Everything you need to know about influencer marketing’s secret weapon.
Ariana Grande, Kylie Jenner, and Lionel Messi are the biggest names on Instagram — and in the world. When huge celebrities like this post sponsored content, millions of people listen … but do they engage?
Now, micro influencers are taking over traditional influencer marketing. They’re dominating Instagram with sponsored content deals. And brands are investing more marketing budget in them than ever before.
This guide explores micro influencers and why they’re one of the hottest things to hit IG. Here’s what you’ll learn along the way:
- Who are micro influencers?
- The benefits of working with micro influencers
- How brands and marketers find micro influencers
- Choosing the best micro influencer to work with
- How to work with micro influencers (step-by-step)
- Micro influencer compensation
Micro influencers are Instagrammers who’ve earned between 10k and 50k followers. Not a huge following, but not insignificant either. On a scale, they sit between nano influencers (1k – 10k followers) and macro influencers (350k – 1M).
They’re different from bigger influencers because they’re approachable. At the same time, they have more polish than their nano influencer counterparts.
Micro influencers hit the “sweet spot” for brands and marketers. They’re focused niche experts who build deep, powerful connections with their followers. So when a micro influencer endorses a product, it’s like hearing it from your big sister. Instead of from a multi-millionaire celebrity you’ve never met.
Trust + Authenticity + Niche = Micro Influencer
And this is why micro influencers are engagement powerhouses compared to macro influencers. Sure, micro influencers aren’t as glamorous. But they’ve got authenticity and the ability to generate engagement like there’s no tomorrow.
Brands are catching on to the micro influencer movement. But while some businesses crank up their budgets, others get left in the dust.
Brands fall behind because they don’t have all the details. So let’s uncover some of the most important reasons why brands work with micro influencers.
Micro influencers are cost-effective
Let’s walk through this with a quick exercise. Your brand can work with one macro influencer or a handful of micro influencers. Which one is the best option?
If your brand wants to reach many communities at once, choose a handful of micro influencers. You’ll get more for your budget and a wider reach, without having to pay up for bigger names.
Micro influencer audiences are highly targeted
Micro influencers have smaller audiences. But in many ways these smaller audiences are more powerful than you might think. This is because micro influencers usually only cover one to two topics, or niches.
Niches are little pockets on Instagram. It’s where followers explore favorite topics like skincare, beauty, fitness, and so on. Niches build organic growth because they attract followers interested in that topic.
These communities target and build on trust. In other words, it’s a gold mine for marketers and brands looking to burst into new demographics.
Brands get higher engagement rates with micro influencer campaigns
Sure, a Kim Kardashian campaign will serve up some serious brand exposure. But it’ll be expensive and you’ll actually get a better ROI on engagement with someone smaller.
Micro influencers have higher engagement rates than the macro stars on Instagram. This trend is based on information pulled between 2018 and 2020, but it’s holding up over time. Plus, this pattern applies to organic and paid posts. And as more brands invest in influencers, even more of them are eyeing micro influencers to deliver.
Micro influencer followers have cult-like loyalty
You can think of micro influencers as the “cult classics” of Instagram. They’ve earned a passionate fan-base by being themselves, without apology. In short, micro influencers appear more genuine and authentic than bigger ones.
So when a micro influencer recommends a brand, a product, or a service to their followers, they listen — and they engage.
No one understands audiences better than micro influencers
It’s a simple truth, but a truth nonetheless. Micro influencers have fewer followers than celebrity superstars on Instagram. But they also have more time to invest in their community.
Micro influencers have the time it takes to get to know their followers.
Micro influencers understand their audience:
- What makes followers “tick”
- How to motivate followers to take action
- How to elicit an emotional response
Let’s look at Elizabeth Moye, wellness coach, to get a better undertanding of this. She’s got thousands of followers on IG, high engagement, and a solid understanding of her niche.
Because she “gets” her followers, she’s able to market products on IG. Her sponsored posts promote healthy living to real people who care about wellness.
Micro influencers also have the glamour that gets followers to stick around. And it makes micro influencers particularly attractive to marketers. Especially the ones who crave consistency and strategy.
Brands boost trust when they partner with micro influencers
Here’s another simple truth. People are more likely to trust friends of friends than they are strangers. For example, let’s say you need a haircut and someone you know recommends their friend’s salon. What happens next?
- You trust this new hair salon because someone you trust vouched for them
- There’s a good chance you’re booking a hair appointment in the next 48 hours
A similar thing happens when brands partner with micro influencers:
- Followers trust micro influencers because of their honest reviews and opinions
- When micro influencers trust brands, their followers do too
Micro influencers who post reviews about your product improve your brand’s trustworthiness. They also generate engagement like posts and comments. And micro influencers are better at both of these things than macro influencers on IG.
You can ask micro influencers who enjoyed your product to create tutorials. Or live-stream instructional videos. You also can use any criticism they may have to improve your product.
Some brands ask micro influencers for permission to use their content. This might be across other channels like social media ads. Authentic content is a way for brands to increase awareness and trust with new consumers.
Micro Influencer Marketing Pro Tip: Repurpose and reuse influencer-generated content. It’s valuable because it’s an honest portrayal of your product. And, more importantly, it’s from someone that Instagram trusts.
Discover how to find the best micro influencers for your next campaign. And get tips on how to make sure it doesn’t take forever. Use these tips to start your search:
Search for, and with, hashtags
Marketers use hashtags to identify micro influencers perfect for their campaigns. Hashtags are easy to use and they let you explore Instagram, and other platforms, with a few clicks. Use these steps to get started:
- Use an online tool like Keyhole to find trending hashtags in your niche
- Search those hashtags across Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms
- Identify micro influencers who consistently promote products similar to yours
From there, make sure to check every influencer’s stats against baseline measurements. When you’re ready, reach out to start a conversation.
Filter through your community
Influencer marketing-savvy brands understand the value of a passionate partnership. The more an influencer knows about your product, the more authentic posts will seem. Chances are there are micro influencers out there who already know who you are. Here are a few ways to find them:
- Ask your employees and coworkers
- Reach out to your customer base
- Browse the social media followers you already have
Not to mention, micro influencers who follow you are more likely to promote your products.
Search Google for bloggers who cover your niche
Search your niche across Google to find well-known and active bloggers. Many times you’ll find they have strong social followings, too.
Remember to check each blogger’s site with online analytics tools. Look for data points like unique visitors, organic traffic, and more. This helps you make sure you’re dealing with someone legitimate and current.
Then, once you have a list of well-known bloggers, find them on Instagram. Explore their post history and get to know their social persona. If they seem like a decent fit, check their social stats against baseline metrics and reach out.
Leverage influencer marketing tools
Micro influencer marketing is all about what’s real. Followers trust influencers who seem more genuine. And brands trust influencers who have active and engaged followers. But in a world where influencer fraud is … well … also real, there lies a challenge.
Influencer marketing tools like Humanz AI empower brands with real-time technology. And the best part? It doesn’t depend on Facebook or Instagram APIs. In other words, brands can investigate micro influencers to find the best match. Here are a few examples of metrics you can have at your disposal:
- Complex search and filter functionality
- Find influencers via hashtag, interest, location, or demographic
- Validate influencer data like active followers and engagement rate
With the help of Humanz AI, marketers can quickly identify micro influencers who:
- Have the best brand-fit
- Fall within marketing budget spend
- Share the same target audience
To do this, open the Humanz AI app and start your search. Narrow down results by location, interest, and so on. Scroll through countless micro influencers and reach out through the platform.
Then you can negotiate contracts, launch campaigns, and more. All from within the application.
And since Humanz AI doesn’t depend on other sources for data, you can trust that everything you see is real.
Now that you know where to find micro influencers, it’s time to uncover how brands choose. With so many micro influencers to pick from, the pool is hard to narrow down. Here’s how to identify which micro influencer has the best brand-fit.
Think about your brand and the product you want to advertise. Your niche is the topic or industry your brand and product falls under.
For example, if you’re launching a new guidebook to Italy, your niche is travel. If you’re rolling out a new waterproof mascara, your niche is beauty and/or cosmetics. So on and so on.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
What’s my industry and specialty?
Is this influencer’s audience passionate about my niche?
Is their target audience likely to use my product?
Engagement vs. followers
Don’t let engagement rate throw you off. It’s easy to calculate and influencer marketing apps like Humanz AI can calculate it for you. But when you boil it down, this is what engagement rate looks like:
(# of interactions) / (total # of followers) * 100 = Engagement rate
It’s the total number of interactions like comments, shares, and likes. That number then divides by the total number of followers and multiplies by a hundred. If you have lots of followers and no comments, your engagement rate is low. But if you have fewer followers and lots of comments, your engagement is high.
Engagement rate measures content performance vs. how many followers they have. And the higher the engagement rate, the better.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
How much engagement do I need?
What’s the purpose of my campaign?
How will I validate an influencer’s engagement rate?
A micro influencer’s audience relates to niche. But there are some important differences. A niche is a topic, interest, or hobby. For example, your brand’s niche could be skincare or fitness.
An audience is someone interested in that topic and/or an influencer’s personality.
For example, a micro influencer is an expert in the fitness niche. And they have a male audience. A different micro influencer is also an expert in fitness. But their audience is female.
Audience breaks down into age, gender expression, location, income, and so on. It’s important you understand your brand’s target audience. This ensures that it overlaps with your micro influencer’s audience. If you don’t share an audience, you broadcast a message to the wrong people.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
Who is this influencer’s audience?
Does my brand share the same or similar audience?
Can their audience access my products?
Analyze each micro influencer’s content before making a decision. “Content” in this case breaks down the ideas, products, tools, and so on that a given influencer talks about.
Some micro influencers only discuss their own ideas. This might look like a film expert who posts movie reviews.
Other micro influencers focus on their own brand. For example, a fitness trainer only pushes their new workout app.
And others may only cover vintage products, instead of new ones.
Content gets specific and it’s a major clue into what interests a micro influencer’s audience. We’re just saying the next time you want to market a new SaaS website, maybe think twice before partnering with an ‘80s tech enthusiast.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
What kinds of products does this influencer share with their audience?
What type of content does this influencer create?
Do I feel engaged with this person’s content?
Micro influencers are valuable because they serve up realness. What’s realness, though? It’s what the French call someone’s je ne sais quoi. It’s what people in the entertainment industry refer to as the X factor. Or the secret sauce.
Marketers, brands, and social media followers know this plainly as authenticity. It’s what makes micro influencers who they are, and it’s what fuels trust. Authenticity is impossible to quantify because it’s a feeling, it’s a vibe.
But something we can quantify is how other people experience authenticity. And we know that followers believe micro influencers to be more authentic. At least when compared to bigger social media stars.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
Does this influencer feel real and authentic?
Do I get any “fake” vibes when I scroll through their content?
Do they have an organic approach to promotion?
Now that you’ve found relevant micro influencers, you’re ready to verify them. Use the three steps below to get started.
Step #1: Start your search
To get started, you’ll need to dive headfirst into research. Find influencers in your brand’s followers. And search for micro influencers who aren’t already familiar with your product. Here’s how:
Comments and tags
Micro influencer marketing campaigns yield better results when influencers are fans.
Search through social media comments and tags to identify micro influencers. Find the ones who have a natural interest in working with you — before any money or contracts are on the table.
Did any of the potential micro influencers use your branded hashtag? This is another way to identify influencers who are familiar with your brand or product. Use the Instagram search function to figure out if any of them did.
Influencer marketing apps
Track micro influencers in Humanz AI and analyze their posting behavior. You can use different filters for hashtags, interests, and locations. These highlight the micro influencers who are best for your campaign.
Verified performance reports
Another way to comb through micro influencers is with a verified performance report. Reach out and ask for a performance report verified by a third party. Each report should include information about audience, content, engagement, and promotional performance.
Step #2: Validate and negotiateNegotiate fees and contracts
Depending on who you are, it’s time for the exciting part, or the awkward part. First up, you’ll need to vet your influencer. Then, start talking about compensation. Use these guidelines to get started:
Verified performance reports
Ask for a third-party verified performance report before entering into negotiation. Each report should include information about audience, content, engagement, and promotional performance.
Micro influencer fees
Start an open conversation with your micro influencer about their fees. Ask about what they charge for different types of content. Don’t be afraid to engage in back-and-forth discussion to find the best price for each party.
Micro Influencer Marketing Pro Tip: Humanz AI lets you talk fees and campaign details with micro influencers. And you don’t have to switch between platforms.
Micro influencer contracts
You’ll need a lawyer for this one. Or at the very least, a template that’s already approved by a lawyer. Your contract should outline:
- Contact information for each party (brand and influencer)
- Fees, payment schedules, and payment methods
- Disclosure and non-compete agreements, if necessary
- Content creation and delivery schedules
Include any information that’s necessary for a successful micro influencer marketing campaign. Remember, a happy influencer contributes to your brand’s success. Make sure each party is comfortable with the contract before launch.
Step #3: Launch, track, and monitor your campaign
Data doesn’t lie. And no matter how much planning you do, the only metric for success is measurable results.
Before you launch any campaign, think about what you want it to do. Brainstorm KPIs to measure the outcome of each initiative. And make sure you have tools in place to capture accurate data. Here are two pro tips to check campaign performance:
Pro Tip #1: Explore Instagram’s branded content tools
Instagram (Facebook) has tools inside the platform that let brands track campaign details. Tags that power the tools are in the post headers and read:
“Paid partnership with [brand partner]“
Whether you post on IG or FB, all tags track in FB. To do this, log in to Facebook and navigate to the “Branded Content” tab. Find the “Page Insights” tab to review post performance.
From there, you can access metrics like post type, reach, engagement, and more.
Pro Tip #2: Use trackable links
If your campaign offers discounts, you can measure performance with trackable links. Before launch, give your micro influencer a unique link that’s specific to them. The link then measures traffic, sales, subscriptions, or leads.
Once the campaign ends, compare projected metrics. Don’t forget to measure how well they did against the data pulled from each trackable link.
Talking about money is tough. But it’s necessary. Here are some tips from the pros on how brands negotiate pay with micro influencers.
There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to micro influencer fees. But here are some things your brand should consider when you enter into fee negotiation:
Micro influencer reach and engagement
Most micro influencer marketing campaigns want engagement. In which case, the bigger an influencer’s reach, the more you should compensate. The same applies to high engagement rates. In short, you get what you pay for.
Time and resources
Think about how much time and what resources your influencer needs to make great content. Do they use props? Are they meticulous? Do they need extra time to make something next level? The amount you pay should compensate them accordingly.
Consider how many posts you need from your influencer. If it’s a lot of posts over the span of weeks or even months, you’ll pay a higher price tag.
Creators own what they make, unless they sell or give up the rights. Check your contact to see who owns the content and how it’s used afterwards.
Gifted products, perks, or experiences
Influencers who are new to Instagram (or other platforms) might not ask for money. Micro influencers may be willing to partner with your brand in exchange for perks like:
- Travel or other experiences
- Free products or services
- Discount codes
This is especially true if a micro influencer’s values line up with your brand’s.
Commission-based compensation is pretty simple in theory, but it’s tricky to pull off. In short, the micro influencer you partner with gets a percentage of every product they sell. The more people they convince to buy your product, the higher their commission. Here are some questions to ask before you enter into a commission-based contract:
Are commissions easy to track?
If you have a commissions system in place, the answer could be yes. But if you don’t, it can be hard and expensive to set a new system up.
Is a profit possible after commission?
Think about your overhead and how much your micro influencer wants per sale. What’s left after these expenses? The math will speak for itself.
Is a commission appropriate for the product?
Sometimes commissions make sense. It’s usually reserved for high-ticket items or subscriptions. But if you want brand awareness instead of sales, a commission might not work for either party.
Influencer-branded product line
If your brand has enough resources, consider a product line. Include your micro influencer’s name or logo in the product’s branding. It’ll give them exposure, and curate a new experience for your consumers.
Any brand can offer their influencers some discount codes. But smart brands offer VIP discounts exclusive to that micro influencer. The key is to offer a discount that’s attractive and valuable to an influencer.
Brands all around the world are making the switch to micro influencers. Are you ready to take the jump?
Here’s a summary of everything you’ve discovered in this guide to start your next campaign:
- Micro influencers have between 10k and 100k followers
- Their authenticity is what sets them apart from other influencer tiers
- Brands work with micro influencers because they’re cost-effective and they increase engagement
- How to work with a micro influencer: Choose the best one, negotiate fees, track success
- Brands can compensate micro influencers with money, experiences, discounts, and free product