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Getting to Know Your Influencer Tiers

By: Viral Nation | 5 mins read |
The rise of influencer marketing has prompted countless marketers and businesses to launch their own influencer marketing campaigns that generate varying successes. But the rise of influencers created different types of influencers, so how are you supposed to know what type works best for your brand? There are various kinds of influencers, from nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers to mega-influencers with millions of followers. Most people may think that bigger is better, but that may only sometimes be true. Of course, there are benefits to partnering with smaller influencers. Keep reading to learn more about influencer types and their pros and cons.

The Nano-Influencer

At the bottom of the tier, we have nano influencers with around 1,000 to 10,000 followers. More specifically, 5,000 or fewer subscribers on YouTube, 2,500-10,000 followers on Instagram, and 5,000-50,000 on TikTok. All influencers start out small, but just because they are small doesn't mean brands should ignore them. They usually gain their followers by having expertise and credibility within their niche and have built a strong relationship with their followers.  Although nano influencers' follower size is much smaller compared to their bigger counterparts, they usually have a more active and engaged community. Because their community is relatively small, it allows the influencer to get personal with their followers and form deeper relationships. When brands collaborate with nano influencers, their followers tend to view the recommendation as authentic and want to support the influencer they love. As long as you find the right nano influencers who like your brand's product, your brand can quickly gain attention and sales.  The biggest pro of working with nano influencers is their cost — collaborating with them is very affordable. For example, it only costs between US$10 and US$100 per post when you ask nano influencers to promote your brand. If your campaign has a limited budget, collaborating with them may ease your load since the cost-per-post fees for nano influencers are typically cheaper. However, because of their smaller follower count, nano influencers may need help accessing platform privileges like Instagram's swipe-up feature to be able to add links directly to their story. They also tend to lack experience in social media marketing because they might just be starting out, so be patient and help get them started to ensure your campaign (and partnership) is successful. This actually might be a good thing because they are eager to work with your brand and want to learn more about the industry. 

The Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencers have a higher follower count, which ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 followers. To be classified as a micro-influencer on TikTok you need between 50,000-150,000, as well as 10,000-100,000 followers on Instagram and 5,000-25,000 subscribers on YouTube. They are more active in collaborating with brands and usually seek to promote products related to their niche.  However, just like nano influencers, they are open to collaborating with brands whose products they like. Micro-influencers are great for new businesses or brands that want to promote a new product. Although partnering with micro-influencers costs higher than nano-influencers, they are still considered affordable. For instance, brands will have to pay between US$100 to $500 per Instagram post. Micro-influencers have high engagement rates because their community size still allows them to connect closely with their followers and form those personal relationships.  If your brand values authenticity, working with them is a great choice. Micro-influencers are people who usually have a 9-5 day job so their content is more authentic than influencers who’s job is solely to promote brands. Their followers can easily relate to what they share online and ultimately helps build stronger relationships. They are more likely to post original content, respond to comments and act more authentically than a big-name influencer whose social media manager manages their accounts.  Micro-influencers may have high engagement and conversion rates, but they are not as skilled at increasing brand awareness because of their small follower count. Brands should also keep in mind some influencers may buy bots as followers to boost them into the micro-influencer category. If you decide to work with micro-influencers, check their follower authenticity to ensure they earned all their followers.

The Macro-Influencer

Macro-influencers have between 100,000 to one million followers and are usually a master in their field of interest. You need 250,000-1,000,000 subscribers on YouTube, 500,000 - 1,000,000 followers on Instagram, and 150,000-750,000 followers on TikTok. They are great for established brands due to their large following, but they are more costly compared to smaller influencers ranging from US$5000 to US$10,000 per post. Macro-influencers are social media marketing professionals who have reached a low-level celebrity status, so it's no surprise that brands reach a large audience with specific interests by collaborating with them. Despite providing a more extensive community, their content is generally focused on one interest their followers enjoy. Thanks to their broad audience, macro-influencers can reach many more consumers with each post, compared to micro-influencers. And considering a solid influencer marketing campaign includes reach and engagement, collaborating with macro influencers will definitely help you get there. Unfortunately, with the high number of followers, macro-influencers have a more challenging time building a personal connection with their followers. There are just too many followers commenting or direct messaging for these influencers to respond to. Consider working with macro-influencers who do not already promote something related to your industry to keep brand focus high amongst this new audience. You don't want your brand to be tuned out because followers are used to seeing the same type of content from these macro-influencers.

The Mega-Influencer

Mega influencers are the big fish in the influencer world and must have more than 1 million followers to fall into the highest tier of influencers. Mega influencers have over 1,000,000 subscribers on YouTube, over 2,500,000 followers on Instagram and over 2,500,000 followers on TikTok.They are very expensive, costing at least US$10,000 or more, which is why they are exclusively for big brands with unlimited budgets.  If your campaign goal is to make your brands known among a large number of people, then resort to mega-influencers. With their massive communities, mega-influencers can offer a diverse audience with broad demographics. Despite the high cost, they will deliver the quickest exposure in a single post. They are also well-trained in how to act in influencer campaigns, so it will save you from dealing with a lot of preparation and training beforehand. If you want to increase consumer awareness or even the credibility of your product or service and have a massive budget, you can target mega influencers. They have a large follower base, and when a specific audience begins to relate to your brand with the help of these influencers, it can help you establish a loyal audience for your brand. Although they are good at increasing brand awareness, mega-influencers have the lowest engagement rate. They have followers with varying interests, which makes it hard for the influencers to convince many of their followers to buy the sponsored products.  Each type of influencer has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each brand has to decide which kind suits its needs — not every brand has to collaborate with mega-influencers. Sometimes, depending on your marketing objectives and your brand's values, partnering with smaller influencers will generate better results than working with large ones.
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Viral Nation

Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.