Trust, not follower count, is the ultimate currency in digital marketing.
This is why brands are spending at least half their marketing budgets on micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers can deliver higher ROI, more authentic content, a higher volume of content, and more audience engagement than influencers with larger audiences. For those reasons, brands are choosing to scale up by using many micro-influencers instead of with a few celebrities, macro-influencers, or mega-influencers.
But to achieve campaign success with micro-influencers requires manpower to properly vet, select, and invite influencers and to manage your campaigns with them.
Even with the help of an influencer software platform, micro-influencer campaigns still require a significant amount of tedious work that can overwhelm a busy digital marketing team.
Outsourcing the tedious work to an influencer marketing agency can help. You’ll get access to influencer marketing expertise and they’ll do the labor-intensive work for you. Your in-house team can focus on the more strategic aspects of influencer marketing.
How do you find the right influencer marketing agency? In this article, we provide in-depth reviews of the following leading micro-influencer marketing agencies:
What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?
Let’s start by describing who micro-influencers are.
Simply put, they are social media creators who have an audience of 5,000 to 50,000 followers. Because of the manageable size of their fanbases, micro-influencers are able to maintain close relationships with their communities which leads to higher audience engagement rates.
Think of micro-influencers as relatable “people just like you and me” who seek to help their audiences — your potential customers — make purchase decisions. They are talented creators who hold their audiences’ attention by entertaining, informing, and/or educating their audiences.
That’s not all. Micro-influencers are extremely valuable to brand marketers because their content is focused on a particular niche, passion, or area of expertise. Their focused content enables brands to target their campaigns more precisely.
Popular segments of influencers include parents, beauty, fashion, wellness, home decor, and lifestyle. And unlike celebrity endorsers, micro-influencers only promote products they believe in, which makes them credible, third-party experts.
Micro-influencer marketing involves turning these highly engaging influencers into brand advocates, in exchange for cash payment, product gifts, or experiences.
And engaging with these smaller influencers is often recognized as the “sweet spot” of influencer marketing since it drives more:
1. Cost savings and return on investment: As per a recent survey, 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 for an endorsement, while rates charged by larger influencers start at $1,000.
A brand that spends $5,000 on a micro-influencer campaign can reach upwards of 315,000 members of their target audience. Hence, even with a smaller budget, the brand is able to promote its products more often (and in more places) than could ever have been achieved with celebrity endorsements.
Furthermore, since each micro-influencer is producing unique content, working with micros produces more content. This is super important for brands that have a goal of repurposing the content.
Oftentimes, micro- and nano-influencers are also open to trade collaborations, where your product gift or samples are the payment for their social post.
2. Engagement: Whereas macro-influencer marketing only delivers a 1.21% engagement rate, this figure goes up to a respectable 3.86% for micro-influencers. Unlike their larger counterparts, micro-influencers often respond to every comment on their posts creating a close relationship with their audience.
3. Trust: There is little faith in endorsements by celebs or mega-influencers, who have 100,000+ followers, because it is obvious they are being paid to promote products and services. Thus, smaller internet celebrities with more authentic and approachable personas tend to drive significantly higher engagement levels.
4. Agile and flexible content production: Micro-influencers are at a stage where they want to grow in popularity and monetize their online presence. Therefore, they tend to be more flexible than their counterparts with bigger fan followings.
Micro-influencers, when given creative freedom, will often produce new concepts allowing brands to see which are most successful. They are also more willing to turn around high-quality creative assets quickly, as per your brand’s needs.
In-House vs Agency for Micro-Influencer Marketing
When working with micro-influencers, some brands choose to do it all in-house. This is manageable when you are working with a handful of micro-influencers or if you have a large team.
But when you want to scale this operationally-intensive process, consider if your in-house team has the capacity to:
- Purchase and manage the software to access and manage influencers.
- Hire a team of influencer strategists and campaign managers for end-to-end campaign management, and offer them in-depth onboarding and training.
- Complete the tedious processes of sorting through millions of micro-influencers and vetting (i.e., follower authenticity, alignment with your brand, and quality of content) hundreds to thousands of potential micros.
- Invite, contract, communicate, negotiate costs and content rights with micro-influencers.
- Ensure that influencers post content after they have been received free products.
- Manage issues related to a wrong size, damaged, or missing shipments to influencers.
- Collect content for repurposing.
- Pay influencers that posted (i.e., if you are paying influencers vs. offering product in-kind).
- Track and analyze campaign data and make recommendations for improvements.
Now, that’s a lot of work.
When you use an agency for influencer coordination and content production, your digital marketing team can focus on the more strategic tasks.
This will give them the bandwidth to boost the performance across your entire marketing system by engaging meaningfully with the influencer content, regramming it, and repurposing it into ads, emails, and product detail pages.
What are the top benefits of partnering with a micro-influencer marketing agency?
- Enables you to run far more scalable campaigns, as mundane and repetitive tasks get outsourced.
- Runs campaigns that are at least 2.6x cheaper than when executed in-house.
- Provides existing relationships with micro-influencers that reduce time and resources spent on outreach.
- Helps benchmark your success with learnings from other client brands.
- Offers access to best practices and trends in the industry.
- Offers actionable analyses of campaigns to get maximum ROI.
- Provides you with valuable user-generated content to power up your ads, newsletters, and shopping sites.
With almost all facets of influencer marketing managed by an agency, your team can then focus on the strategic use of the content to drive additional ROI.
How Can a Micro-Influencer Marketing Agency Help?
There are millions of micro-influencers in the social media universe. And each of these public personas has varying amounts of reach, engagement, different niches, and content styles.
Without experience in influencer management, it is difficult to tell which influencers are more effective and a good fit for your brand voice. You also will not know which process(es) will lower costs, improve efficiencies, and add speed to campaign execution.
To avoid floundering in the dark, seek out a good micro-influencer marketing agency. They can be depended upon to:
- Build an impactful influencer campaign strategy.
- Choose micro-influencers that fit the client profile and campaign needs. After all, the wrong influencer would result in wasted money and failed campaigns.
- Communicate with micro-influencers, which includes sharing an influencer media kit, contracts, and creative briefs, for better campaign execution.
- Offer end-to-end support from writing social media copy and arranging photo and video shoots to campaign automation.
- Measure campaign success and optimize future campaigns.
Pro tip: To deliver more authentic and impactful endorsements from your influencer marketing campaign, choose an agency that supports you in “gifting” or “trade collaborations.”
Top Micro-Influencer Marketing Agencies in 2022
A brand knows its customers best. But a good agency will know the industry and micro-influencers better. And that is the strength that you can capitalize on when partnering with an agency for micro-influencer marketing.
As with any other purchase decision, it is best to review more than one vendor (with varied capabilities and costs) before making your final choice.
And to make it easier for you to pick the right agency partner here is an in-depth analysis of the leading micro-influencer marketing companies worldwide:
ApexDrop provides a fully-managed service that makes it easy to quickly deploy campaigns and produce authentic content in the United States.
The agency does all the vetting, selecting, negotiating, contracting, and communicating with micro- and nano-creators. It also provides an advanced platform where clients can see live data, access and manage their content. You’ll never have to ask an influencer for the right to reuse content or pay extra for reusing content because that is already negotiated upfront.
But, what sets ApexDrop apart from the competition is that it only offers product gifts (not cash) to micro-influencers as compensation. So, only influencers who love your brand will post authentic and relatable branded content. This method builds trust.
As one of the oldest micro-influencer agencies, ApexDrop has automated systems and processes to make scaling up easy and affordable.
- Private community of handpicked, diverse, and pre-vetted micro-influencers
- Automated systems and processes to efficiently manage large campaigns
- Influencers are given product gifts, not cash, to ensure authentic content
- Dedicated account manager and campaign developer who are an extension of your marketing team
- Measurement and optimization of all campaigns
- Mobile app for influencers to discover and join new collabs and manage their gigs
- Pre-negotiated rights for brands to reuse content created by the micro-influencers
- Implements processes that ensure you get access to the most authentic content in the industry.
- Offers intuitive dashboard to track campaign marketing KPIs.
- Cost-effective and attentive customer support.
- Eliminates the need for investment in large-scale photoshoots for lifestyle images.
- End-to-end campaign management that saves brands time spent on identifying influencers and cultivating relationships with them.
- No free trial.
- Yet to tap into the network of TikTok influencers.
- Does not offer complete control over the quality of content or shoot style in order to maintain authenticity.
ApexDrop’s services are customized to brand requirements so prices vary based on the client’s needs and goals. Nevertheless, as one of the most cost-effective options in the industry, it typically helps brands annually save thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of the influencer budget.
Best For: Consumer brands, both e-commerce and retail, that want an efficient way to scale with hundreds to thousands of micro-influencers per year. Agencies that want to offer a turnkey influencer marketing service to their clients.
Notable clients include: Russell Athletic, Real Good Foods, DERMA E, Spoonflower, Bogle Vineyards, Pact Apparel, and Abby & Finn.
GRIN is a relationship-centric software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that streamlines workflow processes and offers a system of record for your influencer marketing initiatives. It has a wide network of 33M+ influencers that brands can gain access to.
From dropping theme collaboration-related emails to shipping samples and repurposing content, this solution eliminates a lot of manual labor, which improves the efficiency of your in-house marketing team.
This easy-to-use software even manages payments to influencers and compliance on behalf of the brand.
- Influencer discovery, recruitment, and relationship management
- Automated influencer outreach
- Integrated email inbox
- Product seeding feature
- Payment tracking functionality
- Ecommerce portal integrations for you to sync your inventory
- Affiliate links and discount code generation
- Comprehensive and real-time reporting dashboard
- One intuitive platform to track, sort, and tag influencer content
- Unified reporting view with the option to view metrics by campaign.
- Creator search tool (with Lookalike functionality) that reduces influencer recruiting time.
- Multiple cross-platform integrations (i.e marketing stack, social platforms, eCommerce solutions, communications solutions, etc.)
- Glitches upon excessive use of the Instagram integration tool.
- Not enough options for link and code grouping and tracking.
- Issues with paying influencers offline.
The pricing for GRIN’s advanced influencer marketing solution tends to start at $2,125 per month.
Best For: Direct to consumer ecommerce brands
Heartbeat connects brands with parents, environmentalists, pet lovers, and online shoppers who have a good social media clout and meet your brand’s target criteria. The agency, with its roster of 250,000+ micro-influencers, helps you run scalable influencer-style campaigns on TikTok or Instagram.
Not only does Heartbeat use automated authenticity gates to shortlist the top performers for each campaign, but it also guides the influencers on what to post.
- Option of self-service (pay-as-you-go) and managed service
- A dedicated team that plans, executes, and analyzes your campaign
- Powerful surveys to identify the target audience for your campaign
- Creative ideation and campaign strategy support
- Co-development of content with influencer
- Detailed wrap-up report
- Is a preferred TikTok partner, which makes it possible to run timely and cost-efficient campaigns on the platform.
- Free ownership rights for all generated brand-specific content.
- Guarantees definite reach, engagement, and number of posts for each campaign.
- Handles gift shipping and fulfillment.
- Issues with the user experience of the influencer-facing app.
- No free trial.
- Only works with TikTok and Instagram.
Heartbeat has not publicly shared rates for its services.
This is a premier full-service influencer marketing agency with 500,000+ influencers, across several major channels, and a presence in six continents. Obvious.ly takes care of the complete influencer marketing operations from strategy and communication to product shipment and analysis.
Armed with its proprietary technology and services, the company has supported the influencer marketing efforts of iconic brands such as Amazon, Ulta, Lyft, Google, Coca-Cola, and Hasbro.
- Influencer shortlisting, recruitment, and management tool
- Digital content creation services, from product photography to animated videos, and illustrations
- Logistics module that takes care of shipping
- In-depth results analysis functionality
- Leverages computer vision and language parsing to optimize influencer campaigns.
- Offers a dedicated account manager who executes influencer marketing campaigns end-to-end, alongside the platform.
- Offers access to existing relationships with influencers.
- Helps build on-brand content at scale.
- Improves ROI on ad spend.
- Not very affordable.
- No free trial.
$25k – 100K
Best For: Fortune 500 companies with a special focus on consumer packaged goods, ecommerce, and the fashion industry
5. Social Native
The brainchild of Salesforce, Google, Scopely, and Applied Semantics veterans, Social Native is a marketplace technology company. It connects nano, micro, and macro-influencers with brands to create cost-effective and impactful content for brands.
Social Native’s content creation engine is the highlight of the platform. Once you share the campaign or creative requirements, it shortlists the best influencers and preps them to create branded content as per the client’s needs. Then, the platform boosts top-performing posts and saves influencer content for repurposing in the future.
- Testing and optimization of existing creative assets
- Real-time content performance and trend data analysis and forecasts
- Contract negotiation, shipping management, and payment facilitation
- Partnerships with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tiktok
- Filters and ranks influencers before inviting them to participate in each unique marketing initiative.
- Cost-effective, fast, and offers greater control over messaging.
- Harnesses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and image recognition technologies for content optimization – powered by IBM Watson technology.
- Enables generation of large volumes of creative content on-demand.
- Offers free trial.
- Offers access to an ecosystem of integrations with top social media channels.
- Poses medium-level integration, security, and privacy risk.
Social Native has not listed its prices anywhere. It appears to offer different rates per engagement or piece of content based on the campaign requirement.
Gain access to up-and-coming photographers and videographers with Cohley’s content marketplace. It can also help you build on the authority and reach of the top micro-influencers to tell your brand’s story via powerful branded photos, videos, or text reviews.
And to further reduce content costs, Cohley lets brands retain rights to use and reuse influencer content across marketing channels.
- Brief strategy and ideation
- Creator recruiting, vetting, contracts, and management
- Product reviews at scale
- Content generation tools
- Technology that tests and repurposes photos
- Campaign reporting and wrap up
- Management of licensing rights to all assets
- Cost-effective creation of professional-grade images at scale.
- Good customer support and detailed onboarding.
- One platform that manages, organizes, and analyzes all your influencer campaigns.
- Product review generator tool that improves process efficiency.
- No free trial.
- Limited diversity and volumes of influencers.
- Time-consuming to pare down the best influencers for each campaign.
- The user interface could be made more user-friendly.
Cohley has not made its pricing public, especially since the solutions are customized to each client.
7. InBeat Agency
Want to get the maximum bang for your buck when working with TikTok, Youtube, Snapchat, and Instagram influencers?
InBeat can help save time, money, and effort invested by your in-house team by supporting the influencer discovery, outreach, negotiation, payments, agreements, and strategy.
The agency runs complex, highly targeted campaigns and offers creative direction for influencer content, while its conversion experts drive optimal campaign results.
- Turnkey micro and nano influencer management technology
- Database of 25,000+ micro-influencers
- In-house creative director
- Influencer-centric focus groups
- Social listening tools to evaluate influencers on the basis of engagement, reach, and social trust
- In-built analytics and ROI tracking.
- Transparent pricing model, no hidden fees, and free strategy call.
- Complete control over the influencer selection.
- Tailor-made campaigns for every budget.
- No free trial.
Not shared by the agency as each plan is tailored to your brand’s unique goals.
Best For: Mobile apps, consumer product goods, and direct-to-consumer brands. InBeat also specializes in marketing to high school students through micro-influencers and community leaders
8. Collectively, Inc.
For the last decade or so, Collectively Inc has been instrumental in connecting brands to micro-influencers to create authentic marketing content. Armed with best-in-class technology, talent, and ideas, it can be depended upon to deliver a full-funnel impact via micro-influencer marketing.
This full-service agency has a roster of 3M+ global influencers in its network. And it helps you identify the right content creator in terms of niche and demographics.
- Campaign development
- Creative briefing
- Talent management and contracting
- Content management
- Conversation and sentiment
- Reporting and analytics
- Payment and transaction services
- Access to many other cutting-edge marketing technologies since it is part of the You & Mr Jones group.
- Technology and services model based on 10+ years of industry learning.
- Multiplatform approach.
- Wide range of influencers.
- No free trial.
$2,500 and $2.5M per project
Best For: Blue-chip clients primarily in the retail, automotive, and non-profit sectors
9. Top Worldwide
TOP is an integrated agency network with a dedicated micro-influencer marketing arm. It offers expert creative and strategic inputs to drive engagement rates of your micro-influencer marketing campaign.
Thus, the agency ensures a very targeted and engaged audience and an emotion-driven narrative to deliver higher ROI for each campaign.
- Influencer discovery, vetting, and negotiation
- Influencer regulatory compliance
- Influencer creative concept development
- Organic and paid influencer campaigns
- Product trial campaigns
- Tracking and optimization of campaign metrics
- Influencer CRM that measures the true degree of influence of each micro-influencer.
- International and proprietary network of influencers.
- Access to in-house designers, copywriters, and campaign strategists.
- Free micro-influencer marketing plan.
- No free trial.
The agency does not publicly share details of its pricing structure.
Here are responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about micro-influencer marketing agencies.
1. What companies use micro-influencers?
Any company that wishes to gain product or brand endorsements, that are authentic and believable, should work with micro-influencers. They are cost-effective and quickly deliver targeted branded content that results in high engagement and conversion levels.
2. What is an influencer marketing agency?
If you wish to scale your influencer marketing efforts quickly and at a fraction of the cost, then engage with specialist agencies that will match you with the right influencers. You can even outsource to these companies content production, influencer management, and much more.
3. How much does it cost to hire a micro-influencer?
The costs of working with micro-influencers tend to vary based on factors such as the platform that is being posted on and content type. While some micro-influencers will accept product gifts only, typically, per piece of content, be ready to pay $25 to $1,250.
4. What is a micro-influencer?
A micro-influencer is a person with a following of 5,000 to 50,000 followers on social media. They tend to post content about a particular niche that they are passionate about, which results in high rates of audience engagement.
Which is the Best Micro-Influencer Marketing Agency?
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to improve conversion rates and build brand awareness and excitement.
And it's okay if you cannot afford celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian or DJ KHALED to campaign for you. After all, smaller, niche-focused influencers tend to deliver more impactful promotion of your product or service – on a budget.
But the truth is micro-influencer marketing takes tons of effort, nurturing of relationships, and months of planning before you see results.
If you can’t wait that long, a good micro-influencer marketing agency can help you gain instant access to verified content creators across social media platforms. And it can ensure that you collaborate meaningfully with the content creators to deliver stellar emotional engagement, social sharing, and time-sensitive action.
Which of the micro-influencer marketing agencies mention above is right for you? That depends on your niche, needs, and goals.
Are you ready to harness the power of authentic connections? Get started on your next micro-influencer marketing campaign now.
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