In 2022 it’s safe to say we all know what an influencer is, but in case you need a refresher, let me remind you of the concept: An influencer is someone in a niche or industry who has sway over a target audience. This concept isn’t new. Although it’s gained momentum and strength in the last 10 years, it has been around for a long time. Think Magic Johnson and Quality Dairy in the 1980s or, if you’re not from the Lansing region, Michael Jordan and Nike.
The thought has always been that influencers provide a more direct and trustworthy connection to a desired audience than any ad could provide. And while this is true, we are learning that there are different types of influencers, and what was once thought to be most effective may be counterproductive and cost-prohibitive for most campaigns.
Traditionally influencers are thought of as those with a massive following, someone with 50,000-plus followers. We have realized that there is a second, more effective type of influencer — the micro-influencer. This is a person who has 10,000-50,000 followers. This realization came out of our work with clients that had a very specific audience they wanted to connect with, and while we would be guaranteed to reach some of that audience using a macro-influencer, the quality of the connection could not be guaranteed. There is a distance in connection to audience. The traditional macro-influencer becomes more of an entertainer than someone an audience connects and identifies with and, most importantly, trusts.
This is not to say that macro-influencers don’t have their place. They do. We continue to use them for broad campaigns, though much less frequently. This is because the results of micro-influencers cannot be ignored. They are much more effective. It’s quality over quantity. We may reach 2 million people using a macro-influencer like a well-known celebrity, but how many of that 2 million are engaging with the message and acting on it, and how many are just scrolling by? The lack of engagement is where we noticed that a big name does not mean a big result and can be counterproductive to creating true connections with our audience, not to mention, much more expensive.
We found that when we use micro-influencers, our audience is more likely to engage with the content and act. They see themselves in these micro-influencers and place trust in them in a way we had never seen using macro-influencers. Micro-Influencers are now a staple for many of our clients’ communications strategies. Every client dreams of an engaged, invested and actionable audience. Micro-influencers provide this. Their followers are invested. They take the time to read the content and engage. They don’t just want to follow — they want to connect.
The future of audience engagement is written on the social media wall: Micro-influencers are not only effective, but they are also cost-efficient. Macro-influencers will continue to have their place with big names and broad campaigns, but to get the most out of your money and message, micro-influencers are the only choice.
Business Development Writer
Pet parent, bookworm, seasonal decorator, CMU alum