What are Micro-Influencers and What Do They Mean for You?
Chances are, you’ve opened Instagram recently and have seen a celebrity promoting a product. This is influencer marketing! When influencer marketing (marketing where brands recruit celebrities or other leaders in social media to deliver their messaging) first became popular, audiences were becoming increasingly difficult to reach through traditional channels such as television, magazine and radio and becoming less trusting of traditional advertising. Only 33 percent of consumers trusted ads, whereas 90 percent of consumers trusted peer recommendations, and influencer marketing appeared to be the solution to this modern marketing problem. Marketers recruited bloggers, Youtube stars and others with large social followings to act as brand ambassadors, spread the brand’s messaging among their peers and “influence” buying decisions. The goal was to make influencers’ messages appear like product and service recommendations from friends rather than ads.
But as social media continued to commercialize, audiences caught on to marketers’ secrets: the content from influencers wasn’t earned; it was a modern form of paid advertising. The general distrust of advertising combined with the prevalence of social bots and purchased followers was the perfect combination to continue to drive down the trust brands were trying so hard to gain.
Not only was trust dropping, but surprisingly engagement was as well.
“Engagement goes down once you reach a certain threshold of followers, which is almost counterintuitive,” said Kyla Brennan, the founder and CEO of HelloSociety, an agency that connects brands with influencers for specific campaigns. “You might get eyeballs, but they won’t be eyeballs that care.”
Once overlooked due to their small following, brands and marketers are now focusing on the high engagement and trust that micro-influencers can bring to campaigns.