Words: Tshiamo Seape
Size Matters! At every end of the scale a new day has dawned on the world of influencer marketing and thanks, once again, to the universally democratising effect of the internet, the little guys – both consumers and brands – finally have a chance at a slice of the pie.
Recent years have seen a massive increase in the use of influencers as a bridge between brands and the consumers they are desperate to connect with. The use of personalities in this way does, however, comes with its own challenges. First of all the number of big-name personalities is finite, and finding the right match between brands and influencers puts a further strain on an already limited resource.
Micro influencers (those everyday consumers with between 1000 and 10,000 social media followers) have provided a welcome remedy to this congestion and celebrity fatigue especially in smaller developing markets like our own. The prevalence is a win for all parties as micro influencers charge less for their services and studies have shown that they have far greater engagement rates than their more popular counterparts: engagement rates peak at around 10% for users with 2000 followers and then declines steeply and level out for numbers significantly higher, with an engagement rate of about 2,5% between 50 thousand and 1 million followers. This price win doesn’t affect only the bottom line, but it allows brands to run longer campaigns and tell richer, more engaging stories that endear fans to the brands and bolster loyalty.
Like and comment ratios of the highly followed just don’t justify their price tag – especially for longer campaigns. The fees that micro influencers command can be as little as $50 or about R620 per post – a far cry from the millions demanded by Instagram’s most popular figures.
According to Influencer marketing agency, Mediakix (with data supplied from Instagram) the growth of influencer marketing, particularly on Instagram has been phenomenal. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of brand sponsored influencer posts rose by 5 million to reach 14.5 million and is expected to reach 32 million by the end of 2019. During the same period, the influencer market was valued at over 1 billion dollars.
The relevance of micro assists brands in other ways. Besides being plentiful and dutiful brand advocates they are easy to get to. Without having to go through the cumbersome process of dealing with agents, managers and various other handlers, micro influencers can usually be contacted directly. The influencers also benefit from this new model as they no longer have to pitch themselves to faceless and oft-times impenetrable clients on a case by case basis – they can let their content do the talking for them. Because, let’s face it: not everyone who’s good at taking pictures is good at advertising, and successful marketing departments are more than just a one-person show.
In the wake of the popularity of micro-influencers and influencer lead campaigns in general, many third parties have come to the fore and tried to bridge the gap between brands and the, at times, not-so-savvy influencers whom they wish to enlist.
Takumi, an app that matches brands with users is vying to be a leader in the field. Currently available in the US, UK, Ireland and Iceland but with plans to expand to other markets.
According to one South African influencer, we reached out to, the contact process was as simple as an Instagram DM. While these DIY methods seem out of the norm of regular marketing practice the fact that so many big name brands are committed ads validity to the movement; brands like Converse, Coca-Cola, and Modelez to name a few.
From the side of the influencers themselves, they get greater exposure than they would have been able to muster on their own.
Micro Influencers also act as a buffer for consumers against the less desirable aspects of marketing. Micro Influencers are familiar and within reach. The mere fact that consumers can talk directly to the people they trust to inform them about brands is a huge benefit. This is due not only to the influencers smaller following but also because their selection as brand advocates is usually as a result of an existing affinity for the brand. Micro influencers do not have to be coached on what it means to be “on brand” because they live the ethos in private and in public every day.
When all is said and done, the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of micro-influencers make them the future of influencer marketing. The boy or girl next door – who just might be you – has the opportunity to use their content and vision to influence the trajectory of the brands they love. Users, more than ever, have a say in how they are represented within the marketing sphere.
Don’t take those followers for granted, your next notification might be a payday.