With more and more people owning social media accounts, the world of influencer marketing is growing daily. This influx of influencers is causing marketers to categorize them into three main levels - Micro-influencers, Macro-influencers and Mega-influencers.
Each category of influencer has its own advantages and some things that could end up being a liability when matched with the wrong campaigns. We already explored the world of micro-influencers in a previous post, so let's talk about the big guys - macro influencers.
What, exactly, is a macro-influencer?
That's a little like asking 100 different people who the terms "rich" and "wealthy" mean. If you ask 100 people, you're liable to get 100 unique responses.
It's a little like that with nailing down exactly the number of followers someone has to have to go macro. Let’s be clear right from the start - we are NOT talking about big name celebrities here. No Kardashians or Jenners.
Macro-influencers are what I like to refer to as the “Goldilocks influencers”. Not too small, and not too big. They typically have a following that sits anywhere between 10,000 and 1 million followers - which does overlap somewhat with the definitions of micro- and mega-influencers too. While their engagement rates aren’t as high as their micro-influencer counterparts, they still pack quite a punch, as their audiences are still pretty made up largely of people who share a common interest.
These influencers have large enough followings to be considered trendsetters and taste makers. They can give brands a wide enough reach to make an impact, while helping them stay within their budgets.
Macro or Mega?
One point of confusion for many is where to draw the line between macro- and mega-influencers. These blurry separations are not surprising. Many celebrities are social media influencers by default. Legends - living or not - can accrue large social media followings. Nearly a decade after Michael Jackson's untimely passing, the late icon's Instagram account has more than two million followers.
Beyond celebrity status, one of the key differentiators between macro influencers and mega or celebrity influencers is the demographics of the follower. You can bet people from all walks of life, from different places on the map follow MJ's account. But if you analyze the followers of a band with, say, 12,000 followers, you're far more likely to see commonalities between followers.
While the Kardashian-Jenners are claiming upward of $500,000 per post that they send out to their tens of millions of followers, macro-influencers are significantly more affordable.
Why We Love Macro-influencers (and you should, too)
Let’s get down to the question you really want answered here: Whether or not you should use macro-influencers in your marketing campaigns. There is a host of benefits that come with teaming up with macro influencers to boost your brand. Of course, macro influencers aren't perfect for every campaign, but they have the reach to get your name in front of tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people. And that's pretty awesome.
So, let's talk about some of these big benefits.
One of the major benefits of working with macro-influencers is that brands are able to achieve a higher reach than with micro-influencers, while still maintaining solid levels of control over the content and campaign. That's a huge deal. Brand safety - maintaining the integrity of the brand - is crucial.
According to "The New Face of Luxury", three in four luxury brands say maintaining exclusivity on social media is their biggest challenge. Brands face continual challenges with online advertising ensuring their ads aren't presented during the display or broadcast of objectionable material - the primary offenders being violent content.
A good influencer relationship allows brands to leverage the influencer's relationship with his or her followers while providing some guidance and a framework for influencers to create compelling brand-building content. Work with a smaller influencer, and the content quality might suffer, and go too large and you lose your ability to control - just one of the reasons micro-influencers make such valuable middle ground.
Macro-influencers give brands access to a large, targeted audience, ideal for brands looking to diversify their own following. These kinds of influencers can give your brand a boost and enable you to expand your audience in pretty a unique way.
While super-specific niche marketing is great for some, there are brands that will benefit more from a less streamlined audience. Take Coca-Cola for example - who is their audience? The majority of the United States population. If your product or brand is useful and marketable to a wide range of people, then your audience should reflect that too.
When trying to organize a campaign that uses smaller micro-influencers, you will usually need to partner with multiple creators to get the results you really need. Macro-influencers on the other hand have large enough followings that you can concentrate your campaign on just a handful of macro influencers instead of a few dozen micro influencers.
Also, thanks to their larger followings, they will likely have worked with multiple brands in the past, and so the whole process will be more streamlined and swift.
Macro influecers dont' just happen. The audience is grown, the relationships cultivated through engagement. In order to grow an audience consistently as they do, macro influencers must have experience creating content that resonates with their followers. And brands can (and should) use that to their advantage.
This kind of experience level helps to ensure that your campaign has the best chance of success. They won’t be a green Instagram lover who doesn’t know all the ins and outs of a campaign, or the legal implications of what could go wrong.
More expensive than micro-influencers? Yes. But they’re a whole lot cheaper than trying to sign a celebrity advocate, we promise.
These influencers can extend your reach, your fan base and your bottom line - without blowing every penny of your marketing budget in the process.
Prices can range anywhere between $2,000 to $50,000 for a single post - all dependant on follower count, engagement, and influencer.
One problem when working with big name mega-influencers is that if something does go wrong, everyone will know about it. Now, hopefully nothing will go wrong with your campaign, but nobody is immune. I’m sure you’ll remember the fallout from Kendall Jenner and Pepsi’s partnership that ended in a large amount of people taking offence at their missguided advert. And events like the Fyre Festival have shown us just how dangerous it can be to have your campaign seen by the masses.
Working with macro-influencers is a great way to expand your reach to lofty heights, without risking as much as it would if you partnered with celebrities. A lovely middle ground.
Macro vs Micro - How Much Does Size Really Matter?
We’ve talked about some of the positives of using macro-influencers over micro-influencers in your campaign, but if they were always the better choice, everyone would use them, right?
Macro-influencers are great in many ways, but so are the little guys. So, how do you know which is best for your campaign?
Use micros to build trust
While it may not be very fair, it’s certainly true that most people online trust smaller voices over larger ones. So if your brand is trying build a high level of trust from your followers, macro-influencers may not be the best way to go.
Since many macro-influencers also tend to do more brand partnerships than micro-influencers, followers may be more sceptical about whether or not they really love the products they talk about, or if it’s all about the money.
Use micros if you want to keep things simple
Bigger influencers are also more likely to be working with PR firms, agents, or managers. This small road bump can make the outreach process a little more complicated as you’ll have to go through other people to get to the influencer themself.
Smaller influencers won’t have these kind of obstacles to get through when opening communication, which can make getting them onto your campaign much easier.
Use macros to make measuring ROI easier
The big one for most marketing campaigns is being able to effectively measure the ROI of your efforts. Working with macro-influencers makes it easier to measure that ROI, than working with smaller accounts.
Giving your chosen influencers a specific offer code or site link is a great way to do just that. And with the increased traffic that macro-influencers can bring your brand, you’re bound to see the kind of results you’re looking for.
With smaller influencers, your goals need to be slightly different. Their lower follower counts means they are not usually the best vessel for bringing in high amounts of traffic or sales. They are more useful when working towards increased brand awareness in a specific niche, or building a specialised, yet trusting, audience.
USE MACROS TO PUSH AWARENESS
You’ve probably heard all about the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm (and if you haven’t, you should read our article all about it by clicking here), and those changes are sending ripples throughout the world of digital marketing.
The change is shifting focus from business pages to meaningful conversations and real interactions - which is great for influencers. If you team up with an influencer who has a high following and a high engagement rate, more of your influencer's followers will see your post.
And while it may only be Facebook that is taking this path right now, it likely won’t be long before other platforms follow suit and try and push out business pages in favor of individual interactions.
Picking Your Macro Influencer
So the decision has been made, and you’re going ahead with your search for the perfect macro-influencer for your campaign. But, what do you need to consider when selecting them?
The bigger the influencer, the lower the engagement rates. And while this is true most of the time - you still need to ensure that your chosen influencer is bringing in enough engagement to make your partnership worthwhile.
Having a higher following is great for expanding your reach, but without the engagement numbers, you’re not going to see the kind of results you really want.
How diverse is their following?
Micro-influencers are often championed for their super-targeted followings, but move into the world of macro-influencers and that following can become more and more diluted. Depending on your brand, and campaign goals - this isn’t always as bad as it sounds.
For example, if your brand comfortably straddles two verticals, then a more diverse following can be a great way to expand your customer base. Fashion and travel brands should team up with influential travel bloggers with a great sense of style; organic coffee brands should team up with lifestyle bloggers who focus on healthy eating. And this is why macro-influencers can be perfect - they have often built their following on more than one specific niche.
Influencers operate across multiple platforms, so it’s worth figuring out which ones are best for your campaign. Each platform has a different audience, content style and potential, depending on your goals. So spending some time looking into where your target audience is hanging out online before reaching out to influencers is highly recommended.
It’s also worth looking into whether your chosen influencers are active on more than one platform. Being able to utilise multiple platforms, audiences, and content types can be a huge advantage. And teaming up some “in the moment” posts with evergreen content means your campaign will have some serious social impact.
When NOT to use Macro-influencers
We already said how much we love macro-influencers (and we really do) but they aren’t for everyone. There are certain campaigns and certain brands that would benefit more from micro- or mega-influencers over these guys. So let’s discover if that’s the case for you.
If you’re a smaller company, or just looking to dip your toe into influencer marketing in terms of your budget, working with bigger influencers may not be the best path for you. As we mentioned before, these influencers can cost anywhere up to $50,000 - not exactly spare change.
Running a micro-influencer campaign can really help to keep costs more under control, even if they typically have a smaller reach, and a harder to define ROI.
As we mentioned before, the bigger the following, the more diluted it can become. If you’re looking to build a super specific following, then you might need to look elsewhere for your campaign. Deciding exactly what your goals are is essential to knowing what level of influencer you’re going to want to work with.
The world of social media and influencer marketing is constantly growing, and there is a lot of money in it for those who know how to succeed. Because of this, there has been a growing number of “influencers” who, it turns out, aren’t that influential at all.
Growing numbers of macro-influencers are buying fake followers and fake engagement to trick brands into partnering with them, and parting with their money. You’re more likely to see this kind of activity at this level than with smaller influencers who have worked to grow more niche followings.
Even though the problem may be much more widespread than many originally thought, there are easy ways to avoid these tricksters and only team up with genuine influencers. Spotting fake influence is not always as difficult as you might think.
Structuring your campaign
So, you’ve put the time in and searched around for the perfect macro-influencers for your campaign - awesome. But, now we need to get down to the inner workings of a successful campaign and work through the structure.
Something that we are always advocating here at The Shelf is smart goal setting. If you don’t know your specific goals before launching into an influencer marketing campaign then you’re never going to see the kind of success you really want. Just make sure that the goals you set are detailed and specific - simply wishing to “get more followers” is not going to help here.
With macro-influencers, you should be expecting some pretty good results in terms of reach, engagement, and web traffic - especially compared with a micro-influencer campaign. This calibre of influencer is great for helping your brand boost their bottom line, so your goals should reflect this.
Coordinating the campaign
Communication is key to any marketing campaign, and working with macro-influencers is no different. Because of their size, many influencers at this level will work with managers, PR agents, or similar staff which does mean your methods of communication will differ from those you would use with smaller influencers.
Despite this, the basic points of communications still stand. With any campaign you need to clearly discuss the following:
Any brand guidelines and rules you have
The compensation the influencer will receive
Any legal compliance issues you need to be abreast of
The tracking methods you will utilise throughout the campaign
How much creative freedom the influencer has over the content used in the campaign
Because you will most likely need to go through some kind of “middle man” to organise your campaign, these communications can take a little longer than usual - so be sure to bear this in mind when creating the timeline for your campaign.
To Macro, or Not to Macro?
Now you’ve got the downlow on what a macro-influencer is, their advantages, their drawbacks, and how they can best benefit your campaign. But, just in case you’re still unsure whether you should be investing in these guys, we have a simple way for you to find out!
Take a look at the following questions and answer honestly for your campaign. Based on your answers, you’ll be able to get a good indication of whether macro-influencers are right for you! Just add up the points next to each of your chosen answers and compare your score to the results at the end.
1. What is most important to your campaign in terms of success?
Website clicks (1)
New social media followers (2)
Brand awareness (4)
2. Where are you most willing to compromise?
Creative control (2)
3. Would you rather that new customers…
Make a one-time larger purchase? (2)
Make regular, smaller purchases over time? (1)
4. Where is your current marketing strategy most lacking?
Customer trust of your brand/ product (1)
Post engagement (2)
Social media followers (4)
Conversion into sales (3)
If you scored between 4- 8 points:
Micro-influencers would probably be better suited for your campaign. You favor engagement and brand loyalty over reach, and so these smaller and more focused influencers would be great to help you reach your goals.
Read more about working with micro-influencers in our Macro Guide to Micro-Influencers post, and just pop any questions you have right there in the comments.
If you scored 9 or more points:
Macro-influencers sound like a good bet for you! You need more brand awareness, and a bigger push towards sales - so you need influencers with a bit more clout. Work out your goals and budget, and take a look on our platform to let us help you find the perfect influencer for your campaign!
So, macro-, micro-, or mega-influencers, you need to work with a platform you can trust. Once you’ve made a decision on what size influencer you want to partner with, get in touch with our team and we can make sure you find the right people to boost your brand online.