Survey: Micro-influencers offer big rewards for brand managers

Do those online celebrities with smaller followings really have the engagement that some industry experts suggest? New research offers insights for your next influencer campaign.

Just how successful can a “micro-influencer” be at engaging his or her audience?

As influencer marketing has become more mainstream, many marketers have pursued relationships with internet figures with smaller, more-devoted followings to reach new audiences on social media. Some experts even assert that a relationship with one of these niche internet stars can be more valuable than a partnership with a superstar.

Still, marketers would be justified in asking where to set the limits.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new marketing channel, and organizations that aren’t prepared for costly trial and error are looking for more information before jumping in.

A new survey from Uproar PR found that 71% of consumers prefer micro-influencers, and two-thirds of consumers report making purchases based on their posts.

Jessica Donelson, Uproar PR’s social media director, says branded posts from bigger celebrities can actually work against your organization.

“Large social media accounts—celebrities or those outside of the micro-level of 100,000 followers—can be perceived as disingenuous when they’re promoting a product,” she says. “We’ve found that micro-influencers have the time and the commitment to try the products they endorse and can more readily give a product recommendation that is relevant to their following.

“They’re closer to the same level as their followers—financially, socially—and are more relatable both in perception and reality,” she adds.

The most important quality for a potential influencer partnership is shared interests with your target audience. The survey asked respondents about the qualities that encouraged them to purchase a product recommended by an influencer, and 71% said it was important to have shared interests.

Discount codes came second, with 61%, and authenticity ranked third, at 59%.

“Third-party recommendations from those you trust—whether its family, friends or the person you want most to emulate on social media—are some of the biggest drivers of consumer purchases,” says Donelson. “This survey confirms that it’s not about huge follower numbers; it’s about the connection influencers make with their audiences. Influencers with those relationships are the ones worth the marketing investment from a brand.”

One of influencer marketing’s secret weapons is its impact at every phase of marketing.

“From the top of the funnel where interest begins, influencers can introduce a follower to a product for the first time,” Says Donelson. “They can also touch people who are at the bottom of the funnel and in need of a final push to purchase.”

This gives influencer marketing a leg up on traditional marketing, which can be tied to distinct parts of the buyer’s journey.

“As a person the buyer likes, trusts and easily relates to, the relationship they’ve built with their followers does more than traditional marketing to impact at every stage of the buying process,” Donelson says.

However, it is important to find the right influencer, given that the average consumer follows fewer than 10 of these personalities. The survey reported that about 35% of consumers follow fewer than five influencers, and another 30% follow between five and 10 influencers.

Still, interest in influencer marketing is on the rise.

“We’re seeing an increase in client interest in influencer marketing,” says Donelson. “Because influencer marketing is still a new concept, our clients often seek our expertise on how to identify and interact with an influencer.”

What kinds of influencers are you targeting with your outreach, PR Daily readers?

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