organic success and higher engagement.
- Relevancy. If your audience can genuinely relate to you, your impact as an influencer is higher. Micro influencers have a more attainable and realistic looking lifestyle – they’re friendly and accessible, two characteristics which make them stand out against the masses of macro influencers posting unrealistic content. For brands, the number of followers is becoming increasingly insignificant – questions have long been raised as to what makes a number of followers credible, are they relevant to the brand, are they real, or even active at all? Ultimately, who actually buys something that’s been recommended to them by a stranger?
- Affordability. $10,000 for a single post from a top-tier influencer is better invested in a campaign with 10 micro influencers – reaching a more highly engaged, targeted audience. While the big brands seek the next global supermodel for endorsement, overexposure can have detrimental effects, and the smaller businesses have an opportunity to thrive. By working with micro-influencers who closely align with their target market, brands with a smaller budget have a unique opportunity to emerge against the masses in an affordable way.