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Micro Influencers vs Macro Influencers? How to find the right advocate for your brand

Influencer marketing has a lot of benefits and can bring incredible value to any business. The industry has taken off beyond expectation and is now a key channel for any savvy marketer. However, as with other digital marketing tools, the key to success begins with a well-defined strategy.

Determining the right type of influencers to work with is an integral component of that strategy, and a tricky one at that, given the gamut of influencers available to businesses. The hardest part of course, is finding an influencer that aligns with your brand as well as your customers.

Marketers therefore have to consider several factors when choosing the best fit for their business. While many assume bigger is better, that may not be the case.

Macro Influencers

There was a time when celebrities were the end-all be-all of high visibility campaigns. Pepsi was famous for including celebrities in their commercials – from Michael Jackson and Madonna, to the iconic television ad starring Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and P!nk as Pepsi-drinking gladiators.

But the rise of social media changed the game and analytics has made every aspect of a campaign measurable. Celebrities are no longer the only ones with vast fan bases, there are now social media personalities with similar clout like Daily Dose, Lele Pons, Kylie Jenner and Cameron Dallas. These social media influencer personalities command follower counts in the hundreds of thousands and into the millions. These factors have brought celebrity endorsement into the ranks of influencer marketing opportunities available to you, if you have the budget.

Brands approaching macro influencers pay big bucks to tap into the engaged, and trusting follower bases they command – and can see some incredible numbers in terms of engagement and visibility as a result.

Looking into the data on the increase in engagement through influencer collaboration, we found that an account with between 250,000 and 1 million followers would benefit dramatically, with potentially over 1,000 per cent increase in engagement from a single post by a well-positioned influencer with over 1 million followers.

The key aspect of a good influencer campaign is that it should feel authentic – the influencer takes a brand’s message and showcases it to their audience on their terms rather than acting as a mouthpiece for the brand.

But bigger isn’t always better, consider the new kid on the block: micro influencers.

Micro Influencers
Micro influencers are a bit of a different breed. Usually with followings from the thousands up to about a hundred thousand, these are the approachable side of influencer marketing. They are people who might be your friends or neighbors. Some great micro influencer examples are Mary Orton (@maryorton), Marcos Soler Ferrer (@marcossoler), and Alex Aldeborgh (@daisybeet). Dogs can be micro influencers too, just ask Griffin and Haru (@griffinfrenchie), the adorable French Bulldog pair with over 111,000 followers who showcase sweaters, treats, and other pup products.

These social media influencers work more along the lines of word of mouth than the idolized authority large accounts boast. Whether it’s a fab new pair of yoga pants, that protein bar they’re snacking on, or the glass of rosé they’re enjoying on a hot summer day, micro influencers have a human face, and an individual story to tell. Because of this, it’s also even more important that you work on building a relationship with influencers you would like to work with. In this way, you can be on the same page about what you want them to promote and how – without trying to police their individual brand too much. Remember: don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re approaching them because of their individuality.

Don’t let the smaller numbers fool you, when it comes to audiences, the adage “it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it that counts” really holds true. Micro influencers prove this rule with impressive prowess. That authenticity and approachability really seems to pay off. What they lack in reach compared to their multi-million follower siblings they more than make up for in engagement.

Micro influencer accounts boast up to a 60 per cent increased engagement rate compared to macro influencers. In fact, in general, the engagement rate an influencer has peaks in the early thousands and starts to plateau after around the hundred thousand mark.

And it’s not just engagement rate either, you can boost your e-commerce sales with influencer marketing, too. Micro influencers also have over a 20 per cent higher conversion rate. This is not surprising, as consumers make most of their purchase decisions based on suggestions by close friends (86 per cent), although distant friends (39 per cent) and influencers (31 per cent) also carry good clout in their decision-making. Meanwhile, brands and strangers ranked much lower- with only 23 per cent of respondents saying that these influenced their purchase decisions.

Micro influencers are also much cheaper than their big-name counterparts. You would be looking at spending a couple hundred USD per post, rather than a couple thousand. Combine that with their increased engagement and conversion rates, and micro influencers might just be more cost-effective for your business goals!

Therefore, if you’re really looking for engagement and conversion, don’t shy away from micro influencers. They’re an increasingly important aspect of social media influencer marketing and they boast some impressive advantages over big name alternatives. This is both true if you’re a smaller business and don’t want to blow your budget on one or two posts or a more agile big business. You can even pair up with multiple micro influencers for about the cost of a single collaboration with a macro influencer to mitigate some of the loss in reach you’ll encounter with the micro alternative.

How to choose your ideal social media influencer
Each influencer option has its pros and cons, so it’s important to find an influencer whose brand and audience line up with your business goals.

The Takeaway
With so many options, deciding which route is best for your business can seem impossible. But a good way to break it down is to think about what your business needs right now. Do you need visibility or conversions? Is reach important to you or is your priority hooking in those sales?

If all you are looking for is reach, and you have the budget to pull it off – celebrities are the powerhouse accounts you want to get in touch with. If you’re looking for wide reach and engagement, but not necessarily a high conversion rate, macro influencers are here to help you out.

Meanwhile, micro influencers should be your go-to for conversion rate. They can convert customers cheaper and more efficiently than any of the other options, making them a powerful option to boost your ROI. They may even be more cost-efficient than your own campaigns if you collaborate with the right micro influencers.

Given that they are cheaper than the big name social media influencers, you can even counter the downside of their decreased reach by working with more at once. You may even find that this is a much more cost-to-value efficient way for your business to get into influencer marketing.

Co-written by Jacob Porteous, Jr. Content Marketing Writer, Socialbakers.

Charles Tidswell

Charles Tidswell is the Vice President of JAPAC at Socialbakers and is based in Singapore. For the majority of his professional career, Charles has been involved with early stage start-ups and companies entering the high growth stage across the South East Asia region.