Types Of Influencers

Influencer types are important to understand if you’re a brand looking to start influencer marketing. Small boutique fashion labels, globally recognized shoe brands, and fast food joints – what do they all have in common? They all use influencer marketing to connect with their target audience. 

But in most cases, they’re not likely to use the exact same types of influencers. From micro to mega, influencers come in all shapes and niches. The trick is finding the one or several that will be the best first for your brand. 

In 2021, the global influencer marketing market value climbed to just under $14 billion U.S. dollars.[1] As influencer marketing continues to grow and outperform other marketing channels, the calendars of the popular influencers with extensive reach get booked up pretty quickly. This leaves the market wide open for smaller, niched influencers to take center stage. 

While they have a lower reach, smaller accounts often achieve deeper connections making them the perfect fit for a “quality over quantity” campaign. Depending on the objectives of your influencer strategy, you may need only one mega influencer or a mix of smaller accounts. 

Let’s dive into the different types of influencers.  

Table of Contents

High Follower Count Doesn’t Necessarily Equal “Influencer”

How many followers a social media account has is often misconstrued as proof of influence.  However, this is categorically false. A lot of followers could mean extensive reach, but it has no bearing on engagement. 

An account with hundreds of thousands of followers could get little to no engagement and would be anything but an influencer. For example, most meme accounts have huge follower counts but few engagements. 

Along the same vein, some of the most popular accounts (think actors, athletes, and models) have multiple millions of followers. And yet, their engagement is abysmally low. They garner a lot of curious eyeballs, but this is a passing interest, not dedicated engagement. 

What is an Influencer Tier?

An influencer tier is a category that designates its follower count. Now, we just explained that follower count is not the primary metric to measure when looking at an account, but it is nonetheless how they’re categorized. 

These are the common influencer tier benchmarks based on the number of followers:

  • Nano-Influencer = 1k-5k 
  • Micro-Influencer = 5k-20k 
  • Mid-Tier Influencer = 20k-100k 
  • Macro-Influencer = 100k-1M 
  • Meg-Influencer = 1M+ 

Why Use Different Tiers of Influencers?

Every tier will not be relevant for every strategy for a number of reasons, such as campaign objectives, fulfillment capacity, and target audience threshold. Using different tiers of influencers expands the scope of your campaign. 

For example, you may reach millions of people at the top of your sales funnel with a mega influencer, but they may not be ready to buy. However, you could reach a few thousand warm audience members with smaller account sizes who turn into conversions. Using a mix of influencers allows you to get the benefits of both types of influencers.

What are the Different Types of Influencers?

Let’s dig deeper into the various tiers and types of influencers.

Mega Influencers

Who is a Mega Influencer?

A mega influencer is someone who has more than 1 million followers on any one social media platform. These accounts often belong to celebrities or those who have since become celebrities and other global figures who are more famous and popular than actually influential.

Mega influencer accounts can be difficult to approach and would cost the most to hire. These types of influencers will not fit many conversion-driven campaigns. 

What Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign is Best for Mega Influencers?

Mega influencers get a lot of eyes on their profile, but due to their status and other ventures, they traditionally don’t offer much engagement. 

Influencers at the lower end of mega, with 1 million to 5 million followers, are often “internet famous,” and this is their livelihood. They will have creative teams, production teams, and account managers who make it all happen. 

Why Should You Work with a Mega Influencer?

Companies looking to launch a brand awareness and exposure campaign would be a good fit for a mega influencer. You can expect to expand your reach and boost perception around your brand but not necessarily get tons of conversions. 

Where Do You Find Mega Influencers?

Mega influencers are found on every social media platform, with Instagram consistently coming in as the top platform.

How Can You Work With a Mega Influencer?

A mega influencer will have a full team of creatives and account managers who will be handling the campaign. They are also often associated with an influencer marketing agency that can help make connections and facilitate negotiations and reporting. 

Mega Influencers: Examples

The top twenty accounts on Instagram include a smattering of footballers, musicians, actors, and even a cricketer. The only product brand on the list is Nike.[2] But the more active mega influencers are a little lower on the list.  

1. @chiaraferragni – Chiara Ferragni

Chiara was an original blogger who transformed that platform into 27.1 million Instagram followers, a fashion label, and an Amazon Prime docuseries. 

types of influencers

Image Source: @chiaraferragni

2. @nusr_et AKA Salt Bae

types of influencers salt bae

The viral meat salting sensation and celebrity chef has gone on to launch a full butcher shop brand in multiple restaurants. His account is also flooded with endorsements from other celebrities such as Tom Brady and Kanye West. 

Image Source: @nusr_et

3. @lelepons – Lele Pons

Lele initially got her start on Vine and was a huge success before that platform shut down a few years ago. Now she focuses primarily on comedic content for her 48.6 million Instagram followers. 

Image Source: @lelepons

Macro Influencers

Who is a Macro Influencer?

There is a little fluctuation in these numbers, but a macro influencer is someone with more than 100k followers on one platform but less than 1 million. 

These influencers walk the line between social media fame and niche experts and may have secondary notoriety, such as TV appearances or top-tier collaborations. With numbers that high, the engagement will still be on the low end, but their reach will also be significant. 

What Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign is Best for Macro Influencers?

Similar to mega influencers, a macro influencer would be a great fit for a brand awareness campaign to get a strong reach and more eyeballs. These types of influencers will cost far less than a mega influencer, but their engagement rates will be similar. 

Why Should You Work with a Macro Influencer?

Macro influencers can bring semi-niched content to a wide audience. Rather than simply being famous, they are more likely to have grown their account through their content and will be experienced collaborators who can elevate your brand perception. 

If you have a four-figure budget to pay for extensive reach but not quite the baller budget to pay for a mega influencer (five to six figures), then a macro influencer would be a good match for your campaign. 

Where Do You Find Macro Influencers?

Macro influencers can be found across all social media campaigns, but Instagram is still number one for influencer marketing. TikTok would also be a strong macro influencer contender. 

How Can You Work With a Macro Influencer?

A macro influencer will have a lot going on behind the scenes but may not have a creative or management team. These influencers are most likely working with an influencer marketing agency. 

Macro Influencers: Examples

1. @noelarevalo_ Noel Arevalo

Noel is a women’s fitness training coach with 268k followers on Instagram and 62.6k subscribers on YouTube.  She offers one-on-one coaching and also promotes supplements and fitness equipment geared towards females. 

  Image Source: @noelarevalo_

2. @sashajuliard

The self-proclaimed mayor of Vibe Village, this travel influencer is a pro globe trotter. His 128k Instagram followers enjoy gorgeous scenery scapes, wildlife stills, his Airstream renovation, and destination envy. Sasha also sells his photo presets.

Image Source: @sashajuliard

3. Manes By Mell

YouTube hair influencer, Manes by Mell, has over 630k subscribers, all getting curly hair tips and product recommendations. Video views range from five to seven figures.

Image Source: Manes by Mell

Mid-Tier Influencers

Who is a Mid Tier Influencer?

According to a Statista report, it was estimated that the second most popular category influencers on Instagram were mid-tier influencers with a follower count between 20k and 100k followers. These content creators accounted for 26.8% of all types of influencers.[3] 

What Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign is Best for Mid Tier Influencers?

If you’re looking to bolster your brand’s credibility and increase engagement, a mid-tier influencer may be the best fit. 

Why Should You Work with a Mid Tier Influencer?

With 20k to 100k followers, a mid-tier influencer can still offer a breadth of reach as well as a depth of connection. These creators are on the up and come, so they will have a mix of polished content and organic and are eager for that perfect-fit partnership. 

Where Do You Find Mid Tier Influencers?

Instagram remains the most popular influencer platform, but mid-tier content creators can be found on multiple platforms but will have a primary focus on only one. 

How Can You Work With a Mid Tier Influencer?

These are easy types of influencers to work with. They’re still growing their accounts and their brand and are eager to negotiate and work hard. They most likely will not have official management unless they work with an influencer marketing agency. 

Mid Tier Influencers: Examples

1. @headbangerskitchen

Sahil Makhija is a heavy metal rocker but also a popular keto and low-carb internet chef. On Instagram, this going-pro home cook has more than 84k followers making him an Instagram mid-tier influencer. 

His YouTube channel is more successful, with over 600k subscribers putting him in the macro influencer category on YouTube. His followers enjoy easy and healthy recipes, beautiful food photos, and his comedic approach to life in the kitchen. 

Image Source: @HeadbangersKitchen

2. @london_dad

Greg Stanton is an online blogger and Instagram dad with more than 56k followers. He’s no stranger to sponsored content and features family-heavy content with a splash of fun. 

Image Source: @london_dad

3. @shelbybrockk

Shelby Brock is a wife, mother, and full-time content creator from the Northern Panhandle of Idaho. She shares content about rural living, family fun and fitness, and their custom home-building project with over 30k Instagram followers. 

Image Credit: @shelbybrockk

Micro-Influencers

Who is a Micro-Influencer?

In a Statista survey, it was estimated that Instagram influencers in the Micro category with between 5,000 to 20,000 followers accounted for 47.3 percent of influencer accounts worldwide.[4]

What Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign is Best for Micro-Influencers?

These types of influencers are the best fit for a highly-niched campaign where you’re ready to drive sales, not just awareness. 

Why Should You Work with a Micro-Influencer?

A micro-influencer will have some of the best engagement rates online, and its audience will likely have a strong sense of trust. These influencers are viewed as reliable experts and sources in their niche.

Where Do You Find Micro-Influencers?

Instagram and YouTube will be the best place to look for micro-influencers. 

How Can You Work With a Micro-Influencer?

A micro-influencer will be a solo operation, and most negotiations will be with them directly or via an influencer marketing agency

Micro-Influencers: Examples

1. @sharingthestoke 

SharingTheStoke Is the account of Joe Hodnicki, an entrepreneur and family man. He shares inspirational parenting content, outdoor adventures, and details about their beekeeping endeavors with 10k Instagram followers. His wife is also a mid-tier content creator with her own 43k followers. 

Image Source: @sharingthestoke

2. @christiancaro_

Southern California-based influencer Christian features a mix of fitness, travel, and men’s fashion throughout his content for just over 5,800 Instagram followers. 

Photo source: @christiancaro_

3. @graceshushh

Grace Shush is a drag performer who promotes beauty and body positivity content. Grace is also a London-based event promoter and performance artist and posts fun content for just over 8k Instagram followers. 

Image Source: @graceshushh

Nano Influencers

Who is a NanoInfluencer?

A nano influencer has less than 5k followers but more than 1k. These types of influencers are everyday content creators, not professionals. They’re working to grow their following. 

What Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign is Best for Nano Influencers?

A nano influencer is a good fit for a small campaign that is looking to secure a high level of trust and credibility in its brand.

Why Should You Work with a Nano Influencer?

With nano accounts, the engagement will be the highest. These are influencers who are communicating directly with their followers on a regular basis and authentically sharing their lives.

Where Do You Find Nano Influencers?

Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are the top spots for nano influencers. 

How Can You Work With a Nano Influencer?

This will be the least expensive type of campaign, and nano influencers will be eager to assist. Take care to interview closely and clearly communicate expectations as they will not be as experienced. 

Nano Influencers: Examples

1. @Mr.amidstthechaos

Chris is a dad and travel blogger based in Toronto, Canada. His 4k Instagram followers enjoy content about family, dad life, traveling, and adventures. 

Image Source: @Mr.amidstthechaos

2. @plainpretzel

Hazel is a fashion and beauty influencer with just under 3k followers on Instagram. Her feed is full of beautifully curated outfits and lifestyle shots. 

Image Source: @plainpretzel

 

3. @readwithme.kc

Kalei originally started out as a “bookstagrammer” and has incorporated the role of mommy blogger for her 3k Instagram followers. Her content is primarily related to reading and books, as well as family and motherhood.

Image Source: @readwithme.kc

Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Influencers

What Do Different Types of Influencers Get Paid?

Not everyone can ask for a million dollars per post like the famous K family, but influencers still get paid. Mega and macro influencers can command a higher price, but this can also vary depending on the platform.

According to a 2021 survey conducted among influencers from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Instagram influencers with less than 10,000 followers charged roughly $195 per post, while influencers with more than 90 thousand followers asked for $1,221 per post.[5]

On YouTube, influencers with more than 1M subscribers charged approximately $7,300 per sponsored post, according to recent research. The amount dropped significantly for macro-influencers with 100k to one million followers and ranged from $1,300 U.S. dollars to as high as $4,061.[6] 

For mid-tier and micro-influencers, the numbers will be even lower, while nano influencers may accept the products as the only form of payment necessary. Most influencers with experience will have a press kit ready to share their rates. 

How Do You Choose Types of Influencers for Your Campaign?

Not every influencer is a good match for every campaign. Most campaigns see the highest level of success when they leverage multiple influencers from different tiers. 

If you’re not working with an influencer marketing agency that has vetted influencers ready to go, choosing the right one for you should be based on solid research and thorough interviews. Here are a few considerations to stick to when conducting your research.

Audience Match

Does the influencer have an audience consisting of your target market? If you’re launching a beauty brand, but this influencer’s audience is mostly adventure junkies, you will not reach your campaign objectives.

Engagement Rates

Follower count only tells part of the story, and likes can’t be completely trusted, especially with larger accounts. Calculate their engagement rate based on comments, likes, impressions, and views to get a comprehensive view of how deep your campaign will strike. 

Experience

Do they have experience with sponsored posts or affiliate links? Do they post consistently? Is their feed organized well thought out?

It’s okay to go with a newer nano influencer, but you may want to require a little more creative input than with a mega influencer. 

Work With An Influencer Marketing Agency

If you’re new to the influencer marketing industry, it would be a wise choice to start with an agency that has pre-vetted influencers with proven results and a clear process for working together. 

Are Mega Influencers Hard to Contact?

Mega influencers with more than 1M followers often have a clear path to contact them, such as “send inquiries to [email protected]” or “DM my agent @{agentshandle}” to guide you throughout the process. The challenge with mega influencers is availability. 

They cannot post sales content every single day, or they would lose all credibility. Mega influencers are also not in close relationship with their audience, so this is vital to maintain their online influence. Calendars of mega influencers tend to book up fast and require a long-term, patient approach to a marketing relationship. 

Do Influencer Marketing Agencies Have Access to All Types of Influencers?

Absolutely! For many campaigns, the best approach to influencer marketing is a multi-influencer tactic. Agencies will have content creators of all shapes, sizes, audiences, and skill sets to help you achieve the best results. Leveraging an influencer marketing agency is the simplest way to expand the scope of your impact with all types of influencers ready to post. 

Is Working With the Larger Types of Influencers Always Best?

Not at all. Working with the right influencer for your brand is the best. This will vary greatly depending on your campaign objectives and goals. 

If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, you will hit the top of your sales funnel with a macro or mega influencer to get the most reach. If you need to drive sales, you’ll be better served by a mid-tier or micro-influencer who has established a deeper level of trust with their audience. 

The Types of Influencers You Work With Can Determine the Success of Your Campaign

The most important element of your influencer marketing campaign is to choose your influencer (or influencers) wisely. They are your ambassadors!

Sources

[1]https://www.statista.com/topics/2496/influence-marketing/#dossierKeyfigures 

[2]https://www.socialtracker.io/toplists/top-50-instagram-users-by-followers/ 

[3,4]https://www.statista.com/statistics/1250578/distribution-instagram-influencers-by-number-of-followers-worldwide/  

[5]https://www.statista.com/statistics/1258574/instagram-influencers-remuneration/ 

[6]https://www.statista.com/statistics/1251730/price-per-sponsored-video-youtube-worldwide/