What’s the Difference and Which is Best for My Business?
By Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing marketing strategies right now. In fact, 75 percent of brands already utilize influencer marketing, and 27 percent of those who don’t, indicate that they plan to in the next 12 months. Influencers have been a large part of the social media landscape for the past couple of years, and have made substantial impact on just about every industry.
Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere and anyone. What makes them influential is their devoted followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, a well-read cybersecurity blogger, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Within any industry, there are influential people— you just have to find them.
On the surface, it may seem as though an influencer’s total following matters more than anything else. While the overall following numbers do attract attention, engagement is the key factor in an influencer’s ultimate success when it comes to campaign viability. Many of the most successful campaigns involve influencers with a much smaller audience than that of today’s Instagram celebrities. Marketers now place a greater focus on measurables such as likes, comments and the earned trust followers have in the influencers they are following.
The growing investments in influencers of all sizes has created a specific categorization of influencers by the sum of the total followers, classifying them into subsets known as “Macro Influencers,” “Micro Influencers,” and “Nano Influencers.” But what differentiates them and how do brands decide which type of influencer to partner with?
This guide will provide the information you need to know regarding all three types influencers and help you identify which your brand needs.
Who are they?
Macro Influencers are distinguished primarily by a high number of followers and their ability to to engage and message on an impactful scale. Macro Influencers typically have a minimum audience of a few hundred thousand followers. They’re what many refer to as “Social Media Celebrities” and are most well-known for the content they post online, whether it be on Instagram, YouTube, or even a personal blog. Macro Influencers often dedicate their work on social media as full-time careers and will expect an appropriate level of compensation to meet their designated level of celebrity.
Macro Influencers guarantee a massive reach and are ideal if you’re looking to expand your audience, but not sure where to start. Macro Influencers reach both broad and diverse audiences, which is beneficial for brands who want to target and include a wide variety of consumers and niches. Macro Influencers also bring a high level of experience with sponsored content and are most familiar with communicating with brands. They’re highly professional and operate like a business would. They often have additional employees assisting their team.
Macro Influencers are great for increasing brand exposure and awareness, but they come with a hefty price tag. Because of the experience in their field, high number of followers and history with large corporations, Macro Influencers will require a large sum of compensation, which can quickly dip into your marketing budget. In fact, they typically land six-figure deals with today’s largest global brands. Depending on the size of your business, you may only be able to partner with one or two of these large-scale influencers. Many brands have begun to realize that betting big on a single star doesn’t always pay off.
Who are they?
Micro Influencers have a wide spectrum of audience numbers, falling anywhere in the 2,000 to 50,000 follower range. Micro-influencers have specific niche audiences and are more deeply connected to them than their Macro counterparts. They can be found in almost any sector, focusing on health and wellness, food and cuisine, entrepreneurship, or fashion and beauty to name a just a few prominent categories. Micro Influencers have established relationships with their followers and are often willing to “do more for less.”
Because their audiences are easier to manage, Micro Influencers often foster better relationships and connection between themselves and their followers. They are able to interact with their audience more often, and build a good rapport so they feel more like a friend, rather than an unrelatable celebrity. For this reason, Micro Influencers are able to sustain a great level of trust and their opinions are taken more seriously. Micro Influencers are available in all different sizes, budgets, and niches, so you’re sure to find one that meets the needs of your business.
Unlike Macro Influencers, Micro Influencers do not meet a “one size fits all strategy.” Selecting which Micro Influencers to work with requires much more research, planning and strategizing as Micro Influencers have more specific target audiences, content requirements and areas of expertise. Marketers who choose to work with Micro Influencers may end up budgeting significantly more time and resources for influencer selection, scrutiny, and management.
Nano Influencers describe anyone with at least 1,000 followers that are willing to post sponsored content. We all have those friends who are social media naturals. They post perfectly curated content and rake in thousands of likes without giving it much effort. Though they’ve likely never partnered with a brand before, they’re simply great at social media. These are your Nano Influencers. Though Nano Influencers are the newest category of influencer, many brands enjoy working with them because they’re easy to manage and will do work for free products or a small commission.
Because Nano Influencers are likely someone you already know, they’re approachable and trustworthy. When they recommend a product, their advice seems as genuine as a close friend. In essence, Nano Influencers’ lack of fame is what bolsters trust with their audience. This gives off the impression that, just like their followers, Nano Influencers are authentic and trustworthy; they’re “just like us”. Because of these qualities, Nano Influencers establish the highest engagement rates of all influencer categories. In addition, Nano Influencers are more flexible around collaborations and campaign guidelines, so your brand can exercise more control over timing, creative, and follow-ups.
Where Nano Influencers can fall short is their lack of experience and dedication to working with brands. It’s likely that any given Nano Influencer has never posted sponsored content, so they may need more help and supervision when it comes to campaign guidelines. At the same time, Nano Influencers manage full time careers, so working with your brand might not be their full priority.
Ultimately, all types of influencers can offer great benefit to brands. It all comes down to your business’s goals and what you’re hoping to achieve from the specific campaign. With trends continuously changing and tastemakers affecting purchasing decisions, social media influencers of all sizes have an incredible impact on how your brand chooses to advertise and engage audiences.
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