You all know mega-influencers. Yes, you know, those people whose content gets millions of views on the web. However, companies are increasingly looking to partner with smaller influencers with smaller audiences, but why?
To find out, let’s briefly summarize what an influencer is, and what differentiates these types of influencers.
This new digital occupation was created recently because companies quickly realized that it was a very interesting and profitable lever for their digital marketing strategy. This is how people producing entertaining content found themselves in the focus of brands to participate in their communications strategy, all for very generous sums of money.
Although there are no official differentiation criteria between these different forms of influencers, we will consider the mega-influencers as being the most important and having the largest audience with usually more than one million followers on their preferred social networks.
This large audience can be tempting, but in most cases, you don’t need to work with a mega-influencer to get the best ROI. Here’s why this is not as much a no-brainer as we might think it should be.
To understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to explain the calculation of the important data that we try to collect before collaborating with an influencer.
The most well-known and commonly analyzed metric is the engagement rate. The engagement rate allows identifying the percentage of interaction on a given publication compared to the size of the influencer’s audience. This can apply to any type of publication. The engagement rate is calculated as follows:
Number of likes + Number of comments + Other interactions (depending on the platform) / Audience (Number of followers)
This is where follower counts, often considered as a “vanity metric”, will come in handy. This calculation can be slightly different depending on the platform observed. (Example: Retweets will be taken into account for the calculation of the engagement rate on Twitter, although this interaction is only possible on this particular social network). This metric is commonly considered to be an excellent way to know if a publication is generating interest and is globally qualitative. It is also considered to be a relatively accurate measure to predict conversion rate.
Another interesting data to measure is also the reach rate. It consists in calculating the number of unique people who have seen a publication (reach) divided by the number of followers of the desired influencer.
Unique views / Audience (Number of followers)
This metric is particularly useful when you want to know how many people in your audience have seen your publication.
There are many other interesting metrics that a company should monitor before partnering with an influencer -or even for their own social networks for that matter-. The metrics to monitor will then depend on the objective set by the company.
But this still doesn’t tell us which influencer to choose. So why are we talking about these metrics?
Studies have shown that the size of the audience has a direct influence on the above indicators. The engagement rate as well as the reach rate for example decreases linearly the bigger the audience is.
And that’s something you should definitely consider when looking for which influencer to collaborate with.
Now that we know what the limitations of having a large audience are in terms of pure ROI, let’s take a look at how this might translate into actual practice if you want to work with influencers.
Why should you work with smaller influencers?
Influencers with a small audience are very common. It is more difficult to make a choice in this category. However, this is also a good thing! It means that there is definitely an influencer out there that is perfect for you.
As seen before, the communities of small influencers tend to be more engaged, and are more likely to see their content, but the audience will still be smaller. However, small influencers have more than one trick up their sleeve. Some small influencers are dedicated to very specific topics and therefore have an audience precisely interested in their favorite subjects. If this audience matches your target, it’s perfect!
Moreover, small influencers are considered more trustworthy and authentic, especially specialized influencers. If they recommend your products, it’s probably because they truly love them -we imagine in this scenario that your products are of quality, which we are sure is the case-! This is therefore positive for your conversion and your brand image.
But what will certainly interest you more is what it will cost you. So while it depends on the influencer you choose, you’ll generally have to pay a minimum of $100 (Nano) to $1000 (Micro) per post. (A ratio of $1000 per 10,000 followers is often regarded as a guideline). This would even allow you to work with several influencers.
Smaller influencers have many advantages, and you’re guaranteed to find something to your liking. So if your budget is too small to afford the services of a large influencer, consider it a no-brainer, especially if your goal is to address a specific target and make targeted conversions.
Why should you work with larger influencers?
On the other hand, if you wish to associate yourself with Macro or Mega influencers, you will have to spend a minimum of $5,000 or $10,000 respectively — still following the previously mentioned convention. These figures can obviously go up depending on the type of publication and social media you want to target.
If we have seen previously that the reach rate decreases the more followers you have, the total reach remains much higher when working with a large influencer thanks to their huge audience.
If you have the resources, then a big influencer can bring you mass awareness, as well as an often diverse audience. This is extremely helpful if you want to get your brand out there quickly. And if you have a fixed influencer marketing budget, it will save you precious time compared to working with multiple smaller influencers.
Another point that could help you in your decision is the quality of the publications of the big influencers. They are used to working with large resources and will usually be able to create quality content without you having to be involved. So if you don’t have the time to take care of the content creation, this could be an important factor in your decision-making.
Overall, influencer marketing remains a component of your digital marketing with a strong return on investment that can be very well integrated into the scope of all your other marketing actions.
Nothing prevents you from associating with influencers of different sizes in order to test what works best for you if your budget allows it.
From now on, it’s up to you to define your objectives in order to know which type of influencers you should work with.