Why Marketers Are Prioritizing Partnerships With Microinfluencers

A majority of cosmetics, fashion, and luxury retailers believe it's most effective to partner with influencers who have less than 500K followers. Are they right?

Nearly half (46 percent) of fashion, cosmetics, and luxury retailers in Europe and the U.S. consider “microinfluencers” to be the most effective tier of  influencers on social media — and will dedicate their influencer marketing efforts to partnering with them, according to a new report from eMarketer.

What’s a microinfluencer? Defined as a public social media personality with 10K to 100K followers (typically on Instagram, but platform agnostic), these niche-popular profiles are increasingly of interest to marketers, who find that a smaller following increases the perception of authenticity amongst an audience.

Proof of the trend? While in the earlier days of influencer marketing celebrities (1.5+ million followers) were seen as the major “get” to boost brand awareness on a massive scale, today only 11 percent of retailers surveyed believe celebrity endorsements are the most effective. In fact, a whopping 80 percent rate micro and macro influencers as most effective — meaning that they’ll be focusing on working with influencers who have 10K to 500K followers total. They cite mega influencers (500K +) and celebrities as markedly less attractive.

“People connect with microinfluencers because of their authenticity and honest perspective,” says Laura Brinker, VP of beauty brand partnerships at Influenster, in the report. “They feel as if they are a person just like them. And with authenticity at the core of what brands desire, they’ve started looking more toward smaller influencers with higher engagement rates.”

Does Size Matter?

Deciding whether to partner with a micro or “macro” influencer? It all depends on the brand, the campaign, and the goals for reach — but the present trend toward “micro” means that marketers are coming to realize that, with influencer marketing, bigger isn’t always better.

As we’ve written previously, the additional advantage of working with a micro-influencer is that, due to their smaller fan base, many of them are able to directly engage with followers — meaning that they can answer questions about a promotion or brand via direct message or in a comments, building a valuable one-to-one connection. Because they’re not dealing with comments and messages from millions of followers, they have the time to respond directly, thereby seeming more accessible. They are often available to answer organic questions about why they chose to partner with a certain brand, which can make sponsorships more authentic that your average “celebrity holding up a Coke can” campaign.

Additionally, “when you’re dividing up a market budget, it helps if you can pilot a lot of small experiments rather than spend your budget in one fell swoop,” Simon Ross explained in an article for Entrepreneur. “Working with micro-influencers allows you to do just that. The average micro-influencer charges around $250 per post, whereas the average celebrity can cost you upwards of $25,000.”

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is not a replacement for direct communication between a brand and its consumers. But it is an incredibly valuable tool — particularly in the current social media marketing landscape. And with an abundance of hyper-specific microinfluencers out there, SMBs and local biz can try out the tactic without breaking the bank.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.