By Alexandra Kazakova | 10 min read
Micro-Influencers vs Macro-Influencers, Who Should You Work With?
What is the difference between a celebrity in a TV commercial telling you about a great product vs. your best friend? It is the level of trust, which makes influencer marketing different from any other type of advertising. Today, more than ever, it became crucial for brands to build trust with potential clients. But how do you build confidence in your brand using influencer marketing? In this article, I will answer your questions about influencer marketing and how to choose the right influencer for your brand.
Why Invest in Influencer Marketing?
Influencer content outperforms brand-created content by far because they built trust with their followers in a specific niche. They help brands build human to human connection, equally beneficial for B2B and B2C marketing. To succeed, every brand needs to learn how to maintain transparency and trust when building an influencer marketing strategy. Not only the trust between the brand and consumer but also between the influencer and the brand.
Influencers have genuine conversations with their audiences and offer brands an opportunity to tap into these conversations and to reach audiences that otherwise were unattainable.
Besides creating brand awareness and getting people to engage with your brand, influencers are excellent content creators.
Many marketing productions were postponed or canceled in these turbulent times, so the traditional way of doing things is over. Influencers can create content with minimal resources better than anyone. So now, it is the right time to invest in influencer marketing.
However, you have to choose the influencers wisely. Before the rise of the micro-influencers, brands spent substantial marketing budgets for just one macro influencer and got questionable results. Today, micro-influencers enable marketers to stretch their influencer marketing budgets further and achieve more by paying less.
Macro-influencers still have advantages for the brands that can allocate significant funds. They have a wide audience range and can help reach more potential customers at once. So let’s look at the pros and cons of working with macro and micro-influencers.
Who Are The Macro-Influencers?
Some marketers categorize influencers into nano, micro, mid-tier, macro, and mega. For simplicity’s sake, in this article, I call influencers with less than 50K followers “micro” and those with more than 100K “macro.”
In many cases, macro-influencers are celebrities, athletes, thought leaders, or TV personalities. They quickly build following on social media by leveraging this notoriety.
Macro-influencers have an exponential follower growth. For example, Will Smith had 2m Instagram followers in December 2007. In August 2020 he has over 47m followers:
Macro-influencers with millions of followers can help brands to reach a higher number of people at once than micro-influencers. However, they have lower engagement rates. Their audience feels less connected to celebrities because they don’t perceive them as “people like me.”
Pros of working with macro-influencers:
- Your product will get immense visibility and an opportunity to reach millions of people. Their audiences are broad and diverse, which allows brands to target a wide variety of customers. Macro-influencers can be right for you if your goal is to generate awareness rather than engagement.
- Because of large budgets required for macro-influencer marketing campaigns, they are more likely to let brands retain more control over their ad creatives.
- With macro-influencers, brands can save the time required to invest in influencer selection and campaign management.
- Macro-influencers create well-composed and polished content that requires little or no edits. They usually have professional photographers and stylists working for them. So you can be confident in the quality of their images and videos.
Cons of working with macro-influencers
- One of the most significant disadvantages of macro-influencers is a high price tag. However, their CPM can be lower than micro-influencers, thanks to a high follower count.
- Macro-influencers have lower engagement rates than micro-influencers, and their audiences have expanded beyond particular interest or niche. So your product would interest only a small percentage of their audience. As a result, you may see little or no engagement with your brand.
- Macro-influencers usually work with many brands. So it can be challenging for your product to appear authentic to your target audience.
- Hackers and spambots target macro-influencers accounts more often compared to micro-influencers.
When to Work With Macro-Influencers?
Suppose you are after reaching a large pool of audiences to create brand awareness and drive exposure for your product. In that case, macro-influencers are the right choice for you.
For example, to generate the same level of reach of a macro-influencer with 1 million followers, you have to engage at least 10 micro-influencers (with 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers).
Go for macro-influencers if you have a big marketing budget to spend and can afford increased content creation costs and have time to wait until the celebrity influencer has a slot for your campaign.
Who Are The Micro-Influencers?
Micro-influencers are creators with 1,000 to 50K followers. They are experts and thought leaders in their focused niche, such as fashion, travel, food, fitness, technology, and much more. Compared to the average consumer, micro-influencers have 22.2 times more weekly conversations related to product recommendations.
Their followers perceive them as “People like me” and find them credible. Many people know that celebrity influencers are being paid big dollars to promote your brand, so they trust micro-influencers’ opinions more. It’s why we built our company as a micro influencer agency.
In fact, we have seen that for particular clients, micro-influencers generated 80% higher engagement than those with more than 50K followers. For these clients, the engagement rate was the most critical metric of campaign effectiveness as it translated into sales.
We noticed that the engagement decreases as the number of followers increases. So it becomes challenging to have hands-on interactions and reach target audiences on a personal level.
Micro-influencers are more accessible both to brands and followers. They regularly interact with their audiences and quickly respond to questions and comments. It makes micro-influencers more relatable than those with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Pros of working with micro-influencers:
- Micro-influencers are more affordable than the celebrity ones. Some might even work in exchange for a product or promote your brand for free if it stands for a good cause. In fact, money alone rarely motivates the right micro-influencers. If they don’t believe in your brand or product, they will not champion in even if they are being paid. For example, this micro-influencer works only with beauty brands that are 100% cruelty-free:
The best results from influencer marketing often come when a micro-influencer believes in your product and is happy to receive it for free in exchange for promotion.
- With micro-influencers, you can tap into unique niche markets. Consider the audience you are targeting and find influencers with followers surrounding them that align closely with your audience’s interests.
- Micro-influencers are more trustworthy and relatable than macro-influencers. Their followers base is tight-knit, so they create authentic and personalized content that sparks genuine conversations with their fans. To add to that, most people know that celebrity influencers aren’t really using the product they are promoting.
- Brands can use micro-influencers as affordable content creators. With an ever-increasing demand for quality content, they are a perfect cost-effective strategy to increase your content library without spending a fortune on photo or video shoots.
Cons of working with micro-influencers:
- Smaller audiences of micro-influencers mean less exposure for brands. So you might need several micro-influencers to expand your reach and impact a large number of people.
- More influencers mean more work. If you choose to partner up with 10 or more micro-influencers, prepare to invest time in influencer selection and content management. An influencer marketing agency can help you speed up this process.
- Micro-influencers are less experienced. Some of them have little or no experience collaborating with a brand, so communication with them can be challenging at first.
When to Work With Micro-Influencers?
If you are after engagement and building trust in your brand, micro-influencers who have close relationships with their followers are the right choice. By partnering with them, you have a bigger chance of reaching people who will take action and buy from you. This case study shows that macro-influencer (the author calls them “mega-influencers”) got more likes than the micro-influencer. However, the campaign resulted only in 5 sales for the macro-influencer and generated above 100 for the micro. We’ve built our influencer agency around this exact principle.
Another reason to choose micro-influencers is if you are on a tight budget. 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 for a sponsored post on Instagram, and 97% charge less than $100 for a branded Facebook post. With macro-influencers, the price per post starts at $1000 and can reach up to $1 million.
Now that you understand the difference between micro- and macro-influencers, you can decide who to work with based on your campaign goals and budget. The next step is to find influencers whose audiences and niche are the right fit for your brand.