There’s been something afoot in the influencer world as of late. And while it is not necessarily by any means bad news, it is certainly a development that ought to be noticed by those with an interest in Shopify Instagram marketing.
That ‘something’ is the continued ascendancy of the ‘micro influencer’, who has continued to demonstrate through these recent extraordinary times that it’s not size that counts, but instead what one does with what one has.
Influencer marketing and its shifting power balance
We hopefully won’t need to explain to you what an influencer is, or why influencer marketing has been so potent in recent years – in some cases, to the point of notoriety. Indeed, the practice of brands partnering with social media celebrities through the latter enthusing to their audience about the former’s product, can sometimes feel as old as the hills in the background of their Instagram snaps.
Over the last few years, however, some alarms have been sounded about the state of influencer marketing. Reports have filtered through with increasing regularity about dropping engagement levels among some ‘macro influencers’ and ‘mega influencers’ – the influencers who command social followings of hundreds of thousands, rather than tens of thousands.
Nor should it be a great surprise that some forms of influencer marketing are showing signs of oversaturation. After all, influencers are now a key part of the landscape of digital culture. When it seems for some of us that every second or third post we see in our social feeds is a sponsored or branded one, we might not feel quite as seduced as we once were to tap through and purchase.
What is a ‘micro influencer’, and why do they matter?
The increasing prominence of micro influencers, however, is helping to show that the influencer space is far from exhausted in its evolution.
While there is no universally agreed definition of a ‘micro influencer’ in terms of the numbers of followers they may have on their social media channels, it’s probably fair to say we’re talking a range of a few thousand followers, up to about 50,000 followers or more.
However, it isn’t necessarily the numbers, but the other characteristics of micro influencers that have helped to make them particularly pertinent in 2020. As those aforementioned follower counts indicate, we aren’t referring here to the usual celebrities, experts and other public figures that might be more likely to attract literally millions of followers.
Instead, micro influencers are the people who don’t merely claim to ‘keep it real’, but who actually are real. They’re the opposite of the melodramatic pop star or Hollywood movie actor who attempts to portray ‘down to Earth’ charm from a Los Angeles mansion. They’re the smaller creators who have the same struggles, tastes and instincts as their audiences, while also interacting more immediately and directly with more of their followers than a macro or mega influencer ever could.
Micro influencers tend to make up for their lack of absolute follower numbers by giving brands greater punch for their pound. They often specialise in a niche market such as fashion, sport or travel, and are trusted and respected in that field – consequently frequently attracting higher engagement per post than macro influencers, with their much broader but less targeted reach.
They’re on the up – and they’re set to stay there
Furthermore, with recent statistics indicating that micro influencers’ engagement rates have gone up by a whopping 130% on average since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that they aren’t going anywhere (in lockdown times, often quite literally).
They’re the very online ‘little people’ who show that small can most definitely be beautiful, being affordable while also delivering impressive engagement and conversion rates alike... and they could turn out to be a powerful piece of the puzzle of your next Shopify Instagram marketing campaign.
Contact the Underwaterpistol team now, and we’ll advise and guide you on some of the possibilities that influencer marketing – in all of its forms – might present for your own brand in 2020 and beyond.