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The Difference Between Micro and Macro Influencers


No doubt that even if you’re a casual user of social media, you’re familiar with influencers. They are flogging everything from waist trainers to teeth whitening kits. These influencers range from Joanna Gaines to your favorite fashion blogger.

In the past several years, marketing departments have begun to harness the power of social media. They have begun to use influencers as part of their campaigns. This can take the form of anything from gifting a beauty blogger a new lipstick for her to wear or paying Christie Brinkley and her daughters to promote your product across their Instagram pages. The goal of influencer marketing is to convert sales for your company. But recently, you might have heard a new buzzword: “micro influencer.”

What exactly is a micro influencer and how can they help you with brand awareness or converting sales? Read on to discover why they can be a powerful asset. 

Micro Influencers vs. Macro Influencers

You’re already familiar with the power that influencers have over their audiences. By promoting a product, their audience often feels like their friend is telling them about something they’ve discovered. This is due to the fact that influencers create trust with their audience, and thus think highly of their opinions.

Some influencers, like British YouTuber Zoella (also known as Zoe Sugg), have such pull that merely showing herself with a product has made it sell out. Originally, brands would clamor to work with someone like Zoella. She has several million followers in a preset demographic. And while hiring her might convert to sales, you might not be building the brand recognition and trust you want. Not to mention it would cost you several thousand dollars to have her discuss your product.

Enter the micro influencer. Zoella would be an example of a macro influencer because of the size of her audience. A micro influencer is, as the name suggests, someone with a much smaller following.

Micro influencers have at least 1,000 followers on the platform you’re targeting. While this might not seem like a lot, the key to the success with them is that they have highly engaged fans. Their followers fit a very specific demographic and will always consider the influencer’s opinion.

For example, a macro influencer, like Zoella, has several million fans. However, her fans likely span several age ranges and life stages. This means you could advertise something with her and it might connect to a portion of her audience, but it doesn’t guarantee brand awareness and sales.

A micro influencer might be a young mother. Her audience might also be mostly young mothers. If you introduce her to a product she adores through a marketing campaign and pay her to promote it, you have a captive audience of young mothers hearing about how great your product is.

Cost Consideration

When influencers first became a “career,” most brands chose to work with micro influencers because they were cheaper. Someone with millions of followers can charge a lot more for an ad campaign than someone with a few thousand. However, bigger brands are starting to see the benefit of engaging several micro influencers at once, within their core audience.

One of the major considerations for marketing is always how you can get the most “bang for your buck,” and choosing a micro influencer might help you do that. Hiring a macro influencer to endorse your product could cost several hundred thousand dollars. While hiring a macro influencer ensures you get a lot of attention for your product, it doesn’t give you the real target that you’re aiming for. Pinpointing several micro influencers for a campaign will ensure that you get a very targeted audience and one that might be more diverse. Depending on your budget, it might even be cheaper to hire several micro influencers than one macro influencer.

Their Audiences are More Engaged 

Micro influencers have an engaged audience. They often have more post interactions based on their number of followers than a macro influencer. This is because they are growing and able to create a community that they interact with. As influencers grow larger, their ability to interact with fans and followers starts to fade. However, micro influencers still have that intimacy that macro influencers lack. If, for example, you’re promoting a new mascara, a micro influencer is much more likely to talk to her followers in the comments. She might continue to discuss the mascara in the comments of her campaign or elsewhere. Larger influencers will simply move to the next product they are promoting.

You Can Collaborate Closely with a Micro Influencer

Of course, you can collaborate with a macro influencer, but unless you have a huge budget, you’re not going to be able to have a whole video or blog post dedicated to your project.

Micro influencers have more wiggle room and can dedicate more time and blog or social media space to your product. They don’t typically have managers and agents who will also give their opinion on how to run the project.

Macro influencers are also very busy. As a result, you won’t get much time to collaborate with them on a project, and you may have to contact them months in advance. With micro influencers, things can get done much more quickly, and possibly, much more effectively.

However, don’t think that because your micro influencer has a smaller audience that he or she will want you laying out every detail of how to run the campaign. Instead, collaborate, but leave it to them to create something fantastic.

Should You Choose a Macro or Micro Influencer?

Really, it is up to you and what the goals for your brand are. You might also try working with both micro and macro influencers. This can help you decide which is the most effective for your brand moving forward. Both have their positives and negatives, and either can work for your brand.

You may also consider testing out micro influencers vs. macro influencers on different campaigns. This can help you figure out which one worked better for your company’s goals.

For all things branding and marketing, check out our blog. You’ll find posts on everything from working with PR companies to ideas for marketing yourself online in your industry.


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