Micro-Influencers: Tap Small Creators for High Engagement

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Aug 31, 2023

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When you think of Instagram influencers, you probably picture mega-influencers with millions of followers swimming in money and sponsorships. But you might be surprised to learn that nowadays, brands are more interested in working with micro-influencers in small communities.

Influencer marketing rarely involves tapping the biggest celebrity to work with your brand. Most of the time, it’s about hiring influential people to get their audience to listen when they talk about your brand. Micro and nano-influencers are perfect for this because of their influence in their small but impactful market niche.

Today, we’ll talk all about the power of small influencers and how they can help drive engagement for your brand. Keep reading to discover more!

A micro-influencer happily engaging with her followers during a live stream.

What Is a Micro-Influencer in the First Place?

First things first—what is a micro-influencer? A micro-influencer is a small influencer that has more followers than the average person but not as many as mega-influencers and celebrities.

They usually get this sizeable following by being experts in a specific market niche, like food, books, tech, beauty, and more.

Despite their small following, these smaller creators are attractive to brands because they have a high average engagement rate.

In 2021, over 90% of all user engagements on sponsored content were from those published by micro-influencers, not celebrities. So, if your brand works on influencer campaigns to drive engagement, don’t sleep on smaller content creators.

Because these small influencers aren’t celebrities, people see them as more authentic and trustworthy. They’re not sell-outs—at least not yet. So, their word is as good as gold. For this reason, businesses clamor to have small creators as brand influencers in their marketing campaigns—especially where audience engagement is involved.

What Is the Usual Micro-Influencer Follower Count?

Micro-influencers have a smaller following than mega-influencers and macro-influencers but a slightly bigger one than nano-influencers. Here’s a breakdown of how many followers these content creators usually have, at least on Instagram:

  • Mega-influencers and celebrities: Over 1 million followers
  • Macro-influencers: 100,000 to 1 million followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000 to 100,000 followers
  • Nano-influencers: 1,000 to 10,000 followers

All of these Instagram content creators are important for any influencer strategy. However, there’s a huge difference in the role they play in a brand’s influencer campaigns.

Brands use mega-influencers and macro-influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers for their broad, massive reach. They’re perfect for brand awareness campaigns because they can get more eyeballs on branded content. They’re the best influencers to work with for major campaigns, especially for businesses with big budgets.

Smaller influencers, on the other hand, are amazing at engaging their followers. Even if the average micro-influencer follower count is lower, they are credible and trustworthy. Your brand should work with these experts and industry leaders if you’re looking to promote your label to a niche audience.

The 5 Benefits of Working With Micro-Influencers

To many people, working with smaller creators instead of celebrities doesn’t make sense. But if you really think about it, working with micro-influencers offers plenty of brand benefits. Here are just several of them:

1. They Have a Focused Audience in Market Niche

Because these small creators operate in a market niche, they have a very specific target audience. Some brands want to target that same audience for their campaigns. But if they hire a mega-influencer, they’ll waste marketing money on posts that will reach a broad audience—aka people they’re not interested in.

People who follow micro-influencers look up to them and listen to everything they say. They are probably experts on their specific niche, whether it’s hair care for curly hair or fantasy books. If those interests fall under a brand’s target market demographic, these creators may be tapped for influencer campaigns.

And when they start talking about a brand to their followers, people will likely listen to them more than celebrities. I mean, who would you listen to more about a new food brand? Your favorite vegan dessert influencer with a small fanbase or Kim Kardashian?

A micro-influencer creating content for the dessert foodie niche.

2. They Have Higher Average Engagement Rates

As mentioned earlier, micro-influencers are known for their glittering engagement rates. Even if they have fewer followers, they can drive genuine interest in people about the things they post.

For example, if a mega-influencer with 500,000 followers were to post about a brand, people wouldn’t even bat an eye. They’ll see the branded post, spend a few seconds looking at it, and then keep scrolling.

But if a smaller creator were to post about a brand, their highly engaged audience might converse with them about it. They may hit “like” on the post and leave a comment to ask questions about the brand. Engagements like these are awesome for driving brand interest and conversions later on.

3. It’s More Affordable To Work With Them

Hiring micro-influencers for your campaigns is a lot more affordable than working with celebrities. They’re perfect for start-up businesses or brands with a limited marketing budget for influencer campaigns.

Getting mega-influencers to post about your brand might cost you upwards of $10,000 for a single piece of content. But smaller content creators charge much less. A branded post by a smaller creator might set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

Of course, it’s important to pay your influencers a fair rate. If they can create aesthetically pleasing content that boosts engagement and interest in your business, you should be paying them more. Hiring them for seasonal campaigns (like Christmas or summertime) may also increase their rates.

Brands can save a lot of money by hiring smaller influencers instead of mega-influencers or celebrities.

4. You Don’t Risk Your Brand Getting Overexposed

If you hire multiple mega-influencers to talk about your brand, there’s a high chance you will get overexposed. Since big influencers have a huge audience, a lot of their followers probably overlap. So, some people might see too many posts about your brand and might think it’s a bit of a hard sell. For many, this is a turn-off.

But with micro-influencers, you will unlikely deal with this problem. These creators have highly specific niche audiences. If you strategically build a diverse set of influencers for your campaign, their followers may not overlap. Your brand won’t overexpose itself to a specific group of people.

And even if you do get some overlaps, there’s a high chance that people won’t get sick of seeing content about your brand. Micro-influencer content is renowned for being unique, out-of-the-box, and individualistic. No two posts will be the same for these creators. Even if someone does see branded content from two different creators, the posts will still be interesting in their own way.

Another reason why you likely won’t be overexposed when working with small creators is that they don’t post as often as celebrities. Many small-scale influencers have jobs outside of being a creator. They don’t usually post daily. The lower frequency means no brand fatigue.

5. They Can Help With Hyperlocal Campaigns

Lastly, micro-influencers can help with your localized campaigns when you want to target people in a specific location.

Aside from being experts in their niche, some small influencers are influential specifically to their city. They may be hometown heroes, like the county pageant queen or the neighborhood’s favorite baker. You may reach a location-based audience you’re eyeing by tapping them for your influencer campaigns.

You can get these creators to promote your brand at local events. If they promote your brand online, they can also use slang or speak in a dialect specific to their location. Because their community trusts them, more people will listen when they talk about your brand.

Micro-Influencer Marketing 101 for Brands

Tapping influencers for projects sounds like a lot of fun. But it can be overwhelming for brand owners to do it for the first time. If you’re not sure how to work with influencers, we’ve got you. Here are some of the best ways you can do micro-influencer marketing for your business:

Micro-Influencers Can Post Collaborative, Sponsored Content

The most common way to work with micro-influencers is by sponsoring their posts. In these posts, they will promote your brand and its products for their followers to see. They can do all kinds of content for this, like brand reviews, tutorials on how to use your products, unboxing videos, and more.

Many influencers will use the paid partnership label on their sponsored posts. This allows them to be as transparent as possible with their audience when collaborating with a brand.

Influencer doing a makeup tutorial to fulfill a paid partnership with a beauty brand.

You Can Co-Create Products With Micro-Influencers

Brands can also work with micro-influencers by co-creating a limited edition product with them.

For example, if you’re a bookstore brand, you can partner with someone popular on “bookstagram” for a book club service. If you have a makeup brand, you can tap an influencer to collaborate on a specific shade of lipstick or eyeshadow.

This is a great way to sell your products to a specific, niche audience you haven’t successfully reached as a brand. Just ensure the product you come up with aligns with the influencer’s personality. Or else, it will look fake and staged, and you won’t sell their followers on your limited edition offering.

Edgy influencer showing off bold makeup they co-created with a brand.

You Can Tap Them for Instagram Affiliate Marketing

You can also work with micro-influencers to boost sales through affiliate marketing. These influencer campaigns are among the most cost-efficient. They don’t require you or the influencers you work with to produce content.

Here’s how it works. You set up a specific discount code or affiliate link to your brand’s website for your brand influencer. Then, they promote that link to their followers. When their followers buy from your website with that link, they get a discount. Your brand influencer gets a commission, and you get more sales. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Some micro-influencers can even do Instagram affiliate marketing directly on the platform. Brands will pay them commission just for recommending and driving sales for specific brands. It’s a terrific opportunity to make money as a budding influencer.

They Can Do an Instagram Takeover on Your Account

You can also let your brand micro-influencers “take over” your Instagram and post content directly with your account. This is awesome for all sorts of social media content, from Q&A forums on Instagram Live to behind-the-scenes content about your brand on Stories.

The idea here is that for a limited time, all the content you post will have the influencer’s face in it. This can draw their audience to your page, especially if the influencer cross-promotes the efforts on their profile. It can drive tons of engagement (and maybe even new followers!) for your page.

How To Become a Micro-Influencer in 3 Steps

Being a brand influencer sounds like heaps of fun! Unsurprisingly, so many people dream of becoming a small influencer and working their way up to get a huge following.

Are you one of these people? If yes, we want to help you out! Here’s how to become a micro-influencer in three steps.

1. Choose Your Market Niche and Make Quality Content About It

To make it big as a micro-influencer, you need to choose a market niche to own. This can be anything from fashion, food, board games, books of a specific genre, traveling to obscure cities and more. The more niche and unique it is, the better.

It shouldn’t just be something cool or trendy. You need to be genuinely passionate about it so that you can impart knowledge and good insights about your field. If you fake it, your audience will know, and they won’t give you a follow.

Once you know the niche topic you want to operate in, it’s time to make some high-quality content. On Instagram, this means visually exciting and value-driven content. Come out with interesting, relevant posts regularly for your followers to see and engage with. If people like your content, your follower count will start to rise.

2. Always Engage With Your Audience

If someone comments on your posts or sends you a direct message about it, don’t be a snob. Reply to them with something friendly and insightful. Micro-influencers are known for driving high engagement, remember? To keep your audience engaged, building a relationship with them is crucial. Responding to all interactions with your account is the key to doing so.

Other ways to engage your audience are by hosting Q&A sessions or setting up surveys on Instagram Stories. It makes your followers feel valued by you, making them cherish their relationship with you even more.

Engaging your followers doesn’t just make them trust you more. It also builds credibility for your brand. And the more credible you are, the more likely brands will reach out and ask to work with you on influencer campaigns.

3. Collaborate With Your Dream Brands

Finally, once you’ve got a sizeable following and more confidence in content creation, reach out to your dream brands.

Email or DM them with an engaging pitch telling them what you have to offer as a brand influencer. Talk about your niche as a micro-influencer and how much your audience trusts you. If you have good engagement rates on your latest posts, share those, too.

When you land brand deals, always hold up your end of the bargain by posting all the branded content you promised to post. Engage with your audience like you usually do to maintain trust and rapport in your community. If you do well, you can build a lasting relationship with the brands you collaborate with, opening up opportunities for you in the future.

How Much Do Micro-Influencers Make in a Month?

Of course, aside from dreaming of the fame and influence of being a content creator, you must be practical, too. Before launching your career as a small influencer, consider whether it can pay enough to make you a decent living.

So, how much do micro-influencers make every month? The answer varies from person to person. But hardworking micro-influencers who grind to land a couple of brand partnerships monthly likely earn at least a couple hundred dollars.

As a small content creator, you could charge around $100-$500 per Instagram post. If you land two brand deals per month, you can easily make an extra $200-$1,000. That’s awesome for a side hustle. The best part is that landing deals like that can help you grow your Instagram following. And the bigger your fanbase, the higher you can charge brands later!

Here are some other factors to consider when declaring your rates for brand promotions:

  • Scope of work: If a brand expects you to create multiple posts, attend events, and do an Instagram takeover, you should charge them higher.
  • Exclusivity: If an exclusivity clause in your contract doesn’t allow you to promote other brands, you should raise prices.
  • Experience: The more experience you have promoting brands, the higher you should charge future clients.

Never Underestimate the Power of Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers may have smaller followings than celebs and macro-influencers. But don’t underestimate their power. They can likely activate their highly engaged audience and influence them way more than a celebrity can impact their millions of fans. Why? Because these small influencers are seen as authentic and credible in their specific market niche.

Next time you’re considering launching influencer campaigns for your brand, don’t forget the smaller influencers. Mega-influencers might have the reach, but micro-influencers are the kings and queens of engaging their fans. You can’t risk excluding them from your influencer strategy.

Whether with sponsored posts, product collaborations, or affiliate links, doing influencer marketing with smaller creators is always fun. They create out-of-the-box content and know how to talk to their audience to get them interested in your brand.

Are you thinking of becoming a micro-influencer yourself? Allow Path Social to help set you up for success. Our proprietary targeting algorithm enables you to reach people who will enjoy your content. Not only will it help you get engagement on your posts, but you’ll also gain more followers. With that fanbase, you can start your career as an influencer. Start growing your community now!