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The rise of the micro-influencer: Modern marketing we can’t live without?

by Samantha Sadler

Advertising consumption is forever-changing. As we’re inundated with lists of the latest marketing trends, we scramble to implement the most innovative, unique tools on various platforms to better showcase our brands. With print advertising sales expected to fall by 15-20% this year, we’re increasingly switching our attention to all the opportunities digital can bring. For instance, we’re throwing money at Google and Facebook for adverts at such a rate that they’re now expected to rake in almost half of the world’s digital advert spend. The ad game of even five years ago looks little like today.

It doesn’t end there either. Nowadays, social platforms we usually use for leisurely browsing (Snapchat, Instagram.etc) are becoming an extremely useful tool for both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) advertising. Plus, with the internet being used daily by 82% of adults in Great Britain, implementing a digital strategy couldn’t be more important at the moment. As it becomes increasingly easier to communicate to a global audience, we’re exposing consumers to advertising on a personal level, with communications tailored to their browsing habits and through individual recommendations. Cue the micro-influencer.

What’s a micro-influencer?

Influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements have been used for years by brands, particularly in B2C marketing campaigns, although we’re now seeing changes in how to achieve customer buy in. Today, influence can be bought from bottom up as well as the traditional top down.

An official definition of what would make an individual a ‘micro-influencer’ is yet to be defined however generally it seems that having between 1,000 and 30,000 followers on Instagram classes you as one. But why are they so important and should we be using them as an addition to our digital marketing strategies?

Can anyone become a micro-influencer?

In short, yes. You would need to have a focused topic and of course some engaging content, but as long as you have access to a social media platform then you’re set. Essentially, micro-influencers are a newer version of the Trip Advisor veteran with the aim to purely promote and positively advise, rather than pass negative comments.

Are they effective?

Influencer network HelloSociety found that engagement rates were 60% higher when using a micro-influencer. As well as being cost-effective, a micro-influencer can drive social conversation 22.2x more than the average consumer amongst their growing follower network. Brands such as Home Depot, Stitch Fix and Shutterfly have all found success in partnering up with micro-influencers to promote their products with more sure to follow in their footsteps.

Over the coming weeks, I intend to look at how micro-influencers work and if they are effective when used in marketing campaigns. I’ll be speaking to both influencers themselves and brands using them, as well as working towards reaching my own micro-influencer status via a newly-launched travel-based Instagram page.