Micro vs. Macro Influencers

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Don’t let the name fool you. Five Reasons Micro Influencers Can Be More Impactful For Your Brand

Social media marketing tactics seem to be taking over. In order to reach a large, targeted audience, brands are turning towards various platforms to increase brand awareness, exposure, and Return on Investment (ROI), often through social media influencers. An influencer is an individual with a following that has the reach and capability to impact their audience’s perspectives and purchasing decisions. Micro-influencers are typically defined as individuals with less than 100,000 followers, while macro influencers have a much larger following. Often times, macro influencers are celebrities with millions of followers. But an individual’s follower count doesn’t always correlate with their ability to influence.

1. Micro influencers have higher engagement among their followers

Social media engagement is described as the interactions that an individual generates on their account or on a particular post. Engagement can appear as likes, comments, shares, and other forms depending on the social media platform.

“Brands tapping into the influencer marketing community as part of its integrated communication efforts would do well to focus less on individual’s followers and more on the engagement rate,” said Michael Kaye, Communications Manager at Autism Speaks. “These personalities with a smaller following, known as micro influencers, tend to have high-engagement and are a trusted source for their audiences. Leveraging micro influencers for your campaign can not only increase your ROI, but it can also decrease your overall marketing spend as well.”

You may think that one with a higher following count would automatically have a higher engagement. However, more often than not, those with millions of followers have a lower engagement percentage, meaning a lower percentage of their followers are active and interact with their posts or participating in their conversations. According to Contevo, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, individuals with a follower count over 100,000 have an average engagement rate of 1.7%, while those with 1,000 or less followers average at 9.7%. Micro influencers have more active audience members that are regularly commenting, sharing, and interacting with their posts. This can create conversation around your brand, earning you more mentions, more clicks to your page, and ultimately, more consumers. Chico Tirado, the chief revenue officer and co founder of Gnack, says that he has seen micro influencers bring up to 25% engagement rates on certain campaigns.

In a complementary sense, micro influencers are generally more engaged with their audience as well. They often respond directly to their audience’s comments. Typically, micro influencers have stronger relationships with their followers and are more conversational with them compared to much larger macro influencers. This relationship between micro influencers and their audience makes their followers trust them and truly value their opinions, such as about certain brands or products.

2. They have a compact, targeted audience

Micro influencers have a much smaller audience and usually have an area of focus or post certain topics. Some influencers may focus on fitness, fashion, or food. There are endless topics that people post about, and their followers often have a passion for that topic as well. For this reason, their audience usually has similar interests as the blogger and one another.

While a macro influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers may promote your brand to a larger audience by number, they won’t be able to target a brand’s specific target market. Their followers will be less uniform and generally they will not have the same interests, passions, and values. You may be exposing your brand and its message to a wider audience, but this means it will be broader as well. Generally, your brand will be pertinent and appealing to a much smaller percentage of their audience, compared with micro influencers.

By choosing micro influencers that already post about or support similar content your brand sells. You’ll be targeting an audience that finds your brand relevant. Their audience consists of individuals that value their opinions and are interested in their particular content. By partnering with the right micro influencers your brand will be exposed to a specific, niche audience that will already be receptive to your messages and products.

3. They are particular with the content they post

Due to their compact, niche-like audience, micro influencers are often concerned with the content that they post. In fact, many micro influencers spend much of their time creating content that fits with the aesthetic of their page. Their followers enjoy and expect similar content from them. A drastic change in content would surprise followers, and may cause them to unfollow if they are following for an exclusive type of content. For instance, if a fitness blogger was to start posting sponsored content from McDonalds, their followers would be confused. The sponsored posts would also not be perceived as authentic coming from an individual whose content focuses around health and fitness.

For this reason, micro influencers usually only team up with brands that they genuinely are interested in and care about. They know their audience holds them to a certain expectation, and failing to meet that expectation may cause them to lose followers. Micro influencers prefer to partner with brands that they truly believe in and that compliment each other. They build mutually beneficial relationships with their partner brands that are long lasting. Therefore, their posts look more genuine to their audience and accordingly have a greater impact.

4. Their post look less like forced ads

Because micro influencers tend to partner with brands they truly care about, their sponsored posts look more authentic, and less like forced advertisements. The relationships with their partners usually last over time, so a micro influencers’ followers can see it isn’t a one time paid post. Rather, their audience can recognize that they honestly support the brand’s values, messages and products.

Social media users are constantly exposed to sponsored advertisements, and are almost conditioned to scroll right past them, without giving a look to what is being advertised or the message being put out. Because of the genuine trust and credibility micro influencers have with their followers, 84% of consumers trust their opinions and recommendations over traditional brand advertising, according to Contevo. Even sponsored posts from celebrity macro influencers often look insincere and scripted to their audience.

5. They can be more cost efficient

Micro influencers are not big name celebrities. Most of the time, they are your typical college student, mom, or any other every day individual. They spend time creating content for their audience simply because they love to do it.

Macro influencers with thousands, if not millions of followers, are looking to make that amount too. Celebrities make hundreds of thousands on sponsored posts. In fact, Kylie Jenner makes a million on a single instagram post, while 84% of micro influencers charge less than $250 on a sponsored instagram post, according to ClickZ. If you’re a massive company, you may be able to afford a macro influencer of this size. However, for most brands, this is not feasible. Instead, a brand can work with several micro influencers for a fraction of the cost. And they are typically 6.7 times more cost efficient per engagement, as stated by The Startup.

Micro influencers may have a smaller reach, but they have strong relationships with their audience which keeps them engaged. This will create genuine conversations about your brand, increasing awareness and exposure. They can target a compact, niche audience where your brand is relevant. Unlike traditional advertisements and paid posts, micro influencers can advocate for a brand and its products that fit in with their content, so posts come off as authentic. All while doing so at a much more affordable cost.

Jaclyn Cortina, UMASS Amherst Student

Jaclyn Cortina, University of Massachusetts Amherst Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) and Journalism Student. 

2 Responses to " Micro vs. Macro Influencers "

  1. Wendy Glavin says:

    Thanks for the educational content. Many people do feel that the number of followers is what’s most important. Recently, I attended a large event with the media and others. During the event, they said that instead of always focusing on the national pubs, connect with trade publications. I agree that micro influencers are more targeted. Your article clearly discussed the differences between macro and micro and what’s really important.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Wendy. I can’t wait to hear all about SXSW. 🙂

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