Why going small is the key to influence
An article popped up in our feeds recently, titled “Influencers are Dying and I’m Not Sad About It". It definitely made us chuckle, and then nod our heads in agreement as we read on - it confirmed something we’ve been seeing a lot with our own clients, that the powerhouse Instagrammers are fast becoming a thing of the past. Rates are skyrocketing, particularly amongst Australian influencers, and engagement is suffering, and brands and followers alike are becoming disillusioned.
We’re reading lots of reports of drops in engagement, specifically due to the number of people we’re all following, both brands and individuals. Engagement across the board is down roughly 24% on last year, and even more so for those with huge numbers of fans. This article asserts, "engagement levels on Instagram decreased significantly as audience size increased – dropping from roughly 8 percent for influencers with 1,000 followers to 4 percent for those with 10,000 followers. For mega-influencers, those with more than 1 million followers, engagement drops even further to 1.66 percent."
This drop off in engagement is making the million follower instagram star a commodity. As Fashion Journal asserts, they are the “cult of no personality".
Contrast this with the micro-influencer. The micro influencer is the person with a few thousand followers (or just a few hundred), but who is a genuine content creator, or an artist, or someone who really loves a brand and actually does wear it to the shops every day, not just for a photo opportunity. It might not be the person with the most cohesive feed, or the flattest abs in a bikini, but it’s the person sending the most customers through the doors, which makes marketing investment worth the dollars.
One of the key benefits of going small is that you don’t need to have massive budgets to take part. There are influencers who are still affordable, or still happy to receive product, and they can be easier to work with directly rather than through large agencies. They are often keen to over deliver in order to build relationships, whereas working with an Instagram juggernaut will always feel transactional.
Working with people who love your brand and who speak to your target audience ca definitely work for your business. Our tips for working with micro influencers include:
- Don’t always go for the influencer with the highest number of followers. Followers can be bought, or they can be people who aren’t in your target market. Instead, look for engagement. Does the influencer respond to comments, and do their followers ask them questions about products they are using and sharing?
- If you are paying an influencer to work with you, you can guarantee that they will post about your product. You should also be able to negotiate the number of times they will post, the times of day etc. However, if you send product on the hope that they will post (more of a PR approach), you can’t guarantee anything, and you also can’t guarantee you’ll get your product back! This is why it’s really important to pick your influencers carefully, and send things to people you know will really love them.
- If your influencer is legit, they should reveal that the post is sponsored. This is becoming more and more important, and the legalities are murky. Google and Facebook are penalising content that’s obviously sponsored, but not revealed to be so, so it’s best to be up front with your audience.
- Listen to how your influencer wants to present your brand. The good influencers will know their audience and will understand how to create content that appeals to them. Sponsored content shouldn’t feel like blatant advertising, particularly on social media, but should be packaged up to feel inspirational, useful or educational.
- Measure your results. Give your influencer a code to give to their followers so you can track sales, or give them a unique URL so you can see how many people click on a link. Set expectations for what you hope to get out of an interaction with an influencer, and measure that response.
- Don’t just look for online influencers. Who is influential and connected in real life who is a great ambassador for our brand?
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