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Influencers are an important marketing tool for many brands, but that strategy is beginning to shift. Now, instead of turning to the biggest names on TikTok or Twitch, marketing companies are looking to work with “microinfluencers.” These are people who regularly create content but for a smaller, more dedicated audience. And it’s that relationship between the creator and the viewers that makes them so valuable to brands.

“Engagement rate as a whole is actually negatively correlated with followers,” Rainmaker.gg and Lightstream chief executive officer Stu Grubbs said during a GamesBeat Summit panel today. “The larger the following that a content creator has, the less engagement they get on a per-viewer basis. So it actually goes to show that the smaller community you have has a lot more impact.”

Grubbs explains that brands want to get the biggest return on investment, and a dollar spent on a smaller streamer can actually go further than with someone who has a massive audience. And most marketers understand this. The problem is that working with a lot of smaller creators is labor intensive and cumbersome.

“You need to have the relationship and write the contract, and that’s only after you’ve identified the people you want to work with,” said Grubbs.

That is where services like Rainmaker.gg and StreamElements step in to handle the process of connecting brands with creators. These services do the work of making the deals with brands, but they also work to ensure that creators understand their value in this transaction.

Twitch livestreamer Natasha “ZombaeKills” Zinda spoke to that. She works with companies like Logitech, which she says is a brand that shows her a lot of respect. But that’s because Zinda isn’t only valuable to these brands as a spokesperson, she’s also an expert on her community.

“Logitech has asked me what kind of language works with a community like mine,” Zinda explained. “They want to learn how they can change how they think because marketing had a specific kind of face. And communities like mine that are very diverse are now being looked at with respect and viability.”

This makes Zinda as much of a consultant as she is a microinfluencer. And that is worth a lot to brands. So the next time you learn about a game, it may be from someone you consider to be more like a friend or community leader than from a social-media superstar.

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