Nano to Macro: Breaking Down the Influencer Tiers

September 16, 2019

In the five years since we launched Obviously, we’ve seen influencers go from being a “nice to have” to a “must have” for brand marketers.                

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Budgets have grown along with the influencer marketing industry. Spending on influencer marketing has grown from $2 billion in 2017 to $8 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $15 billion by 2022.

We’ve also seen numerous influencer marketing platforms, most based on self-service models, spring onto the scene to try to capitalize on the increased spending in the industry. Most of these leave out a crucial element to make your influencer marketing program a success regardless of how much you spend: strategy.

     “Spending on influencer marketing has grown from $2 billion in 2017 to $8 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $15 billion by 2022.”    

At Obviously, we’ve invested years in developing the expertise and technology to ensure our clients’ success. And we’ve mapped out the best, most effective strategies for meeting all your brand’s marketing objectives, no matter what they are.

The term “influencer” can refer to anyone from a major celebrity to a particularly cool or socially savvy friend, so understanding which type of influencer is the right fit for you is an essential first step to developing a successful influencer marketing campaign.

At Obviously, we have come to define the various levels of influencers as the pyramid of influence.

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     “With our network of more than 60,000 preferred influencers, we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need to get started understanding the basics. ”    

Influencer Network

We take your brand’s goals into account when developing our influencer strategy for you. Because we understand the strengths of each tier, and can execute campaigns across all sizes of influencers, we know the best strategic mix of influencers to meet your brand’s objectives.

With our network of more than 60,000 preferred influencers, we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need to get started understanding the basics. 

Here’s the essential information about how and when to work with each tier of influencer.

NANO INFLUENCERS

                   

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WHO ARE THEY?

  • Everyday people who are cool and have great high-quality content and a compelling persona. They have a larger number of followers on social media than your average user. 
  • Most of the people who follow a nano influencer are their friends, family, and friends of friends.
  • Those personal connections to their followers mean nanos fill a coveted “word of mouth” space.
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Nano influencer: Melissa San Vicente @lolmel 5.3K Instagram followers
Nano influencer: Christopher Odum @christopherodum 2K Instagram followers

WHEN SHOULD YOU WORK WITH THEM?

  • You’re aiming to increase trust and reliability in your brand. Nano influencers have 6x the engagement rate of other influencers.
  • You want to work with cost-effective influencers who are excited to collaborate in exchange for product and a small payment. Those personal connections to their followers mean nanos fill a coveted “word of mouth” space. 
  • You’re targeting a geographic region. Nano influencers are your best bet for generating real brand engagement if you’re going hyperlocal.

YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT…

     “Nano influencers have 6x the engagement rate of other influencers.”    

Are you Ready for Nano influencers?

  • By definition, their reach is small. It takes many nanos to achieve the same reach as a single large influencers. 
  • Their social permissions are limited. Most notably, Instagram excludes anyone with less than 10,000 followers from using the “Swipe Up” function in their Stories.
     “What they lack in reach, they can make up for in enthusiasm and authenticity, which translates to the genuine word of mouth advertising that customers trust above all else.”    

THE BOTTOM LINE


With adequate scale, the collective reach of a large group of nano influencers can exceed that of a handful of their larger counterparts—at a fraction of the cost and with higher engagement.

What they lack in reach, they can make up for in enthusiasm and authenticity, which translates to the genuine word of mouth advertising that customers trust above all else.

However, limitations on their social permissions make nanos a less ideal option for brand’s whose primary campaign objective is driving conversions.

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MICRO INFLUENCERS

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WHO ARE THEY?

  • Engagement is still a key selling factor with micro influencers, hovering around 5%.  
  • These influencers are still small enough to have focused audiences in their given niche, but big enough to amplify their voice louder than the nano tier. For example, you’ll find micro influencers who focus on vintage fashion and vegan cooking with followers who love their content. 
  • Many of them consider influencing their side hustle.
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Micro Influencer: MAC JOSEPH @mcarthurjoseph 12.5K Instagram followers
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Micro Influencer: Melanie Phillips @headstandandheels 22K Instagram followers

WHEN SHOULD YOU WORK WITH THEM?

  • You have some budget to spend on influencer marketing. Micro influencers normally charge around $100-$300 per post, which is favorable for the value they provide.
  • Your brand wants to reach a niche audience.
  • You want the value of long-term brand ambassadors. These partnerships give your brand repeat exposure, and we’ve found that brands win when they re-engage high-performing micros.

You should know that…

     “These partnerships give your brand repeat exposure, and we’ve found that brands win when they re-engage high-performing micros. ”    
  • Micro influencers have been a favorite of the influencer marketing industry with good reason. There are few drawbacks to working with them! 
  • Micro influencers are most effective when leveraged for long-term relationships rather than one-off campaigns. If you’re not interested in working with influencers on a consistent basis, they might not be the best choice for you.
     “Micro influencers are most effective when leveraged for long-term relationships rather than one-off campaigns.”    

                   

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THE BOTTOM LINE

  • Micro influencers are a nice balance between achieving a solid reach and finding niche audience perfect for your product.
  • They can be a great creative resource when it comes to helping your brand attract and entice shoppers.
  • Plan on connecting over time to really reap the benefits of micro influencers.

MID-TIER INFLUENCERS

                   

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WHO ARE THEY?

  • Pros who know how to create high-quality content and they have a sizable audience. 
  • Specialists in a specific niche whose audience look to them as experts.

WHEN SHOULD YOU WORK WITH THEM?

  • You want to work with a rising star with a substantial audience.
  • Your goal is to spread the word about your brand to a wide community.
  • You want to generate high-quality content to buy and use as an asset in your marketing mix.
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Mid-tier Influencer: Alyssa Lenore @alyssalenore 141K Instagram followers

YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT…

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Mid-tier Influencer: Everett Williams @everettwilliams 151K Instagram followers

  • The fees for this group vary the most, so don’t be surprised if two influencers with similar follower counts are exceptionally different in price. Optimize spend longterm by building relationships with on-brand influencers early on.
  • With their growing success, mid-tier influencers are often rigorous in ensuring they align with a brand before agreeing to a partnership; telling authentic stories is most important to them. For brands, this means you should treat activations as collaborations to attract the best talent and drive the most impact.
     “Telling authentic stories is most important to them. ”    

                   

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THE BOTTOM LINE

Mid-tier influencers are true professionals who create high-quality content that can be a great resource for your brand.  They are trusted and authentic influencers with a wide reach. However, they have a tendency to be more expensive and potentially less enthusiastic about some collaborations than smaller influencers.

Be prepared to test and learn with different influencers in this tier.  Make sure you have a clear picture of your budget and audience target before dipping your toes in, because this tier is serious!