Contribution by Chris Jacks, director of growth strategy at HireInfluence, where he analyzes and adapts to the ever-changing influencer marketing industry.
By 2020, the size of Instagram’s worldwide influencer market exceeded $ 2 billion. Other platforms like TikTok are also steadily increasing in popularity among marketers. In 2020, TikTok’s initial influencer count was 35,500, but later increased to more than 106,000.
With influencers in numbers of this magnitude, there are many in every niche! This is good news for brands and marketers looking to partner with influencers to improve the impact of their social media strategies.
Selecting the right influencer for your brand and campaign-specific goals is critical. But this is easier said than done.
Welcome to the full cheat sheet on the different types of influencers and which one is best for your specific campaign. Let’s dive in!
What is an influencer level?
Influencer levels are designated by the count of followers in an account. While follower counting is by no means the only metric to consider, it is an easy way to categorize content creators.
The following are common benchmarks for the level of influencers ranked by number of followers:
- Nano influencer = 1,000 – 5,000 followers
- Micro influencer = 5,000 – 20,000 followers
- Medium level influencer = 20,000 – 100,000 followers
- Macro influencer = 100,000 – 1 million followers
- Mega influencer = over 1 million followers
Why use different levels of influencers?
It’s not as simple as picking a level and running with it. Not all levels are relevant to every strategy or goal. Other concerns, such as compliance capacity and target audience threshold, are also taken into account.
In 2021, Statista conducted a global survey among agencies and marketing brands in reference to their marketing strategies. They found that more than 52 percent of respondents said their organizations worked with up to 10 influencers, and 6 percent said they worked with more than a thousand influencers.
Using a combination of influencers, open your campaign to reap the benefits of various types of influencers.
A complete view of the different types of influencers
A mega influencer is a content creator who has garnered over 1 million followers on any social media platform. Sometimes these accounts belong to celebrities, TV personalities, or other celebrities who are more popular than influential.
- The best campaigns for mega influencers: Mega influencers get a lot of attention online, but because of their status and the large number of people in their sphere, the engagement is usually very low. A mega influencer is a good combination for visibility and brand awareness campaigns.
- Find and work with mega influencers: Wherever there is a platform, you will find mega influencers. However, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are the strongest competitors. It is likely that a mega influencer who is a true and avid content creator will have a team of creatives and account managers, or will be connected to an influencer marketing agency.
Macro influencers are defined as those who have between 100,000 and 1 million followers on a single platform. With such high numbers, the commitment will be on the low side, but the scope will be significant.
- Ideal campaigns for macroinfluencers: These are the content creators who strike a delicate balance between the fame of social media and being an expert in their market. Less expensive than a mega influencer, a macro influencer is great for a brand awareness campaign to gain strong reach and more eyes to elevate your brand perception.
- Find and work with a macro influencer: Macro influencers are found on all platforms, but stay tuned to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok as the strongest. An influential macro will have a lot to do behind the scenes and you are probably working with an influencer marketing agency.
In a study by Statista, this level of content creators accounted for 26.8 percent of all types of influencers. They are also the second most popular category of influencers on Instagram and have between 20,000 and 100,000 followers.
- The best campaigns for mid-level influencers: If your brand needs increased credibility with an engagement aspect, a mid-level influencer may be the most appropriate fit. With mid-level followers, this level of influencer can still offer a wide reach and a deep connection.
- Find and work with a mid-level influencer: Once again, we highlight that Instagram remains the most popular influencer platform, but it is starting to diverge at this level. Mid-level influencers can be found on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram. These accounts continue to grow and the creators are eager to negotiate and work hard.
Statista estimates that Instagram’s micro influencers with between 5,000 and 20,000 followers account for 47.3 percent of influencer accounts worldwide. This means that most influencers fall into this category.
- The best campaigns for micro influencers: A micro-influencer is great for small and medium budgets looking for a very niche campaign to drive conversions and sales. By offering some of the highest levels of engagement, micro-influencers gain great trust among followers.
- Find and work with a micro influencer: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the best places to look for micro-influencers. These creators are likely to be individual operations, although some are connected to an agency.
With over 1,000 followers but less than 5,000, these are your everyday, non-professional content creators.
- The best campaigns for nano-influencers: Hire a nano-influencer for a small campaign to ensure great credibility for your brand. Nano-influencers will have the greatest commitment because these creators communicate directly with their followers and make authentic connections.
- Find and work 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 during this process.