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The rise of the’Micro-Influencer’

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It seems that not a million moons ago, as PRs we found ourselves at the table fighting the corner for ‘influencers’ and banging the drum for the value these pseudo-celebrities were bringing to the (brand) party, in their significant reach and ability to influence consumer buying behaviours.

We are now firmly focussed on a new breed of influencer, bringing a highly targeted and engaged, all be it smaller, audience into the conversation for our clients and their brands.

Introducing the Micro-Influencer:

The word ‘reach’ is regularly thrown about in the PR and marketing industries; it’s all about ‘reaching’ the highest amounts of people … or is it? Does a high reach actually lead to a shift in perception or opinion? Does an influencer’s reach determine their significance as a chance agent and supercharge their ability to impact buying behaviours?

And, while we are at it – how do we actually qualify reach? How do we prove that our reach made an actual difference? How can we prove that our reach is as targeted as it should be?

It’s not that easy to do.

We’re finding that working with high-reaching influencers, celebrity bloggers if you will is not only costing more but there is so much wastage in engagement because their following is so broad.

Millions of fans cannot possibly all be interested in the same thing, let alone want to be fed a brand’s message in the same way,  on the same platform,  at the same time.

This is exactly why we place maximum importance on the micro-influencer with our blogger/vlogger campaigns. Effective, acutely targeted influencer campaigns with guaranteed levels of the right kind of engagement.

In a nutshell, micro-influencers may have a smaller following, but typically will have a more niche audience that is specifically interested in the content and delivery of the blogger they revere and follow. These are individuals with a substantial, yet manageable following, who often  become icons in their community. These qualities are what allow them to have such an influence over their audience.

Interestingly, Markerly, an influencer marketing technology company, recently reported that Instagram engagement drops as follower numbers rise. Its stats show that influencers with 1 million to 10 million followers have on average an engagement rate of 1.66%. Drop their ‘reach’ to 1K-10k followers and you hit a like rate of 4%. Less than 1,000 followers? The like rate increases to 8% engagement.

Part of our recent Mr Kipling ‘Bou-cake’ campaign included teaming up with 10 micro-influencers. Their reach varied from 3,000 – 41,000. Their content style varied too, some were lifestyle bloggers, some food, parenting and even grooming writers. This mix of style and size is what I believe contributed to the success of this campaign, hailed by PR Week as one of its top 5 favourites for Valentine’s Day.  We were working with influencers who have a captive, engaged audience who in turn shared likes and our Bou-Cake images to their followers.

Ultimately, it’s an education job for PRs who need the confidence to challenge clients when they are demanding high reach figures just for the sake of it. What about engagement. We should be reporting on the impressions on a piece of content, the sentiment of the conversation it’s generated, the qualified leads and the dwell time on the related brand pages of our client’s ecommerce sites.

It’s about thinking about the outcomes over the outputs and driving home the message that more authentic, trustworthy, relatable content is the most beneficial approach to wins consumers’ hearts and minds.

Sam Eden
Senior Account Manager

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