Social Media Creator

Why Micro-influencers Should Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy

“Communities are at the heart of a successful social strategy, and content creators have built networks where their visibility and sway are truly powerful.”—Amanda Wood, Head of Social Media Marketing at Hootsuite

Let’s face it: nobody wants to see ads in their social media feeds (unless it’s a 3AM-I-can’t-sleep purchase on Instagram). With the rise of Gen Z in the social media landscape, authenticity is becoming the name of the game. Carefully curated images and perfect grids are taking a back seat to the world of raw and unedited footage of TikTok challenges, dances, reaction videos, voice overs, and other viral trends dictated by the masses.

We’ve been watching social media platforms trying to keep up. Facebook prioritizes video content, Instagram favors Reels and is expanding to longer video options, and even LinkedIn has introduced a Stories feature. The algorithms—and a growing audience of young people—want real people. They’ve come to want and expect more from their social media experience.

In many ways, this shift in power—from perfect content curation to raw and authentic footage—feels like we’re inching toward a democratization of social media. It is changing who is allowed to be seen and heard and who can create influence—no budget necessary. In fact, 83% of viral videos on TikTok came from non-verified accounts, according to a recent study by Semrush. It’s no longer major celebrity accounts or individuals with big corporate bucks behind them creating influence. With platforms like TikTok, we are starting to see creators with smaller followings gain more visibility in the social sphere.

Of course, there are caveats to this—like Instagram’s shadowbanning of many accounts run by activists of color and the mental health toll that social media (in particular, Facebook) is taking on young people. There is also evidence that Black creators get less views than non-black creators on TikTok. These are major issues that need to be reconciled and addressed when it comes to which voices are receiving a platform on social media.

Despite the issues that still exist and need to be addressed, the shift toward raw, real, unedited content might be the dawn of a new day on social media and is giving rise to the microinfluencer—​​content creators with followings under 25,000. According to a recent study by Facebook, microinfluencers “are driving better results than macro-influencers. Their appeal is rooted in their abilities to create relatable content that showcases their knowledge and conveys the passions they share with their highly engaged audience.”

Hootsuite also took note of this growing popularity in their recently released 2022’s Major Social Media Trends, where one of their top findings was that “Smart brands are finally getting community right by partnering with creators to connect with new audiences, earn their trust, and gain cultural capital.”

There is a growing lack of trust in social advertising and major influencer partnerships writ large (which a savvier social media user base knows is still, just paid advertising).  Now, brands are capitalizing on creators with a niche following to increase visibility and engagement with audiences in a way that better meets demands of younger generations.

If you’re a mission-driven organization trying to create impact and awareness through social media, you may want to rethink where you’re putting your dollars. What if you stopped investing in social media ads altogether? What if you put money into the pockets of creators instead of the Metaverse? My recommendation: pay content creators, not Big Tech. Depending on your goals, your money might go further in a creators pocket rather than Facebooks. Here’s why:

    1. Authenticity. Influencers and content creators are people—not brands. People want to hear from other people—not a marketing team. In order to maintain authenticity, organizations should ensure they are partnering with people who’s online brand aligns with their own.
    2. Cost less. Paying for influencer posts can cost significantly less than running an ad campaign. While some ad campaigns can cost thousands of dollars, working with a nano influencer (500-5k followers) or a micro influencer (5k-30k followers) can cost less than $100 per post. Even celebrity influencers (500k+ followers) can cost under $1,000 for an Instagram Story promotion (source: EMarketer). 
    3. Niche + engaged audience. Beyond the potential for a more robust ROI, micro and nano influencers already have a niche and engaged audience. You’re reaching people who have loyalty to the influencer, rather than trying to target them through assumptions.
    4. Creators are the experts. This begs the question: should organizations really be the ones creating content for platforms like TikTok? There is a growing appetite among users to break away from the ads and neat marketing schemes of Facebook’s Metaverse. Hiring a creator to build brand affinity on TikTok is a smart way to ensure you’re reaching audiences with trust.