In the early aughts, Britney Spears sold us Skechers and it worked. Today, if she were to tout a pair of Nikes or NewBalance on her Instagram, it would ring false. Celebrity endorsement has lost its charm and it’s completely out of the question for small business.

In the fall of 2016, Women’s Wear Daily reported the growing phenomenon of fashion bloggers winning big with big brands after 22 year old, Kristina Bazan signed a seven figure contract with L’Oréal. Bazan is an entrepreneur to be sure. The founder of Kayture, she broke into the industry by partnering with such enviable luxury brands as Chopard, Piaget and Cartier by focusing on quality editorial. Her brand is stunning. Her travels are abundant. She’s contributed to Vogue and GQ.

But do you follow her?

Note to reader, please do.

The point is that today, everyday glamour is the new aspiration. Celebrity endorsements no longer compel us. They don’t influence our purchase decisions. Bazan’s Instagram is gorgeous but it reads like a Vogue spread. It’s entertaining but it doesn’t inspire sales. In that respect, she’s irrelevant to the average consumer.

We trust strangers who remind us of our friends. All the other strangers, we simply find entertaining.

Last year, fewer than 3% of consumers identified as likely to buy a product in store following celebrity endorsement. On the other hand, micro-influencers who have lower reach but a higher relevance to their modest following are gaining momentum in the digital world.

The notion of a micro-influencer is that anyone can influence anyone. It’s more than an notion. It’s a proven concept that is correctly leading brands to turn to people with as few as 100 followers to help spread the brand love.  We trust strangers who remind us of our friends. All the other strangers, we simply find entertaining.

Most recently, an eMarketer study found that influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers see “like” rates of 8 percent and “comment” rates of 0.56 percent. It may sounds low, but those numbers performed more than four times better than influencers with more than 1 million followers. Compared to 1.8 percent like rates and comment rates of 0.09 percent, 8 and 0.5 are stellar.

The authenticity of micro influencers dovetails with another trend: the rise of user generated content. We’re all about relatability — brands and businesses and consumers agree. User-generated content is infinitely more valuable than branded content. That’s why the word influence gets tossed around so often.  Influence is a indirect. It’s a hint, a sly nudge. We don’t want to feel as though we’re being sold to.

I still might buy a book if Oprah recommends it, but I’ll sooner buy one if I see Kelly Oxford or my local theater crush reading it. It feels like a closer connection.  For a detailed look on Instagram’s algorithm changes or for general engagement tips, check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.