Micro vs. macro influencers: Which strategy is right for you?

Influencer marketing has quickly risen to become one of the most important parts of any youth brand’s strategy, as the relatable, self-made star has taken over from the celebrity superstar as the idol of today’s teens and twenty-somethings, including the valuable student market.

Macro influencers: The celebrities of social media

If you asked most marketers which influencer they’d love to represent their brand, they’d undoubtedly go for one of the kings or queens of social media, with millions of followers. An endorsement by one of these uber-influencers can have an incredible impact on brand awareness and reputation. They have a loyal, obsessive fanbase who aspire to be like them, and buying products they have endorsed is one way they can feel a little closer. This class of influencers are the new celebrities. They are also creative marketing geniuses, who have learned exactly what kinds of content their fans will respond to.

Weekender bag. Yessss! | @ducourty tote in off-white. ✨ Ducourty.com

A post shared by JULIE SARIÑANA (@sincerelyjules) on

However, some marketing experts have questioned the value of partnering with big name influencers. It’s a huge investment that would take up the majority of even the biggest brands’ marketing budgets. This leaves less money to experiment with other strategies, and creates a dependence on the continued popularity and relevance of the influencer. There are also more restrictions when working with these influencers: their huge follower counts empower them to demand control over all elements of the campaign, and while their creative insights are valuable, you’re putting the fate of your brand in their hands.

Micro influencers: Viral marketing for 2018

These concerns are among the reasons for the rise of micro influencer marketing. For brands with a smaller budget, working with less established influencers is an affordable way to test how effective these kinds of partnerships can be. But it’s not just smaller brands who are working with micro influencers: this strategy can also work for bigger brands, as they can spread their budget among a larger group, creating a viral, word-of-mouth effect. Up-and-coming influencers might not be as professional, especially as they are less likely to have an agent or manager, but they are usually amenable to ideas and driven to provide impressive results.

Posts from Spotify's Discover Weekly micro-influencer campaign, courtesy of  Tribe

Posts from Spotify's Discover Weekly micro-influencer campaign, courtesy of Tribe


Another reason for the growth in micro influencer marketing is the way that social media algorithms prioritise posts, particularly Instagram. The visibility of posts in users’ feeds isn’t just defined by which get the most likes and comments, but the ratio of engagement to followers. Brands have discovered that sponsored posts published by influencers with a smaller yet more engaged following achieve a wider reach, and prove great value for money. Additionally, these influencers are likely to have more personal relationships with their followers, so their recommendation is trusted and taken as seriously as one given by a friend.

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