“Microinfluencers” could hold the key for marketers when trust in media is thin

Chris Lee
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Trust is the currency of the Internet. At a time when trust in media is thin on the ground there is one group of publishers who are followed by many for their authenticity. No wonder brands are now interested in “microinfluencers”.

Early each year, communications agency Edelman issues its “Trust Barometer”. It measures public trust in government, business and the media, among other things.

This year’s Trust Barometer demonstrated a continued decline in public trust in traditional media, and a slight check on the growth of trust in online-only media. The study did not into specifics around “online-only” media, but looking at alternative studies of trust in online media we see a subset that’s doing very well for trust: influencers.

According to a study from influencer site Bloglovin, influencers – the catch-all term for online publishers with big followings, whether they be bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers etc. – have inspired six in ten digitally savvy women to use a new product. And more than half (55%) of the same demographic buy products after seeing them in an influencer’s post.

You can see the appeal of influencers for marketers in an era of ad blockers and distrust in media when nearly half of digitally savvy women will follow a brand than an influencer they follow has worked with.

The challenge for brands is that influencers with big audiences cost a lot of money. Plus consumers know that influencers are being paid to post sponsored content, especially when they mistakenly post their PR’s instructions.

A viable alternative for brands looking to reach a wide audience on a tighter budget is working with "microinfluencers". These are publishers with typically anywhere between 500-10,000 genuine social media followers. They tend to enjoy higher engagement rates as they are able to respond to their smaller audiences and therefore arguably bring an altogether more authentic experience for the brand to be associated with.

Influencer marketing platform Markerly surveyed two million social media influencers finding that for unpaid posts Instagram microinfluencers with less than 1,000 followers could expect an engagement rate of around eight per cent. This figure drops to four per cent for those with between 1,000-10,000 followers and keeps decreasing as follower numbers rise.

Working with microinfluencers is an approach that brands such as retailer AllSaints has been using to drive brand interest and loyalty.

In an era when the public struggles to trust media and brands, microinfluencers offer a genuine alternative way to reach audiences. But brands need to work with them in the right way. In a future post I will go into detail on how to best approach and work with bloggers, but in the meantime here are my top influencer marketing tips for brands.

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