Why mega-famous creators don’t define influencer marketing

Credit: Karsten Winegeart
Credit: Karsten Winegeart

Brands can shell out the big bucks for a lukewarm celebrity endorsement, or invest in the true powerhouses when it comes to influence: micro and nano creators.

If Emily in Paris is any indicator, influencer marketing is still baffling to many. 

Besides the notion that a few selfies with a croissant begets social media stardom, Emily’s follower count quickly zooms into the thousands — which is obviously the very best metric of success, right?

While follower count used to be the sole criteria for determining an influencer’s worth, savvy marketers have come to learn that potential reach is far less valuable than actual engagements. 

And as it turns out, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to real engagement. You wouldn’t know that by reading most articles about influencer marketing, which focuses on splashy Gen Z creators and TikTok stars in hype houses.

I may risk sounding like a crank yelling about the kids on my lawn, but I’m tired of big-name accounts taking up the spotlight. They are not the influencers really getting things done for brands. Brands looking to actually move the needle won’t be able to achieve that with mega-stars.

So brands can shell out the big bucks for a lukewarm celebrity endorsement, or invest in the true powerhouses when it comes to influence: micro and nano creators.

The power of micro

Micro influencers — people with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, and nano influencers — those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers — tend to be far more effective at engaging their audiences. They have fewer followers, but their audiences are more active and loyal. 

Many brands don’t realize that as an influencer’s follower count rises, their rate of engagement — actions taken such as saves, clicks, comments, retweets, hashtags, repins, and shares — decreases. These metrics are a far better indicator of success than impressions.

Smaller accounts are also more likely to share niche, authentic content their followers are looking for. These influencers excel at creating content around a specific topic, whether that’s DIY, food, wellness or tech, allowing brands to target precise audiences based on their affinities.

Use paid media to scale

If you’re looking for scale, you can boost your reach with smaller influencers through paid media. Adding paid media allows for better targeting and greater exposure, alongside the benefits of influencer content. 

Capabilities available on social platforms allow brands to extend a campaign’s impact far beyond an influencer’s followers — with the kind of authentic content people actually pay attention to. Through micro and nano influencers, brands can connect with audiences perfectly suited for their product or service in a more affordable and effective way. 

Big-name influencers have a lot of star power, and for good or for bad, they attract the most media attention. But brands that want real engagement should  look beyond follower counts and headlines and focus on quality interactions.

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