On Micro-Influencers

If you’re wondering what a micro-influencer could ultimately do for your brand, the answer is easy: catalyze.

Key Takeaways

  1. Think mega, act micro: any emerging fashion brand needs to focus on a specific niche. Segmentation is the key to decode your customer base’s cultural behaviour.
  2. Mega, macro, micro, nano: a young brand should never promote their product via power-house influencers. Micro-influencers are a powerful tool to convey authenticity to potential followers.
  3. Organic seeding: gift people who are culturally-adjacent to your brand and product. Look at brands who are doing it correctly while keeping it real: @telfarglobal.

Mega, macro, micro, nano: what’s the scope of your brand’s perspective reach? The spectrum of influence varies in form and theory, and not always going mega is the best option—actually, it is in very few cases. The law of big-numbers doesn’t always go well with emerging fashion brands, whose products are meant to hit a very specific niche.

Going mega means generalizing your brand’s vision and practice, enabling your product to be understandable and consumable by the mass. Going mega also means numbers: specifically, 1M+ followers (on Instagram).

The market for social media influence is specular to the fashion market: any product finds its own audience through influence. Extremely-careful segmentation is the key to reach the right audience and translate it into organic followership—a process that comes easier when you have a clear target in mind: a niche. 

If mega-influencers with millions of followers reach out to the majority of the market, influencers at the opposite end of the spectrum compensate for reach with engagement, proving to be a valuable tool for targeted audiences.

Before delving deep into what small-scale influencers can do for you and your brand, let’s talk numbers. A micro-influencer is someone who has between 1K to 100K followers. These are often users who have organically gained the reputation of experts, advocates, leaders of specific topics of interest. If compared to mega- or macro-influencers (100K – 1M), micro-influencers generally tend to have stronger relationships within their network.

Within the category of micro-influencers, it is possible to narrow down the segment and focus on the lower end, specifically in the range between 1K – 5K followers: the realm of the nano-influencers. A new breed of influencer, the nano- is still embedded within the sphere of the micro-, but more specific, more intimate. 

Both the New York Times and the Guardian have defined the nano-influencer as an internet-famous person who “has as few as 1,000 followers and are willing to advertise products on social media,” marketable because “more specialised and thus more trusted.” These are not famous people, nor celebrities—but ordinary internet users whose online presence might be used to amplify certain products. You’ve maybe heard of those people at some marketing meeting, listed on a PDF deck full of corporate slang: “city dwellers,” “connectors,” “agitators”—words for micro- (or nano-) influencer.

The definition of influencer is rapidly-changing and adapting to the social media evolution cycle, as something highly-dependent on technology. With the introduction of new features like IG Stories and IGTV, direct engagement has become a new communication standard—authentic and confidential, if compared to the more “formal” feed post.

By introducing new features that shorten the gap between influencers and followers, brands can achieve full personalization, meaning a genuine representation of their product. Members of Generation Z (zoomers), for example, have turned to TikTok as a more instinctive, less corp-coopted alternative to Instagram, where content can go viral more democratically. The liveness that TikTok shares with Instagram’s infamous Stories and Live features is a facilitator of strategic and organic influence—the one micro-influencers are most likely to perform.

If you’re wondering what a micro-influencer could ultimately do for your brand, the answer is easy: catalyze. We’re talking of fashion brands—emerging fashion brands—that have intrinsic cultural value. If that’s the case, your target customer is part of a niche that must be addressed through a value proposition that’s responsive to their taste and mindset.

The ultimate advice for an effective micro-influencing campaign is complete organicity. Consider, for example, a brand like Telfar—whose claim reads “Not for you, for everyone”—when it comes to customer-base fragmentation. The brand famously works with artists who organically inspire the product, as Telfar Clemens has publicly declared throughout the years, and those people most often turn out to be micro-influencers.

The point here is that they have influence per se—because they excel in their field of work and are not asked for any commercial service by the brand: they amplify the brand’s values.

This kind of anti-influencing (or low-key influencing) strategy, particularly evident in Telfar, involves key people who are culturally-adjacent to the brand’s creative vision. The marketing resultant of this process is something we could define as organic seeding: gifting the right people with the right product.

Organic seeding instantly turns into gratification for the receiver, who will be prone to amplify the product and use their influence to promote it. Moreover, organic seeding also means no-fee campaigns.

On Instagram, “micro-influencer” is a synonym of anyone who’s active within a community. You just have to figure out who you and your brand are speaking to. Just keep it real.