Sydney Wilhelm, Contributing Writer

The rise of the micro influencer is now. Micro influencers are going to be the next “big” thing that brands are going to want to work with at the end of 2018. But what is a micro influencer? According to Media Kix, a micro influencer is somebody who has 1,000 to 100,000 followers on social media platforms. Suddenly, there is such thing as being too popular.

While they have fewer followers than those “Instagram celebrities” every brand thinks they should be working with, micro influencers get an average of two to five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers. Once an influencer has more than 100,000 followers, engagement and likes start to flatten out. A lot of followers stop interacting with somebody who has a lot of followers, because they are seen as “famous” whereas followers are more likely to engage with an influencer when they have a smaller following, because they feel as if they can relate to them better.

So why are companies choosing micro influencers over the Kardashians of the world? It’s simple. Trust and relationships are being built with followers when an influencer has a smaller following, and that is critical for making a purchase. Looking at my Instagram (4,025 followers) versus Kim Kardashian’s (1.9 million followers), I have a high engagement rate at 15.33 percent whereas Kardashian has only has an engagement rate of 1.69 percent. That’s quite a big difference. HubSpot reports that micro-influencers, on average, receive 0.10 percent higher engagement rates than macro-influencers. So this is where micro influencers end up being the better option when looking for people to promote products on Instagram.

Micro influencers are authentic. It is easier to believe that a micro influencer actually bought or used a featured product. Although some photos are a little staged, it’s easier to think that a micro influencer purchased a snack than it is a celebrity. This kind of authenticity attracts engagement, awareness and brand recall. Hiring a micro influencer is a lot cheaper than it is to hire a celebrity to feature a product on their page. On average, a micro influencer can charge around $140 per Instagram post whereas someone with over 1 million followers on Instagram can rake in almost $50k on a single post. They can create higher engagement, and they are cheaper to work with. So realistically, they’re the better clients.

While more eyeballs might now be seeing the post from a micro influencer, they still can create as much traction, if not more, than a celebrity. Say you are an athletic brand just starting out and you believe you have a really great product. It would be easy to send your product to a celebrity, and that’s a guaranteed way for your brand to be noticed. But if you want real traction, it’s better to send your product to a fitness micro influencer because if they are promoting your product, it’s most likely being promoted to people that trust them. When that trust is there, purchases are made.