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Since its debut in 2010, Instagram has grown exponentially from 1 million to 700 million users. It is no longer just a photo sharing platform. It is now also a giant marketing platform with a variety of features such as Story, Live stream video and IGTV that marketers are keen on exploiting. As of June 2018, regarding the number of monthly active users, Instagram has reached over 1 billion users, after only Facebook and Youtube.

Instagram demographics statistics 2018

The power of Instagram is undeniable and it is not exaggerating to claim that Instagram is now in its golden era. Along with its rising popularity, the power of an emerging marketing force so-called “micro influencers” has also come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years.

Who are micro influencers?

Although there are no official criteria to categorize influencers on Instagram, marketing experts suggest that based on the number of followers, there are 3 main groups: Macro-influencers (over 100k followers), micro-influencers (from 10k to 100k followers) and nano-influencers (less than 10k followers). Micro influencers are just “ordinary” people who like to share posts about particular topics, for example, travel, food or beauty to name a few. Micro influencers not only keep their followers updated daily, but also interact with them frequently, thus, creating strong engagement and even deep connection with their followers.

Where is the power of micro influencers from?

The answer is follower engagement. According to a recent finding by Markerly, the influencers in 10k-100k follower range have proved more effective in generating engagement as their posts generate more likes and comments than those of influencers with higher followers. As Instagram has changed its algorithm- prioritizing authentic, quality content that creates more conversations over sponsored content, content from micro-influencers might even get more reach than that from celebrities.

Another reason that makes micro influencers a valuable channel is that they have a specific group of audiences who are interested in their sectors. Advertising a new makeup product via micro influencers who are beauty bloggers means you have reached to a pool of audiences who care about cosmetics. When it comes to product recommendations, micro influencer can be seen as a trusted source to their followers. Since micro influencers have gained trust through their authentic stories about their own experience, the followers are likely to trust their recommendation on a product or brand. In a recent study funded by Experticity, in terms of product recommendations, micro-influencers were found to have 22.2 X more weekly conversations than an average consumer. The study also shows that 82% of consumers surveyed said that they would be likely to buy a product based on a recommendation from a micro-influencer.

Last but not least, it is more affordable to advertise a product via micro influencers than macro influencers.

These micro-influencers will move the needle for your brand and cost a fraction of what you would pay a mega-celebrity. (Markerly, 2018)

Therefore, micro influencers are favored by a lot of small brands. Some brands have grown from ground to well-known ones. Daniel Wellington (DW), a Swedish watch brand, is an exemplary case of using micro influencers successfully. Founded in 2011, DW has become one of the most popular brands on Instagram with 1.9 million posts with hashtag #danielwellington and 4.3 million followers. DW’s strategy is to make young people’s feeds flooded with images of DW watches. Besides promoting their watches via mega influencers like Kendall and Kylie Jenner, they also use micro influencers from many countries to have not only wider reach, but also higher engagement rate.

Micro influencers are valuable to small brands

With these proven records, there is no doubt that micro influencers are trusted by small and new brands. Micro influencers are also a channel that a Vietnamese company has used to grow its brand-Curnon, a Vietnamese wrist-watch brand. The company has just received an investment offer from two investors in Shark Tank Vietnam season 2. In his presentation, Thai Nguyen, CEO of Curnon, said that 70% of the revenue is from e-commerce. Initially, they promoted their brand via several macro influencers but didn’t find it effective. Then they switched to a larger number of micro influencers that have Curnon’s target audience-adults from 20 to 30 years old, who like to try new things and also regularly engage in online shopping activities. Thai Nguyen also emphasized that he would continue using online marketing channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Curnon’s website to promote and reinforce brand awareness. While micro influencers do look “micro” in terms of followers, the results they deliver aren’t micro.