Consumers are exposed to hundreds of ads every day and many times unconsciously decide what content is worth paying attention to. Messages that are transmitted through another person, especially someone you trust and respect, have a greater chance of cutting through the ad clutter. This is why brands are increasingly turning to online creators and influencers to share branded messages on their behalf.
With consumers spending much more time on socialmedia, Influencer Marketing is even more en vogue right now. Brands all over the world are starting to include it as a strategic element in their marketing mix, however many marketers do not know which type of influencers are best for their brands. For this reason, I’ve spent time looking at the types of socialmedia influencers who brands collaborate with and how they deliver value to marketing teams.
Mega Influencers are famous A-list celebrities (think of actors, singers or sport stars), with millions of fans and followers on socialmedia. In having a substantially large following, mega influencers provide brands with a huge organic audience and further potential for PR coverage. They often have a very diverse global audience with different topics of interest, hence are more suitable for top of the funnel international campaigns that promote products that appeal to the masses.
However, while mass appeal is a big perk of working with mega influencers, it comes at a very high cost. Kylie Jenner or footbar star Christiano Ronaldo are charging a staggering $1 million per sponsored Instagram post. Moreover, most mega influencers don’t have an intimate relationship with their followers, so are sometimes considered less trustworthy. And, due to the huge amount of eyes watching every move these mega influencers make, any misstep becomes immediately public. so it’s super important that any brand partnership is thoughtfully considered and meticulously planned.
Based on what I’ve seen these days, Mega Influencers are often more famous than influential, and have been used so often by brands looking to promote themselves that some consumers believe they can’t be taken seriously anymore. This creates a problem for brands that are not only looking to create buzz & awareness but also to drive action and impact consumer preferences and purchases.
Unlike most mega influencers who had a mass following pre-Instagram, Macro Influencers usually gained fame through the internet itself. whether through blogging, or by producing funny or inspiring content, macro influencer have grown as a consequence of the bond they’ve nurtured (some for many years) with their audience. social networks have become their place of work, which explains why they are able to manage them like a real business. those influencers are used to working with brands and creating high quality content that resonates with their audience, which streamlines the collaboration process for both parties.
For many brands, Macro Influencers offer the best of both worlds: a large and engaged audience that fits a certain niche. And thanks to their experience growing an audience from scratch online, many macro influencers know their target audience inside and out. They’ve spent years understanding what they like and what they don’t. And because of that, their priority is maintaining that strong connection with their followers. They won’t jeopardize that trust over a mismatched sponsored post or irrelevant brand partnership.
Something that brands should be aware of, is that while more affordable than a mega influencer, many macro influencers also have agents ready to secure a good deal. some macro influencers with follower numbers at the higher end of the scale may also have low engagement rates. The trick hence is to carefully select macro influencers who are in full agreement with your brand values and develop content in line with your brand image.
Micro Influencers have established themselves as a new opportunity for marketers to send their messages across in a more authentic way. Micro Influencers are people with smaller communities of followers on social media, but those followers are often much more loyal and active than those of influencers with higher numbers of followers. Based on their expertise and passion for a topic (which could be anything from cooking to travel, from pets to DIY, or from beauty to fashion), their audience is often highly engaged and puts a lot of trust into the content creator. While considered a trusted topic expert, Micro Influencers are still personally connected and have established relationships with most of their followers due to the personal touch that larger celebrities often lack.
That’s why Micro Influencers, actually have influence over their fans and followers. According to research by Keller Fay 82% of consumers are ‘highly likely’ to follow a recommendation made by a micro influencer. Using groups of micro influencers to engage with your target groups and activate them to generate leads and drive conversion at the bottom of the funnel can hence be highly effective for many brands – especially with more niche target groups. attached case study demonstrates the economic advantages thanks to their higher engagement rates, of activating groups of micro influencers.
However, brands need to accept to delegate some level of decision making to a trusted agency capable of handling the scale & complexity of the program. identifying, recruiting, negotiating and managing hundreds of Micro Influencers will also take substantially more time compared to working with a handful of highly professional macro or mega influencers.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS
Despite Covid19, marketers are increasingly putting their faith and budgets in multi-channel influencer campaigns with 73% allocating more resources to Influencer Marketing in 2020. Marketers’ rising confidence in the power of influencers & creators also leads them to explore novel social channels (TikTok, Twitch or Triller) and additional type of influencers.
However, I find that many brands still confuse influence with popularity. Instead of looking at someone’s influence over others, marketing & agency teams only look at the number of followers or fans. To measure real influence, it is important to look beyond the number of followers and start analyzing influencer credibility, audience engagement, content quality and the power to drive actions and impact sales. Depending on the marketing objectives, consumer target group and type of product or service to promote – different type of influencers will deliver different benefits to brands.
If you are interested to learn more about marketing strategies to successfully integrate influencer into your media mix please have a look at some articles I have written for Forbes on this subject or send me a direct message on LinkedIN.