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Most fashion and beauty brands, coming early to the influencer marketing scene, now have dedicated influencer budgets, expected to increase by a crazy 59% this year. Other industries are also seeing significant gains, with 82% of UK brands engaging in some sort of influencer marketing across verticals, according to our own study.

It intuitively makes sense for lifestyle brands to work with tastemakers on social media. But at what scale, and what follower reach should an ideal influencer have? Leaving aside our role in your marketing plan, here are some reasons we’ve kept our focus on micro-influencers with 1,000+ followers, at an average of 10k followers:

1. They work harder to acquire and keep their followers

That’s not to say celebrities don’t work hard. But online clout of social influencers is a much more direct function of their number of followers. Their world revolves around faves, follows and retweets—and they obsess over details, metrics and strategy as much or more than business owners do (it’s crazy, just ask an influencer about what it takes to get the most amount of likes for a post). Celebrities treat their social channels differently and have much more passive followers that have significantly lower engagement rates.

2. Celebrities are fantasies, social influencers are real

The sole reason social influencers keep their followers is because their posts are inspiring and useful to their followers. Celebrities on the other hand, through their social media, offer a window into the world of glamour. So the inherent reason for following them is fundamentally different. Celebrities allow people to fantasize about the unattainable and unreal. Which is great. But when it comes to product endorsements, there’s a more natural alignment with local tastemakers who have a real impact and authority when it comes to product and brand decisions.

3. Consumers aren’t stupid

Study after study shows the diminishing, and even negative impact of celebrity endorsements. People are suspect of partnerships with layers and layers of agents and lawyers. Social influencers, on the other hand, have to fight for their authenticity, lest they lose followers that have a sour taste from a follower-brand relationship that undermines the role of the influencer as a tastemaker. Again, celebrities are not followed for their ability to pick out good brands and products. Those endorsements are more a necessary evil for followers than a part of the mix.

4. Social influencers with creative freedom provide valuable insight

When you squander a budget on celebrities, they’ll fulfil their part of the deal. But the image or video assets gained from this arrangement are one-offs and require art direction from multiple parties. That means the aesthetic, subject matter and style of the campaign came from within and was brought to the audience without the celebrity necessarily having the freedom to adapt the content to their style.

When you work with multiple micro-influencers, not only do you get real engagement, but the output of a campaign is split between a number of diverse influencers. Each one a brainstorm to crack when, how and why your product belongs in a certain setting. The asset produced is surfaced upwards as informative insight for you as a marketer, your brand and your big-idea creative partners. Whether you ignore it or not, having the opportunity to gain this insight from multiple social influencers with creative freedom has the potential to be humbling and inspiring for brand owners themselves.

Smaller is smarter

Marketers are beginning to talk about the power of smaller influencers over hired brand ambassadors and celebrities. We surveyed Instagram engagement rates and found that the fewer followers you have the higher your engagement rate. At the same time, we saw significantly increase in post quality around 1,000+ followers. With strong traction with UK influencers we now have the ability to execute campaigns in a matter of hours.

By Solberg Audunsson, co-founder of Takumi

Originally posted by Takumi

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