The 5 Types of Influencers Every CMO Should Know

by: Dustin Hawley | Tuesday August 13, 2019

Influencers have all but taken over social media, and an effective influencer marketing campaign can do many things when it comes to growing your brand. Successful campaigns that drive engagements, conversions, and sales have grown over the past couple of years, and 39% of marketers increased their influencer marketing budgets last year.

However, as the industry has grown exponentially over the last decade, many brands and marketers have had difficulty both defining influencer marketing, as well as defining the different types of influencers in social media. The term 'influencer' isn't cut and dry, nor is it all-encompassing. But there are 5 types of influencer that every CMO should know about, and we will break them all down in this article. Let's get started!

What types of influencers are there?

Influencer marketing commonly divides influencers into five groups: mega, macro, micro, meso and nano. This classification is often based on the number of followers influencers have on Instagram. Which influencer is best for your brand depends want to achieve with your campaign. Are you looking to reach as many people as possible to create awareness? Or are you looking to build a relationship with a specific target group? These different groups of influencers offer different benefits (and drawbacks), so it's a good idea to affiliate yourself with each of them. Let's begin with the mega-influencers.  

Mega-influencers

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As the name suggests, mega influencers are exactly that - mega-famous people. These individuals are usually famous actors, musicians, athletes and social media personalities with at least 1 million followers. Due to their fame and celebrity appeal, mega influencers have the greatest reach on social media in the sense that their posts end up in front of the largest number of people. For brands focused on simply getting their product in front of the largest audience possible, utilizing mega influencers is the ideal approach. 

While these influencers have the most reach on social media due to their large number of followers, they also often maintain less direct contact. As a result, the number of engagements is usually relatively lower than that of smaller-scale influencers, in terms of percentages. In layman's terms: the influencer's content is seen by more people, but a relatively smaller percentage of them engage with the post.

Mega-influencers are great for increasing the visibility and recognizability of your brand, but maybe less suitable for creating a strong bond and relationship with your target audience. Another factor to take into consideration is that because of their status, mega-influencers are often very expensive. So unless you have a very large budget, mega-influencers may be less realistic for the long-term campaigns.

Macro-influencers

man sitting on his couch filming himself creating social media content

Macro-influencers can be just about anyone if they have the right amount of followers. Typically having somewhere between 10,000 - 1 million followers, these influencers come from an array of backgrounds and professions. They could be bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, executives, and others who possess a passion for sharing their lives with others. Macro-influencers have the highest topical relevance on the influencer spectrum, as they often focus their brand on a specific category, such as lifestyle, fashion, or even business.

For many macro-influencers, their influence is also their primary source of income, so they take pride in producing relatable, authentic, and reliable content to their audience. Therefore, macros are often considered extremely trustworthy and are typically supported by a fiercely loyal fan base.

Macro-influencers are very suitable for large-scale campaigns, and for brands that may not have a lot of experience with social media themselves. But as is the case with mega-influencers, the costs for a macro-influencer can often be quite high.

Micro-influencers

woman putting popcorn kernel over her eye taking a picture

A fairly new breed of influencer, micro-influencers are usually everyday people who have somewhere between 500-10,000 followers. Though their fan base is on the smaller side in comparison to their macro and mega counterparts, they typically have the best level of engagement and brand relevance on the influencer spectrum. Micro-influencers usually only post about their genuine experiences, so they have a very high level of trust with their followers, and are ideal for building lasting relationships.

They also often have a lot of personal contact with their followers and (usually) post reasonably high-quality content that is interesting and engaging to their audience. Though their reach is smaller, their commitment and credibility with their followers are high, which means they have the potential to be very influential. This makes micro-influencers most ideal for campaigns that focus on creating a bond with your brand's target audience.

Meso-influencers

man getting out of sports car

Meso-influencers fall somewhere in the middle between the micro and macro-influencers. These influencers are a very intriguing group for companies and brands who are just beginning to look into exploring the world of influencer marketing. Their reach rivals that of micro-influencers though they may sometimes have follower counts that exceed the threshold of micros. The reason for this as that they take the time to reach out to their followers, and they are also usually open for several collaborations or partnerships.

The costs for a meso-influencer can be relatively low, which in addition to the details described above, is part of the reason that meso-influencers are becoming a very interesting group for brand marketers. For the bigger brands that haven’t collaborated with influencers yet, or enlisted the services of an influencer talent agency, the meso could be the ideal entry-level for this endeavor. Additionally, meso-influencers are effective for small-scale campaigns focused on increasing awareness and creating interaction with their target audience.

Nano-influencers

group of 3 girls taking a selfie on a smartphone

Nano-influencers are another relatively new kid on the block in the world of influencers. They tend to have the smallest number of followers on the influencer spectrum at less than 1,000. A nano-influencer is considered someone who has influence within their community. Often this is someone who influences their local neighborhood or community. Think your local pastor or community leader. The idea behind nano-influencers is to get “regular everyday people” to influence a brand’s product or service to their friends and family. In many cases, this can be achieved by creating user-generated content.

For larger, more ambitious social media campaigns, nano-influencers are not necessarily the best fit. In spite of their high levels of engagement, the typical audience size of a nano-influencer simply doesn’t allow for a huge reach. Nano-influencers are best suited for small scale campaigns, or as a supplemental element of your influencer marketing strategy.

In Closing

Many of these nano and micro-influencers may not even consider themselves an 'influencer'. But they very much are! They all share content that they are passionate about, and have developed engaged audiences from their content on social media. They are content creators that often will not just join forces with any brand. And that's because their authenticity is key. 

Knowing the different groups of influencers and the pros and cons of each demographic will help you determine which group (or groups) are best for your campaign and your overall marketing goals. Each group has their benefits and drawbacks, but one thing is for sure; influencer marketing is an effective way to grow your brand in the world today, so the sooner you begin, you sooner you will see results. So what are you waiting for?

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