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Micro-Influencers: Powerful Tool For Branding Among Digital-Native Generations

Currently, about 10 per cent of the digital marketing budget is being dedicated to influencer marketing initiatives.

Photo Credit : ShutterStock


Influencer marketing is now becoming one of the most effective ways for businesses to attract customers and clients. The concept is based on the age-old saying, “tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are”. Influencers are those who your target audience trust, respect, and listen to because of their credibility and integrity. Through influencer marketing, brands can leverage the popularity, reputation and trend-setting power of these opinion leaders and get some of their credentials to rub-off onto the brand itself.  

As a marketing strategy that centers on collaborating with key opinion leaders, it helps in cutting through the noisy online marketplace to place brands as well as their products right in front of the target audience. Another crucial growth lever that has contributed to the rise of influencer marketing is the perceived nature of influencers. Their followers often treat them as real-life consumers who share insightful end-user information about the latest products or services available in the market.  

The global influencer marketing industry is being valued at $ 6-7 Billion in FY 2018-19, with some reports even predicting it to reach $ 10 Billion by 2020. However, it cannot be denied that the Indian influencer marketing industry is still taking shape. Due to the unorganised nature of influencer marketing industry in India, it remains difficult to ascertain the actual size of the industry but the influencer marketing expenditure in the overall budget is increasing every day.  

Currently, about 10 per cent of the digital marketing budget is being dedicated to influencer marketing initiatives. With marketers increasingly recognizing the effectiveness of influencer marketing in brand building, we expect 25 per cent of marketing budgets to be deployed in the next couple of years. Part of this growth can be attributed to the rise of the ‘Micro Influencer’.  

We define Micro-Influencers as the people who have a high degree of engagement with their audience, though the follower base is less. In terms of numbers, people with a follower base of 10 k to 100 k falls in the category of Micro-Influencers. The number of followers or reach is not the only criteria to be a successful influencer. It is equally important that brands look at how deep-rooted is the engagement of these influencers are, and, in that parameter, Micro-Influencers top the charts. In India, there has been a rise of great micro-influencers that are creating valuable content and making an impact out in the society. Increasingly, we are seeing influencers coming up from tier 2, tier 3 cities which have a greater connect with the audience in their areas.  

There is even a new category called the Nano influencer (people with a follower base of 1 k-10 k) who may have less reach, but a highly engaged audience base and their recommendation are akin to that of a friend which is valuable for a brand. 

Though Micro-Influencers have far fewer subscribers than macro or celebrity influencers, engaging them for brand promotion is more profitable. Research shows, they are 6.7 times more cost-efficient per engagement. Brands can run trials or A/B testing with them without losing too much money. This way they can channelize their resources better.  

For followers, micro-influencers are people with whom they connect with. Because of the small following, they are well connected with their followers and their ideas resonate with their audiences a lot better. Fans can be more vocal about what they like or dislike about the content of the person they are following, and the probability that they will get a response is much higher. They offer authentic experiences to the followers and brands they represent. In the era of digital natives, authenticity is one of the most essential components to enter the consideration set of consumers.  

The rise of Micro-influencers and even Nano influencers has been a massive driving force in modern influencer marketing. They give brands an opportunity to tap into an existing community in a niche, this audience is already highly engaged with the influencer, giving credibility to any message that is shared through this channel. Another reason behind the popularity of micro-influencers in marketing. 

That being said, macro and micro-influencers together play critical roles in delivering a brand’s values to their followers. Macro influencers ensure that a large set of audience is reached to maximize visibility, while micro-influencers deliver targeted and relevant content to their loyal followers who place a high degree of trust in them. Depending upon the category of the brand, micro-influencers engaging content and macro-influencers reach can be combined to create a winning communication strategy for companies to successfully run their campaign and achieve the desired outcome 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Yan Han

The author is Chairperson, TopSocial India

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