Influencer Marketing Revolution: Micro or Macro Influencers?

by: Dustin Hawley | Wednesday April 17, 2019

Every interaction a customer has with a brand shapes their trust, for better or worse. The results are dependent upon your approach. But brands have an opportunity to win the trust of their customers from the outset. And one of the best ways to do this is with influencer marketing.

At the core of influencer marketing are the influencers themselves. Influencers have follower bases they have built over time, and their audiences trust them. So much so, that they will take their word when they recommend brands, products, or services. This level of trust presents great value to businesses and brands, who utilize influencers to reach audiences that they cannot reach via their own marketing and advertising efforts.

One of the hottest debates in the influencer marketing world today is "micro vs. macro". Do influencers with larger audiences always deliver the best results? Though influencer marketing is becoming more and more widely used due to its amazing ROI, many marketers continue to struggle with identifying the right influencer and their social media content creation. Both of these elements can make or break a campaign, plain and simple. 

There are many factors to consider when it comes to working with an influencer. In this article, we will show you the key differences between macro and micro influencers, and identify which scenarios are optimal for each of them. But let's get started by breaking down what makes someone either a micro influencer or a macro influencer.

Micro influencers

A micro influencer is defined as someone who has an audience within the follower range of 2,000-50,000 on a particular social media channel, usually comprised of a focused passion, topic or niche market.

Macro-Influencers

Macro influencers are famous, known by the many, a household name. These kinds of people are often celebrities who have followers in the region of tens of thousands or even millions.

Advantages Of Using Micro-Influencers

image of blonde girl filming herself on an iphone

The surge in popularity for micro-influencers began in 2017, as more and more brands began adopting influencer marketing strategies into their brand efforts. From a data perspective, this theory aligns with the numbers. Search interest in the term “micro-influencer” is peaking again here in early 2019, increasing more than 500% since 2018.

But though the popularity of micro-influencers has grown, campaign results have varied. Micro-influencers have had more than their fair share cautionary tales—notably, breaking the stigma (and reality) that anyone can become a fake micro-influencer overnight with the help of a bot service.

It's not all doom and gloom for micro-influencers though. Not by any means. In fact, working with Instagram micro-influencers enables brands to generate high engagement at a more modest price point within niche communities. While macro-influencers possess an overall larger reach, micro-influencers are incredibly successful at cultivating loyal and engaged audiences that trust them and their opinion with every fiber of their being. 

There are many particular benefits that micro-influencers bring to the table.

High-quality content

One of the most attractive reasons to work with micro-influencers is that they can create great content. Many tend to have top-notch photography, something most brands could easily benefit from. They also typically tend to have highly-engaging video content that keeps their audience coming back for more. Micro-influencers can add a ‘personal touch’ to your branded content that makes it more relevant and relatable to your audiences.

Cost-effectiveness

In comparison to their macro-influencers counterparts, micro-influencers are typically much more affordable. And because micro-influencers are affordable, you can work with several at the same time, usually for around the cost of a single macro influencer. On top of that, they are also usually more flexible with their rates and the negotiation process usually takes less time than those that occur with macro's.

Availability

Micro-influencers are often more readily available to both their audiences and clients. They are consistent with creating the time to respond to their audiences’ questions and comments, which can benefit your brand when utilizing them. They can even sometimes attend relevant events to further push the brand or product they are partnering with. This way, they can be utilized for both their offline and online presence, which is a potentially huge benefit for your brand.

Often times when working with a micro-influencer, you'll also have the benefit of communicating with the influencer personally. They are often both responsive and open to different approaches to help you achieve your brand’s or product’s goal. The long and short of it is, in many cases, it's easier to build a relationship with micro-influencers. 

But again, it also depends on the goals of your campaign are, or the particular branding efforts you seek to achieve. Though in different ways, macro-influencers certainly have their advantages as well. 

Advantages of using macro-influencers

group of millenials looking at social media content

Higher reach

If your brand is looking to achieve brand awareness as its primary goal, macro influencers' large audiences and robust followings make them an ideal option. Macro influencers can reach large numbers of people in real time, often times using just a single post to do so. Though micro influencers produce their high-level engagement rates to drive awareness to the brands they partner with, their overall reach still pales in comparison to that of the macro-influencers. In fact, they reach 22 times more people when compared with micro-influencers. Those are big numbers. And because their audience is so vast, they are also able to reach diverse demographics. This is a tremendous benefit to brands with different customer segments and multiple products and target audiences.

Level Of Professionalism

Macro influencers are almost always managed by talent managers or agencies these days. This is actually a benefit in many ways, the first of which is that they are usually professional in their dealings. Often, they already have set terms and conditions the brands they work with are expected to adhere to. This makes it easier to choose the influencers to partner with, and scale down a list of ideal candidates. It’s all about determining if the terms and conditions outlined by the influencer work for your brand, basically.

Brand exclusivity

There is a certain element of “exclusivity” when a brand is endorsed by a macro influencer. Association with a celebrity immediately makes your brand “cooler” and more credible to the consumer at face value.

Less risky

Though many changes have taken place to minimize this issue, the fact remains that micro-influencers could still have “fake followers”, especially those with ambitions of working with brands. It's highly unlikely for Macro-influencers to have such issues, since they are genuinely popular public figures. They could be actors, musicians, athletes, or socialites.

MICRO VS. MACRO: FINAL WORDS

Successful influencer campaigns are built around authenticity. The ideal influencer should showcase a personal message on the brand’s terms, not just simply act as a spokesperson for the brand. It should be a cohesive, synergistic blend of both the influencer and the brand's voice.

It's equally imperative that brands seek professionalism and efficiency from the influencers they choose to partner with. Although micro-influencers are often celebrated for their higher engagement rates, this isn't necessarily a 'given' in every scenario. It is important to look beyond follower size and understand how he or she behaves in respect to branded content, and how their audience responds or interacts with their posts. There must be a degree of alignment between both brand and influencer to achieve optimal results. This principle applies to both micro and macro influencers alike. 

At the end of the day, micro vs. macro is a bit of a trick question. Quite frankly, there is no single best approach to influencer marketing. Your brand's campaign objectives should determine the most suitable type of influencer to work with. When assessing an influencer, it is important to look beyond the number of followers that they have, and seek to work with those who can drive followers to engage with their (your) content. The right combination of elements that fit your desired goals should lead you to choose the most effective influencer(s) for your efforts. 

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