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Influencer marketing is undoubtedly the way to go when spreading brand awareness, increasing reach, and just about everything else a campaign needs to achieve success. But when looking for the right influencer, marketers need to understand that EVERY influencer is different. An influencer’s uniqueness isn’t just from surface-level markers like their audience, niche, location, language, etc. In order to find that perfect campaign fit, marketers must research the influencer’s reach, engagement, and follower count. That’s where the micro vs macro influencers debate comes into play.
Types of Influencers
Outside of being an influencer based on their niche (Ex: travel influencers, lifestyle/fitness influencers, fashion influencers, etc), every influencer falls into a specific category based on their follower count. Here’s a list, derived from the Influencer Marketing Hub:
1. Nano-influencers: 1K-10K followers
- Small but mighty, nano-influencers are great when you’re on a budget or testing your brand in a new niche. Nano influencers have an extremely loyal audience and fantastic engagement, but they don’t often have a high reach.
2. Micro-influencers: 10K-100K followers
- Micro-influencers have a loyal and large following with great engagement and reach. These influencers specialize in a specific niche, which is great when you know your campaign’s target audience.
3. Macro influencers: 100K-1M followers
- Macro influencers are usually every brand’s go-to because they’re internet-made celebrities with a massive following, good engagement rate, and impressive reach. If you’re on a budget, partnering with a macro influencer can be a challenge.
4. Mega or celebrity influencers: 1M+ followers
- Mega influencers are often seen as the “cream of the crop” because of their outstanding reach and prevalence in media. While their engagement rate is generally low, they are the best for generating brand awareness. You’ll need a large budget when partnering with these guys.
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Micro vs Macro Influencers: How Do I Choose?
At this point, you might’ve realized that micro and macro influencers are the sweet spots for most campaigns (and maybe yours too). If you already know what your campaign goals are, one question still remains: How do I choose between micro and macro influencers? The micro vs macro influencers debate is one you will come upon time and time again when planning a new influencer marketing campaign.
Pros of Partnering with Micro-Influencers
Before we do a deep dive into the micro vs macro influencers debate, we need to address the elephant in the room: Micro-influencers usually have much higher engagement rates than macro influencers. According to Trend, their data states that micro-influencers have engagement rates between the 7% to 20% while the average macro-influencer is lucky if they have a 5% engagement rate.
Why do they have a higher engagement rate? Well, micro-influencers focus more on developing authentic relationships with their audience.
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Like every influencer, micros want to influence and grow, but they also want their community to grow alongside them! Because a micro’s community is relatively small in comparison to a macro’s, it’s easier for micros to engage with their audience by responding to comments, creating polls, hosting events, doing giveaways, etc.
These budding relationships explain why micros have superb engagement rates. Trend found that micros focus on community and connection, and once you hit macro status, it’s harder to engage with your audience.
Since micro-influencers are generally more connected with their audience, they’re more likely to reach your target audience in an impactful way. A micro’s community engages with them because of their content, not their fame status, but when a micro achieves macro status, the likelihood of people following the influencer for their fame (and not so much their content) increases.
This heightened fame can sometimes disconnect an audience from the influencer, making their content and personality a bit less relatable. This isn’t the case for every macro+ influencer, but it’s something that unfortunately happens.
To top it off, micro-influencers are more likely to increase your ROI. Micros are great for when your campaign is on a budget, but you still want to see some great results. Business Community states that micro-influencers have 47% higher engagement on sponsored posts compared to their organic posts, making them an ideal candidate for attracting your brand’s target audience without burning a hole in your pocket.
There are a few other reasons, micros have lower collaboration costs:
- Maybe their influencing career isn’t their full-time job. If this is the case, there’s less pressure to make money if the influencer already has a stable income.
- The influencer might want to focus on building their partnership portfolio before increasing sales.
- They are more interested in connecting with their community than doing any kind of partnership.
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Decided on partnering with micro-influencers for your next campaign? Check out NeoReach’s ultimate micro-influencer marketing guide here.
Pros of Partnering with Macro-Influencers
The micro vs macro influencers debate wouldn’t be complete without listing the benefits of collaborating with macro-influencers, so let’s get started! In comparison to micros, macros almost always have a larger reach because of their larger fanbase and increased popularity in media.
While their engagement may be lower, more people are likely to see their content. For example, having a large following makes it easier to end up on Instagram’s Discovery page or on a user’s Feed. If you want your brand exposed to larger audiences, macros are the way to go.
In influencer marketing, there’s always a risk of not generating enough sales, but a macro’s potential reach can guarantee sales without much worry. Macros are also great for co-branding or limited-time products. These partnerships can promote impulse buying and build hype for a brand. Do note that these opportunities will require more planning and resource, so make sure you have the money. And hey, who says you can’t partner up with macros and micros at the same time? The possibilities are endless!
Macro-influencers are also great trendsetters because of their prevalence in media. Using macros in your campaign can establish consumer trust and validate your brand, especially if your goods or services aren’t well-known just yet. Want to spread awareness on your new mental health app – macros can give their honest opinions and give reassurance to your brand’s image. Macros have powerful voices, and they can make or break your campaign.
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There are a lot of benefits and risks when deciding to do brand collaborations. Check out the best brand collabs we could find at this NeoReach blog.
Micro vs Macro Influencers: The Verdict
Micro-influencers and macro-influencers have plenty of benefits to help reach your campaign goals, but what’s the best for your campaign? Well, honestly, that depends on what YOU want to achieve and what resources you have available. If you have a sizeable amount of money in your budget and want to maximize your reach, macros might be your best bet. If you have a smaller budget and want to grow your brand’s community, micros are perfect for you.
The decision lies with you, so you must choose wisely. Do you want to expand your reach or increase engagement with your brand? Do you want to connect with a specific audience or establish consumer trust with a larger audience? Do you want a short-term or long-term campaign? Do you want to only partner with one influencer, or do you want to assemble a group of influencers? As we stated before, the possibilities are endless, so it’s time to start brainstorming.
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