The rise of micro-influencer marketing

If you can’t afford a Kardashian to pump your product, maybe you should target tastemakers with more modest—yet narrowly focused and engaged—followings.

When it comes to social media followers, sometimes less is more.

It might seem inefficient to target people with 10,000 followers rather than those with a million, but micro-influencer campaigns can reap huge PR and marketing benefits. Some call it ” the new frontier of marketing.”

Micro-influencers have more followers than most people—typically in the 1,000 to 100,000 range—but fewer than celebrities and established luminaries in fashion, entertainment or sports. They tend to have a very engaged, loyal fanbase in niche B2B or consumer categories, and they are affordable even for small organizations. Superstars might have more reach, but they have less time to engage with fans.

For a flavor of what’s possible with micro-influencer marketing, here are four examples of successful campaigns:

Banana Republic

Banana Republic worked with Instagram micro-influencers who modeled its clothing in a variety of settings. Their posts included the #itsbanana hashtag.

Influencers also included seasonal and campaign-specific hashtags such as #brmovesyou, #brmakeitmatter and #brholiday, notes Mediakix. By seeking fashion and lifestyle influencers known for their sense of style, Banana Republic reached a large yet targeted audience.

Daniel Wellington

Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington emphasizes influencer marketing over other strategies. The company does no traditional advertising.

In a recent Instagram micro-influencer campaign, it stepped beyond fashion and lifestyle Instagrammers to reach a larger audience. For instance, it partnered with Scuba and Shadow, a pet-focused account.

Daniel Wellington’s micro-influencers included account-specific discount codes in posts to attract new customers with incentives. By partnering with an array of influencers featuring different styles, Daniel Wellington reached a larger, broader group of consumers, including people outside the fashion niche.


Glossier, a skincare retailer founded in 2014, owes its success largely to influencer marketing. When selecting influencers, it prioritizes engagement rates over follower numbers, which Mediabistro says is a savvy move.

Glossier worked with an under-the-radar powerbroker named Cecilia Gorgon, a University of Michigan student with about 8,500 Instagram followers. She posted a photo of the brand’s Priming Moisturizer Rich, noting she’d “been testing it out the past few days and it’s so moisturizing.” She also positively reviewed Glossier products in an Into the Gloss article under her byline.

In another campaign, Glossier flew 13 of its micro-influencers to New York City for 48 hours. One was vlogger Amy Serrano, who has nearly 50,000 YouTube subscribers. The beauty vlogger documented the excursion on YouTube and dedicated four Instagram posts to the trip, garnering substantial views and engagement.

Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine, which manufactures personal care products with only natural ingredients, decided to tap social media users with 500 to 5,000 followers—people more like ordinary customers than influencers. Tom’s was careful to select people who could engage their audience on relevant topics, explains digital marketing consultant Shane Barker.

In addition to a slew of social media interactions, Tom’s obtained customer insights through feedback, reviews and surveys.

“This example clearly shows how you don’t always have to go big with influencer marketing. A strong network of micro- and mid-level influencers, relevant to your niche, should have the desired effect on engaging your target audience,” Barker said.

Bottom line

Partnering with micro-influencers can be an effective, affordable marketing strategy for businesses of all stripes. The examples listed above offer a taste of what’s possible.

A version of this article first appeared on

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