PR Exec, Andrew Rowley, believes embracing influencers with smaller audiences can help your campaign.
Over recent years, influencers have eclipsed celebrities as a PR’s go-to way of making a brand’s product or service the centre of attention amongst consumers.
This trend is hardly surprising when you consider:
- Influencers are (often) a much cheaper option, and tend to be more budget friendly.
- Consumers are more likely to trust an influencer’s opinion because they’re viewed as ‘relatable’ and more honest than a celebrity.
- Influencers are more connected to their audiences, engaging with them on a more regular basis than celebrities do.
- Influencers can be targeted at far more niche and specific audiences than the traditional celebrity.
As the prevalence of social media has grown, so has the importance and impact of these influencers. So much so that some individuals, who began their online careers doing beauty tutorials to 500 viewers, are now securing book deals, bringing out fashion lines, and even marketing their own Christmas advent calendars (Well… sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t!) The lines between ‘influencer’, ‘celebrity’, and ‘brand’ are becoming increasingly blurred.
Please welcome… the micro-influencer!
With this in mind, it’s time for us PRs to rethink our approach. When it comes to press coverage, the numbers are (usually) king. For many, the higher the readership the better. But when it comes to working with influencers, especially when trying to sell a product or service, what should be the main focus is the level of engagement achieved by relevant and targeted audiences; would you rather reach a million people, who are disinterested in your product, or would you want a smaller group of potential customers with a genuine interest to learn about your product, and be given the opportunity to interact with it?
This is where micro-influencers come in. Typically with an audience between 1,000 and 10,000, these individuals still sit within the realms of being ‘relatable’, but hold enough power with an engaged and loyal audience of people who trust their opinions. Some of them still have ‘regular’ day jobs, and are present online because they want to be, not because it’s their main source of income.
What’s more, they’re often a lot more budget-friendly, with some working with you in return for a freebie or free trial if passionate about your product. And they might actually provide better results for your campaign in terms of direct ROI.
Keeping it genuine
As social platforms look to prioritise more meaningful and genuine conversations on our newsfeeds, working with micro influencers may also be a way to ensure your message is seen by more potential customers. A report by Digiday found that Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have an organic Like rate of 8%, whereas those with between 1,000 – 10,000 have a rate of 4%, and when interaction is key, a doubly effective engagement rate may be the difference between orders or no orders.
Ultimately, and unsurprisingly, things are ever-changing in the online arena. Us PRs need to be ahead of the game, as always, to ensure we’re delivering relevant and attention-grabbing campaigns that produce accurate and genuine results for our clients.
So, the next time you’re in a brainstorm and someone says ‘can we use an influencer for this?’ remember:
- Look beyond follower numbers and focus on engagement rates.
- Think about where else the budget can go – if you’re working with an influencer for free, put the budget into some content that can support their posts.
- Keep it meaningful – let the influencer discuss your product or service in their own TOV so audiences know it’s a genuine conversation, not just a product being sold.