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How to use micro-influencers in your marketing

By Margo Waldrop, Content Writer

January 31, 2023 | 8 min read

Even normal, everyday people with a hefty following on social media can influence thousands upon thousands of consumers. Their ready-made audiences are a key attraction for advertisers, with companies keen to capitalize on the buying power of their devoted following.

Micro influencers - image of a blonde woman sitting on a car

Use micro-influencers in your marketing

Based on recent data from HypeAuditor, influencer marketing is expected to balloon to a whopping $22.2bn by 2025. That isn’t chump change, that’s the future. Leveraging that popularity has become big business for companies, but often brands are overlooking a demographic that could be a match made in heaven – micro-influencers.

What are micro-influencers versus influencers?

Micro-influencers are, just as the name implies, influencers with a smaller audience. A vast majority of influencers fall within this ‘micro’ pocket, typically commanding between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. While this may sound like small potatoes compared with the following of larger names, the benefits are proving worthy of a second look.

Even though micro-influencers don’t have followers in the millions, they are known for having an active and devoted following. A study conducted by Jonah Berger and the Keller Fay Group shows that 82% of consumers are ‘highly likely’ to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer. This follows the fact that micro-influencers recommend products 22.2 times more in ‘buying conversations’ than the ordinary consumer.

The results are certainly clear; smaller influencers have extremely high engagement among their followers, outperforming even the big names on social media – not an easy feat considering that larger influencers include worldwide celebrities and multimillion-dollar athletes.

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Why micro-influencers might be better for your brand

The benefits of partnering with a micro-influencer are high, with low risk. A win-win for both parties. Not only does the micro-influencer have a high audience engagement rate, but they are more affordable and willing to work with smaller brands. Tactics that larger influencers tend to overlook.

While micro-influencers do get paid, it’s on a much smaller scale than the bigger names. Oftentimes, a micro-influencer will accept products for themselves or their followers in exchange for their pitch. It is a smart fit for smaller marketing budgets, ideal for budding companies trying to make a name for themselves.

Micro-influencers also tend to lead the way for a profitable niche market, skillfully building brand loyalty and repetitive sales. With the thousands of micro-influencers out there, no product market is off the table. Everything from boutique hotels in Thailand to ultra-soft cashmere blankets, softening oil for beards and crispy chicken nuggets are game for marketing with micros. Their tight-knit audience can quickly drive word-of-mouth, helping companies stretch their marketing dollar.

Matching motivations

According to Linqia’s State of Influencer Marketing 2021 Report, marketing budgets involving influencers rose 71% in 2021 and were poised to easily top that in 2022. And while the funnel of marketing money is widening, companies are quickly learning that not every influencer will hit a home run for their products. A high follower count doesn’t promise product sales. It is the building of trust that outperforms any numbers, with micro-influencers producing major product movement because of this very fact.

During one of our recent campaigns at The Drum, analysis showed the highest-performing influencer used her own personal experiences with relationships and her struggle with weight to fully connect with the audience. By using humor and engaging viewers with her brand of storytelling she was able to drive an ROI of over 22 times. This alignment of ‘story and influencer’ connected the product to the audience in ways that a typical advertisement might be lacking – personable, relatable and real.

Followers on social media are naturally drawn to people with whom they share commonalities. Beliefs, attitudes, values, goals or aspirations that are shared between the follower and influencer can heavily influence the audience’s buying decisions. It is the matching of motivations – the ‘why’ that delivers the goods and creates a love match between brand and influencer.

How to find micro-influencers

Finding the perfect micro-influencer isn’t difficult, but keep in mind they need to already embody the ethos of your brand. Shaping an influencer to your product will only waste time and money when in fact they should already mirror your company’s image and values. This makes the path to a profitable union much smoother.

The best methods to find a micro-influencer are fortunately the easiest:

  • Hashtag search: An Instagram hashtag search will help find the influencers who not only have an audience in your niche but are already using and sharing your products.

  • Your own follower list: Your company’s list of followers is a valuable piece of real estate. Search through your list to find micro-influencers who are especially loyal to your products.

  • Google search: The ever-present Google is a powerful tool to research social influencers in your niche, as well as hunt out bloggers who use your products.

  • Influencer search tools: Online tools like Julius Works and Ninja Outreach help take the guesswork out of finding the right influencer by using data, filters and engagement analytics to pair the ideal influencer and brand.

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The magic of micro-influencer marketing

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for companies, relationships matter more these days than just a stellar sports career or dewy skin and a perfect face. Micro-influencers have it figured out – build an audience who believes in the things they do and good things will come. For all parties.

Traveling through life’s ups and downs together only serves to further bind the influencer and follower and this is particularly true with micro-influencers. Their smaller audiences allow them to deeply connect with devotees who look to them for advice and product suggestions.

When companies take the time to appreciate these cultivated relationships and match their brand with an influencer who wholeheartedly represents their target audience, they can easily strike marketing gold.

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