Everyday Fans vs. Micro-Influencers: What Motivates Them to Share

 

Crank up that Spotify “Workout Twerkout” playlist, today we’re talking about motivation.

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Specifically, the differences between what motivates Everyday Fans and Micro-Influencers to share branded content on their social channels.

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What are Everyday Fans and Micro-Influencers Again?

First, let’s review these distinct influencer audiences. Longtime SocialToaster blog readers might remember we’ve talked about the differences between Everyday Fans and Micro-Influencers before here, here, and here, but to recap:

Everyday Fans
Everyday Fans are what most marketers think of when they think of a typical brand’s social media following. Everyday Fans are usually connected to 400-600 people through a variety of social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.), and share content that is a mix of personal updates and branded content to a network of friends, family members, and colleagues.

Micro-Influencers
Micro-Influencers are individuals, publishers, or groups of people who have cultivated a social audience that measures between 10,000 and 90,000 people. Micro-Influencers tend to focus on specific niches or topics. They also primarily focus on building their audience on a specific social platform. While they might have a few friends and family following them, most of their followers are unknown to them and choose to follow the Micro-Influencer based on the content being shared vs. a personal connection.

 

What Motivates These Influencers to Share?

If you want to leverage either variety of these influencers to help drive your brand’s marketing, you need to understand why they would consider sharing your content in the first place. By understanding this motivation, you can create content that better supports their drive to share, earning your brand more content engagement, further reach, and a stronger return on content production.

 

The Motivation of The Everyday Fan

Countless studies have been done to determine why casual brand fan chooses to share branded content. Many people tend to think that it comes down to an individual’s personality. Extroverted people share more than introverted people. It turns out this is not true at all.

A study by Craig Ross shows that of those surveyed, personality type wasn’t a strong indicator of potential sharing. The study finds that the motivation to share is more psychological. The content has to tap into the “right” motivation in order to earn a share.

So, what is that psychological motivator?

According to Fractl Market Researchers, 40% of those who share on social media will share items that make them look good, while 62% say they actively  avoid items that make them look bad. Your Everyday Fans are cultivating an online image with their peer network and choose to share content based on the image they’re building.

For the most part, people share content that:

  • Makes them seem more interesting to their social networks
  • Entertains or encourages an emotional response
  • Gives the appearance of a higher status (fashion pieces or luxury travel blog posts anyone)
  • Might be helpful to their social following

There’s also the whole dopamine spike that can come from the affirmation of shared content by one’s peers (i.e. likes and comments).

While some Everyday Fans might look for some sort of reward (or other freebie) for sharing brand content, the truth is the vast majority of content being shared by brand fans on social media is not tied to any reward system - though one can certainly help in amplifying your advocacy efforts.

How can your brand leverage this insight? Create content that makes your Everyday Fans look good. Set them up to be the smartest, funniest, most “it” person in their social circles.

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Pro Tip: Remember, working with your Everyday Fans is a scaling game. The more Everyday Fans you have sharing your content, the more reach and engagement your content receives. That’s why we recommend organizing your Everyday Fans in an advocacy marketing program to ensure that they are easily able to share and promote your content en masse.

 

The Motivation of The Micro-Influencer

While Everyday Fans are doing what they can to impress their few hundred followers, Micro-Influencers are working hard to engage 10,000 or more. To figure out the motivation behind what makes a Micro-Influencer share branded content, you need to consider why someone would take the time to grow and nature an audience of that size.

The most common reasons are:

  • A legitimate desire to help, inspire, and/or entertain their following
  • Looking to achieve a higher perceived status (even rivaling some celebrities)
  • Monetary gain

Keep in mind, most of a Micro-Influencers audiences aren’t composed of first party social connections. It’s not like these influencers had 25,000 best friends since first grade; Micro-Influencers fought hard to cultivate their audience by creating and publishing top-notch, highly-engaging content. That content tends to be niche-focused, aimed at building an audience around a central topic or lifestyle (travel, fashion, food, music, etc.).

So how do brands motivate Micro-Influencers?

Since most micro-influencers tend to have built their following around a specific focus, the first step a brand needs to take to motivate a Micro-Influencer is to ensure that your content is something the Micro-Influencer’s audience would actually care about. Ask yourself, “Does my content align with the influencer’s niche?” A beard grooming company is not likely to have much success partnering with a Micro-Influencer solely devoted to posting Instagram pictures of pugs in Halloween costumes.

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Then there’s money. Many (not all, but most) Micro-Influencers grow their audience to monetize them in some fashion - and there's nothing wrong with that. They’ve spent hundreds of hours creating content and engaging their audience, and partnering with brands to share branded content is a perfect way to recoup some of that investment. Unless your content is unbelievable, there typically needs to be a bit of a carrot involved.

There are several ways for brands to incentivize a Micro-Influencer to share their content including:

  • Inviting the Micro-Influencer to an exclusive event
  • Sending freebies or other gifts for product reviews
  • A briefcase of cash (kidding, not kidding)

Just keep in mind that all the incentive in the world may not be enough to get a Micro-Influencer to share your content. Not only does it have to align with their audience, but there’s a fine line that Micro-Influencers must walk when it comes to brand partnering. If they promote branded content too little, they’ve underutilized their audience; promote it too much, they risk being labeled a sellout and alienating their audience.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve started working with Micro-Influencers, be sure to have them join your advocacy marketing program to further leverage their audience.

 

Want more insight into how to leverage Everyday Fans and Micro-Influencers to grow your brand voice on social? Give SocialToaster a call today.