Who is a Micro-Influencer and What are Their Characteristics?

May 3, 2017 / by Shiho Hashimoto Shiho Hashimoto


With the hype of influencer marketing, categories within have also developed rapidly; micro-influencer, macro- influencer and mega- influencer. Let's focus on micro-influencers.

Influencers are categorized based on their number of followers and status in the society. Unlike macro- or mega-influencers, which have been around for decades in various formats, the category of micro-influencers has developed rapidly over this past few years. Micro-influencers are now considered as the best choice for many marketing professionals for various reasons.

Who are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are those people whose Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts reach from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are not necessarily celebrities, politicians or public icons. They can be fashion bloggers, stylist vloggers or journalists, whose careers and interests are in specific fields.

Engagement Rate

Engagement rate can be defined as the number of accounts among the followers who actually like or comment something. According to Marketly’s regression analysis related to the comparison between the number of followers and engagement rate, the more followers an influencer has, the less engagement rate. In the analysis, the accounts which had about 1,000 followers attained 8% engagement rate while only 1.7% from million-follower accounts.

The interesting question is, why is there an inverse ratio instead of a direct one?

First of all, utilizing celebrities can be an ideal option when launching a new brand or raising awareness, since celebrities have an enormous fan base. While celebrities’ posts in social media can attract a lot of attention, in other words, impressions, not too many may necessarily care about what the celebrity is trying to promote, because the follower base is so generic and comes with varying interests in mind. This leads to less amount of followers talking about the actual product leading to lower engagement level.  

Example: Kim Kardashian promoting a diet tea 


Detoxing with @fittea 💜 it tastes amazing and the ingredients are all natural 🍵 #ad

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on


To make it simple, I will just include the number of likes for the engagement for a sample calculation sake. For Kim's diet tea post, the engagement level would be =968,352 likes / 99.1million followers x 100 = 0.98% 

Second, micro-influencers generate more realistic contents and attain more concentrated audience scope. Their content is based on their personal interests in areas such as fashion design, make-up, sports or fitness. Their followers are those who also have the same interests. Also, the content they post on social media reflects their real research, actions, experiences, achievements and even their emotions. Through a laptop or mobile screen, their audience has a chance to visually experience and emotionally connect with them. As a result, when a micro-influencer posts photos or stories in social media, their followers react quickly resulting in high engagement.

Example: Nail technician Liina Leino promoting a nail polish brand 


Engagement level would be 5,560 likes / 73.8k followers x 100 = 7.53%

If you compare the engagement level of Kim Kardashian and Liina Leino, it is quite apparent that the micro-influencer Liina Leino has a higher engagement level with her followers.

Micro-influencers are more approachable

As said, micro-influencers are typically vloggers, bloggers, writers or artists, who can be found amongst people living around us. Micro-influencers can also be employees of a regular company or loyal customers of a brand. For example: an employee working for a coffee brand might become a micro-influencer for his company just because of his exquisite taste for coffee or his creative method of making a cappuccino. He could share his personal experience in drinking various types of coffee or ideas on how to make best coffee. Other coffee-lovers would start following his posts in social media, and this may increase positive brand image for the coffee company he works for.

Marketly recommended that companies should choose micro-influencers whose accounts have about 1,000 to 10,000 followers for the highest engagement rate as mentioned above. However, if marketing professionals want to also increase brand awareness to a more wider audience, then you need to balance which types of influencers you use or whether you would use multiple micro-influencers to boost your brand awareness. This is because the average number of followers varies between individual industrial niche. For example, an average number of followers for a Fitness micro-influencer is 131,625, whereas only 38,274 for a micro-influencer in traveling topic. Marketing professionals have to consider which micro-influencers hold the most suitable number of followers on social media to balance the scale of the intended reach pool and acceptable engagement rate.


InsightsAtlas-micro-influencer-followers.jpg(Source: wersm.com)


Micro-influencers are affordable.

Micro-influencers are usually more affordable compared to big shot celebrities or accounts with millions of followers. Famous celebrities sometimes charge up to $187,500 for a post on YouTube, $75,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat and $30,000 for a post on Twitter. On the other hand, 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram might charge less than $500 for a promotion post. So you can see a huge difference here. Even if you end up using multiple micro-influencers to promote your product, you still won’t be paying as much as you would to a mega-influencer. Some brands also compensate micro-influencers with free products instead of paying actual cash. For example, a make-up vlogger might get free eye liner from a cosmetic company, just so that she would use the product in her Youtube video.


InsightsAtlas-micro-influencer-price.jpg(Source: wersm.com)


How to Reach Micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers are typically not so picky. Some of them might not even know yet about the possibilities to earn while doing something he/she loves - writing about his/her interest area. So, it is easier to reach out to them to negotiate a partnership deal. I will go over some tips on how to effectively deal with micro-influencers in my upcoming blogs.

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Tags: Brands, Marketing, Social Analytics, Social Media, Social Media Consultation, Brand Ambassadors, Brand Insight, Brand Management, Communication, Big Data, Influencer Analysis, Influencer Marketing, Social Listening, Brand Visibility Metrics, Social Media Monitoring, Brand Health Index

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