Marketing

Micro vs Macro Influencers - Who Brings in the Biggest Wins?

May 19, 2021
 by 
Richard Emanuel
 • 
2
 min to read

The word “influencer” has created quite a buzz in recent years and influencer marketing has proven to be an exciting new way to create brand awareness. For example, the eyewear company Warby Parker collaborated with 7 micro-influencers, resulting in a campaign with 3.4% engagement rate and 800,000 views (well above average for the industry). Talk about results!


Think about it, you see an average Joe with more or less 7,000 followers rocking a cool new tech gadget, and you wonder, “mhmm, what company makes that? Let me check them out!”


Well that’s exactly how it works!


Influencer marketing creates organic traffic that simply doesn’t compare to traditional mass-marketing efforts. 


But before you get too excited, there’s a lot to factor in. Should you consider working with macro or micro-influencers? How do you know if they’re the right fit for your company? 


Before we dive too deep into the influencer world, let’s rewind to unveil the main differences between micro and macro-influencers so you can make the best decision for your business.

Not sure where to start with influencer marketing? Let our experienced team give you the roadmap. 



Micro-influencers

A micro-influencer is an influencer with a social media audience ranging from 1,000- 50,000. To break it down even more, a nano-influencer has an audience of 1,000- 10,000. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll combine both nano and micro into the “micro” category. 


One of the first things you want to consider when searching for influencers is the industry they’re involved with. For example, if you’re in the beauty industry, you might reach out to Instagram influencers like @zolicouture, @alksne, or @angielistica. And if you’re in the consumer tech space, you might connect with Youtubers like Jpndiazz or Liztech


Working with micro-influencers has both positives and negatives and it all depends on what exactly your business is looking to achieve.To clarify, if you want to get lots of eyeballs on your content, but don’t care much about conversions just yet, micro-influencers might not be for you. 


On the other hand, if you don’t have thousands to spend on your marketing, then micro-influencers would be a perfect place to start. Like we mentioned previously, it’s more logical to work with a micro-influencer over a longer time period to build trust with both audiences instead of blowing it all on a big-time influencer.


Let’s tackle some more benefits of working with a micro-influencer:

  • More authentic and relatable
  • Typically have higher engagement rates due to a closer connection with their audience
  • Cheaper than macro-influencers
  • Easier to implement campaigns


To every ying, there is a yang so here are the downfalls:

  • They don’t have as big of a reach
  • There’s a higher risk working with them because you aren’t going to be 100% certain of their credibility


At the end of the day, micro-influencers are often overlooked but could be highly beneficial for your brand. Now, let’s take a look at macro-influencers. 

Macro-influencers

In contrast, macro-influencers are celebrity-like figures in the community that either were celebrities to start with and their online presence moved with them or they started as a micro-influencer and gained major traction by going viral, such as on Tik-Tok or Instagram. An audience of 150,000  is considered a macro-influencer and anything above 500,000 is a “mega-influencer”.


To give an example, let’s take a look at the Ivy Park x Adidas collaboration. Ivy Park is an athleisure company owned by the well-known global phenomenon, Beyonce, and Adidas - well, they’re the second-largest footwear company after Nike. 


Adidas recognized that a major demographic of theirs is women. What better icon to represent them than the queen bee herself? Both brands partnered up to create exclusive clothing with other noteworthy macro-influencers like Hailey Bieber, Shi Gray, and Gucci Mane (well he’s more of a mega!). 


This campaign blew up during the midst of the pandemic when Beyonce birthed the mantra, “This is your park” to encourage others to seek near to them to find inspiration.


By aligning with the right macro-influencers, you can sell out your exclusive deals too. 


Aside from enormous reach, other advantages of working with macro-influencers include:


  • Reaching more diverse crowds
  • Scaling your sales
  • Gaining massive social proof
  • Acknowledging and capturing the expertise of these large moguls 
  • A more professional campaign


On the flip side, here are the cons:


  • Not as much trust is built because your consumers might not relate as well
  • A lot more challenging to land a deal with them
  • More expensive
  • Vanity metrics (a high follower count doesn’t always mean an engaged audience)


Because there are a lot of elements to ponder, let’s dissect which would be more appropriate for your business goals. 

Who should you work with - micro- or macro-influencers?

This depends entirely on your:

  • Type of business and related goals
  • Budget and resources
  • Timeline
  • Target audience


In regards to your goals, are you looking to massively increase your brand awareness? If so, macro-influencers will assist with that. Need better customer loyalty? Then, you’ll want to find those genuine micro-influencers. This is not to say that if you partner with a micro-influencer you wouldn’t see a large reach boost or visa versa. The outcomes are often on a case by case basis and vary greatly by industry. 


Maybe you have an influencer outreach specialist on your team already. In this case, it’ll be a heck of a lot easier to get going with your decisions. But if you’re starting from scratch and don’t have much expertise in this marketing realm, micro-influencers will be your best bet. 


Let’s say, for example, you just need a one-time bump for your business to take off. In this scenario, macros would work well for your goals. Long-term relationships with micro-influencers could be favorable as they could put you in touch with other like-minded influencers in their network, and you’ll be able to build that trust with both audiences. 


Last but not least, if your audience is small, they won’t take to a gigantic influencer and the same goes the other way around. Think of them first. 


Here’s a quick recap.


Work with micro-influencers if you:

  • Have a small budget
  • You need to build customer loyalty over time
  • You’re just starting with influencer marketing


Work with macro-influencers if you:

  • Have a larger budget
  • Need to gain brand awareness quickly
  • Have experience with influencer marketing

Parkfield’s take - aim for authentic, long-term partnerships with the right influencers

While it may be tempting to go for influencers who have the most followers (that you can afford), look instead for loyalty and engagement. How? Check their comments - how does the influencer interact with their audience? What does their engagement rate look like? To put engagement rates into perspective, an influencer with 10,000 followers and an engagement rate of 10% are at the top 1% most invaluable Instagram influencers.


Make certain that your brand is a great fit for the influencer’s niche and that their audience is as close as possible to your ideal customer, otherwise you’ll both be wasting precious time and money. 


Micro-influencers may not have as big a reach as macro-influencers, but in the end, what matters is authenticity and a perfect fit to your brand purpose and values.

Image: Photo by Johanne Kristensen on Unsplash

Richard Emanuel
Rich, the CEO of Parkfield, is a direct marketing pro with a decade of experience helping companies build, grow, and re-imagine their businesses. Rich focuses on using data and technology to create marketing solutions that capitalize on business opportunities and drive growth.
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