We have already seen how KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) play a crucial role in the promotion on WeChat. The use of KOLs for digital marketing campaigns in China (and not only) is not a new thing. Large and small brands work with influencers to increase brand awareness, consumer loyalty and brand reputation. Many luxury companies are constantly rely to influencers or KOLs obtaining positive results, the strategy of using a celebrity in order to increase brand visibility is obviously a winning one, even if very expensive. However, after years of courtship by many of the world’s biggest brands, influencers are increasingly expensive, incredibly demanding and, let’s face it, spoiled. For companies that do not have huge marketing budgets or that want to test the ground in China, the use of influencers is a minefield with questionable investment returns.
This is why micro-influencers are catching on.
So what is a “micro-influencer”?
As the name suggests, a micro-influencer is an individual who has developed a relatively small audience (50,000 – 200,000 real followers depending on the platform) but loyal and – perhaps even more importantly – authentic, but who has not done of “blogging” a profession. They are followed for their writing skills, points of view or for the deep knowledge of a certain topic.
Micro-influencers work moved by passion, they are much more local and regional, making them a perfect target for brands that want to promote themselves not only in first-tier cities but above all in second and third-tier cities.
According to a study made by Experticity micro-influencers have a capacity of conversion 22.2 times higher than the word of mouth, moreover, 82% of consumers said they were “highly inclined” to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer.
Why you should choose a micro-influencer.
The first point is, of course, the cost.
Micro-influencers charge far less for cooperation than an established influencer. The reason lies both in their lower follower base and in the fact that they are building a win-win strategy with you: the more brands work with a micro-influencer, the more famous they become. This makes them more available to work together and above all to do a good job.
The second point is the specialization of the micro-influencer.
Many micro-influencers love the products they talk about and are eager to test them and provide recommendations, after all it is their area of expertise.
As Chinese consumers use social media more as a platform to find products and recommendations, the challenge for companies is to emerge among billions of products and information available. This is where micro-influencers come into play. Thanks to their expertise, they provide unique perspectives on brands by taking greater advantage of the trust of followers.
Chinese Millennials and Gen Z consumers consider personalization an integral part of their shopping experience. They expect companies to speak directly with them. More and more brands are realizing that working with a niche influencer with a unique point of view on their product could generate better results than a high-level influencer who probably also works with their competitors.
The third point is the restriction of the target audience.
Micro-influencers tend to attract followers within niche areas of interest. Unlike KOLs and celebrities that attract all types of people, making customer acquisition very generic, micro-influencers are followed because they talk about a specific topic, the topic of interest is precisely the product that the consumer wants to buy.
Some areas are more suited than others to the use of micro-influencers.
While the vast majority of influencers in China focus on style and fashion, specialists can be extremely useful in different market segments, such as wine, where consumers generally have a lower level of knowledge and turn to young influencer for advice.
Travel is another area where micro-influencers have become extremely important. They can be fundamental in promoting travel destinations that are less known to the new traveling public that, thanks to the expansion of the middle class, is developing in China.
Another area in which micro-influencers are particularly effective is education, particularly for international students. Micro-influencers can quickly bring together exclusive groups of students to take part in specific events or promotions, giving institutes a preferential line for obtaining a very active group of people with good power spending.
What is the budget for a micro-influencer campaign?
While traditional marketers seek to reach hundreds of thousands of people as quickly as possible with the generic goal of “raising awareness” of the brand, measurable and data-based goals can deliver tangible results. Set your objective, are we talking about a percentage increase in turnover? Or the expansion of your customer base? You need to define exact figures and measure the results. This is fundamental when the time comes to define the budget to be allocated for a micro-influencer campaign.
When you start digging into influencer marketing in China, the first thought that springs to mind is simple: it’s too expensive.
Obviously the price of cooperation with a micro-influencer varies greatly from the type of collaboration and the type of channel that is used. WeChat and WeiBo are particularly popular platforms for influencers, it is clear that doing the respost of an article or a live stream promotion campaign have different costs.
Generally speaking, working with a micro-influencer has a cost of 1000-3000 euros per post. To reach even a small market segment, you have to work with a series of micro-KOLs and create different campaigns.
It is advisable to involve 10 to 30 micro-influencers, which makes the total budget to be allocated from 15,000 to 90,000 euros.
In most cases, the hardest part of the job is finding the right micro-influencer. This is why there are specialized agencies that can put you in touch with influencers in your industry.
Obviously, if you have a huge budget available, popular influencers and celebrities to promote your brand are a good choice, but if you are a small-medium business or are starting to invest in China now, working with micro-influencers will probably generate a greater return on investment.