If you’ve spent any time on TikTok or Instagram in recent months, you may have come across a certain type of ‘haul’ post (where a person shows off or reviews a number of purchases to the camera) entitled “what I receive in a week as a micro influencer”.
It may seem unusual that someone with barely over 1000 followers is getting sent free stuff by brands, but the rise of the micro influencer is a phenomenon that is rapidly catching on in the advertising world. “Micro influencers” are typically defined as having between 1000-100’000 followers, but really it can be anyone considered to be influential in their respective niche.
The dreaded ‘payment with exposure’ has become a bit of a meme for some businesses and their dealings with influencers. Yet, the reality of micro influencing is that a smaller follower count often works in their favour, giving the impression of authentic, personal content tailored to a smaller audience, and therefore more relevant to the smaller number of followers. This in turn has more potential benefit for a company actually looking to sell a product, and not just create brand awareness.
The rise of the micro-influencer is especially notable on apps with rapidly consumed content like TikTok or Instagram Reels where algorithms determine what a user will like to see, irrespective of the follower size of a content creator.
The basic ethos of Oxford-based company Bulla Co is that micro influencers create real, tangible, and relatable content for a target audience since they are the target audience themselves. Compared to traditional influencers, engaging with a product or service advertised through a micro influencer feels more like taking the advice of a friend. Or, as they write on their website, these micro influencers aren’t trendsetters, but the trend itself.
I spoke to the founder of Bulla Co, Joshua Roche, to learn more about why he decided to set this company up, what they do, and how you can get involved (and earn some money!).
Where did the idea for Bulla Co come from?
I had the initial idea for Bulla Co a while ago, however, I just never acted on it as I was busy focussing on other student-based projects, but when Covid hit I had a lot more time available. So that’s where I relooked over the idea, and just thought, why not? I have been working in the student market for a while so now I just need to get it going.
What market are you looking to target? Does influencer marketing work better for some products over others?
Bulla Co focuses on University students around the UK (it says 18 – 24 but of course if there are older students interested, they can sign up).
We have broken down the Influencer marketing model; our students are classed as micro-influencers, these are students with a following of 1,000 – 100,000 and because the students who follow these influencers have formed meaningful relationships built on trust, their content generates natural engagements. Micro-Influencers have a far higher engagement rate compared to your traditional Influencer with an average of 20% engagement.
It is known, friends buy from friends. This is why micro-influencer sponsored content leads to more meaningful purchasing habits.
The model works best on all products, this is because having such a large pool of micro-influencers to select from. Using a next-generation creator cloud software enables us to search confidently for the best creators for a brand. We match brands with those best suited, to offer an unrivaled level of engagement and affinity from the student market.
The internet has moved beyond traditional means of advertising like TV or Billboards, what ways do you think this is improving, or hurting, customer experience and do influencers create a different kind of content?
There is a clear shift in how companies spend from the traditional means such as TV or Billboards, to influencer media and it has been enhanced since the start of the pandemic.
I don’t see this hurting any customer experience but enhancing brands marketing campaigns as consumers are constantly spending more time on their phones and influencer marketing is putting the content directly in front of the consumer. An influencer does create a different kind of content as they are creating the content which their audience would enjoy. To take it one further, if our students are creating more dynamic content, you will notice how engagement happens naturally as a result of the meaningful relationships the micro-influencers already have created with their audiences.
What makes a good brand post?
A good brand post is down to your selected micro-influencer, they will create their content related to your brand as each brand is different, so the content for one, might not work for another which is where our creative flair comes into its own.
At the moment though videos are very popular, with the Instagram algorithm pushing Instagram Stories and Reels to the discovery page so this content is likely to outperform a standard post, reaching a larger audience.
When it comes to content, you need to make it relevant to your audience, so for any brand’s post, it is what does your audience wants to see. Our micro-influencers audience is fellow students, so making it short, fun, and engaging, following current trends works great!
Many students struggle to balance having a job and their studies, but many also need extra money to support themselves. What sort of time commitment is needed and how much can people expect to earn?
As one of our micro-influencers, you can commit as much or as little time as they have to this, that is the beauty of it. It takes less than a minute to upload a story and under ten minutes to upload an Instagram reel so even students with a busy schedule can earn with ease. It is hard to say how much people can expect to earn as it is all totally dependant on how many campaigns they accept.
The number of campaigns varies from city to city as different brands want to target different areas around the UK however there will always be some form of work going on in each city for students to get involved with. They just need to keep an eye on their notification as we send the all current campaign they have been invited to join directly to their custom profile.
Finally, is there an ideal person that can be an influencer? Are there any skills that lend themselves to this?
Anyone can onboard as a micro-influencer, and this gives us a huge pool of talent to select from. Every one of our influencers has to complete a short survey before onboarding, which categorises them according to their university, age, and interests which allows us to match you with the perfect brand.
Expanding our bubble in this way enables us to handpick the perfect micro-influencer with a brand you would want to work with, which ultimately maximises your engagement and results.