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The Shift from Macro to Micro Influencers: Bigger Isn't Always Better

Influence is not necessarily determined by how large your reach is, but rather the impact of your message. Yet, how come when people rattle off influencers, only popular stars like the Kardashians or other mainstream celebrities come to mind?

For many years, the people we envied were celebrities that had significant exposure. Actors, models, musicians, and athletes have now been accompanied by social media “stars” and bloggers with millions of subscribers to compete for society's attention. So, if you want promotion for your product, that’s who you would hire for advertisements, right? In reality, customers are trusting celebrities less and less and putting their confidence in smaller, “niche” influencers.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.

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Macro-Influencers have large platforms with over 200,000 followers. Often times, macro influencers help brands gain exposure and increase awareness. Of course, this comes at a significant price! Hiring a macro-influencer can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars which may not necessarily give a brand a return on their investment unless their audience is well aligned.

Additionally, the audience of a macro-influencer is heavily exposed to a variety of advertisements from brands that are large enough to pay top dollar for their exposure. It's common for followers to tune out advertisements if they happen too frequently or if they feel like the promotion isn't genuine. While many "celebrities" may be entertaining to keep up with, their influence is not really, well, influential.

Determining If a Macro-Influencer Will Be Successful for Your Brand

The individuals that are considered true macro-influencers have built their following based on conversations, engagement, and transparency. Influencers remain consistent and honest while focusing on providing their following with entertaining, relevant or valuable content. Because these influencers blur the digital disconnect and build a real bond with their following, their audience is typically more receptive to their recommendations. Brands that can build relationships with these macro-influencers that are genuinely aligned with their brand will typically have more success. 

TIP: When identifying influencers for your brand, focus more on engagement rates than follower count.

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With the common distrust of most macro-influencers whose advertisements are used solely for the purpose of making money, micro-influencers are becoming a more popular target for most brands partnerships. Micro-influencers are considered smaller accounts with anywhere from 1,000 to 200,000 followers. These are the majority of accounts you follow on Instagram and love, trust, and relate to. Usually, micro-influencers are very niche—they focus on what they do best, whether that is being a parent, food blogger, beauty guru, or interior designer. With a specific concentration, these micro-influencers are able to establish a focused audience based on similar interests and roles. Because of their focus, their audience speaks similar languages and their advice is often taken as an expert opinion.


Why are Micro-Influencers More Trustworthy?

Micro-influencers are portrayed as "real and relatable people" sharing similar experiences with relatable audiences. These are the people you consider to know, like and trust. They gain the trust of their following by remaining authentic and documenting their experiences. Like many of the successful macro-influencers, micro-influencers only promote the products that they genuinely love and use. Their opinions produce great publicity with smaller, more intimate audience, as well as give brands more user-generated content. Moreover, their engagement rates tend to be stronger! Micro-influencers establish a personal connection, rather than just a social media follow because they engage in meaningful conversations about relevant topics. To top it all off, many company's budgets may not support partnerships with macro-influencers. Brands can get creative with their micro-influencer partnerships - rather than spending a significant budget to interest an influencer, free products that align with their personal can incentivize the opportunity to work together.

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The Rise of Micro-Influencers

The shift from macro-influencers to micro-influencers is very logical. The individuals that have influence over their community are known, liked and trusted. The more personalized the connection, the stronger the influence. Influencers with a smaller community have a greater opportunity to connect with their followers in a more personalized manner. After all, who would you trust? A celebrity holding a waist trainer or the local fitness coach that gives tips on the correct workout while wearing a waist trainer?

The takeaway is – focus on engagement, not reach. It’s the community that counts, not the number of followers.



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