When brands want someone to endorse their product, they often turn to celebrities. After all, a given Internet celebrity may have millions of social followers, so the numbers make sense: A single social post could have significant reach.

But when the goal is driving revenue from your marketing, a strategy based in micro-influencer activations is often more sound. Celebrities aren’t just more expensive; they’re less influential when it comes to getting consumers to make a purchase. Consider: 82% percent of people who receive a recommendation from a micro-influencer are highly likely to follow that recommendation and actually make a purchase, according to bestselling author Jonah Berger.

And when it comes to product discovery, micro-influencers have a stronger impact than celebrities. 26% of consumers said a micro-influencer had helped them discover a product in the last three months versus, according to a Curalate survey. (By comparison, 20% of consumers said a celebrity helped them discover a product in the last three months.)

That’s what makes micro-influencers — endorsers with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers — all the more powerful as a growth engine for your business.

Micro-influencers aren’t celebrities. They’re real people, with real followings, who users are more likely to feel a real connection with. When they endorse a product, it’s more authentic — and people are more apt to trust their recommendations.

Plus, micro-influencers have amassed their followings for good reason: They produce great content that people consistently engage with. And that’s good news for your brand, as working with these influencers will give you access to unique influencer-generated content that can be repurposed across your marketing channels.

Read on to learn more about micro-influencers and how they can help your brand reach its goals.

Why work with micro-influencers?

Celebrities have an undeniably large reach, but when it comes to product endorsement and word-of-mouth marketing, micro-influencers have them beat.

Why are micro-influencers so effective? They’re better able to connect with their audiences than celebrity influencers. They have smaller followings and more relatable backgrounds. They’re more likely to engage with their audiences through likes, comments, messages, and follows, making them much more accessible.

Plus, micro-influencers are viewed as more trustworthy than celebrities. With their smaller followings, micro-influencers have something to lose, so they’re likely to align themselves only with brands and products they truly believe in.

You can tap into niche markets

Working with micro-influencers allows you to reach very specific communities. While celebrities’ large audiences tend to be quite varied, micro-influencers garner a very engaged audience around certain niches.

For example, a micro-influencer could specialize in travel, health and wellness, beauty, or fashion, just to name a few categories.

By being an expert on a specific subject and sharing that passion on social media, these micro-influencers have organically grown a very specific audience who’s not only interested in the subject but also actively engages with content about that subject.

And micro-influencers have established trust among their followers — 40% of people report that they trust a brand because of its association with an influencer, according to an Edelman report. So by teaming up with a micro-influencer, you gain access not only to their voice and a great source of content but also an audience who’s primed to purchase based on the influencer’s recommendations.

Let’s say you work for a health food brand and are looking for influencers to promote a new product. You could work with a celebrity with millions of followers, guaranteeing that your product would reach a vast number of people. However, many of that celebrity’s followers may not even be interested in health and wellness. Or you could work with a fitness-focused micro-influencer — such as in the example below — who has far fewer followers, but those followers are extremely interested in health and wellness, trust the influencer, and are eager to try new products and are more likely to make a purchase.

So when considering micro-influencers to work with, consider your buyer personas and look for influencers who have already amassed the audience your brand wants to target.

You can get higher engagement

They may not have millions of followers, but what micro-influencers do have is incredibly high engagement. In fact, influencers with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers have 42% higher engagement than those with more than 500,000 followers, according to AspireIQ, and on Instagram, it’s clear that engagement increases when the number of followers decreases.

One study found the following:

  • Influencers with 10,000+ followers have a 3.6 percent engagement rate.
  • Influencers with 5,000-10,000 followers have a 6.3 percent engagement.
  • Influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers have an 8.8 percent engagement rate.

In the screenshot below, this influencer may have only 18,000 Instagram followers, but her engagement rate is more than 20% per post, making it a valuable account for beauty brands to partner with.

What’s behind these higher levels of engagement? Micro-influencers interact with their audience more frequently than celebrities or influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. They’re much more likely to respond to questions and comments, reply to direct messages, and even follow back and initiate conversations with users.

This level of interaction and higher engagement rate means that micro-influencers can establish a connection with social users more easily and be an active advocate for your brand.

You can get higher conversion rates

Another benefit of working with micro-influencers is that they achieve much higher conversion rates than other types of influencers.

Why? Because as noted earlier, people are more likely to trust the recommendation of a micro-influencer — someone they feel is more accessible and relatable — over that of a brand or a celebrity. And conversion rates can only grow if people trust your brand enough to invest in it.

So when a micro-influencer endorses a brand or product, their followers view the recommendation as coming from a trusted source. In other words, it’s one of the most effective types of marketing: word-of-mouth marketing. And it works. Nearly 60% of consumers have bought a product within the last six months because of an influencer’s recommendation, according to the Edelman study.

That’s why brands like Kerrygold butter partner with micro-influencers like baker Benjamina Ebuehi for sponsored posts like the one above.

You can save money

The price range for influencer marketing can vary greatly, from as little as $10 for a sponsored post to as much as $100,000.

According to digital marketing agency WebFX, brands can expect to pay Instagram influencers an average price of $10 per post per 1,000 followers. Whereas on Facebook, influencers are paid an average of $25 per post per 1,000 followers. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • An Instagram influencer with 10,000 could charge up to $100 per post, and a Facebook influencer with 10,000 could charge up to $250 per post.
  • An Instagram influencer with 1,000,000 could charge up to $10,000 per post, and a Facebook influencer with 1,000,000 could charge up to $25,000 per post.

So instead of spending your entire marketing budget to purchase the endorsement of a Kardashian, for example, you can work with many different micro-influencers, which will cost much less.

Sparkling water brand La Croix is a great example of this. The brand’s marketing strategy is centered on working with countless millennial micro-influencers on Instagram — many of whom have just 1,000 followers — and it’s had immense success.

Now that you understand who micro-influencers are and how they can help you achieve your brand’s social media goals, here’s how to find ones to work with.

How to find micro-influencers

There are several ways to discover the micro-influencers who would be a good fit for your brand.

1. Look at your followers and mentions.

Instagram has more than 1 billion active users, and 80% of the social network’s users follow a brand on Instagram. Look through your social media accounts’ followers and see who’s already interacting with your brand, which users have built an audience of their own, and who might be a potential representative of your brand.

You can also search through mentions to see who’s talking about your brand and posting content related to it. An easy way to do this is by using Curalate to see who’s mentioning you and tagging you.

2. Look at your power shoppers.

Take a look at your repeat buyers and delve into their social media accounts. These are people who clearly love your brand and are likely to make great ambassadors — in fact, they might be creating content around your brand already.

An easy way to do this is by sorting your customers by “most orders” or “most spent,” as illustrated in the Shopify screenshot above.

3. Search hashtags.

Communities are often built around hashtags on social media so that users interested in a specific subject can easily find each other and engage, so take a look through relevant hashtags to see who’s posting about your industry or, even better, about your brand.

For example, if you have a beauty brand, you’d want to look at hashtags like #beauty, #makeup, and #instabeauty.

If your brand uses a specific hashtag, take a look at who’s using it. Users who post positively and consistently about your brand with that hashtag may be a natural fit for future campaigns.

How to friend micro-influencers

Once you’ve found the micro-influencers you want to work with, it’s time to make contact. However, because many of these influencers aren’t accustomed to working with brands, you don’t want to overwhelm them by sending them your media kit and a contract. Instead, take things slow and establish a relationship first.

  1. Follow them on the social network that you’d like to work with them on.
  2. Engage with them by liking their posts and leaving comments. Showing appreciation for an influencer’s content will make it more likely they’ll respond when you reach out about a potential campaign.
  3. Start a conversation. Let them know you enjoy their content and admire the community they’ve built. You may want to send a direct message, but it’s a good idea to also contact them via email because it’s easy for an influencer to overlook your message in their overflowing inboxes.
  4. Broach the subject of working together. Once you’ve established a relationship, you can suggest that you work together on a professional basis. Tell them what kinds of posts or campaigns you’re interested in, and you can even link to some posts they’ve made in the past that would be a good fit for your brand.

Check out this post for more tips on how to reach out to influencers and make a positive first impression.

How to feature micro-influencers

There are a variety of ways you can work with a social influencer, including product posts, Instagram takeovers, and personalized discount codes, just to name a few. However, one of the greatest benefits of working with an influencer is the content they produce to engage their audience with your brand.

This influencer-generated content can be reused and repurposed in a variety of ways so that you can integrate a micro-influencer’s content into your existing marketing touchpoints, including the following:

  • Email
  • Ads
  • Website
  • Social
  • Search

Integrating influencer-generated content into all aspects of your marketing has a variety of benefits.

  • It’s cost-effective. Brands invest a lot of resources into creating marketing content. From ideation to creation to promotion, it’s not only time-consuming but also expensive. However, when social-media-savvy micro-influencers produce content for your brand, they take on the brunt of the work and create engaging photos and videos in a matter of days.
  • It’s authentic. Consumers are smart and naturally skeptical of marketing, so when branded messaging or a product endorsement comes directly from a real person they trust, consumers are more likely to buy.
  • It’s diverse. Social media users are quick to call out brands that aren’t inclusive in their marketing, but more importantly, customers who see themselves — through gender, age, and race, for example — in a brand’s content are more likely to relate to it, engage with it, and make a purchase.
  • It’s high-performing. Brands that incorporate influencer-created content experience a 50% increase in engagement, according to Salesforce, and a study by social media agency Laundry Service found that influencers’ Instagram-style photos perform better because consumers value transparency.
  • It’s conversion-driven. As touched on before, consumers are more likely to purchase an item recommended by a micro-influencer than a celebrity. In fact, one survey found that nearly 50% of consumers rely on influencers for product recommendations. So take advantage of this and expand your reach by incorporating influencer-generated content elsewhere.

Learn more about why micro-influencers’ content is worth repurposing.

You don’t need a Kardashian

While working with celebrities on social may seem like a no-brainer at first, micro-influencers may be just what you need to help you reach your target audience, promote your products, and increase conversions.

So instead of spending more to work with celebrity influencers, simply spend more wisely and set your sights on accessible and authentic influencers with highly engaged niche audiences. These influencers are often the best advocates for your brand because they’re skilled content creators who have already tapped into your target audience and earned their trust.