July 23, 2019

Micro vs. Macro Influencers: The Breakdown

Alyssa Vitali

In today’s day and age, it’s safe to assume you not only know what an influencer is, but you also follow them on social media and maybe even aspire to be one. In fact, 61 percent of people interact with an influencer at least once a day, and 87 percent of shoppers have been inspired by an influencer to make a purchase.

Influencers exist across a variety of platforms (think Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and the like), function across different verticals of business, and are classified into tiers predominantly based on follower numbers. For the purposes of this blog, we won’t get into the nuanced tiers of influencer marketing and will instead focus on the two largest and most well known categories: micro and macro influencers.

So, for starters, what makes someone a micro influencer? A micro influencer is anyone on Instagram who has between 10,000 to 50,000 followers. On the other end of the spectrum are macro influencers, or those who have between 500,000 and one million followers. There is no disputing the power of a successfully implemented influencer marketing campaign and the implications that it can have for a brand’s ROI and general awareness, but determining the proper mix of influencers to leverage is crucial to its success.

Micro Influencers: Pros

  • Reach a more engaged audience: Despite having smaller followings and therefore less reach, micro influencers tend to have more devoted audiences and earn higher engagement rates compared to macro influencers.
  • Less expensive: By utilizing micro influencers, the cost of a campaign or post is typically significantly lower than that of a macro influencer. This helps your budget to go a longer way, allowing you to use multiple micro influencers for the price of what would be one macro influencer.

Micro Influencers: Cons

  • Less reach: Despite higher engagement rates, micro influencers have less followers and therefore less reach than their macro influencer counterparts. This smaller follower number makes it harder for them to reach as many people and spread the brand message across a wide audience.
  • Not as much clout: Additionally, micro influencers are typically just starting out and working to find their voice. This lack of an established brand makes it harder for them to have clout and influence their followers as much as other larger influencers. However, this problem can easily be supplemented by working with multiple micro influencers.

Macro Influencers: Pros

  • Broader reach: Given the fact that macro influencers have more followers, you can safely assume that any of their posts will have a larger reach compared to their micro influencer counterparts.
  • Established voice and place in the industry: Many macro influencers have taken the time to cultivate a following that trusts them and establish their own brand voice. This may make their posts seem more impactful and trusted versus a more up-and-coming influencer who has less clout and is still working to find their voice and niche in the influencer community.

Macro Influencers: Cons

  • More expensive: Working with the best of the best certainly comes at a price. Since macro influencers often have a massive following, costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per post.
  • Lack of authenticity: As the influencer industry has grown, it has led to increased transparency in terms of indicating when a post is an #ad and the influencer has received payment for a post. However, this increased transparency has led to people questioning the authenticity of influencer posts. The knowledge that influencers are being paid for their posts makes people question if they are posting only for the monetary reward and not because they would actually recommend the product or service.

The general takeaway is that using any tier of influencer can help impact your business, but the first step is determining what your business goals are. Once you have determined those goals, spend time finding a mix of micro and macro influencers that both authentically align with your brand and can best support your goals, whether those goals are increased awareness, conversions, or both. It is unlikely that influencers are going anywhere soon, so hopping on the influencer bandwagon and finding a way to incorporate them into your brand’s overall marketing strategy could be a major key to success.

Tags: Best Practices, Instagram, Strategy

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