What are the Influencer Tiers and Why Do They Matter?
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You’ve definitely heard of influencers, but would you be able to tell the difference between the different types of influencers? Know what sets a micro influencer apart from a mega influencer, beyond just the number of followers?
This article will walk you through the five influencer tiers, and show you why these divisions matter. As a caveat, the type of influencer you choose to work with depends entirely on your campaign objectives and budget, and if you’d like to learn more about that, check out this influencer marketing guide.
And now, without further ado, let’s get to know the different influencer tiers.
Nano influencers: 1-5K followers
Nano influencers make up the bottom of the influencer tiers. These influencers are just starting out, and they’re usually still finding their footing when it comes to content, collaborations, and curating their profiles.
The pros of nano influencers is that they come across as extremely authentic. They don’t look like celebrities; they’re ordinary people who seem real and relatable to their followers. Because of this and other factors, nano influencers generally have the highest engagement rate averages in the industry. This means they have a strong connection with their audience, who take the time to engage with their content through likes, comments and reposts.
@jayahasson is a nano influencer from Chicago who posts about yoga and wellness. She has 2.7K followers, and as you can see from her caption on this post, publishes content about gifted products.
The cons of nano influencers is that they may need a bit more time and guidance when working on campaigns. First off, they’re not full-time influencers, and have day jobs, so they can’t simply dedicate all of their time to content creation. Second, it may take them longer to actually create content, and many of them lack the resources that top influencers have.
When working with nano influencers, you can generally close collaborations in exchange for free products alone. A contract isn’t necessary (unless the free product is extremely valuable), so just square up the details in an email.
Micro influencers: 5-50K followers
One step up we have micro influencers, who really hit the sweet spot between authenticity and experience.
Micro influencers are more experienced than nano influencers, but still retain that authenticity that is so important. Their engagement rates are still high, and as they’ve amassed a bit more of a following, they’re seen as experts in their niche. Followers trust micro influencers’ opinions about their chosen topic, which can be leveraged by brands who collaborate with them.
@valeskaschneider is a surfing micro influencer from Germany. She has 27.3K followers on Instagram and a very high average engagement rate of 7.8%, according to influencer marketing platform Heepsy.
Micro influencers can be great allies if your brand is trying to penetrate a new niche market. If you want to break into a category or geographical area where you don’t already have a presence, micro influencers can help you get your name out there.
If you want to collaborate with a micro influencer, you may be able to pay in product alone, or you may have to pay product plus a nominal fee, depending on how many followers they have.
Medium influencers: 50-100K followers
In this range, influencers start to professionalize. Some medium influencers are full-time, and some may even have a manager or be part of an agency.
The pros of collaborating with medium influencers is increased reach. These influencers can reach a lot more people than nano and micro influencers. They may not be as authentic as nanos and micros, but they’re hardly as heavily edited as celebrity influencers.
However, be wary that with medium influencers and up you will see increases in price. In this tier it’s difficult to close a deal built on free products alone, so expect to pay a fee of at least around a few hundred dollars per post.
Macro influencers: 100K-1M followers
Macro influencers are the second-to-last tier, and while they may not be household names, macro influencers are playing in the big leagues.
Their reach is high, but know that as follower count increases, engagement rate tends to decrease, so expect lower engagement averages from macro influencers. This trend is due to a few things. To start, macro influencers have generally lost that authentic angle that made them so relatable in the lower tiers.
@carlotaweberm is a German/Spanish fashion influencer with 357K followers. She has an engagement rate of 3.4%, which is high for macro influencers, according to influencer marketing platform Heepsy.
Further, it’s much more difficult to manage a social media community of 100K people than it is one of 10K. Macro influencers can’t always give the person touch that nano and micro influencers can.
Macro influencers will almost always require a fee in addition to whatever products you send them. What’s more, they usually have managers, who will drive up the fee by another 20% or so.
Mega influencers: 1M+ followers
Mega influencers are celebrities, plain and simple. They may be personalities famous for their work offline, whose fans have become followers on social media. Or they may be influencers who worked their way up through the ranks to arrive at this point.
The pros of mega influencers is definitely their maximum reach. One of their posts can easily reach millions of people around the world. This may be useful for some large brands looking to do extensive global campaigns.
The cons are that mega influencers are really expensive. You’ll pay thousands per post, as you’re now paying for a name in addition to content. Further, mega influencers do not come across as authentic. Between their seemingly perfect lives, heavily retouched content, and steady stream of collaborations, they don’t have that personable touch that followers like from the lower tiers.
The decision of which tier of influencers you choose to work with is entirely dependent on your campaign. What’s your objective, and which type of influencer can help you achieve it? Having said that, nano and micro influencers are generally a good bet for smaller brands who don’t have a large budget for influencer marketing, or brands who want to penetrate a new niche market and need a bit of help to do so.
Author Bio: Kate Santoro is a content writer at Heepsy, an influencer marketing platform that offers you a global search, seamless experience, and reliable results. When she’s not writing about influencer marketing, she likes to travel as much as possible.
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