By now, everyone knows influencers. On Instagram, they sometimes reach millions of followers. The stars among them receive thousands of dollars by brands for a published product photo on the image platform where they advertise lifestyle products. Smaller brands cannot or do not want to afford these prices and instead focus on the ‘little ones’: so-called micro influencers. But what exactly are they?
“Micro influencers are personalities like you and me, but with about 1,000 to 10,000 followers on Instagram,” says Karina Klusen, fashion director at PR agency Silk Relations. “They have a loyal followership, a high level of activity and therefore a high commitment rate. In most cases, they have a special area of interest that can also lie outside of fashion.”
This is why followers usually perceive micro influencers as more authentic than ‘big’ influencers. This is an advantage, because it makes a difference whether an Instagram post is perceived as advertising or as a personal recommendation, ‘word of mouth’ so to speak . Also, it is often the case with influencers with high numbers of followers that many of them are not real, and thus not relevant from a marketing point of view and of course, do not interact with the influencer or buy the advertised products of the brand.
Micro or medium influencers (with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers), on the other hand, can count on real followers and sometimes achieve engagement rates of over 10 percent. This means that the fans are real and interested, comment on posts and like them and ultimately buy the recommended products.
Micro influencers: What advantages do they offer for brands?
Today’s users generally know that influencers get money for their recommendations. These are then perceived as advertising. This is different with micro influencers. In addition, the target group of micro influencers is more strongly focused on one topic: “The income of large influencers is mostly acquired through paid cooperations, which often leads to the fact that they no longer have a clear thematic focus. The scattering effect is greater, which means that only a small target group can be addressed despite the high reach,” reports Klusen.
German micro influencer Sarah Kuhn agrees: “In terms of the differences between influencers and micro influencers, the followers of micro- nfluencers can, in my opinion, identify better with the people behind them. I think that this has a very positive effect on a brand. I also believe that the scattering loss for brands is lower. I would compare large influencers with a newspaper and micro influencers with a trade magazine. The newspapers are for entertainment and are read by a wide variety of people; a trade magazine usually has fewer readers but they are then more interested in one specific topic. In addition, the authenticity of micro influencers is much higher, as there is usually much less advertising on their channels.”
Lower prices, more targeted effects
The income generated through her channel is not enough for Kuhn to completely quit her job: “Three days a week I work as a marketing assistant in a real estate company. I use the two ‘free’ days to produce my content. That means I write texts for my blog, take photos or videos and edit them,” she says.
How often does Kuhn receive cooperation offers and assignments from partners? “It varies widely – sometimes I get five a day and sometimes none at all. On average, I get about five serious cooperation requests per week, I would say. I don’t even count the dubious ones who only want to sell you discount codes and mobile phone cases anymore.” In most cases, she is then rewarded with a product and additional remuneration, she says. “In special cases, I only accept a product if, for example, I think the brand is great and I have a personal benefit from it or if the real value is high, such as for a vacation. In general, I only accept assignments that I would support 100 percent even without payment”.
When it comes to pricing, Kuhn banks on transparency: “I see a basic fee of 100 – 150 euros for an Instagram posting with a story and 200 – 300 euros for a blog post. Of course, it always depends on the effort. If I only have to hold something in front of the camera and talk about it, I take less, than when it takes additional time and I have to get used to a topic first. Many others keep quiet on the subject of money but I think it needs more transparency in this new profession”.
When is it worthwhile to rely on micro influencers?
It can be worthwhile indeed for brands to rely on micro influencers. A survey by the German Digital Industry Association (BVDW) showed that over 60 percent of companies that advertise want to spend more money on micro influencer marketing in 2019. This makes sense as launching a new product with exactly the right target group can be more beneficial than accepting the spreading effect of a campaign with a macro influencer. Especially niche products are suitable for this kind of marketing – one should look at the previous content of the respective influencer and also analyze their interactions. If both fit the brand, the money is well invested.