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Publication Date: October 28, 2019

Martin Pedersen
CEO, Stellar

The social media influencer market, according to AdWeek, is set to reach $10 billion by next year. In fact, brands have already increased their influencer marketing budgets by 65% for 2019 as part of their social commerce strategies to drive sales through social shopping. Influencer marketing involves using key brand advocates to drive a company’s message to the larger market in an organic way. It pinpoints people with social followings who have sway over a target audience, and then focuses marketing endeavors featuring those key influencers. With influencers, brands are looking to achieve a sense of authenticity with their customers – Millennials and Gen Zers who have turned their backs on traditional marketing messages.

Today influencer marketing can be used by all sorts of brands, large and small, across all industry sectors with influencers of all sizes – from the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé and Dwayne Johnson to foodies and mommy bloggers. Let’s take a look at the different types of influencers and what type of influencer makes sense to use.


Mega-influencers (or macro-influencers) are A-list celebrities with followers of more than one million. They partner with brands but this partnership comes with a high price tag. And, although they have a huge following, this doesn’t always translate to high engagement (it depends on both the influencer and the brand). Everyone follows them but their audience tends to be passive, for the most part. The upside fora brand that can afford a mega-influencer is that he or she has the ability to raise product awareness across the masses. Mega-influencers can boost a product and/or service’s “cool factor,” even with a short campaign. Acting as global trendsetters, mega-influencers can take a brand and transform it into a movement.


The majority of brands, however, can’t afford mega-influencers… and consumers don’t necessarily want to buy from a celebrity they know is making tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars off a post. (At the top end, Kylie Jenner has 115 million followers and makes $1 million per post, according to Hopper HQ.) This is where micro-influencers are valuable. These individuals are not celebrities, icons, or politicians, but real people with a strong voice online. They have day jobs, and don’t rely on mass amounts of free samples and paid content opportunities. Instead, these are everyday shoppers who actually buy from the brand or would be the company’s target demographic.They have fewer than 100,000 followers who comprise highly engaged audiences and convey a sense of authenticity that comes with being “the little guy,” so to speak. What’s more, micro-influencers cost far less: A smaller following comes with a smaller price tag. Eighty-four percent of micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded Instagram post and 97% charge less than $500. Although a brand may have to partner with more micro-influencers to gain the reach of an Internet heavyweight, the cost is substantially lower.


Nano-influencers have fewer than 10,000 followers (with some as few as 1,000 followers), and provide real customer advocacy and authentic voices to social media. They are also everyday regular people who provide engaging, relatable content as they share the same interests as their followers. Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that makes them approachable. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as the advice you’d get from a friend. What they lack in reach, they make up for in intimacy.

Compared to larger influencers, a nano-influencer will usually have a more niched-down following who’s interested in something specific, such as fashion, soccer or art. Although it may seem counter-intuitive for marketers to approach an individual with a small following, nano-influencers can be important assets that help boost a brand’s social engagement strategy. According to a survey by Digiday, nano-influencers are able to engage up to 8.7% of their following while the engagement percentage of celebrity influencers, who have more than a million followers, is only 1.7%. That’s because the more savvy audiences become to rely on brand advertising, the more they’ll seek true influencers, and those influencers have to deliver incredible content to engage audiences.In addition, Gen Z–a prime target audience on social commerce – puts a premium on the opinions of their online peers, even more so than traditional authority figures.

Of course, nano-influencers cost far less for a promoted post in comparison to mainstream influencers, providing brands with better value for their money in the long run. They are also easy for brands to deal with.

There are also drawbacks in working with nano-influencers. They have a smaller reach and they aren’t as experienced working with brands, which can cause more work for marketers.

Choosing the Right Type of Influencer

Consumers expect brands to bring the conversation to them, which is why influencers today hold more power than ever before. By partnering with the right influencers, brands can create conversations that relate to their target audience. In looking at what type of influencer to use, it’s important to understand that the larger the influencer’s audience, the less focused it is likely to be, and therefore the broader your offer will have to be. For mass-appeal products, celebrities and larger influencers work. However, if a brand is selling a product or service for a specific target market, consider partnering with either micro-or nano-influencers due to their narrower audience.

Influencer marketing is evolving with more than just celebrities and YouTubers being paid to plug products. Now everyday people are being courted to become brand ambassadors and create user-generated content that helps builds a community and drive business.

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