In the social media age, the power of “influence” has evolved at the pace of an Olympic sprinter, which leaves us asking, “what does influential really mean?” Our answer is simple: trust. At a time where it feels like everyone either is an influencer or is trying to be one, we set out to break through the rose-colored Instagram filter and get to the root of what it is about influencers that people deem trustworthy.

Paid online influencers are generally the people who have the biggest platforms – key opinion leaders, celebrities, CEOs, and innovators who propel us into the future – whether we like it or not. It has, however, reached its tipping point. In 2019, fans and followers aren’t enough. We’re getting pickier about who we are recommending our clients team up with; we are looking for people who are approachable, relatable, and tightly connected to their – and ultimately our – audiences.

Enter: micro and nano influencers. The names connote small and insignificant, but their impact is far from that. These are people whose social following is less than 10,000 (nano) to less than 100,000 (micro). For simplicity, we’ll refer to both groups as micro influencers. They are talking to smaller groups of people, they leave their DMs open, and they are passionate about the things they communicate. It’s more than a paycheck to them; they have built a community for themselves and they care deeply about their niche following.

Because there’s an inner data geek within each person at B2, I’ll drop some stats:

  • A study by Experticity found that “82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow a recommendation made by a micro influencer, compared to 73% who are highly likely to act on a recommendation from an average person.”
  • HelloSociety published results which showed that micro influencer campaigns drive engagement rates that are a whopping 60% higher than average campaigns.
  • A recent Digiday survey showed that micro influencers on Instagram were able to engage up to 8.7 percent of their audience compared to just 1.7 percent for celebrity influencers

Those are some serious stats, but how does it translate to – you guessed it – the budget? With the same budget you might use on a celebrity influencer campaign, micro influencers can provide our clients with more than five times the engagement rate of celebrities, and the knowledge – the TRUST – that our audiences are more interested in what the micro influencer has to say.

In healthcare, earning the trust of our audiences is critical to our success, and arguably one of our biggest challenges in this current climate. Re-examining our approach to influence requires a lot more research and a better understanding of the people we are trying to reach, and it puts us on the front lines of strengthening the relationship between brand and consumer.