Back to Blog

Macro and Micro Influencers

Sep 15, 2021

By Andrea Tartaglia – Co-Founder/Director @ The Marketing Leaders Lt

 

One of the key learnings I shared in the blog post last week relates to the choice of influencer.

Actually, I should say: the choice of influencers.

There are some instances in which I only used 1 influencer for a campaign, but more often than not I have used more than 1.

In those cases, I build a ‘portfolio’ of influencers and mix a number of micro and macro influencers.

What I just said gives you some insights into my approach to using micro and macro influencers: it is not a choice between one or the other; it is the combination of the 2 that I find to be the most effective in most cases.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start from the very beginning… a very good place to start… as the song says.

 

Micro and Macro influencers definition

The basic difference between micro and macro influencers is the number of followers they have and can potentially reach:

  • a micro influencer is followed by 10 to 50 thousand people
  • a macro influencer is followed by 500 thousand to 1 million people

These are generic numbers. They can vary depending on the social media platform (YouTube, Instagram, tiktok, etc.) they mostly are active in.

And in principle, you can go smaller (Nano influencers) and/or bigger (Mega influencers).

I’ll keep things simple and just focus on the broad definition of micro and macro above. The logic behind the considerations that follow applies to all influencers.

 

Beyond reach 

If the definition is relatively simple and straightforward, the use of micro and macro influencers is not, as they each bring something different.

It is clear from the definitional that the main difference between the two types of influencers is their reach. Micro influencers reach fewer people than macro influencers. As I said: pretty straightforward. But not very helpful.

Going beyond reach, here is a summary of pros and cons for each type:

Micro influencers:

  • tend to be very specialized, real experts in their subject matter
  • can cover very niche subjects/topics with authority and trustworthiness
  • have a very loyal fan base
  • can generate high engagement and higher conversion rates
  • are available in large numbers and generate lots of content
  • could come across as less slick and professional but authentic 

Macro influencers:

  • have a very diverse audience
  • are well regarded within a broad community
  • are more experienced in working with brands, which is a benefit in terms of quality of content output but can be perceived as unauthentic
  • have their own established tone of voice and ‘brand’ which could prevail in a commercial context overshadowing the brand and products being promoted
  • are fewer and in high demand

 

Start with setting goals

On purpose I have not mentioned cost as cost is only relevant in relation to the objectives of the campaign and the expected return(s).

Both the cost of engaging the influencers and the cost of the content produced tend naturally to be lower in the case of the micro influencers and higher when using macro influencers.

More importantly, the cost needs to be related to the objectives in terms of reach, engagement, and conversion. This is why starting with the goals of the campaign is the first step in the development process of an influencers campaign.

The goals will steer the decision on what kind of influencers is best to use, often leading to choosing both micro and macro influencers, when both reach and ‘depth’ (or relevance) of messaging are needed. 

 

Using Micro and Macro influencers

I mentioned this last point already twice. So why do I believe the combination of micro and macro influencers is so powerful?

In short, because I want to take advantage of all the pros each type of influencer brings without worrying about the cons.

Macro influencers give me broad reach and an ‘elevated’ quality message; micro influencers give me credibility, relevance, authenticity and tailored messages for specific audiences. 

So I find very effective to run influencer campaigns with a small selection of macro influencers (often just 1) and a larger number of micro influencers, which I add, remove, change throughout the course of the campaign.

This allows me to generate reach (and hopefully interest) among a broad audience thanks to the macro influencer(s) and deliver specific messages with the micro influencers, maximizing conversion.

And given that micro influencers are relatively low cost (and quick in developing and delivering content), I can afford to test, see what works and what does not, and change the content as the campaign evolves. Something I cannot do with macro influencers given their established way of doing things and the costs time associated with working with them. 

And if I can and time allows, I start with using micro influencers, gathering insights that inform what to do with the macro influencers in terms of creating the most effective messages and content. When the macro influencer content is ready, I carry on adding that to the mix, running micro and macro content in parallel.

 

Conclusion

In the end, there is no right or wrong approach when using macro or micro influencers, or – as I prefer – a combination of both.

It really depends on the goals the campaign aims at achieving and the results it is intended to deliver.

And two very important factors: the budget and the time available for developing and running the campaign and generating the desired outcome.