Micro-influencers don’t have millions of followers, and that’s exactly what makes them so valuable to brands interested in hopping aboard Millennial food trends. Instead of amassing throngs of lukewarm loyalists, savvy food and beverage micro-influencers develop intimate cohorts of superfans. As a result, their posts take on a conversational, cozy, and refreshingly honest tone.

When food micro-influencers peddle a product, they speak the language of their tight-knit online communities. Community members then respond in kind because they trust the influencer’s recommendations and insights.

Food and beverage brands looking to laser-focus their marketing efforts toward specific audiences would be wise to partner with micro-influencers. After all, influencers have already done the heavy lifting of bringing together like-minded folks. Brands can skip that step and move right into the buzz-building stage with all its benefits.

The High Impact of Food Micro-Influencers

Everywhere, at all hours of the day, a Millennial is probably posting a picture of breakfast, lunch, or dinner on Instagram. That scenario is so natural for members of this generation that nearly 7 out of 10 snap an image before even taking a bite. Younger consumers also tend to want to try foods that look pretty, illustrating that even in an era of skeptical buying, a stunning picture is worth a thousand likes. In fact, capturing a dish’s “good side” has become increasingly important in the social media age and is becoming one of the more intriguing Millennial food trends.

Grid of food photos from Instagram.

Of course, Millennials might own the social movement, but they’re not the only ones swayed by food micro-influencers. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials and Generation Z follow influencers, according to data from Morning Consult. And the more authentic and transparent the influencer appears, the more street cred they seem to have — even if they aren’t a household name. This means food companies don’t have to pony up the money to work with celebrities. In fact, partnering with a few key micro-influencers can result in higher engagement at lower costs: About half of micro-influencers say they’ve never paid to get their posts mileage. Perhaps a tiny boost on a hot post could lead to a sizable payoff.

Another reason for food and beverage brands to dabble in micro-influencing is its geotargeting capacity. Rather than being all things to all audiences, micro-influencers appeal to a narrow band of believers. They’re able to reach deep into siloed pockets and verticals — a feat that might be nearly impossible for a startup or even a legacy corporation. Plus, micro-influencers tend to generate “old friend” vibes. Research shows that 61% of purchasers seek information from credible people who share their values. Micro-influencers fit that bill to a T.

Finding the Ideal Micro-Influencing Platforms

Instagram is a great platform for reaching Millennial foodies, but it’s not a perfect match for all consumers. If you’re trying to reach Generation X and Baby Boomers, for instance, you’ll have better luck on Facebook. If you’re interested in marketing B2B, LinkedIn will be a better avenue. And the right platform to tempt gamers with the latest snacks will be Twitch or YouTube.

In the end, though, your best bet will be to find the right micro-influencer with the right audience to appreciate your product and let them reach that audience on their own. Tabasco’s campaign with grilling micro-influencer Susie Bulloch is an excellent example of a great audience fit. Bulloch gave Tabasco’s spicy sauce a creative nod on her blog, Hey Grill, Hey, by whipping up a mouthwatering shrimp recipe featuring the sauce (which she shared on her blog and multiple social channels). Bulloch proved that she ruled the grill, and Tabasco received a great intro to grilling enthusiasts eager to add new ingredients to their backyard masterpieces.

Successful marketing isn’t relegated to “bigger is better” forums. When brands partner with food micro-influencers, they set themselves up to receive a warm embrace from consumers hungry for authentic treats and eats.