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The Rise of the Micro-influencer: Why less is more in marketing

AUG 23, 2017:

Influencer marketing is big business. But a shift is becoming more and more apparent. As a continued trend in advertising puts the spotlight on slightly under-the-radar creators, everyone is asking: Why are beauty brands so obsessed with micro-influencers right now?

According to Forbes, a single sponsored post on a social-media account with over a million followers can earn over $50k. Apply that to a long-term brand collaboration, and these accounts could be earning millions throughout the campaign. However, the magic reach of such a marketing partnership has a peak: When an account has more than 100k followers, engagement starts to flat line. Why? ‘Users just aren’t as keen to interact with a celebrity as with someone they can relate to more closely,’ says Highsnobiety.

This sets the scene for the micro-influencer, an account with followers in the sweet-spot region of 10k to under 100k followers, and that operates within a particular niche. Fashionista calls them ‘a new subset of tastemakers, less renowned than their flashy influencer counterparts… The key attractions of a micro-influencer are more concrete: a highly engaged fanbase, a lower price point, ease of marketing and that all-important aforementioned authenticity.’

James Nord, co-founder of Fohr Card, a service that helps intro brands to influencers, told Fashionista: ‘There’s been a democratization of expertise.’ Micro-influencers have expert knowledge in their field but not the unreachable status of celebrity, they also have open discussions about their personal lives, as well as issues often overlooked by the mainstream.

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And it’s this sense of openness and honesty that have beauty brands interested. Origins recently announced a partnership with nine micro-influencers from varying backgrounds for its #MyPerfectWorld campaign – see Courtney Scott, Mikaela Kelly, and Sunita Ramnarine, who have 27.3k, 14.4k and 147k Instagram followers respectively. Meanwhile, over the last few years, E.L.F. Cosmetics has brought micro-influencers together at its ‘micro-conference’ Beautyscape, a chance to meet, mingle, and get to know the brand’s products.

‘Content generated from this initiative has a combined reach of more than 250 million across digital platforms,’ says the brand’s vice president, Mara McCune, adding that this has a lot to do with each micro-influencer’s relationship with their following. ‘They have built their audience by delivering trusted content… When these influencers talk about E.L.F. or review one of our products, their followers really listen.’

Nord attributes this to his clients’ authenticity: ‘When the influencers we have who come in and turn down $10,000 from us because the product doesn’t make sense for their audience… because they feel like they couldn’t authentically speak on behalf of that product makes me feel really good.’

The mindset of a micro-influencer? Making sponsored content that’s right for me, not for more money.

Are you a micro-influencer? Share your experience with us in the comments! 

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