Last year (2018) was a breakthrough year across the board for influencer marketing. There were many success stories of brands utilizing influencers that matched their brand voice to propel their product to the masses.

Now, entering 2019, the influencer game is about to change – big time.

Typically, when we think of social media stars we think of those who have a massive following online coupled with a very engaging stream of content that surrounds some sort of skill or niche (Filmmaking, Design, How-to, Photography etc.) 

These influencers provide huge opportunity for brands to utilize them in order to access the influencer’s audience to promote a product or service that is relevant to an audience with similar consumer interests.

Here is a prime example of an A-list influencer from the outdoor industry:

Alex Strohl – World Class outdoor lifestyle and travel photographer

Alex Strohl: Photographer (@alexstrohl)

Followers: 2 million

Alex, is a French born – American based outdoor lifestyle photographer. He is arguably the godfather of the “folk” style of photography that became so popular on platforms like Instagram. Alex has been supported by brands like Canon and Arc’teryx for several years now. Both brands are suitable because they tie into his everyday life as a creative who works primarily in wild environments.

Having an influencer like Alex representing or promoting your brand in an organic way provides millions of impressions and more importantly advertises directly to an audience of interest.

So what are Micro-Influencers? And why use them?

Isn’t the term itself somewhat of an oxymoron? Yes and no.

Micro-influencers (as they sound) are individuals with influence at a smaller scale than regular influencers. Chances are you may know several people who can be classified as a micro-influencer whether they are an aspiring full-time social media star or just a hobbyist in some sort of craft.

Types of Influencers

Here’s an example of a micro-influencer and friend of mine – also from the outdoor photography space:

Darrin Stevens – Ontario Outdoor Photographer

Darrin Stevens: Photographer (@darrin_stevens)

Followers: 21K

Darrin is an Ontario based outdoor lifestyle photographer with a passion for campfires, canoeing, craft beer, and everything outdoors.

Darrin has a regular full-time job as an engineer. However, this doesn’t stop Darrin from working on commercial and editorial projects with companies like Innis & Gunn and Baffin.

There are dozens of Ontario based photographers like Darrin all with great content and a committed following.

So where does the value come in working with people like Darrin?

The value in micro-influencers stems from two factors:

ENGAGEMENT RATE + COST

Influencer marketing has now proved its efficacy. Therefore, it’s opened the floodgates as to what influencers can charge. Personalities like Kylie Jenner are said to have earned upwards of $500,000 per sponsored post despite the return on investment still being tricky to track!

You can see the issue here for brands…

To add to this, social media’s leading influencers have lower than average engagement rates, which continues to drop thanks to the algorithm that continues to change.

This means that less people are engaging (likes, comments, shares) given the amount of followers they have.

A lower engagement rate is attributed to lower performance in the algorithm, ultimately leading to fewer impressions:

i.e., less eyes on your product or service

Micro-influencers maintain higher than average engagement rates and their followers are generally more engaged with their content being more closely related to them offline

To add to this, micro-influencers will more often than not do partnerships rather than paid posts (Free products or experiences in exchange for social media coverage). This means you can work with more influencers which, in itself is more effective.

Individuals seeing brand promotion from multiple people they follow strengthens the credibility of said brand ten-fold.

Therefore, working with multiple micro-influencers who are present in the same online space (Outdoor advocates for example) can potential yield more quality brand awareness than utilizing one single influencer with a large audience.

This is why if you choose to dive into influencer marketing never begin until you’re able to utilize or work with more than 1 (ideally 4).

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket..

In summary:

  • Industry leading influencers are very expensive
  • Their engagement rates are lower than average
  • Although popular, their audience isn’t as connected to them than local micro-influencers
  • Micro-influencers will cost 90% less if not free
  • This allows you to utilize more of them, creating stronger brand exposure to mutual audiences

2019 is going to be the kick-start of brands getting more granular by increasing the amount of influencers they work with, and the amount of mutual audiences that they tap into online.

Don’t be afraid to scale down.