The best content from beauty micro-influencers on Instagram

Phil Garbrecht

In our latest report, we looked at beauty influencers on Instagram who have seen rising engagement over the course of 2017. We focused mainly on influencers who have not quite reached mainstream success, which we defined in our analysis as having 100 thousand followers or more. We purposefully focused on these so-called micro-influencers with high rates of engagement, but less than 100 thousand followers, to uncover the rising stars in the industry. We also identified each influencers’ top performing post in August 2017 and looked for themes in high-performing content. Turns out, many influencers are more successful than major brands in driving engagement relative to follower count. The key to succeeding as an influencer is building loyalty in the Instagram-verse, and brands can learn a lot from those who figured out that special formula. We’re here to share what we learned from the best content created by leading micro-influencers (for more industry-agnostic insights on social, check out our Social Media Pocket Guide).

We uncovered a diverse mix of rising stars, from traditional influencers who share beauty tips for multiple demographics to more niche influencers who prefer to hone in on narrower audiences. Many work to defy beauty norms, like African-American women who use their Instagram platforms to promote inclusive makeup shades and diverse models in beauty ads, and those who label themselves "alternative models."

Micro-Influencer Networks

We explored networks of influence and discovered that models were diverse in what bloggers and brands they thought were most influential. Sometimes beauty influencers partner with each other or unite under an umbrella beauty handle like Undiscovered Muas, an account that aggregates content from various influencers. Through further analysis we found that among beauty micro-influencers, the biggest sources of inspiration were Huda Beauty, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and NYX Cosmetics, and Flawless Dolls - meaning micro-influencers are more likely to look to the biggest beauty brands (some founded by mega-influencers like Huda Kattan and Anastasia Soare) than tag each other.

After analyzing influencer networks and sub-trends and looking at how micro-influencers impact the beauty space on Instagram, we also grew interested in looking at what content performs the best. Now that we’ve surfaced a list of highly influential handles that haven’t yet reached superstar status, we decided to take our analysis one step further and determine what types of content from our list of influencers is resonating most in August 2017.

To find the highest quality content coming from micro-influencers, we looked at post engagement relative to the influencer’s typical post performance. For example, if an influencer typically averages 500 likes per post, but one of their August 2017 posts received ten thousand likes, we would qualify the post as being extremely high-performing for that influencer. To ensure high post engagement was not a result of purchasing likes, we manually sifted through comments looking for signs of purchased engagement, like lists of hashtags or emojis with no added context.

Without further ado, here are the most highly over-performing posts from our list of fifty micro-influencers who are currently rising in influence:

Top Beauty Micro-Influencers

Note: Influence was determined by average likes per follower for influencers with 10 - 100 thousand followers. Top posts are beauty-related posts that received the most likes from each influencer in August of 2017.

1. EllieeKellyy

  • 86.3 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 6,469 likes on top post
  • 59% above average performance

2. Mahamarwatt

  • 60.6 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 2,816 likes on top post
  • 97% above average performance

3. Kristina_Mimic

  • 47.3 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 2,713 likeson top post
  • 61% above average performance

4. GehnaAdvani

  • 45.8 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 4,060 likes on top post
  • 85% above average performance

5. Joamerchan

  • 37.9 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 3,849 likes on top post
  • 79% above average performance

6. RaizaContawi

  • 36.5 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 4,714 likes on top post
  • 188% above average performance

7. TamaraKing29

  • 32.9 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 3,286 likes on top post
  • 220% above average performance

8. DenissaUngureanu

  • 32.7 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 2,146 likes on top post
  • 206% above average performance

9. StJohnnnn

  • 29.6 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 2,677 likes on top post
  • 881% above average performance

10. Anti_Gorgeous

  • 28.9 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 514 likes on top post
  • 21% above average performance

11. Ifebobb

  • 20.5 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 1,801 likes on top post
  • 152% above average performance

12. MuteBeauty

  • 16.1 likes per post per thousand followers
  • 7,141 likes on top post
  • 1,722% above average performance

Best Micro-Influencer Content

When influencers posed with their pets, shared a style look from a recent vacation, or a funny meme, they were more likely to receive higher rates of engagement. In contrast, when influencers snapped photos of people other than themselves or beauty products alone (not featured on the influencer), engagement tended to be lower. Brands can learn a lot from these successful trends. Many brands tend to focus on showcasing career models who aren’t as relatable to the common shopper. Rather than showing products exclusively on models, brands can help build trust by showing products on micro-influencers who are already are familiar to a segment of a brand’s followers. For example, popular beauty brand @NYXCosmetics successfully uses relatable photos from influencers with fewer than 100k followers to promote products.

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