Micro vs. Macro Influencers: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Brand (and Budget)

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For years, influencer marketing has been a valuable tool marketers and publicists use in their communications strategies. In fact, experts expect the global influencer market to be worth more than $21 billion this year. However, the influencer marketing formula is constantly changing, as ‘industry standards’ don’t really exist in this new-age industry. Many brands are still experimenting in their strategies, and some have yet to dip their toe in the influencer pool. As an influencer marketing agency, brands ask us all the time which tier of influencers are more effective: macro or micro. 

Unfortunately, like we said before: there’s no magic formula for which will work better for you. However, there are certain considerations like goals, audience, and – of course – budget, that can help you determine which influencers are best for your brand’s marketing campaign.


Macro and Celebrities

With the rise of TikTok sensations like Charli D’Amelio and Loren Gray, many brands believe that influencers with massive followings are the only way to move the needle. Many big brands have had major success with these campaigns. For example, Dunkin famously partnered with Charli D’Amelio in 2020, leading to a 57% increase in app downloads on launch day, and ultimately made them the #1 food brand on TikTOk. However, these mega influencers are typically reserved for big brands – with big budgets – as many charge upwards of $1 million per post. To execute a full campaign, you’re looking at millions of marketing dollars going to one collaborator. Could it be worth it? Absolutely. But is it realistic for most brands? Unfortunately, not really. 


Micro Influencers

If your marketing dollars are limited, micro and nano influencer campaigns may be a better way to go. While these influencers have lower follower counts (around 10k-100k), they typically have a loyal audience that trusts them, leading to higher conversion rates and more bang for your buck. However, there are hundreds of thousands of creators that fall into this category. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to pinpoint the right fits for your campaign. That’s why it’s helpful to work with an agency or program to help you look into key metrics like follower count, engagement, audience demographics and niches to determine who is best suited for your campaign. 

It’s also key to remember that just because an influencer doesn’t have millions of followers, doesn’t mean that they don’t get paid for their content. Many micro influencers have learned how to monetize their personal brand, and deliver very high quality content and great results. As such, you can expect to still pay thousands of dollars in these campaigns if you want guaranteed posts and more control over content. 

If you have limited to no budget, gifting to influencers can be a great tactic. However, be realistic about who you can work with, and make no requirements for your creators. Sending a no-strings-attached PR package and keeping friendly and professional contact with micro influencers can be a mutually beneficial practice. While you can’t guarantee they will post, its a great first step into influencer marketing for smaller brands. Gifting campaigns can still be very effective in content acquisition and improving your brand’s visibility.  


User Generated Content

If your marketing dollars are limited and gifting to micro influencers makes you a little nervous, have no fear. These days, user-generated content campaigns are a great way to build community engagement and reach new audiences without complicated contracts. In fact, a recent study by EnTribe found that 90% of surveyed consumers prefer to see brands share content from actual customers. When brands incorporate user generated content into their social media and marketing initiatives, it adds a layer of authenticity and credibility that is harder to achieve with traditional influencer campaigns today. 

Remember that campaign by Dunkin we mentioned earlier? They also had a UGC component, encouraging its employees to share content with its new ‘TikTok crew’ ambassador program. They had hundreds of their staff create engaging, authentic content – like this one that had over 120k likes and 2k shares. 


Ultimately, utilizing influencer or user-generated content is a great way to diversify your marketing strategies and build community engagement. Every brand can – and should – be tapping into these tactics to grow their brand and enhance visibility. To learn more about our influencer marketing agency services, click here.