Frodo Baggins vs Sauron. Rudy vs Coach Dan Devine. Kraft Mac n Cheese vs Velveeta.
It’s the classic tale of the underdog vs the top dog and it’s happening in your influencer campaign right now.
One of the most often asked questions in influencer marketing is whether you should go with a micro or a macro influencer and we’re here to say… well, it depends.
Micro influencers offer the best combination of value and engagement, but macro influencers arguably offer more value through a wider reach. Factors such as your campaign size, budget, and brand goals can directly affect which one is the right fit.
With that being said, by the end of this guide you’ll know exactly how to pick the right influencer for your brand. Let’s dive in.
What is a micro influencer?
Micro influencers typically have a specific, niched down audience numbering 10,000 fans or less. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth partnering with, though—some studies report micro influencers have engagement rates 7x that of macro influencers.
In contrast, macro influencers are the celebrities of the social media world. In fact, some of them actually are celebrities. Famous athletes, models, and musicians all offer their services as influencers. Their follower count ranges from 250,000 followers to millions, giving them a large audience to market to.
Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each influencer type.
Micro influencers are the rising stars of social media. They give big businesses a chance to market like small businesses, offering their customers an intimacy they wouldn’t get with macro influencers. Brands like Red Bull have even used them as an opportunity to turn themselves into big-name influencers by partnering with hundreds of micro influencers with small, but devoted fanbases.
The smaller audiences associated with micro influencers tend to have higher engagement rates compared to macro influencers. Coupled with an accessible price point, micro influencers offer the best price-quality ratio.
Micro influencers also tend to be less of a headache to work with. Macro influencers often have entire teams behind their operation and it’s easy to get lost in the bureaucracy of a large company. In contrast, micro influencers tend to work as sole operators or with a small intimate team, making it easier to coordinate a campaign with them.
The small, engaged audiences associated with micro influencers can be a double-edged sword, however. They just don’t have the same reach as a celebrity with millions of fans, something that can be a problem if you’re trying to reach as many people as possible.
This smaller audience also means that micro influencers are more involved in the campaign process. Due to their audience being so tight-knit, they’re much more selective of the content that they put out—otherwise, they could lose followers to off-brand marketing/products.
Get ready for the spotlight, because that’s exactly where you’ll be when working with macro influencers. Their visibility is huge, which means your campaign will reach hundreds of thousands of people, minimum.
This increase in audience means that you retain more control over your ads. Macro influencer campaigns are large affairs that require careful planning. Due to the amount of money involved, they’re also more likely to allow brands to craft their own ad creative.
The largest con of micro influencers is the one you’d expect—the price. If you want to work with a macro influencer, make sure you have the budget for it.
Kim Kardashian is rumored to make up to $1 million per Instagram post. Although most macro influencers don’t charge nearly that much, they will charge more than a micro influencer.
The massive amount of money macro influencers make means that they often have entire teams or corporations handling their day-to-day activities. This makes just about everything more difficult, from getting in touch with them to organizing the actual campaign.
Now, say you have the budget and you’ve gotten ahold of their team. This doesn’t mean that your ad will be a hit. In fact, compared to micro influencers, fans of macro influencers often don’t trust or believe them when they promote a product or brand.
It’s the difference between your best friend telling you about a great new product vs a celebrity in a TV commercial. Who would you trust?
At the end of the day, the right choice is going to depend on your budget, campaign goals, and target audience. If brand awareness is your main KPI, macro influencers can put you in front of a whole new crowd of people. However, if your budget is limited or you value engagement, a micro influencer is your best bet to get the most bang for your buck.
Don’t feel confined to just one of the other, however.
Many popular brands have successfully created influencer campaign strategies that incorporated both micro and macro influencers. Start out with a few campaigns, measure your metrics, and then let the data guide you from there.
Now that you know what kind of influencer you want to work with, it’s time to reach out and contact them. While you can DM or email influencers, it’s easy for your message to get lost in the hundreds of messages they get every day.
For the best results, we recommend using an influencer platform like Social Media Famous.
Once you’ve signed up for a free account, you’ll get access to over 2,500 verified micro and macro influencer accounts.
From here, you can create a search around a certain keyword and narrow down potential prospects by category, follower count, engagement rate, and post cost estimate.
This also gives you access to view a growth chart, offering an easy-to-use visual display of their increasing (or decreasing) follower account.
As well as a future projections chart that gives you a projected estimate of what their follower count will look like as far as two years down the road, based on their daily averages.
When it comes to micro vs macro influencers, there are certain pros and cons to each type but a lot of it is also up to experimentation. After your first few campaigns, you’ll have more data to guide your decisions, but in the meantime remember these key takeaways:
- Micro-influencers offer high engagement rates at an affordable price, but at the cost of visibility and campaign control.
- Macro influencers can get your ads in front of a large audience, but there’s no guarantee that their followers will react positively (or even at all).
- Data is key to influencer marketing. Use an influencer platform to gain pre-campaign data, then record and evaluate your metrics post-campaign.