In Influencer Marketing Bigger isn’t Always Better

Influencers’ followings range in size from niche with a relatively small following, to macro with a large reach. Influencers of varying community sizes each provide a different set of advantages and there are clear reasons why your brand should consider a healthy mix of influencers, including niche influencers, especially on TikTok.

Select The Right Influencer Match to Achieve Your Goal

It may be tempting to think, “The bigger the following, the better.” Many brands pay exorbitant fees to advertise to millions of viewers, such as during the World Cup and European Championship. But niche influencers, like niche publications and events, also offer excellent value to brands. 

The reality of Influencer Marketing (IM) is that the size of an influencer’s audience is merely one attribute of many that should be considered. The key is to select influencers that best match your brand, your values, and campaign objectives.

From Size to Connection

For simplicity, influencers can be categorized according to their total number of followers. Although this is the easiest way to create classifications, influencers vary in numerous ways and how one would categorize audience sizes differs from country to country. What is considered a mid-level influencer in Germany or the UK for example would probably be seen as a macro-influencer in Switzerland given the different size of the total market. As such size reis relative when it comes to influencer marketing. But that’s not where the main trade-off happens. Engagement is the key-word. Often, the smaller following of nano and micro influencers corresponds to a closer connection to community which tends to translate to higher community engagement.

Macro influencers, with more than 100K followers in Swiss terms, deliver a broad reach and awareness. But working with influencers with smaller followings can increase focus and connection to the community, which drives engagement for brands. 

Working with niche influencers also enables your brand to achieve a high degree of targeting. Forbes Councils Member Kelly Ehlers wrote, “A micro-influencer serves more niche audiences and can be beneficial to a brand because they provide access to a small subset of a targeted demographic interested in your business.” In some cases, niche influencers are necessary in order to properly reach your target audience, such as Swiss brands targeting only French-speaking Swiss people.

Pros and Cons of Macro Influencers

Of course, working with a macro influencer can increase your reach, but at a higher total cost. While the total cost is higher, you can reach millions of people, and therefore achieve a lower Cost Per Million (CPM). Because macro influencers are highly sought after, they may have fewer openings in their schedule and are less able to be agile and launch campaigns quickly, so advance-planning becomes even more important. 

On the other hand, Cost per Engagement (CPE) tends to be lower with niche influencers. The rates of engagement are often higher than with macro influencers, making them a more cost-effective strategy for generating engagement. Smaller influencers generally have a closer connection to their relatively smaller community, driving higher engagement levels and resulting in an overall lower CPE.

Both attributes can be valuable, and brands need to build a strategy to achieve the delicate balance that fits each individual campaign. Finally, all influencers want to protect the following they’ve built, and that requires limiting paid promotions to retain authenticity and not exhaust or irritate the audience.

Focus on Targeted Engagement

Similar to hosting a smaller party in your home, influencers with smaller followings have a higher degree of engagement. It’s possible for them to cater to the preferences of their community and engage in discussions with a higher percentage of people. These higher levels of engagement drive loyalty and make the audience relatively more likely to consider the advice provided by the influencer. According to Social Bakers, “Micro influencer accounts boast up to a 60% increased engagement rate compared to macro influencers.”

Niche influencers are considered experts in their specific niches and earn the trust and respect of their followers. Having developed the audience’s trust and connection, they can add a personal touch. For example, Eau Thermale Avène worked with Kingfluencers on a campaign in which influencers shared what they’d say to their younger selves. The campaign promoting PhysioLift Anti-Age products and included 13 micro, 5 mid-tier, and 2 macro-influencers publishingon Instagram and Facebook. Impressions were 40% higher than forecasted, with 74% higher engagement, and a total engagement rate of 3.4%. Influencer Valentine said, “I loved the idea of giving advice to the young me! I think it was personal and my followers love when I talk intimately with them.”

The Value of Nano Influencers in Creating Content with a Personal Touch

While influencers are an effective vehicle for connecting to your audience, they can also contribute their subject matter expertise and collaborate with you to develop creative campaign ideas. Most influencers have a profession with a high degree of specialized expertise, and as subject matter experts, they can help your brand be more creative, and bring fresh, creative ideas.

Nano and micro influencers won’t have the reach to drive mass awareness that macro influencers do, but they’re particularly effective at creating content in their own specific style and with great eye for detail. Nano influencers’ high level of engagement makes them skilled at generating content that resonates with their audience.

During the toughest pandemic moments, Sunrise, the largest non-state-controlled telecommunications company in Switzerland, wanted to spread positivity and inspire people to look to the future. Working with Kingfluencers, Sunrise launched a campaign working with 5 influencers; one micro, two small, and two macro. Impressions were 129% higher than forecasted, and the campaign achieved 1,276 link clicks, and 3,215 sticker taps.

Consider the Differences Between Platforms

Influencers are generally focused on a specific area, but niche influencers often take a narrower focus. For example, many influencers focus on travel and beauty, but niche influencers may focus on traveling with children or embracing natural hair. Instagram influencers, in particular, often have a dedicated focus. However, the lines are more blurred on TikTok, and comedy is a big driver. Whereas those following an Instagram beauty influencer may not expect humor, on TikTok a humorous approach is common across a range of topics.

TikTok’s Unique Approach to Users’ Feeds

TikTok’s algorithms are very different from Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. When users open the app, the TikTok ‘For You’ feed shows videos personalized to their individual interests. In June 2020, TikTok detailed the factors that contribute to the For You feed, as well as what it’s doing to ensure the system isn’t creating homogeneous filter bubbles. The app takes into account the videos you like or share, the accounts you follow, the comments you post, and the content you create, as well as if you watch a longer video from beginning to end. 

TikTok explains, “To that end, sometimes you may come across a video in your feed that doesn’t appear to be relevant to your expressed interests or have amassed a huge number of likes. This is an important and intentional component of our approach to recommendation: bringing a diversity of videos into your For You feed gives you additional opportunities to stumble upon new content categories, discover new creators, and experience new perspectives and ideas as you scroll through your feed.”

This more discovery-based approach means TikTok posts by niche influencers have the opportunity to go viral.

Influencers of all sizes can benefit your brand in numerous ways. The most important thing is to select influencers that are a great fit with your brand and can help you achieve specific campaign goals. Contact Kingfluencers for help establishing campaign goals and finding your best matches for influencer marketing and TikTok services.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing