The marketing culture of using celebrities as influential with secret or explicit approval is declining drastically.
People want to be able to relate to the content creators they see online, especially when it comes to selling a product.
This movement, far removed from the traditional influences, marks a new era of digital transformation. If people don’t look to celebrities for approval, where are they looking?
Write the rise of micro-influencers – lower audience quotas than major celebrities, but with an intensively targeted content and therefore higher audience engagement benefits. Social media users today are perceiving micro-influencers as more authentic and therefore more confident in their concentrated skills. The main points of the article will include:
- An overview of the influencer type
- Steps need to be taken towards becoming a micro-influencer
- A review of what users pay attention to when interacting with such influencers.
- Some examples of the types of microinfluencer sponsorship
What kind of influencers are there?
As a basis, an ‘influencer’ is a person who has a presence in the general public and with that presence is able to influence the people around them in making decisions. Influential people can be as big as politicians and as small as the popular girl you went to school with.
There are six main types of influencers:
- Celebrity. The most obvious type of influencer celebrities do not need to be actively involved with their followers, people will do whatever they say. Usually there is a big follow up.
- Journalist. Those who have a platform are able to give pieces of opinion and influence general perspectives on various issues and problems. It may refer to specific journalists or publications as a whole.
- Industry expert. They may have a small following, but they have faith in their skills, and their skills can be highly valued, even if they do not spread their ideas to many.
- Analyst. There may be a large follow up but not necessary. These influencers follow them through their specialized knowledge and ability to give specific insights for their specific sector.
- Connector. The more personal kind of influencer. Whoever you know, knows everyone. Those who are able to influence public opinion with their charisma and people’s skills, but may not have a digital presence.
- Micro-influencers. A creator is usually online on some kind of social media or video platform. Over time they create their own audience, and so follow them on their journey and build bonds of trust. It is this belief and their perceived truth that allows them to have influence.
These are the main types, but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on micro-influencers and how they can be used as a marketing force.
How can I be a micro-influencer?
Becoming a micro-influencer is not as easy as creating and posting a social media account – there are many different ingredients to succeed.
The first is to understand the business behind social media. Knowing when to post, but not posting too much and flooding your page; What trend to use, while still in its original state; When to take sponsorship and when to refuse.
There is a subtle balance between all these things – if it were easy, most people would try to be micro-influencers.
What do users look for when interacting with influencers?
The reason micro-influencers are so popular is because of their authenticity, so this is one of the main things users are looking for.
They want someone they can relate to, someone they are interested in. Gone are the days of celebrities being held captive – people want other everyday people. Users know that celebrities are paid a lot, disconnected from going there. But with the help of micro-influencers, followers are able to see the person grow, and engage with more of their content to see what they ‘really like’ than the celebrity whose picture was created by an agent.
That personal interaction is the main thing when users are looking for micro-influencers. The more influencers interact with their comments and content, the more authentic they seem to their viewers.
It is these parasocial relationships that make users trust these micro-influencers enough to buy their promotional products, because they must be good if they use them.
The main way to nurture this parasocial relationship is through engagement and interaction. Getting content suggestions from visitors, interacting with comments, liking other creators’ content on the site. Build a social media personality that can be considered as fully human.
With every marketing strategy, there is always some risk involved. One of the great reasons to work with influencers is that there can be instant gratification when people post about your business. There can be a big and instant response, which can be great for sale, but it can also backfire.
Consumers are becoming more cautious about sponsored content. People are more educated than ever before in terms of influence and sponsorship. It is known that when a person advertises a product they are benefiting in one way or another – this may be due to payment for the advertisement, whether they are getting the product for free, or due to cross-promotion of their page. Whatever the reason, there is a reason. People have less faith in sponsored content than ever before.
Because of this mistrust, the FTC has issued guidelines which means that all influencers must disclose any sponsorship when promoting their content. Therefore, you must be careful when choosing which influencers to work with.
Knowing your audience is crucial, and following influencers should be aligned with the content you sell; That means children are not going to buy baby products. You need to know the content of your influencer to know if your business will fit naturally. If there is too much inconsistency, people will not see your business as legitimate and as if you are paying for promotions instead of quality products.
Examples of micro-influencer propaganda
There are several ways to use these micro-influencers to promote your content. Here I will explain two broad camps that may fit your campaign, as well as an example of what might happen if something went wrong.
1. Hellofresh Model. Depth more than width.
HelloFresh is a recipe box delivery kit that works on a subscription basis.
HelloFresh chooses to work with a more limited group of influencers, but will regularly sponsor many of their content instead of just one sponsorship. Since HelloFresh is a paid service, it makes sense for them to create a smaller but more reliable userbase. So using a limited pool of microinfluencers they are able to build trust and credibility in their business.
2. Honey Model. Width than depth.
Honey is a popular free browser extension that finds coupon codes for online websites to save people money.
Honey repeatedly sponsors a wide variety of microinfluencers across all social media platforms, instead of just choosing a few for partnership.
It works for Honey because it’s free so there is less risk for users who download it and there is no need for a very strong bond of trust between influencers and their followers. So Honey doesn’t need to focus their marketing budgets on building relationships with a particular influencer, instead they are able to spread awareness about their company as much as possible.
3. Kenja Cosmetics. A cautionary tale.
In 2018 the influential Gabbie Hanna and Tana Mongeau promoted limited sales of makeup brushes for Kenza Cosmetics and claimed that the brushes would be available for free if people paid for the delivery.
Hanna and Mongeau have more than 10 million YouTube subscribers, and that’s why so many impressive viewers will do what they say.
The brushes turned out to be a scam, and people either didn’t get anything or were sent subpar products. This means that all credibility of Hana, Mangeu and Kenja cosmetics is immediately lost, and people do not believe that their sponsored content is legitimate. This led to a huge backlash from people who blacklisted Kenza cosmetics.
Your business will be more scrutinized with more perspectives, so make sure you are able to deliver on the promises you have made with your products before advertising to people on a large platform.
The amount of micro-influencers is constantly increasing. With each new social media platform, a new generation of influencers is born. People are flocking to micro-influencers instead of celebrities because of how genuine these little creators seem. With micro-influencers a person is much more able to choose exactly what content they want to associate with their personality and style and therefore are more likely to buy products approved by those influencers.
Becoming a micro-influencer may seem attractive to yourself but it is not something that happens overnight. It’s a combination of good time, luck and finding your specific niche. This does not mean that it is a futile endeavor; Dedication and humble beginnings are exactly what brings people to the micro-influencers.