Why less could be more in influencer marketing

An army of ‘micro-influencers’ could be more valuable as a means to generate brand awareness and advocacy than a single, big-hitting influencer. We look at the role micro-influencers play in the decision-making process.

One of the UK’s premier digital marketing websites is The Drum. The site recently carried an interview with the clothes retailer AllSaints’ global head of social media, Cass Gowing. She discussed the company’s approach to ‘influencer marketing’ – collaboration with bloggers, YouTubers and other people with a large online following to attract interest in your own brand or products.

She argues that the public’s trust in big-reach influencers is eroded. Everyone knows they’re paid to push product. Some influencers have even mistakenly published instructions from marketers.

Gowing explained that AllSaints looked elsewhere to build reach and trust. They targeted ‘micro-influencers’, people with a combined social following between 500-10,000 people. I myself am something of a serial micro-influencer. I have run moderately successful blogs since 2005, currently in the field of digital marketing and as a soccer culture blogger.

As Gowing points out, engagement rates drop off the higher number of followers an influencer has. One could argue this is because the higher that influencer’s following, the more distant they feel from the everyday people in their audience.

It’s not all about aspiration for the celebrity lifestyle. People look for people like them that they can relate to. Micro-influencers can play a small but effective part in others’ decision-making journeys. Lots of small reach can quickly escalate and comes with the added emotional investment that closeness brings.

I have similar experiences from blogger campaigns I have run in the past. Oftentimes a client was forced to target micro-influencers due to budget. But that was fine because the parent bloggers we worked with had the trust and attention of like-minded people who spread that word-of-mouth (or rather, word-of-click) amongst their small but engaged circles.

Trust is key

Trust is the currency of influence online. As I mentioned above, the public is aware that celebrities and bloggers are often paid to plug products on social media, even when many still do not disclose their interest. It’s authenticity that counts.

Advocates are key to influence, and influence is relative. When you act in niches, such as FinTech, the numbers of influencers may be small but their potential ability to impact decision could be huge.

Paragon can identify the influencers that are relevant to helping you inform and persuade your target audiences. Please get in touch to get the ball rolling.

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