The evolution of social media has empowered many people to creatively express themselves online. Some have small followings which they express themselves to, while others have large followings to showcase their life, give their opinions and express themselves. Over a decade ago, it was predominantly celebrities that had the power to impact others so easily. Now the internet, social media and new technologies have allowed many different levels of influencers to take on that role. At PMYB, we have worked with all types of influencers and understand the strengths and weaknesses that can be associated with both. Different influencers suit different goals or situations.
What it boils down to is three key points;
Who, what and how
- Firstly, who are you trying to reach?
- Secondly, what results are you looking to achieve?
- Thirdly, how are you going to impact that audience?
We have identified the main types of influencers that are available to forward-thinking brands. Not every type of influencer is for you, and we hope that this post gives you a better understanding of which influencers are right for your next influencer marketing campaign!
Influencer Follower Size Infographic
Influencer Type Comparison Infographic
The Different Types of Influencers
There is no defined rule for the number of followers a micro-influencer has. Some say it’s under 10,000 followers, and others say it’s anything up to 50,000 followers. At PMYB, we class micro-influencers as people that have a following between 1,000 and 40,000 on at least one social media platform.
Because of their account size, these types of influencers have a very tight-knit loyal following. Their audiences sometimes find them more accessible and relatable than macro-influencers. As a result, many feel closer to them, which helps to build trust. They often receive higher engagement (sometimes as high as 15%). And this is often boosted by them engaging with their audience through comments. Micro-Influencers are also ideal for targeting smaller audience niches in specific locations or industries that are more difficult to target. For example, because there are a limited number of DIY influencers with large followings available, DIY companies find micro-influencers to be a more viable option for their business. Additionally, local businesses may find micro-influencers more suitable, as many have a very concentrated local following. Nonetheless, large corporations still see success in using a high volume of micro-influencers to build awareness at a lower level.
Micro-Influencers do come with some downfalls, which is usually related to the size of their account. Although there are many benefits to having a smaller account, it’s important to be aware of the negatives when working with these types of influencers.
- To get effective brand awareness through micro influencers, you will need to work with several or even hundreds at a time to get the full impact your brand requires. And this sometimes, may not be cost-efficient if you’re looking to drive sales, for example.
- There are millions to choose from.
- Using large amounts of Micro-Influencers can be very time consuming, as communicating with large networks of people at one time can get very resource-heavy!
- Many are still inexperienced with regards to brand deals and endorsements, so they may need more guidance on projects in cases. (Nonetheless, you can work with Influencer Marketing Agencies like ours to help with the heavy load).
- Many Micro-Influencers part-take in Influencer fraud.
Micro-Influencer Case Study – Daniel Wellington
Now a well-known watch brand, Daniel Wellington had humble beginnings. Starting off a business with only $15,000, they didn’t have room for expansive advertising. Instead, the company opted to offer free watches to Micro-Influencers, in return for Instagram Posts. This way, the Micro-Influencers got a payment in the form of a watch, and Daniel Wellington got more eyes on their products. 4 years later, that $15,000 is now $220 million, with an ongoing influencer strategy. To find out more, please check out PMYB’s in-depth case study report on Daniel Wellington’s success.
At PMYB we consider Macro-Influencers to be anyone between 40,000 and 1,000,000 followers on social media. Macro Influencers are mainly characterised by the size of their following and can be anyone from YouTubers, to Instagram models or ex-reality-tv stars. Charlotte Crosby is another example of a Macro-Influencer who is holding her ground when it comes to Instagram followers. She grew to fame on the reality TV show ‘Geordie Shore’, but now is better well known for her online presence.
Their following could be the outcome of a viral video, a strong TV presence alongside online, or producing daily content that resonates with their audience.
- Because of their wide and often varied following, Macro-Influencers can help raise awareness and drive actions from their followers on a national or global scale.
- There are many to choose from which gives you many options.
- They are more time-efficient than micro-influencers because of the size of their followings.
- Macro-Influencers tend to be experienced in running influencer campaigns so can usually be easier to work with.
- The most popular Macro-Influencers are very culturally-relevant
- Because there are so many to choose from, it can make it difficult to select the right people for your brand.
- Many Macro-Influencers also part-take in Influencer fraud.
Macro-Influencer Case Study – G-Fuel
Energy drink alternative, G-Fuel has worked with a number of large gaming Macro-Influencers. Alongside getting these Macro-Influencers to promote their products, they also collaborate with them by creating relevant branded products in their name.
A recent Macro-Influencer they worked with was Pewdiepie, YouTube’s biggest creator. The campaign was so successful, that the original discount of 30% off had to be reduced down to 10% to keep up with demand. Despite the success here, not all Pewdiepie’s previous sponsorships have worked as well. This is one core reason why PMYB only work with Chromo-Influencers, to ensure the influencer, the brand and the campaign all align perfectly.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
Earlier this year we touched on the role of Key Opinion Leaders in society. KOLs are recognized experts in an industry or a specific area of knowledge. These are people who are very well educated on their subject of choice, but also people who can share that subject in an engaging and exciting way. The way that KOLs differ from the other types of influencers is that they don’t necessarily need to have a social media platform. Their platform is often more traditional, such as speaking at conferences, being interviewed by news outlets or taking part in debates. Some KOL’s do have social media which they use to further spread their message, however.
Media mogul Richard Branson uses a hashtag, #readbyrichard, to let his followers know that the article he is sharing is an article that he really resonates with.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) April 27, 2019
- Because of their experience and expertise, KOLs are well trusted and looked up to. As a result of this, if they are promoting a brand or a product, their followers know it is because they truly believe in what they are endorsing.
- They have vast integrity in their field.
- Because their audience is built up of people who look to them for a specific skill, this following can be more likely to connect with them on a personal level, and therefore can be ideal for specific industries.
- KOLs often have a very specific audience, and depending on their niche, this can be very small.
- Many have high offline notoriety but low social media followings or low authority on their social media accounts.
KOL Case Study – VW Touareg
VW wanted to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of their VW Touareg with style. They wanted to promote it with ‘everyday’ people, but rather than go down the normal influencer route, they went with KOLs. To take this another step further, they organised a SIX MONTH TRIP with a number of KOLs, to retrace the Silk Road route, a route connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe. Overall they filmed 18 treks, with a combination of history and stories from the KOL’s own lives.
Nano-Influencers are classed as everyday people with under 1,000 followers.
- As Nano-Influencers have a very small following, they have high engagement with these followers and have a stronger connection with them – they tend to know all of their followers on a personal level.
- Alongside this, because of their account size, they are often very cheap or will create sponsored posts just for being sent a free product.
- These types of influencers, although cheap, are not particularly cost-effective. In many cases, because of their small follower count (usually made up of friends and family), their promotions are less likely to turn into actual sales.
- Instagram accounts with less than 10,000 followers cannot utilise the ‘swipe-up’ feature on Instagram Stories, which is important for achieving conversions on Instagram.
- You need to use hundreds of them to have a large scale impact, which is overly time-consuming
- Many question the influence of people who are unable to grow a following of over 1,000
Nano-Influencer Case Study – Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts opted for a Nano-Influencer route with a recent campaign. Despite its name, the brand wanted to present itself as a ‘coffee-first’ brand. They did this by working with Nano-Influencers and Micro-Influencers across the USA, creating Instagram Posts promoting their coffee. The campaign still managed to target over 1,000,000 followers and had an average engagement rate of 5%.
Mega-Influencer is a term used to describe anyone will over 1 million followers on any platform. They tend to be the leaders of influencer niches that have a high level of fame. The difference between Mega-Influencers and Celebrities is that Mega-Influencers have built their following as a result of social media, rather than through traditional media outlets.
- They have an extremely high following that is usually highly engaged.
- They have often been content creators for a while and have a good understanding of how to market themselves and the brands they collaborate with.
- The most effective mega-influencers can act as a strong driving force in campaigns.
- These influencers can still take part in influencer fraud.
- They can be very expensive to work with.
- Their schedules are usually very busy.
Mega-Influencer Case Study – Kylie Jenner and Kylie Cosmetics
It would be wrong to say that Kylie Jenner is just a celebrity – now she’s more well known for her social media presence. The reality-TV star turned social media. Mega-Influencer has over 133 million followers on Instagram alone. When she launched her makeup brand, Kylie Cosmetics in 2015, her Instagram was instrumental in helping the brand grow. As a result, Kylie is now reported to be worth $900 million.
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Although sometimes the line between Celebrity and Influencer may seem blurred, there is a key difference. As mentioned, Celebrities are often in a place of popularity because of TV, film, or music. Influencers, on the other hand, have normally developed their audience initially and predominantly on social media.
- Associating with high-status individuals can work wonders for your brand’s image.
- The most current celebrities are very culturally relevant.
- Their global notoriety can be beneficial for global campaigns.
- Celebrity images often change as they are always in the media.
- Celebrities in particular industries tend to fail to generate the ROI of influencers.
- Can be difficult to work with because of their hectic schedules.
- They often cost more because of the status associated with the individual.
- Considered less relatable than social media influencers by consumers.
Celebrity Case Study – Taylor Swift and Politics
Now, although singer Taylor Swift was not working with a brand here, it still represents the influence celebrities can have. As someone who has not spoken on politics before, Taylor took to Instagram to encourage her massive fanbase to register to vote. Only 24 hours after her post went live, 65,000 people signed up to vote in the US. This truly shows how much of an impact celebrities can have on their audience.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn.
Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. Marsha voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Chromo-Influencers are vetted influencers that have been put through the 5 Stage Chromo-Analysis Process, a method of determining whether they’re going to be effective for a particular brand or campaign. Chromo-Influencers are not as dependent on follower count and are rated on 46 important factors that impact consumer behaviour. This includes their communication skills, status, level of compatibility with the brand’s audience, as well as multiple data-driven elements such as their level of genuine audience engagement.
- This Chromo-Analysis is also an effective way to combat Influencer fraud.
- PMYB’s previous campaigns have proven that Chromo-Influencers drive conversions, as well as awareness.
- Chromo-Influencers tend to have high engagement rates, regardless of their following.
- These influencers are hand-picked because of how well they will fit your brand – leading to a more seamless and natural brand association.
- Have high positive sentiments with regards to audience comments.
- Are great communicators.
- Have a high portion of genuine followers.
- Chromo-Influencers can be particularly difficult to find, as there are a lot fewer Chromo-Influencers around than other types of Influencers.
- Chromo-Influencers are less available for certain niches.
Chromo-Influencer Case Study – boohooMAN
PMYB partnered with boohooMAN to generate sales, drive traffic to boohooMAN.com and raise awareness of the boohooMAN.com brand. The aim was to target 16-25-year-olds in the UK, and after analysis, PMYB decided to go forward with less used niches in the fashion industry – sports and entertainment.
This Chromo-Influencer campaign achieved over 4 million impressions, 240k engagements, 21k targeted clicks over 41 pieces of content. Alongside this, the sales target was well exceeded.
Which Types of Influencer are Suited to your Next Campaign?
With all these different types of influencers, it may be difficult to decide which type is best for your campaign. The team at PMYB have broken this down for you, to help you get the most out of your upcoming influencer campaigns
Direct Acquisitions (E.g. Sales or Downloads)
Chromo-Influencers, Macro-Influencers and Mega-Influencers.
Chromo-Influencers have genuine, large followings with whom they have a strong connection with. The other two influencer types listed above also tend to have large truly engaged followers. This heavily contributes to the number of sales they are able to generate.
Fans of celebrities often want to be like them and live their lifestyle, meaning buying products they recommend is attractive to their followers, however a lot of the time, their endorsements don’t provide as strong an ROI. However, this is usually dependent on the industry. Micro-Influencers, Nano-Influencers and KOLs, have less influence when it comes to sales. KOLs, in particular, are often more suited to sharing their opinions, than directly selling products or driving acquisitions.
Chromo-Influencers, Macro-Influencers, Micro-Influencers and Nano-Influencers
Instagram Chromo-Influencers tend to attain at least 5% engagement. Micro-Influencers average 6% engagement, whereas influencers with followings around 100,000 average closer to 2%
Nano-Influencers often get a high engagement rate, but this is often a result of their friends and family liking their content. The higher the following, the more difficult it is to generate a high engagement rate because of the algorithms of Instagram, as well as the way people perceive people with that size of following.
Celebrities and Macro-Influencers often have portions of inactive followings. An example of this would be Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore, who despite her following of 6.7 million, only receives around 90,000 likes on her photos, an average of 1.3% engagement. Alongside this, 70% of young people who use YouTube claim they relate to content creators on the platform more than traditional celebrities.
KOLs are less about gaining likes and comments, and more about writing in-depth articles and thought pieces. This doesn’t mean they don’t perform well in their social media engagement – they just don’t tend to approach social media in the same way other types of influencers tend to. However, this is very much based on an individual-by-individual basis.
Chromo-Influencers, Mega-Influencers, Macro-Influencers, Celebrities and Micro-Influencers
All of these types of influencers are capable of creating stunning content to raise awareness of your brand. The first four mentioned, in particular, have the potential to get a lot of eyes on your brand.
Micro-Influencers can be useful when targeting a specific niche that aligns with your brand, however. Also, using a high volume of Micro-Influencers can be effective in achieving a high reach.
Mega-Influencers, KOLs and Celebrities
Key Opinion Leaders have the power to boost your brand through their highly credible endorsement. Likewise, because of the sheer notoriety of Mega-Influencers and Celebrities both online and offline, they can be fantastic people to associate with your brand once vetted correctly.
Summarising these Findings
With there being such a wide range of influencers out there, you need to find the ones who fit with your goals, brand and budget. The team at PMYB hope the above information will help you make more informed decisions on the types of influencers that you use in your next influencer campaign. If you have any questions or would be interested in a Chromo-Influencer campaign with us, please get in touch here.