New Zealand is a literal hub of ‘micro influencers’ – the buzzword that’s making waves at the moment. Different sources provide different definitions, and in New Zealand this definition is especially hard to nail down. Some consider those with anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers can be give the ‘micro’ name, but that is a significantly broad range. Others lend the title to those with followings anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000.
I've worked with influencers within both ranges, but my definition of ‘micro’ leans more to their qualitative characteristics, as opposed to quantitative. I see these micro influencers as those who aren’t celebrities in their own right, they aren’t full time social media personalities, and they’re not artificial. New Zealand’s micro influencers have used their passions to create a nucleus for followers and conversation. With few internationally known Kiwi celebrities – a category which consists almost entirely of Lorde – especially those who are on social, our Instagram population practically exists as a collection of these personal accounts turned new-age cash cows.
The Case for Micro Influencers
Kylie Jenner is the absolute, be all and end all macro influencer. With her 83.6 million followers and average of 1.5 million likes per post – chuck her a few hundred thousand and you’ve supposedly sent your marketing message to an audience 1.5x the UK population. There exists a problem with this however, and it’s aside from her non-integrated, selfie and pout style of promotion. Your reach is visibly large, but your engagement is low.
Studies undertaken by Markerly detail the journey of decreasing engagement rates in accordance to increasing follower counts. With a sample size of 2 million social accounts, the average like rate for those with less than a thousand followers just tips over 8%, that of a 1,000 – 10,000 sized audience is 4.04% and for 10,000 – 100,000, 2.37%. Those that they define as macro influencers, with audiences totalling between 100,000 and a million have an average like rate of 1.75%, those with a million to ten, 1.66% and the likes of King Kylie, with over 10 million, remain at 1.66%.
Further, these macro influencers, as defined by myself, haven’t groomed their audiences. They haven’t treated each and every follower like a friend, no matter the number, asking questions and conversing throughout their entire digital life. Their following is comprised of fans, rather than friends, whom can be only briefly influenced. We follow Kylie because we are supposed to. We don’t follow Kylie because we want to find new favourite consumables – we’re not located in the Calabasas region, nor do we have the resources to own multiple Rolls Royces.
These micro personalities come with a bevy of benefits, specifically for any marketing campaign that isn’t developed around teeth whiteners or weight loss teas. Starting with the obvious, they’re much more inexpensive. For the price of one or two macros, you can get 10-20, perhaps even 30 micros. This brings along with it an increase in resource demand, true, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
These influencers are trusted and authentic. Their followers are following for the right reasons, they’re not just ‘fans', and they’re not following to simply follow – they care. Social media is more likely their part-time, on-the-side, semi-job, not their primary income. This allows them to fine tune their sponsorships without compromising their livelihood. The more they pick and choose their participation in campaigns, the less sponsored content or the better and more relevant sponsored content. That is, of course, when you pick the right micro influencers for your brand and message – that’s what I do!
If the influencer marketing campaign is larger in scale, and is employing closer to 20 influencers, the further your message can be penetrated in multiple niche markets, as well as encompassing a variety of different demographics. Kylie doesn’t quite have this same reach. The even better thing about using micro influencers, is your budget flexibility. If you want to test the waters, request a smaller sum from your CFO and employ a few micro influencers to get a taste of what they can do for you. If it doesn’t work for your brand (and I doubt this will happen), you haven’t blown $200K.