If there is one thing that is consistent when it comes to social media and digital marketing overall, it is change itself will always be inevitable.
The rapid change of interest surrounding influencer marketing is the perfect example to highlight just that.
Just a few years ago, almost six times as many people searched for “social media marketing” compared to those who were looking for “influencer marketing.” Now however, those stats have totally flipped (again, change), with searches for “influencer marketing” close to doubling that of “social media marketing.”
What is causing this dramatic change in overall interest and shift of marketing strategy? There is a billion-dollar answer to all of this.
When done really well, influencers have the unique ability, unlike any other medium to win the hearts and minds, and ultimately, pockets of consumers.
Consumer’s favorite household and beloved brands around the world are using influencer marketing to increase share of voice, drive awareness and engagement for their various services, product lines, call to actions, events, etc. There’s no doubt influencer marketing is extremely effective, but it does come with a hefty tag, especially for A-list celebrities or influencers.
Fortunately, for budget-conscious digital marketers, there are micro-influencers to rely on that are a fraction of the price and most of time, even more impactful than traditional influencers in hitting key KPIs.
So what is actually considered a micro-influencer?
Mega celebrities such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Selena Gomez are just some of the most well-known and sought-after influencers that have hundreds of millions of social followers. However, with millions of followers, comes just as high of a price tag to work with them.
A micro-influencer on the other hand have anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 followers and are social media personalities that are usually just normal, everyday people who have gained followers through their various online platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook or Twitch. They are always experts or have a passion for a very specific topic or niche. Micro-influencers range in areas of expertise from travel and beauty bloggers to YouTube gamers and everything in between.
While maybe not as exciting or sexy as working with a global movie star or world-renowned athlete, micro-influencers often do have an extremely engaged audience, one that makes buying decisions based on the types of products or services that the influencer is using.
Micro-influencers becoming the king of digital content creation
Content is king – everyone has heard that phrase countless times. It is especially true with social media campaigns. The more engaging content a marketer can produce, the more interactions, follows and engagement they can expect from consumers. The two go hand-in-hand – there is just no other way.
A very important trend that has impacted the influencer marketing ecosystem on several levels is that of companies outsourcing their entire content creation efforts to an army of micro-influencers. This is for several reasons.
Bringing together a few carefully vetted content creators will ultimately produce more assets, which in turn gives marketers more opportunities to reach new and diverse audiences over a longer timeframe, compared to a limited, one-and-done #sponsored partnership from a traditional influencer.
It is interesting to note a major shift that brands are starting to make in their overall influencer marketing programs as it relates to the content and who is actually responsible for producing it.
Today, many marketers are looking for micro-influencers not just as a platform to amplify the brand’s digital content, but actually become true content creators and mini production hubs in their own rights.
As budgets get tighter and tighter, several companies are tasking influencers to create content that could that be distributed on social, as well as throughout all organic and paid digital properties a company might have access to which creates a more holistic, 360 campaign approach.
Micro-influencers taking over emerging industries
If a marketer is looking for a very specific and hard to reach demographic or fragmented niche audience online – say Gen-Z foodies who live in downtown Austin, Texas for example, micro-influencers become the perfect vehicle for deployment.
There are two ways for digital marketers to look at this. The first being that there are more micro-influencers today than ever before, with this number expected to continue its rise. The second being that micro-influencers are moving beyond “traditional” verticals and into emerging industries.
Micro-influencers are moving beyond traditional verticals such as fashion and beauty, health, fitness, and travel — to become more involved across the board. For example, you don’t have to look far to find influencers in verticals such as blockchain and sports betting. Go back in time just one year and the number of influencers in these verticals is nothing close to what you see today.
Many brands that didn’t previously have access to a large selection of micro-influencers have suddenly found that this is a viable way to reach their audience.
Connecting Online Campaigns to Offline
Expect to see another shift with a growing number of brands taking advantage of both online and offline influencer marketing campaigns. Traditional social media campaigns such as giveaways and reviews will always be popular, but many brands will look to move things to the next level through in-person collaboration.
For example, a fashion and beauty brand could hire micro-influencers to visit their local brick-and-mortar store(s) to engage visitors and share information on the company’s products. Micro-influencers with a dedicated following can bring attention to the brand online, along with foot traffic to their local store.
If the ongoing pandemic has taught digital marketers anything, it is that consumers are increasingly looking for genuine, human connections and authentic messaging that is tied to their own personal beliefs and values.
With consumers being more connected than ever, their online and offline worlds have truly become one, so a brand’s strategy and approach needs to reflect that mindset instead of looking at each as a single view.
About the Author: Austin Rotter is a strategic PR and media relations strategist with over a decade of experience working with a number of clients ranging from Fortune 100 brands to hyper growth companies. To reach Austin, please visit: https://austinrotter.