We often hear that online influencers are the celebrities of the future, but to advertisers they already offer much more. If you ask any 15 year old who they admire, your answer will likely include an influencer or two. They’ve created a name for themselves with funny videos, original photography or compelling blog articles. They have millions of fans who buy their t-shirts and follow their daily lives. It’s no wonder influencers have taken marketing by storm.
A great example of their popularity is how a group of Youtube influencers (Team 10) have made headlines because of the number of devoted fans that wait outside their house to catch a glimpse of them. These personalities have an incredible influence over their audiences, sometimes more so than your average movie star. Why is that? Part of the reason is that their popularity is contained within a very specific field. @beautyisboring_, for example, a makeup artist with 119k Instagram followers, has fans that recognize her skill. You can bet that the product recommendations she makes are taken as seriously as her very popular makeup tutorials.
What’s a Micro, Medium & Macro-Influencer?
Influencers are divided in three main categories. Micro-influencers, with audiences starting at around 5000 followers, have the smallest followings of the three groups. Despite the small number of impressions they can provide, here’s what makes them very interesting to marketers. An article published by Digiday UK found that engagement rates for micro-influencer are between 4%-8% whereas macro-influencers will see an average engagement rate of only 1.66%. What these numbers tell us is that on average the audience cares more and feel much closer to these micro-influencers than they do to larger accounts. Followers take more time to look at their photos and to read their captions, which, as a brand, translates to a better response to your sponsored posts.
Macro-influencers have very large audiences of over 1 million followers. They can be artists, actors, musicians, comedians or simply individuals with unique social media accounts. When you work with macro-influencers a large number of impressions is guaranteed. If the objective of your campaign is reach, a macro-influencer will allow you to have a larger reach at a lower cost per impression.
However, larger influencers are in high-demand. Depending on the influencer you chose to work with, your marketing team might find themselves spending a lot of time negotiating rates, scheduling and collaboration requirements with an influencer’s agent. And if your brand doesn’t match the influencer’s style or taste, you are unlikely to get the chance to collaborate. It’s for this reason that many brands decide to work with middle-influencers.
With an audience size between those of the micro and macro-influencers, middle-influencers offer an interesting advantage: an ability to reach a large audience without sacrificing engagement rate. For instance, if participation in a contest is the objective, collaborating with middle-influencers would be a good strategy. Additionally, middle-influencers that have large audiences in the tens of thousands often still represent themselves. You can be in direct contact with the influencer, which can make working out the terms of a collaboration much simpler.
Don’t forget that working with middle-influencers allows your brand to begin building a relationship early with someone that could significantly increase their following in the next few years or even months. It’s important to think long-term with influencer marketing. Repeated collaborations allows you to build a valuable relationship. These relationships with your influencers will be important when they continue to gain popularity and begin to be approached by your competitors. Do you remember when Lebron James signed a lifetime sponsorship deal with Nike last December? Certain big brands have applied this long-term thinking to their marketing strategy and you should too.