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Why brands view micro-influencers as the new 'sweet spot'

Why brands view micro-influencers as the new 'sweet spot'

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Influencer marketing is no stranger to a brand’s marketing mix due to its ability to tap into the popularity of influencers and the level of trust between them and their followers. In fact, around 70% of Singaporean survey participants, and 82% of participants in Southeast Asia, have admitted to being influenced by recommendations from influencers or celebrities in their purchasing decisions.

Notably, beauty products lead the way, with 72% of female respondents favouring such purchases. Fashion and shoes closely follow, attracting 55% of female participants, while groceries and food also secured substantial interest at 40%. Conversely, the male demographic displayed distinct preferences, with electronics topping the list at 50%, followed closely by fashion and shoes at 48%, and beauty products at 47%.

These were the results gleaned from a study by influencer and affiliate partnership management platform, impact.com. It collaborated with eCommerce market intelligence company, Cube Asia, to release an in-depth research report on influencer marketing trends in Southeast Asia.

While it may seem that the larger the influencer following, the larger the returns, brands have engaged with micro-influencers despite the smaller audience size. This is especially true in the live shopping and eCommerce space with platforms such as TikTok Shop utilising micro-influencers who post product demonstrations and recommendations for their followers.

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With a smaller reach, why do brands engage with micro-influencers instead of macro ones or even celebrities? The answer it seems, lies in the greater degree of relatability these micro-influencers have with their followers.

Greater degree of authenticity and relatability

“We have seen that nano-influencers might struggle with audience size, limiting their impact, while macro-influencers occasionally face challenges in maintaining an authentic connection,” said Chad Frederick Gilbert, the senior director of content marketing at NP Digital.

“Micro-influencers have proven to be that sweet spot, offering a broader reach than nanos while preserving an authentic and personal touch,” he added.

It is through this more personal connection with consumers that leads to better engagement when micro-influencers are utilised, according to Antoine Gross, general manager Southeast Asia at impact.com.

“As they are perceived by audiences to be representatives of everyday individuals like themselves, it is a lot easier for micro and nano influencers to connect and relate to their followers — allowing them to foster increased engagement during live eCommerce events that leads to higher sales and greater commissions,” he explained.

Gross also said, as influencers lead product discovery and purchase decisions through their testimonials, a sense of belonging is created in the process.

“Apart from the "entertainment" factor, consumers today are seeking recommendations from authentic online advocates they trust and can personally connect and engage with,” Gross said.

The relatability factor that micro-influencers possess, manifests itself in their personalised recommendations to their followers which appear less intrusive and more trustworthy.

“We have noticed that they excel in creating content that highlights relatable experiences, nudging their audience towards making informed purchases,” added Gilbert.

“In live content, micro-influencers, from what we've seen, excel at offering personalised recommendations, directly engaging with audience questions, and seamlessly integrating products into their content,” he further explained.

In fact, 50% of Malaysians relate most to micro-influencers with a follower count under 500,000 according to a survey done by Shopee Malaysia last year.

When should brands engage with micro-influencers?

Although consumers desire relatability and less intrusive selling techniques, brands should not completely pivot to micro-influencers. Instead, they should consider the role of an influencer’s reach and frequency needed for a campaign.

“Celebrities and mega influencers excel in providing immediate access to vast target audiences. They can swiftly elevate brand visibility and awareness due to their extensive reach,” said Gross.

“On the other hand, nano and micro-influencers offer a different dimension to your marketing strategy, focusing on frequency and repetition,” he added. “Ultimately, the choice between these influencer categories should be driven by the role they’ll play in the overall campaign objective and marketing mix — whether it’s for brand awareness, conversions, sales, etc.”

In addition, Gilbert explains, “micro-influencers shine in targeted promotions, resonating with specific audience segments.”

The heart of micro-influencer engagement also lies in considering how the specific niches of the influencers can appeal to particular consumer interests, added Gross.

“Hence, it is also recommended to consistently assess the performance of each creator to ensure that they are effectively fulfilling their role in the campaign,” he further said.

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Related articles:
Study: 82% in SEA make purchasing decisions based on influencers and celebrities
B2B marketers eye influencer marketing, but fail at human-centricity
Are Gen X the forgotten generation when it comes to influencer marketing?

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