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Influencer Marketing: The Beginner’s Guide To Micro-Influencers

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 by

Micro Influencers

You’ve heard of the effectiveness of influencer marketing. You’ve seen with your own eyes how it helps businesses with lead generation and conversions. But you’re still hesitant to try it because of budget constraints. Although influencer marketing isn’t as expensive as many other marketing channels, small businesses and startups may be struggling to set aside funds for it. What if there was a less expensive way to launch a successful influencer marketing campaign while still making sufficient impact? The answer lies in micro-influencers.


What does “micro-influencer” mean?

Micro-influencers, as the name suggests, are influencers who have a significant but not massive following as compared to top influencers and celebrities. They aren’t your traditional celebrities but individuals who are considered to be experts in their relevant niche. For example, food bloggers, mommy bloggers, fitness Instagrammers, etc. Micro-influencers are usually passionate about their respective categories and are looked to as reliable sources of information and recommendations on purchases related to those categories.

A micro-influencer doesn’t have millions of followers; instead, they may have as few as 1,000 but usually not more than 100,000 followers. This following is comprised of loyal fans who trust their recommendations. Micro-influencers often have a strong relationship with these fans, engaging with them, producing content they love, and getting them involved. Their fans are ardent about the purchase recommendations they make, which makes them an ideal choice for your next influencer marketing campaign.


Micro-influencers vs. customers and macro-influencers

Now the big question is “how effective are micro-influencers, really?” You may be thinking that if these influencers don’t have as much reach as macro-influencers, they’re just like customers recommending them to other consumers. But it’s not as simple as that. Micro-influencers help spread your brand message in a more reliable and authentic manner while still providing a bit of the “expert opinion” effect. In fact, an Expertcity study compared the effectiveness of customer recommendations with that of micro-influencers recommendation and came up with the following results:

  • On an average, the weekly conversations of micro-influencers have 22.2 times more purchase-related conversations and product recommendations than that of the average consumer.


  • For 82% of consumers, there’s a high tendency to follow recommendations that are made by a micro-influencer. On the other hand, the same is true for 73% of consumers when the recommendations are made by an average consumer.
  • In terms of credibility, micro-influencers are considered to be more believable, knowledgeable and credible by 94% of consumers. 83% feel the same about the general population.
  • Micro-influencers are also considered to be better at explaining how a certain product works or how it’s supposed to be used by 92% of consumers. 83% feel the same about the general population.

So you understand that micro-influencers have a much more significant impact than the average customer on peoples’ purchase decisions. But how do they compare against macro-influencers? Yes, macro-influencers have millions of followers and micro-influencers may be unable to compare against them in terms of reach. At the same time, there are a number of aspects in which micro-influencers have found to be better than macro-influencers. Take a look at some of the results of a Takumi study highlighting this fact:

  • Instagram users with 1,000 followers or fewer managed to get 9.7% engagement on an average.
  • Users with 1,000-4,000 followers managed to get 4.5% engagement on an average.
  • Users with 4,000-100,000 followers managed to get 2.4% engagement on an average.
  • Those with more than 100,000 followers managed to get only 1.7% engagement on an average.

Instagram Engagement vs Followers

This Takumi study was based on an analysis of 500,000 profiles on Instagram. As you can see in the image above, the rise in follower rate was correlated with the decrease in engagement rate. This clearly shows how micro-influencers have a better ability to engage with their audience as compared to macro-influencers. It is for this reason that micro-influencers are highly recommended for small businesses and startups who can’t set aside as much influencer marketing budget than large organizations. This doesn’t mean top brands shouldn’t use micro-influencers, as this group of influencers may be a great way to establish trust with your target audience and add a personal touch to your interactions with them.


How to find micro-influencers

You’ve now understood how micro-influencers can be beneficial for you and how they can help you with your influencer marketing campaign. The difficult part is in overcoming the challenge of finding the right micro-influencers you can work with to effectively launch your campaign. Utilize the following tips to better understand the steps to finding a relevant and suitable influencer to work with:


1. Make use of keywords. 

Keywords are your best bet at identifying prospective influencers in your target niche no matter what tools you use. For example, you’re selling a product that you think would be best promoted by food bloggers. So you will conduct a search for “food blogger” using influencer outreach tools and the results will turn up a variety of blogger profiles within the relevant niche.


2. Observe the numbers. 

Since your search will be for micro-influencers, you’ll need to study the number of following of each profile that comes up in your search results. But what’s the right number? You may face the challenge of choosing between reach and engagement but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Based on their study of more than 800,000 Instagram users, Markerly suggests looking for influencers with somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers for the right balance of reach and engagement. So you still have influencers with significant reach and the right level of engagement, overcoming the challenge of working with micro-influencers.


3. Use the right tools. 

There are a number of tools that can help you find relevant micro-influencers in your niche using the right keywords. These tools give you useful information like the number of followers they have, some give a preview of their engagement rate, and some even give you their social authority level.

Tools like Ninja Outreach and Followerwonk from Moz are some useful and effective tools to help you find micro-influencers and macro-influencers alike. Take a look at the screenshot from Followerwonk, which lets you use keywords to find top Twitter profiles related to a certain niche.

Moz Followerwonk

The data is neatly organized showing not only the number of followers but also the number of tweets to show how active they are. You can also see the Social Authority each influencer has so as to better understand the level of influence they have. Here, the results are sorted based on the number of followers they have in descending order. So you can just scroll lower to find micro-influencers with 10,000-100,000 followers.


4. Study their content.

Once you’ve made a list of prospective micro-influencers to work with, you will need to go through their content across various social media channels. This will help you understand whether they produce content in the tone and voice that would resonate with your target audience. For example, within the food blogging niche, you might find some micro-influencers who are taking a holistic approach in their messaging. These could be the perfect choice for brands that value eco-friendliness.


5. Start your outreach. 

Now that you’ve shortlisted relevant micro-influencers you could work with, your next step would be to approach them for a partnership. Being influencers, these individuals may be getting hundreds of partnership requests so you will need to catch their attention and be convincing. If you’re opting for an email outreach, make sure you prioritize on writing a compelling subject line and framing your message with a focus towards them.


How to work with micro-influencers

From discount codes to social media mentions and from co-created content to giveaway contests; there are plenty of ideas for implementing micro-influencers into your marketing strategy. Here are a few examples of brands that have worked with Instagram micro-influencers, so you can develop a unique idea according to your needs:


Social media mentions

An easy way to promote your brand and products through micro-influencers is by having them mention you. Ideally, the post should showcase your product being used by the influencer or positioned in an eye-catching yet authentic setting. You can send them freebies or gifts so they can showcase the product. You could also arrange for a small cash incentive based on your agreement with the micro-influencers you’ve decided to work with.

Brittney Buccat (@missxbo) is a social media star with more than 36,000 followers on Instagram. Being one of the most popular micro-influencers in fashion and lifestyle niches, she has been approached to do several product promotions and sponsored posts through her social media accounts.

While some of her Instagram posts showcase products with discount codes, some merely display the products with a mention and a short description of the product. Take a look at the following example of how she’s promoting a new product from Your Tea with a mere mention. Her followers also have a positive response to the post, meaning that they trust her opinion and recommendation despite it being a sponsored post.

Instagram Marketing

The same goes for her promotion of Ami Clubwear with a mere mention of their brand name and a branded hashtag. As you can see in the screenshot below, the post managed to generate plenty of positive comments from her followers.

Instagram Sponsored Post


Promote discount codes

One of the most popular methods of working with influencers is by promoting discount codes through them. The reason this tactic is ideal for your collaboration with micro-influencers is because they help you promote the code to a large and significant audience. The influencers vouching for your product gives their followers the desire to purchase the product and having the discount code compels them to take action.

An excellent example of this is how Lootcrate partnered with relevant influencers and promoted unique discount codes through them. Lootcrate is a subscription service that sends subscribers boxes of geeky gear including t-shirts, socks, comic books, and more. They worked with both macro- and micro-influencers in gaming, tech, and pop culture niches to promote their subscription boxes with discount codes.

Social Media Influencers

Their partners included gamer and cosplayer Amie Lynn (@misshabit), who has more than 77,000 Instagram followers. Her post promoting Lootcrate had a special discount code for 10% off and managed to get almost 4,000 likes.


Show what your product can do

As mentioned previously, micro-influencers are considered to be better at explaining how a product works or how you can use it. This is why they make the most effective medium for showcasing how your product can be used. Showing micro-influencers using the product and how they’re using it will be a great way to create a desire in their followers to try the product.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated video tutorial, although this might work well depending on the type of product you’re selling. A simple image post from micro-influencers showing their followers how they’re using the product could be enough to intrigue this audience base. An excellent example can be seen in how lens manufacturer Olloclip partners with several micro-influencers, who post images of how they’re using their products.

Brittney Buccat (@missxbo) was one of the micro-influencers Olloclip worked with. Here’s a screenshot of the sponsored post she created and take a look at the response from her followers. There are already people commenting how they “need” the product and how “cool” the lens is.

Olloclip Marketing

Demi Kwant (@iidemiii) is another micro-influencer the brand partnered with. With more than 1,800 followers the iPhoneographer posts beautiful images captured with the help of a lens from Olloclip.

Brand influencers


How to get started

You now have a thorough understanding of working with micro-influencers for your influencer marketing campaign. You understand how they can impact your business, how to find the right micro-influencers, and how to create a successful campaign with them. The next step is to get started with a plan that will outline what goals you wish to achieve, so you can measure your performance in the long run. And then you can get started looking for micro-influencers who can work with you to promote your business.

Whether you’re a small business or a large organization, it’s clear to see that this group of influencers can be an added advantage to your existing marketing strategy.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
  • Chris Martin
    6 September 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Shane, this is a fantastic Beginner’s Guide to ‘micro influencer marketing’ that actually goes much more in depth than I expected. I’ve been recruiting micro-influencers for several months now and the Expertcity study that you included (that breaks down engagement rates based on audience size) backs up exactly what I’ve found on my own as I built my own live-video influencer network.

    What’s worked well for me is a tool called InfluenceLogic ( ) that lets you track influencer growth and engagement rates so you can work with influencers that you know are on the rise in popularity. It’s kind of like a stock market insight tool, but for influencers. I’ve been able to work with some micro-influencers for longterm deals and, because I knew they were growing, I’ve been able to benefit tremendously from their growth. Not all of them blow up and become huge, but when they do, it’s remarkable!

  • Shane Barker
    6 September 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Glad you enjoyed my article! Thanks for sharing Influence Logic with me, I will have to check it out. Make sure to reach out to me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Talk soon.


  • Ramu Nair
    7 September 2016 at 7:13 am

    Hi Shane

    That is a great article and advice to brands trying to make the best out of micro influencer branding.

    But due to the way this area is booming , don’t do thing there is an increasing danger of fraud.

    With so many websites providing the ability to purchase followers and like – Engagement and Reach metrics are not enough to know if an influencer is having effective network.

    Further more when you have Hyper local marketing strategy planned, a influencer being the right gender and based in a certain location doesn’t guarantee their followers fit that Criterea.

    What do you think? is this a viable concern for Marketers?

  • Shane Barker
    8 September 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Hey Ramu,
    There are a number of things you can look at to reduce your risk.

    1. Look at engagement on the influencers past posts.
    2. See what kind of content their followers enjoy (i.e. lifestyle, fitness, etc.)
    3. Look at the demographic makeup of the influencer. I use for my demographic research, and it works great.

    There are also other companies that offer a “breakdown” of Influencer audiences to make sure you are picking the right influencer.

    I hope that helps. ;)


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