You might think that influencer marketing is already ancient history. In reality, there is still a growing market offering companies considerable potential to reach their target audience. Instead of thinking of follower numbers as the be all and end all, a collaboration with micro-influencers may be more targeted, convincing and authentic.
Micro-influencer marketing is already widespread in countries such as the US and represents a growing trend in Switzerland. The difference with “traditional” influencers, also known as “macro-influencers”, is that micro-influencers don’t have many followers – between 1,000 and 10,000 depending on the definition. Beyond the number of subscribers, “measures of engagement such as likes and comments as well as content and theme may vary”, explains Anja Lapčević, Chief Influence Officer at Kingfluencers AG.
Fundamentally, influencer marketing is a form of “word of mouth”: someone you know or you think you know gives you a recommendation such as trying a product or a service because another person enjoys it. This “person you know” may range from family or friends to social media personalities and celebrities. In terms of reach, family members are at the bottom of the ladder, while celebrities can reach millions of people. When it comes to influence, however, the roles are reversed. You are more likely to trust a close friend than a socially distant celebrity. Micro-influencers are somewhere between the two in terms of influence and reach, but they are closer to trusted friends than to celebrities.
Prioritizing follower numbers is therefore not necessarily the road to success but rather one criterion among many, as Anja Lapčević emphasizes: “The number of followers does not say much about quality or the area in which the ambassadors are active.” She therefore recommends prioritizing the objective.
Marketing on social media happens all over the world. The market is particularly significant in countries with large populations. In countries with populations of ten million or less, opportunities are, depending on the circumstances, more reduced. In Switzerland and in Belgium, linguistic diversity reduces the number of followers that an influencer can reach, too. For these reasons there are generally fewer subscribers in these countries. However, Anja Lapčević notes that the scope of marketing on social media remains difficult to quantify.
The advantages of micro-influencers are obvious. They serve a smaller but more closely-knit community. A relationship of trust thus develops, which often translates into higher rates of interaction. Anja Lapčević uses an analogy to illustrate the positives: “It’s like with magazines. Specialist magazines are aimed at a more narrow but specific audience, while lifestyle magazines are aimed at a wider audience with topics explored in less depth.” On social media, entertaining, surface-level topics reach more people than very specific interests. “Social media offers a true reflection of our society in that regard”, explains Anja Lapčević. Because micro-influencers mainly serve specific groups, they offer more specific coverage of the desired target group, depending on the company and the project.
To deliver successful marketing campaigns with influencers, you have to be mindful of the actual objective. For example, macro-influencers are well suited to disseminating information relating to themes or products with a broader appeal. But if you want to reach a specific group of people, micro-influencers are a more suitable choice. Anja Lapčević explains: “Whatever the size, the objective is crucial when looking for partners. We want to collaborate with people who are ready to interact with the product and speak about it authentically and credibly.” According to her, factors other than numbers are important for credibility: are the feed and the content well-suited to the company and the product? What type of community is it? Are the channels and KPIs appropriate? Answering these questions leads to a more authentic, targeted and therefore more successful marketing campaign.
Macro- and micro-influencers are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are complementary elements that can offer advantages for each marketing strategy. ”I always recommend a good mix”, emphasizes Anja Lapčević. In this way, it is possible to make the most of the strengths of the market. There are many opportunities that have yet to be seized, and influencer marketing has a promising future. That is also what Anja Lapčević suggests: “This medium should be taken seriously. It should be given a chance without getting carried away with numbers. Instead, influencers should be strategically integrated in planning and implementation.” It is easy to forget, with the digital revolution, that behind influencers are real people who can tell captivating stories in surprising ways.