When it comes to working with influencers, conventional wisdom might say bigger is better. After all, there are significant advantages to influencers with huge followings: Brands can reach a significant number of potential customers, it’s great for brand awareness, and there’s a certain amount of cache in being able to name-drop say, a Kardashian or a Jenner as one of your brand ambassadors. But for all the upsides of mega influencers, there are plenty of downsides: Such campaigns are pricey, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. And, while those influencers might have a large following, not all those followers will be authentic or a good fit for your brand, which means you’re paying for exposure to an irrelevant demographic. Because of this, you’ll see a lower engagement rate.
That’s why many brands are looking at the advantages of working with microinfluencers. Even if brands have pockets deep enough to spring for a celebrity or influencer, many are choosing to go with smaller influencers who can run a more targeted campaign. Microinfluencers — who have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers — have become an attractive alternative to campaigns with macro and mega influencers. They tend to have closer, more personal relationships with their followers, which gives brands an advantage in terms of engagement.
Big brands looking for smaller audiences
Microinfluencers are easier to partner with and have higher conversion rates than larger influencers, and they also tend to be viewed as more authentic. For brands, that converts to an element of trust among followers that makes them more inclined to believe in the product or service being endorsed by the influencer.
Brands choose to work with microinfluencers for many different reasons. Fashion, makeup, and beauty brands often choose microinfluencers because of those personal connections they have with followers. But other brands, from Starbucks to Target, also have found success with microinfluencer campaigns. Here are five well-known brands that partner with lesser-known influencers:
- Target. The big-box department store has had its share of celebrity partnerships, including names like Chrissy Teigen, Shaun White, and Victoria Beckham. But the company sees the value of working with smaller influencers, too. For example, it partnered with microinfluencers who wanted to give their living space a makeover as part of the Emily Henderson Project. Because of its broad range of merchandise, it can work with micro influencers in many different verticals, including fashion, beauty, makeup and fitness.
- Coca-Cola. Anyone alive today has grown up with Coca-Cola advertising; they’ve been in the game since 1900. It might seem that a brand with its reach and level of awareness — not to mention its budget — would want to stick with bigger names. But the worldwide beverage company has partnered with microinfluencers who are popular in the travel, food, sports, and fashion spaces to let them show how they make Coca-Cola products part of their lives. This has been particularly successful for the company in Europe, which is less driven by advertising than the U.S.
- Audible. As the audiobook vertical of Amazon, Audible has become the gold standard for listening to books. And it is known for working with smaller influencers who can share honest, earnest, accounts of how they’re using the platform and why they love it. One key to Audible’s success with influencers is its openness to letting them dictate the creative direction of their campaigns, which makes the posts feel less like sponsored content and more like a recommendation from a trusted friend. Audible has worked with influencers who have fewer than 10,000 followers.
- Sephora. Makeup and beauty brands love working with micro influencers because of their close connections with followers. Although Sephora is a mega brand, it has found some of its greatest success stories by working with smaller beauty influencers. In 2019, it rolled out an innovative beauty influencer campaign, which has given the brand a significant boost with a diverse range of audiences.
- Gillette. While this razor brand has been around for generations, it needed to find clout with Gen Z — particularly with women. To do that, it turned to microinfluencers who used the brand’s Venus line of products and shared it with their followers. The 2016 campaign was considered an enormous success, as it reached more than 476,000 followers with just 980 tagged posts on Instagram.
Reaching bigger audiences by thinking small
Going big has its benefits, but more brands are discovering that microinfluencers are the key to better engagement and reaching consumers through targeted campaigns. Partnering with the right microinfluencer can extend your reach, reinforce brand awareness, and introduce innovative approaches to getting your message seen and heard.