We need to show that micro-influencer marketing is the wave of the future for smaller brands (SMBs). Please provide industry quotes and statistics/numbers to back this up.
Hi! Thanks for your question on the use of micro-influencers in smaller brands. Micro-influencers are a subset of the influencer marketing community that are on the rise. Individuals with minimal social media followers are being paid to promote products for companies. Below, you will find a deeper dive of my findings on how companies are cashing in on this emerging trend to boost their business.
I began by researching trustworthy sources, such as Forbes and Business Insider, to identify specific statistics related to the value of influencer marketing, and micro-influencers as a subset. I then expanded my research to include the benefits of using micro-influencers, such as increased follower engagement and cost effectiveness. Additionally, I have included information provided by Fundera regarding ways small businesses and brands can find these micro-influencers.
THE VALUE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
Influencer marketing has proven to be a worthwhile investment for companies to promote their products. In 2015, the industry had three times the return on investment of traditional marketing strategies. In 2017, it is expected that the internet will become the primary advertising medium (overtaking television), earning 36% of total ad spend.
It is estimated that companies pocket $6.85 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. Raymond Morin states, "Today, it’s estimated that the market value of influence marketing is between US $10 and $15 billion and will continue to grow over the next few years."
According to DigDay, "There's such a thing as being too popular." Statistics show that audience engagement decreases as a social media influencer's mass of followers increases. The following are statistics provided by DigDay regarding the use of influencer marketing on Instagram, showing how the like and comment rate decrease with an increase in audience size:
Audience Size Like Rate Comment Rate
< 1K 8.03% 0.56%
1K - 10K 4.04% 0.27%
10K - 100K 2.37% 0.17%
100K - 1M 1.78% 0.09%
1M - 10M 1.66% 0.06%
1M + 1.66% 0.05%
THE BENEFITS OF USING MICRO-INFLUENCERS
There are numerous benefits for the company that chooses to use micro-influencers as promoters for their products. Business Insider reports that, "Posts from people with small followings get strong engagement, and bring an air of authenticity and trust." Sometimes, negative perceptions can be associated with more blatant forms of advertising, and the use of micro-influencers is one way around this problem. "What this subset of influencers lack in reach, they make up for in engagement. While less costly, they are highly focused on a specific audience and tend to provide better returns," states Forbes. Micro-influencers work within their niche and are more in touch with their followers, resulting in more active promoting of the products. A quote provided by Gnack CEO Chris Gonzalez in an article by DigDay states, "We see micro-influencers get an average of two-to-five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers."
Forbes notes that, over the last year, there has been a drastic increase in influencer rates of celebrities, bloggers, and YouTube stars. For example, in 2015, one blogger charged $1,500 for a blog post and social shares. In 2016, with a slight increase in number of followers, this same blogger charged $5,000. According to Forbes, "While it’s smart for influencers to know and demand their full value, many are beginning to price themselves out of work."
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are a much more reasonable option for those companies who do not have the budget to accommodate such expensive advertising. We Are Social Media reports that Twitter is the most cost-effective social media platform for micro-influencers, with 96% charging less than $100 per tweet. 90% of Facebook micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded post. On Instagram, 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded post. 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram charge less than $500 per branded post. Micro-influencers who are bloggers tend to be a little more expensive, with 87% charging less than $500 per post, and 96% charging less than $1,000 per post. It is easy to see the cost benefit when comparing micro-influencers to other forms of advertising.
For small businesses and brands, there is traditionally not much money to allocate towards advertising and marketing. Many companies find themselves overpaying marketing firms or wasting money on futile DIY efforts. Fundera Ledger reports, "If the goal is to cut costs and still get the word out about your product or service, third-party influencers who are unconnected to the brand are the best bet."
METHODS FOR FINDING MICRO-INFLUENCERS
Many online tools exist to help smaller businesses and brands identify micro-influencers. Fundera notes that an effective, free way to locate relevant influencers is to search for individuals in the appropriate using hashtags and key search terms, then cold-pitching through direct messages or comments. FanGrader is a tool that ranks micro-influencers, and is free for business owners to utilize.
Of course, there are some paid options, as well; however, the costs associated with using these options are minimal compared to the return on investment. Buzzsumo identifies trending content, as well as the individuals (micro-influencers) responsible for creating the trend. FollowerWonk helps to identify influencers within a current base of followers, as well as their social authority.
To wrap it up, micro-influencers have proven to be increasingly advantageous for companies with regards to advertising. The impact they have on their immediate community is vast, and they are a cost-effective option, especially for smaller businesses who may not have the advertising budget of larger corporations. Raymond Morin states of micro-influencers, "Their reviews and posts are usually spontaneous and authentic, and they don’t necessarily seek monetary rewards. They often focus on the benefits the brand brings to their community. Their collaboration is valuable as part of a more equitable and sustainable long term relationship."
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