By Megan French, Influencer & Experiential Marketing Manager
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers. While Instagram’s most-followed celebrities, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Christiano Ronaldo and Ariana Grande certainly have a ton of marketing power, more brands are embracing microinfluencers. These smaller-scale accounts typically have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, and they’re more relatable, more affordable and increasingly effective at garnering impressions and driving sales.
The influencer market is incredibly saturated today, and it’s harder than ever for content — let alone sponsored posts — to stand out. Consumers are savvy and selective with who they follow and engage with on social media. So why are microinfluencers so effective at breaking through the noise? They represent the real customer. Their feeds may not be filled with movie sets, soccer stadiums or sold-out arenas, but they’re authentic. They feel like a friend or peer, so their recommendations are perceived as trustworthy and genuine.
That credibility is built through personal interactions. With manageable follower lists, microinfluencers can connect with their audiences in ways that aren’t possible for larger accounts. They respond when followers ask where they bought those jeans or what shade of lipstick they’re wearing. Thoughtful direct messages and comment replies go a long way in building a loyal, engaged following willing to open their wallets.
At French/West/Vaughan, we’ve seen firsthand the benefits of working with microinfluencers to increase brand awareness for our clients. First and foremost, they have a higher engagement rate than macroinfluencers or celebrities. As follower count increases, engagement rates tend to taper off. Another major pro is that partnering with microinfluencers allows brands to stretch their budgets further. Some may even be receptive to product-only collabs if they are well aligned with their interests. This strategy allows brands to diversify and spread the budget across dozens of microinfluencers rather than banking on content and sales from a single celebrity.
Smaller accounts are also extremely effective for reaching niche audiences. FWV client Pendleton Whisky, for instance, frequently collaborates with microinfluencers to maximize the brand’s reach and authority within the western lifestyle and rodeo spaces. We look for Pendleton partners that capture the cowboy and cowgirl spirit of the western-based whisky. It’s about finding the right fit rather than focusing on follower count, and oftentimes microinfluencers are better suited to reach a brand’s target consumer.
For our client Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, we’re always searching for travel influencers to share their adventures on the North Carolina coast. This spring, we worked with micro and nano (usually defined as under 10k followers) accounts to create Instagram Reels videos highlighting their favorite spots in Wilmington and the nearby beaches. The videos received great authentic engagement and reached thousands of potential visitors.
Even mega brands like Disney are on board with microinfluencers. This spring, we launched its Ultimate Princess Campaign in collaboration with FWV’s New York City office, AMP3 PR. We teamed up with nine microinfluencers to show off Disney Princess Style apparel and products that bring out the brand’s princess-like qualities of kindness and courage. The Instagrammers posted pics on their own accounts and sent in individual videos to create a grid of them passing products on our feed. To close out the collaboration, our team edited each individual video together for a Reels video where the influencers shared the products and inspiring messages with one another.
The success of our clients’ campaigns over the last few years has shown us that microinfluencers are more than a trend. They’ve proven their value, and brands will continue to partner with them on content for Instagram, TikTok and whatever social media platforms come next. While smaller influencers are undoubtedly on the rise, this probably doesn’t spell the end for the celebrity endorsees. There’s room for both in the market. Microinfluencers simply open the door for small businesses to get into the influencer marketing game — and for larger companies to expand their reach. No matter the size of the company or campaign, there are opportunities to create buzz around your product or service by partnering with small but mighty microinfluencers.