While there are hundreds of articles online about understanding the influencer marketing options available to you (many of them not always agreeing with each other) we think there are just two fundamental things to know about the types of influencer you may choose from.
Who exactly is the influencer going to engage for you…
Segmenting influencer types usually starts with a familiar conversation about the size of their audience. The terms micro and macro (or even ‘mega’) influencer are now pretty common in influencer marketing.
And there is a recognition that both types of influencer offer specific benefits and equally specific challenges.
What a micro influencer can offer your campaign, as we’ve talked about in this blog before, is disproportionately high engagement compared to content creators with far larger audiences. Often more specialist in their subjects and content, they attract small but highly-engaged audiences who value them for their ‘niche’ expertise.
Macro influencers, on the other hand, boast a larger following (and, naturally, a larger fee attached to it). But that’s not to say they have less value to your campaign – they just offer a different kind of value.
For example, if brand awareness is the objective, then an influencer with a larger following could be a better fit – with a study by Mediakix revealing that macro influencers can reach 22 times more people than a micro influencer.
But if your top priority is engagement then a micro influencer could be the right way to go. They may have fewer followers, but those followers are likely to care a lot more about the same things your brand does.
Very broadly, influencers can offer you one of three qualities:
– Their celebrity
– Their authority
– Their individuality
Celebrity has become a slightly blurrier term since the rise of influencer marketing, with a generation of ‘super influencers’ achieving a celebrity status of their own. But in this case we’re talking about ‘traditional’ celebrities – i.e. ones who have found their fame through traditional, rather than social, media channels.
This type of influencer offers certain rewards and costs – the main ones being they will reach a lot of people on your behalf… but it will cost you a lot of money.
Smart brands are also starting to break away from the old models that say celebrity automatically equals influence. Authenticity, not fame, is now a far more sought-after currency in marketing and while nearly 20% of all American adverts featured a celebrity in 2004, by 2012 that number had dropped to just 9%.
That authenticity is typically found more readily in the other two types of influencer qualities. Those who are offering you their authority, are generally experts or insiders. These are the people with knowledge, credentials and a genuine love for their subject – making them deeply trusted by their followers and deeply valuable to brands.
The final influencer quality your brand could be harnessing is individuality or, in other words, the creativity, personality and lifestyle of an inspiring, but otherwise quite ordinary, person.
From fitness and food, to beauty and fashion, individual influencers with a naturally inspiring character are creating their own influence, simply by being themselves and sharing their lifestyle.
And while there is proven value in all three types of specialism, the only factor that really matters when you’re making a choice is what you need your influencer to help you do.
Huge reach and celebrity could make your brand famous, boost your following and sell some/lots stuff. But it will cost you a lot and, if we’re honest, you’ll have to do the hard work in terms of creating content. Celebrities will generally agree to become the face of your campaign, not the brains behind it.
Influencers built on authority and individuality, while unlikely to offer you such monstrous reach, will be joining your campaign as a full creative partner, with ideas, passion for the subject and an expert knowledge of the audience you’re trying to reach.
So whether it’s big or small, fame or expertise, getting to the heart of these two huge questions is a smart way to start your search for an influencer.