How to work with nano, micro, macro, and mega influencers and where to find the most success
Influencers at any size
Influencer marketing works because it engages customers in more organic ways than does traditional advertising. Furthermore, each influencer type can meet specific objectives within each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Influencer marketing managers identify influencer types by how many followers each influencer has. Most experts agree that there are four different types of influencers:
- Nano influencers
- Micro influencers
- Macro influencers
- Mega influencers
The key to knowing how to work with all the different types of influencers is understanding how each functions within your influencer network or on a particular campaign. Each influencer type has its place within a mature influencer marketing program.
But categorizing influencers based solely on follower counts can be misleading. Experienced influencer marketing managers understand how vital it is to take engagement into consideration.
Having thousands of social media followers does not automatically equal audience engagement. Fake influencers can manufacture a large social media following using shady tactics.
With any influencer campaign, the bottom line is authenticity. Do the influencers that you’ve selected have the ability – regardless of their follower size – to achieve authentic connections with members of their online community?
This authenticity is most often identified by way of an influencer’s engagement rate. Regardless of an influencer’s follower size, an influencer’s engagement rate is the best way to predict conversions during a campaign.
Engagement Rate = Post Engagements / Number of Followers
By dividing an influencer’s number of post engagements (comments, shares, hashtags, and user-generated content) by the number of followers, you can arrive at a more reliable metric.
What are your influencer marketing goals?
What do you hope to achieve by enlisting the help of influencers into your marketing mix?
Are you looking to increase product sales? Or how about raising your brand awareness?
Both objectives can be goals in any influencer marketing campaign and across your influencer programs. Other common goals include web traffic, increasing brand sentiment, promoting a new product launch, user feedback, and search engine optimization.
The marketing objectives that you’ve identified for your brand impacts your influencer recruiting approach.
The relationship between audience size, reach, and engagement
As a general rule, the higher an influencer follower count, the lower their overall engagement rate is likely to be. By simple logic, influencers with fewer followers are often able to achieve much higher engagement rates.
As a result, brands with a goal of increased conversions see more exceptional results with higher engagement and typically prefer Nano and Micro influencers.
When it comes to a brand’s reach, influencers with a higher follower count generally perform better. Even though Macro and Mega influencers have lower engagement, their 100,000 plus audiences are still engaged enough to take notice when a celebrity endorses or uses your brand.
Forecasting campaign results
After identifying the type of influencers available, along with their engagement rates and your marketing goals, you can make realistic predictions about the effectiveness of your influencer campaign.
For example, if you’re interested in a Micro influencer with 75,000 followers and a 21% engagement rate, you’ll most likely have a notable impact on 15,000-16,000 prospective customers. Additionally, you know that with a Micro influencer, those 15,000-16,000 people will feel compelled to engage your posts with curiosity and excitement.
Conversely, if your campaign partners with a Mega influencer who has 2.5 million followers and a 9% engagement rate, your number of impressions will fall around 225,000. And while you may not see a high volume of post interaction and engagement, you can be confident that your brand successfully connected with a mass audience and gained long-lasting exposure.
Nano influencers have strong engagement among a small number of followers. These influencers have less than 10,000 followers.
Often serving niche audiences, Nano influencers achieve high engagement rates. Their relationship with audience members is profound and meaningful.
When they work
If your product/service caters to niche audiences, Nano influencers are great to have on your team. Not only will they generate excitement among members of their online community, but they will also drive sales.
Organifi is an excellent example of a brand that excels with the help of Nano influencers. Because the superfood industry thrives on feedback from consumers and nutrition experts, Organifi was able to see the highest ROI through high social media engagement.
If you’re new to the world of influencer marketing, we recommend that you begin working with Micro influencers. For many brands, Micro influencers are the “sweet spot” in their program. These influencers have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers.
Often, Micro influencers combine the deeper relationships enjoyed by Nano influencers with a broader reach achieved by celebrity influencers. These influencers are the most popular and account for nearly half of all influencer marketing dollars spent in 2019.
When they work
Micro influencers are frequently the “sweet spot” of any influencer program, both in terms of audience engagement and sales. That said, their audience size can be a limitation if your ultimate goal is substantial brand awareness.
Brands that start out using Micro influencers can scale their influencer program to gradually include different kinds of influencers to reach specific marketing goals. Partnering with Micro influencers is an excellent way to dial in your program by experimenting with a variety of campaign ideas.
Many brands that start off using Micro influencers are more quickly able to find that ideal mix of Nano, Micro, Macro, and Mega influencers.
Within the brand ambassador, key opinion leader, and influencer space, Macro influencers are sometimes confused with Mega influencers. This confusion is probably due to the fact that a lot of Macro and Mega influencers are also celebrities.
Most celebrity influencers have a minimum of 500,000 followers. By comparison, Macro influencers usually curate between 100,000 and 1 million followers.
As you recruit influencers in the Macro space, you’ll notice that your cost per influencer increases considerably. If you’re confident in the ROI you’ll receive, the extra investment could be the best decision from a budgeting perspective.
When they work
When you simply need more people to witness your message, Macro influencers can get the job done with a respectable level of engagement.
An excellent example of when to use macro influencers is showcased in Trifecta’s influencer program. Trifecta is a fitness brand that caters to an audience obsessed with results. By partnering with Macro and celebrity influencers, Trifecta can reach more passionate audiences impacted by the results that those celebrities achieve by using Trifecta’s product.
In Trifecta’s case, “before and after” pictures on the walls of Macro influencers were more instrumental to campaign success than were post engagements.
Because Mega influencers enjoy over 1 million followers, these individuals are nearly always celebrities or professional athletes.
Super Bowl commercials (like the brand partnership between Serena Williams and Bumble) are some excellent examples of Mega influencer campaigns.
Mega influencers tend to be expensive. However, positive results can be overwhelming if your brand has the budget and know-how to leverage a Mega influencer partnership.
When they work
The fastest way to achieve your objective is to use Mega influencers when you need to grab the attention of hundreds of thousands (or millions) of consumers.
One of the first brands to formally embrace influencer marketing was Oakley. After partnering with influencers who were also professional athletes, consumers responded positively to the celebrity endorsements of Mega influencers.
These Mega influencers were able to help Oakley promote a global following that now stands as a cultural symbol for an active, outdoor lifestyle.
International brands, mobile apps, and retail companies with thousands of brick-and-mortar locations frequently do very well when partnering with Mega influencers.
How to determine what kind of influencer works with your brand strategy
An influencer marketing approach for one brand may not work for another.
Choosing the right type of influencer requires you to know your target audience well, including your various audience segments. For most brands, using different influencer types to reach specific segments is the most effective approach.
More importantly, understanding the journey that your customers take from brand awareness to product purchase will give you the insight you need to build the perfect influencer marketing mix.
Influencers for every stage of your marketing funnel
Consumers don’t wake up one day, see a plug for your business, and suddenly decide to give you their money. Marketers today recognize the buyer’s journey or marketing funnel.
In a recent GRIN podcast, Katya Allison (GRIN’s Marketing Manager) shared the biggest question that marketers today should be asking:
“How many touch points does someone need in order to make that decision [to buy] with the digital landscape being what it is now?”
By “touch point,” Katya is referring to moments when a potential customer engages with your brand. These “touches” could be downloads, emails, social media posts, and more. In theory, the more touch points you achieve with customers, the lower they fall within the marketing funnel, and the more likely those consumers are to convert to customers.
Social media influencers can produce some of the most impactful “touches” that digital marketing has yet to see due to the impact of influence in today’s digital environment.
Understanding customer touch points
Traditionally, market research informed sales managers that the ideal number of customer touches was eight touches. But the best research supporting this data is nearly seven years old.
Other experts like LSA Insider insisted last year that you might need as many as several hundred touch points before your customers are ready to buy.
So what is your ideal number of customer touch points?
That depends on your product/service, the ideal customer(s), and your marketing approach. By identifying how many touches it takes for your customers to convert, you can tailor your influencer program to your marketing funnel and produce a steady stream of conversions.
Influencers for brand awareness (top of the marketing funnel)
Katya continues her discussion regarding customer touch points,
“Reach is incredibly important, and I would envision having an influencer marketing strategy that follows the marketing funnel.”
In the marketing funnel, the top represents a brand’s awareness stage. Consumers that are first taking notice of your brand fall within this phase. Though they may not be ready to buy, your brand is now on their radar, and they are open to doing business with your business.
That said, incorporating Macro and Mega influencers into your strategy are instrumental in drawing customers into the awareness stage. The sheer reach that celebrities have can potentially double or triple brand awareness among members of your market.
Influencers for conversions (bottom of the marketing funnel)
Regarding the bottom of the marketing funnel, Katya notes,
“The lower you get down on that funnel, that’s where your Nanos and your brand ambassadors come into play.”
With a smaller social media following, influencers have a more substantial, direct influence on their digital community members. Nano and Micro influencers possess enormous referral power with their audience.
That referral power translates more readily into sales, subscriptions, and conversions.
Conclusion: Get the most out of your influencer programs
Whatever direction you choose to take with your influencer program, don’t be afraid to take liberties and test alternative approaches and tactics. Experiment with different kinds of influencers and track results. With enough experience, your program will mature into a well-oiled machine making extensive use of a variety of influencer types.
Continuing to experiment with different influencer types will keep your program fresh and help you create your ideal marketing mix.
“You need a good spread. It’s the combination of different types of influencers that’s the win for influencer marketing.” – GRIN
For more information about how to tailor your influencer program to your marketing objectives, here are some extra resources: