If you spend any time scrolling through Instagram or have purchased a product as a result of your social media habit, chances are you’ve seen influencers (or micro-influencers) in action.

Not quite sure what “influencer marketing” actually means? Here’s the skinny: brands partner with influencers, meaning celebrities or people with large social and/or blog followings, to promote their products, showcase experiences or build deeper connections with target audiences. From beauty and health to food and fashion, scores of consumer-minded businesses are tapping into influencers to reach customers.

And it works. A whopping 92% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers (the generations with the most spending power) cite influencer recommendations as more authentic than ads.

But that part about authenticity is crucial. It turns out that once social influencers reach a threshold of followers, audience engagement decreases and perceived authenticity seems to decline as well.

Enter the rise of micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers, as the name suggests, have smaller followings compared to the stars boasting one million-plus audiences, but they deliver more engagement. Influencers with thousands to hundreds of thousands of followers can deliver “like” rates of between 2.4 percent and 8 percent, compared to users with one to 10 million followers who earn “likes” just 1.7 percent of the time.  

While there may not be as many eyeballs viewing the content, there is more value in the ones who are. These smaller, more targeted audiences are likely more interested in the content being shared.

Plus, micro-influencers typically charge a fraction of what bigger influencers or celebrities charge for just one post. This gives brands the opportunity to work with a number of influencers at once – which has been shown to be highly effective – instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket.

With increasingly crowded and competitive marketplaces, ad-blocker usage on the rise and the decline of organic reach across social media, influencer marketing offers brands a path to reach target audiences in more authentic and meaningful ways.

The TL;DR version? People trust recommendations from real people.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you of micro-influencers’ value in marketing, there’s no sign the tactic will fall by the wayside soon — micro-influencers are expected to pull in some $10 billion by 2020.

Ready to see if a micro-influencer campaign is right for your business? Give us a shout.