The era of trendy latte picture and magazine cover photos is over in the realm of the Instagram influencer. More and more companies are turning away from the instagramers with millions of followers in favor of smaller more niche Instagram influencers called the micro-influencer. I often find myself questioning whether everyone on Instagram has become an influencer or lifestyle guru, it doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary to see instagramers with at least 100,000 followers. Also it seems that every popular Instagram has become a hodgepodge of different company advertisements and the person running the Instagram has lost much of their humility and authenticity. Brands are catching on to this issue of over saturation and loss of authenticity.
In the beginning of the Instagram influencer trend, brands realized the huge potential that influencers had to convince their followers to buy certain products since many well-known instagramers had a very close and genuine relationship with their followers. So these ads were more like a friend recommending to a friend however has more and more brands jumped on this and more and more money was involved many of the biggest influencers have lost credibility and interaction with their followers. This is where the micro-influencer comes in to fill that gap.
Forbes defines a micro influencer as ranging from minor YouTube personalities to writers most with Instagram followers between 10000 to 20000. These micro influencers are able to provide more authenticity and “deeper storytelling”, both of which are arguably lacking from the highly edited perfect pictures of many Instagram influencers.
From personal experience I have seen myself get irritated by the lack of authenticity of one Instagram influencer to the point of unfollowing them. The Instagram account @doyoutravel has two million followers and showcases the travels of a seemingly perfect couple travelling to the most amazing locations around the world. When I first followed them I thought their pictures were incredible and would be good inspiration for my travels and allow me to aspire to take better vacation pictures. I started following them about a year ago and very few of their pictures were sponsored but as time went on more and more of their pictures became sponsored and it seemed like they were taking any brand they could get. Many of the captions became forced and thus they completely lost authenticity with me and I went to some of the locations that they took pictures at which made it apparent that their pictures were heavily edited.
From a marketing perspective micro-influencers restore that authenticity because they aren’t trying to juggle interacting with millions of people instead they can focus on interacting with just a few thousand followers. These instagramers also seem to present their pure identity not a more curated and simplistic identity like so many of the larger influencers. They may appeal to a smaller audience but they are more connected with that audience thus allowing them to be a much greater influence. The larger influencers may reach much greater amount of people but generate less of an impact and as a result actual sales of product than the micro influencers. Studies have shown that the micro-influencers have a much higher quality, word of mouth result than larger Instagram influencers, the survey also showed that consumers perceived micro influencers as much more influential than “regular consumers”.
Micro influencers also have the advantage of being able to advertise a product to a much smaller niche who would actually be interested in buying the product as opposed to an instagramer with one million followers who would be catering to a much wider and boarder demographic. This especially is beneficial for more unique and forward thinking brands and products. They are able to drown out the other larger influencers with a much more engaging perspective.
However even a micro influencer has to be careful to not seem like a “sell out” and take on too many sponsorships with companies they don’t actually believe in. It is a fine line between giving recommendations that just happen to be sponsorships and becoming an entire Instagram account who just pushes products to its followers.
Brands will always have a need to reach a large number of people and will continue to use large influencers but brands who want build a lasting impact and connection with their consumers should instead turn to the micro influencers.