Micro Influencers Get Your Brand Before the Best Audience

There’s good news for the housing industry – and it’s largely due to the impact of social media. Millennials are buying houses like crazy. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Millennials make up 65 percent of all first-time buyers. However, the reason they are buying these houses is especially interesting: social media.

According to the NAR research, Millennials see photos on Instagram, Facebook, etc. that feature their friends and acquaintances (and friend’s friends and acquaintances’ friends, ad infinitum) smiling in front of their new homes, and they are encouraged to take the plunge themselves. The research found that:

  • 33% of Millennials think, “If they can buy, why can’t I”?
  • 24% of Millennials fear they’re missing out by not owning a home (FOMO).
  • 23% of Millennials are jealous of the homes bought by their friends and acquaintances.

In an article in USA Today, Ethan Kross, a professor of social psychology at the University of Michigan, discussed how social media can affect behavior. “If other people are doing better than we are, that can get us to feel bad. It reminds us of what things could be like,” he said.

This impact of social media is nothing new to marketers. In fact, these home-owning picture posters are (unknowingly) playing the role of a social media influencer.

Celebrity endorsements (the genesis of influencer marketing) is a concept as old as advertising. So, when social media began making celebrities out of those who gathered massive online followings, it was inevitable that marketers would utilize that influence.

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Photo Credit: The New York Times

Celebrity endorsements (the genesis of influencer marketing) is a concept as old as advertising. So, when social media began making celebrities out of those who gathered massive online followings, it was inevitable that marketers would utilize that influence.

In the years since those early tweets and posts, the science of influencer marketing has evolved. Studies show that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement.

Yet, a shift in thinking has occurred that has dimmed the spotlight of mega influencers. Audiences have begun to take a jaundiced view of people with huge followings that clearly endorse products and services they do not use. Their audience was drawn to the personality for one reason, and when they start pushing another agenda, it comes across as extremely inauthentic.

In addition, there have been some high-profile, mega influencer disasters. The biggest of these may be the Fyre Festival. This music festival, scheduled to take place on an exclusive Bahamian island (“once owned by Pablo Escobar,” according to a promo video) was heavily promoted on Instagram as an opportunity to mingle with models and influencers, including Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid. These “Fyre Starters” all took part in a coordinated campaign by simultaneously posting an orange square that played the promo video when clicked. They were also featured in the pitch deck and marketing materials.

Unfortunately, the Fyre Festival was, well, calling it a disaster is being too kind. None of the musical acts showed up, the promised luxury lodging was hastily-assembled disaster relief tents on the beach, and the gourmet cuisine was American cheese slices on dry bread. People flew hundreds of miles to a remote island, spent thousands of dollars on tickets and travel, and received nothing in return.

As word spread, these influencers quickly began deleting their posts, but the damage had been done – plus you can never really delete anything from the internet.

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Photo Credit: Fortune

So, many brands are turning away from these mega influencers (those with a following between 501,000 and 1.5 million), and new research actually backs up this decision. According to the software and data insights company Launchmetrics, a person’s follow count is actually the least valuable aspect when choosing to work with an influencer.

However, that’s not to say that influencer marketing isn’t important – it is. You just need to work with the right kind of influencer. The report found that the quality of an influencer's content is considered the most essential factor for companies who use influencer marketing.

The research found that micro influencers – those with a following of 10,000 to 100,000 – are actually the most effective partners, which is followed by macro influencers, who have a following that ranges from 101,000 to 500,000.

This actually makes a lot of sense, once you get past a “bigger is better” mentality (i.e., a larger following equals a higher return on investment). A micro-influencer is essentially targeted marketing: getting your message in front of an audience that is already engaged and interested in your area of expertise.

Plus, micro influencers are perceived to be more authentic (and they even may be) than mega influencers. Their followers trust the content that is distributed by a micro influencer. This gives your message more impact.

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Photo Credit: Owl Metrics

However, the fear is burn out. That the same hint of corruption is occurring on the mega influencer level will trickle down to micro influencers. Well, the way to avoid that is to maintain authenticity. Find the right micro influencers -- the ones that are creating content germane to your brand.

Then, cultivate a real relationship with this person. Yes, if they are working for you, they should be compensated. However, how that compensation works is entirely between the two of you. It could be in products, passes, money, whatever. Regardless of payment, don’t ask the influencer to hide his or her relationship with your brand. For the most part, audiences are not naive, and recent news stories about data breeches and misuse has only served to heighten their suspicions. If your influencer is up front with the facts, (“I was given a pass to last night’s event and it was amazing. Let me tell you why…”) it will only further the audience’s trust and further your brand.

But, before you start searching for a micro influencer, you need to decide on a strategy first. Are you looking to impact a specific niche or have something to promote in a targeted geographic region? Understanding your goals is essential to finding someone with the right reach and audience. Because investing in the wrong one will reek of inauthenticity and could torpedo your efforts before you get off the ground.

Next, you need to keep your ear to the ground and your eyes on the screen. Start scanning social media for hashtags that are relevant to your cause. Then read through what people are saying, find the followers of followers, and see how big their audience is. Once you’ve identified some candidates, it’s time to reach out.

Finding the right micro influencers may take time. It is important that you establish a relationship, so you can have a long-term partnership. Authenticity is important on both ends. Be honest about what you are seeking and your expectations. If the person feels that you do not want what to hinder the content they create, you will have a much better chance at a successful long-term collaboration.

Because micro influencers are able to maintain more intimate relationships with their audience, they inspire a high level of engagement. Establishing relationships with several key micro influencers will help ensure that your message is getting to the correct audience and from a source they really trust. For additional help finding the right medium for you message, or help setting up the perfect event, give one of our Event Architecture experts a call at 972-323-9433.

sofia krsmanovic