Contributed by Chris Jacks, director of growth strategy for HireInfluence, where he analyzes and adapts to the ever-changing influencer marketing industry.
In 2020, the Instagram influencer market size across the globe surpassed US$2 billion. Other platforms such as TikTok are also steadily increasing in popularity among marketers. In 2020, TikTok’s initial influencer count was 35,500 but later leaped to over 106,000.
With influencers in numbers of that magnitude, there are plenty in every niche! That is good news for brands and marketers who are looking for influencer partnerships to enhance the impact of their social media strategies.
It’s critical to select the right influencer for your brand and specific campaign objectives. But that is easier said than done.
Welcome to the complete cheat sheet on the different types of influencers and which is best for your specific campaign. Let’s dive in!
What is an influencer tier?
Influencer tiers are designated by an account’s follower count. While follower count is by no means the only metric to consider, it is an easy way to categorize content creators.
Following are the common influencer tier benchmarks categorized by number of followers:
- Nano influencer = 1,000 – 5,000 followers
- Micro influencer = 5,000 – 20,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencer = 20,000 – 100,000 followers
- Macro influencer = 100,000 – 1 million followers
- Mega influencer = 1 million+ followers
Why use different tiers of influencers?
It’s not as simple as just picking a tier and running with it. Not every tier is relevant for every strategy or objective. Other concerns such as fulfillment capacity and target audience threshold also factor in.
In 2021, Statista conducted a global survey among marketing agencies and brands in reference to their marketing strategies. They discovered that over 52 percent of respondents stated that their organizations worked with as many as 10 influencers, and 6 percent said they worked with over a thousand influencers.
By using a mix of influencers, you open your campaign to reaping the benefits of multiple types of influencers.
A comprehensive look at different influencer types
A mega influencer is a content creator who has amassed more than 1 million followers on any one social media platform. Sometimes these accounts belong to celebrities, TV personalities or other famous people who are more popular than influential.
- Campaigns best for mega influencers: Mega influencers get a lot of attention online, but due to their status and the sheer number of people in their sphere, engagement is typically very low. A mega influencer is a good match for brand awareness and visibility campaigns.
- Finding and working with mega influencers: Where there’s a platform, there you’ll find mega influencers. However, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are the strongest contenders. A mega influencer who is a true and avid content creator is likely to have a team of creatives and account managers, or they will be connected to an influencer marketing agency.
Macro influencers are defined as those having between 100k+ and 1 million followers on a single platform. With numbers that high, engagement will be on the low end, but reach will be significant.
- Campaigns best for macro influencers: These are the content creators who strike a delicate balance between social media fame and being an expert in their market. Less expensive than a mega influencer, a macro influencer is a great fit for a brand awareness campaign to get a strong reach and more eyeballs to elevate the perception of your brand.
- Finding and working with a macro influencer: Macro influencers are on every platform, but keep an eye on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok as the strongest. A macro influencer will have a lot going on behind the scenes and is likely working with an influencer marketing agency.
In a study conducted by Statista, this tier of content creators accounted for 26.8 percent of all types of influencers. They’re also the second most popular category of influencers on Instagram and have a follower count between 20k and 100k.
- Campaigns best for mid-tier influencers: If your brand needs a credibility boost with a side of engagement, a mid-tier influencer may be the most suitable fit. With mid-level followers, this tier of influencer can still offer wide reach as well as a depth of connection.
- Finding and working with a mid-tier influencer: Once again, we highlight that Instagram remains the most popular influencer platform, but it begins to diverge at this level. Mid-tier influencers can be found on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest as well as Instagram. These accounts are still growing, and creators are eager to negotiate and work hard.
Statista estimates that micro Instagram influencers with 5,000 to 20,000 followers account for 47.3 percent of influencer accounts worldwide. That means most influencers fall into this category.
- Campaigns best for micro influencers: A micro-influencer is a great fit for small to medium budgets looking for a highly niched campaign to drive conversions and sales. Offering some of the highest engagement levels, micro-influencers garner strong trust among followers.
- Finding and working with a micro influencer: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the best places to seek micro-influencers. These creators are most likely solo operations, though some are connected to an agency.
With more than 1,000 followers but fewer than 5,000, these are your everyday content creators, not professionals.
- Campaigns best for nano influencers: Hire a nano-influencer for a small campaign to secure high credibility for your brand. Nano influencers will have the highest engagement because these creators communicate directly with their followers and make authentic connections.
- Finding and working with a nano influencer: Start with Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to find nano influencers. Be sure to thoroughly interview your influencer and clearly communicate expectations throughout this process.