Hollywood isn’t talking about them, and while they don’t boast big follower accounts like Gary Vaynerchuck, these are the influencers you should be following. These influencers aren’t completely hidden, yet, when most of us see them, we just skip over them. If you’re serious about building influence, having a community and increasing sales, then you’ll be happy to learn how to spot this new kind of influencer. This influencer is what is a micro-influencer because their community is small, yet, when we look close, their influence is strong, and their impact creates ripples.

These influencers may have micro-economies and have a relatively small follower count, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them. No, not at all, instead of skipping over them, I advise you to stop and take a close study. Their posts are engaged, shared, and their fans love them. As a business owner, it’s refreshing to find these influencers. They inspire us and help us realize we don’t need millions of fans to make an impact, grow our brand, and have a thriving community. Contrary to what the herd thinks, pulling grandiose numbers isn’t what truly matters online.

To contextualize what I’m saying, let me use the National Gun Association as an example. In the context of politics, the NRA is a small lobby group, but somehow their power and reach have placed Presidents and government officials into office.

It’s not their size that makes them powerful and not just their money, more than anything, it’s their strong fanbase and ability to move their community to massive action. Similarly, on social media, most of us look at the big boys who are pulling millions of views and fans, but if you want to grow a brand, these guys are mostly a waste of time to study.

When we look at a car, it’s easy to admire the body and judge it by its looks, but any mechanic will tell you, “It’s what’s under the hood that makes a car great.”

If you want to grow your brand, capitalize on social media for influence, and then start looking at the not-so-obvious influencers. These influencers are easier to study, cost less to hire for marketing support, and they’re easier to get a hold of.

So, how do you spot these influencers? Well, let me give you a few ways to detect micro-influencers and a few methods you can use to develop strong branding on social media.

#1 Their Fan Base Is Under 100,000

Micro-influencers have smaller followings, and this matters in a big way.

In fact, according to Hello Society and Adweek, smaller accounts get up to 60% more engagement than the well-known accounts.

So, while you’re busy eyeballing an account with big following numbers, remember, it’s smaller accounts who get more engagement and clicks to their websites. They hold a stronger fan base.

Here’s my suggestion: when you’re cruising any social media site, look at accounts who have follower counts around 10,000 – 90,000. Start clicking on these accounts and begin looking for the next clues below.

#2 They Get Lots of Genuine and Real Comments

We can all buy comments and followers, but we can’t buy real-die-hard fans. That has to be built. We can pay to reach them, but we can’t bribe them to love us. A fan is someone that can’t be bought. Instead, we have to appeal to them and incite emotion that endears them to us.

To avoid being duped by shabby accounts who have small followings and lots of comments, look for these kinds of comments specifically: they’re actually about the post, they vary in length, they’re personal, and a human being writes them, not an automated machine leaving short and insincere comments or simple emojis. While companies like SocialEnvy, Listagram, and dozens of other services promise to grow your accounts, none of these services can fully emulate real die-hard-fans.

Fake comments are easy to spot. They’re short. They consist of canned looking responses like ‘great job,’ ‘thanks,’ ‘way to go,’ ‘love it’ and lots of emojis.

While fake comments and paid for engagement can be spotted, we can also detect genuine engagement. Truly engaged fans leave comments that clearly relate to the post, clearly speak to the poster, and show signs of a connection. While this may sound vague, if you take a look, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

#3 They Talk to Their Fans

If criteria number two is hard to spot, it becomes easier when you look at how engaged the user is. Unlike big accounts that blow up and render the owner overwhelmed and unable to respond back to their fans, smaller accounts grow because of intimacy.

Fans of smaller accounts like these accounts not just because of the content, but also because of the connection. If someone is a fan of skateboarding, they likely know and like Tony Hawk, but following him won’t make you his friend or help you reach him. So, instead, why not follow Alex Decunha. He’s a sponsored skateboarder, makes a living using social media and skateboarding, posts often, and is likely to talk with you. For a fan or aspiring professional skateboarder, Alex’s account will give you more intimacy and the ability to connect.

Similarly, if you’re into health, you could try following some big famous health guru, or you could connect with a micro-influencer, like Emily with her “Myhealthislife” Instagram account.

Personally, if I wanted connection and even a mentor, I’d just follow her account. It offers me more intimacy, more accessibility, and a smaller scale account to learn from.

I’d rather follow her 16,000 account than, say Deepak Chopra with his 800,000+ fans. Unlike Deepak, Emily can be reached and will reply if I desire to purchase a shoutout. On top of more intimacy and connection, for business and mentoring, she’s a better bet. The statistics tell me she’s likely getting better engagement, she’ll charge less for an advertisement, be accessible, and probably get more high-quality fans who will stay with me.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

I used to be homeless and now run a six figure business with my partner and travel the world. My journey to help those in need has taken me from non-profit director to supporting holistic entrepreneurs have a life of freedom. I run the Thriving Launch Podcast, which features the most influential leaders in the areas of love, spirituality, business, and success. It’s my mission to help heart-centered entrepreneurs get their message heard with podcasting.