While big-name, big-money influencers can reach large audiences in one fell swoop, it doesn’t mean those audiences are highly engaged—or paying attention at all, if your brand isn’t directly involved in the influencer’s most riveting topics of discussion. That’s why savvy brands are more likely to enlist micro-influencers, whose lower follower counts are often outweighed by higher and more actionable engagement, not to mention lower price tags. But the fact is, micro-influencers are better options for other reasons as well.
Global micro-influencer marketing platform SocialPubli examines the trends, goals, and attitudes of micro-influencers working in this fast-growing online industry in a newly released report, the 2019 Global Micro-Influencer Study. The firm polled 2,667 micro-influencers from its global community to glean insights on:
- What micro-influencers look for when partnering with brands
- Pain points and challenges in the influencer industry
- Areas of greatest potential for brand-sponsored campaigns
The surveyed influencers’ areas of expertise spanned a wide range of categories, including food, beauty, fashion, travel and fitness.
“Micro-influencers are a young, hungry and growing demographic. They’re idealists who are generally unwilling to compromise their ethics and would rather take advantage of the right opportunity, one that aligns with their values, than the first or most profitable one that comes their way,” said Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of SocialPubli, in a news release. “The passionate drive to build authentic relationships sets micro-influencers apart from other marketing channels and strategies, giving them an edge when it comes to building credible relationships with followers and becoming a trusted advisor.”
Findings from the study underscore the value and potential that can be created through brand partnerships, as the majority of influencers focus their marketing efforts on reach, engagement and brand awareness. However, the findings also highlight the fact that influencers are gaining awareness of their own worth to brands, with the majority of influencers (61 percent) seeking and preferring monetary compensation over other partnership options.
Additional key data points include:
The micro-influencer crowd is young
More than 4-in-5 (81 percent) of all influencers have been working in the space for three years or less.
Micro-influencers maintain a strong desire for authenticity, showing their unwillingness to compromise on both network building and product promotion
Virtually all (99 percent) influencers say they work with brands they believe in and that share their values.
Instagram continues to surge upward as the influencer platform of choice
More than 75 percent of influencers of all genders ranking the platform as their favorite. Micro-influencers also ranked Instagram as the platform with the most opportunity and potential in the next 6-12 months highlighting their interest in brand collaborations through Instagram stories, posts, and IGTV.
Compliance is a serious concern for many micro-influencers
The most troubling issue for micro-influencers is buying followers (85 percent report this as their top compliance concern); while almost 70 percent believe falsely presenting brand-sponsored collaborations is another high-ranking compliance issue.
While cash is king, it’s not all about the money
Seventy-one percent of micro-influencers cite value alignment as their top consideration when it comes to brand partnerships. Other key factors include whether the brand offers relevant products and services (58 percent); whether compensation is fair (52 percent); and whether there is potential for a long-term partnership (49 percent).
Influencers take their online visibility seriously
Seventy-seven percent of micro-influencers spend at least three hours on social media each day. As they develop content and strategize to reach their followers, they also have to contend with frequent social media algorithm changes affecting their reach and their connection with their communities. Forty-eight percent consider ensuring content visibility as the #1 challenge for influencer marketing at the moment.
As micro-influencers strive to build relationships and create value, many see their social media marketing efforts as a potential full-time role
Forty-four percent of influencers want to turn their efforts into a full-time content creation gig. While Gen Z and millennials had about the same percentage of aspiring full-time content creators, Gen Z’s percentage dropped startlingly from last year’s 60.7 percent, possibly indicating a more measured approach to the future coming from younger micro-influencers.
Influencers connect frequently and recommend the products that work for them; however, there’s still room for brands to connect and build mutually beneficial relationships
Thirty-six percent of influencers are only posting sponsored content a few times a year, which means they are open to building relationships but not oversaturated with brand content.
“The study shows that micro-influencers have a strong desire to create connections, build their following and do things the right way – from following compliance guidelines to creating authentic relationships,” El-Qudsi said. “Micro-influencers have the opportunity and drive to create full-time content creation careers. To do that successfully, they’ll need to continue finding ways to demonstrate measurable value to both the communities with whom they connect and the brands with whom they partner.”
Research was conducted by SocialPubli using an online questionnaire during September 2019. In total, 2,667 influencers from Europe, North America, and South America responded.