The ultimate guide to Instagram Influencer and categories

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Before the Instagram app was launched, no one dreamt of having a huge amount of followers talk more of getting paid just to say a few good words to them about a product. 

But that was the good’ol days of traditional media, where radio stations and TV channels had intermission and commercial breaks for companies to place ads. 

When the influencer marketing industry was birthed, the gigs, offers, and big bucks went to celebrities who had defined followership and loyalty outside social media. But those collaborations only brought about band awareness but no real cash flow for brands, so the different types of influencers were birthed. While this segmentation has subtly lowered the pressure and amount that celebrities charge to place an ad, it has also brought into light the benefits that brands stand to gain by collaborating with micro and nano influencers

Moreover, at the inception of this industry, it was easy to find influencers -because they were well-known celebrities, but it was difficult to broker a deal with them -because of the agents, interviews, and background checks that are involved. While the latter is still not easy to achieve, the presence of influencer marketing agencies like anystarr has made it easy to find and broker deals with different categories of influencers and also to manage communication between the two parties. Not to mention that anystarr has tools programmed to monitor this brand-influencer relationship and track the progress of your influencer marketing campaigns. 

The influencer marketing industry still works in 2021 because of the effectiveness of the word-of-mouth style of advertisement, in comparison with the traditional media. This industry has amazed all and sundry with its effectiveness, but that is all thanks to brands that carefully (and sensibly) chose specific types of influencer niches that meet their mission and campaign. 

A lot of brands have embraced influencer marketing, however, some are still skeptical because of the rumored “difficulty and complexity” to calculate and get a positive ROI with influencers. Thankfully, Instagram marketing experts have debunked this belief by pointing out that choosing from the top influencer categories, looking out for vanity metrics, and engagement rates are things to look out for to make something out of your influencer marketing campaign. 

Asides from those, a close look at fashion brands that have conducted successful collaborations with influencers has shown that tracking both hidden and obvious costs incurred while working with influencers helps to tailor down successes and failures in influencer marketing. Not only that, before choosing an influencer from the different categories of influencers, you need to define and stick to your brand’s influencer marketing objective. These objectives may include brand or product awareness, improved social media audience and engagement, direct and indirect sales, and so on. 

Now, the major objective of this article isn’t to tell you the history of influencer marketing or its continual progress, but to discuss the five top influencer categories, their pros, and cons and finally to help you narrow down the category of influencer that suits your brand. Shall we? 

Five types of influencers 

  1. Nano-influencers (1k -10k followers):

The nano influencers became popular when followers discovered that celebrities and other types of influencers weren’t looking at a company’s credibility before signing up for an endorsement. Those celebrities, commonly known as mega influencers, were more after the bucks than the effectiveness of the products they were shoving to the faces of their followers -the fyre festival disaster was proof of this. 

So, when brands discovered that paying $$$ wasn’t getting them more sales and that influencers with fewer and relatable followers were doing the magic, they turned to nano influencers. 

Nano influencers know more than 50% of their followers on a personal level, and because they don’t have the numbers, they respond to comments and hashtags which equals a great engagement level. Therefore, brand collaborations with this category of influencers can be likened to a product or service recommendation from a close friend. Now, what separates this influencer tier from the other different categories of influencers is that they charge less to post an ad, and sometimes will do a product review for you in exchange for a free product. 

Tools like anystarr and other influencer marketing agencies can help you find nano-influencers that suit your brand’s mission. You can also find nano influencers by first searching through hashtags that are related to your niche and then checking the bios of Instagrammers that frequently use that hashtag. 

Pros of nano-influencers

  • They are cost-effective
  • Easy to recruit and more agreeable
  • More authenticity (fewer chances of having fake followers)
  • High engagement rate
  • Best to target a niche audience

Cons of nano-influencers

  • Low brand awareness due to limited reach
  • Time consuming to handle the campaigns of multiple nano-influencers
  • Chances of a double audience when handling multiple nano-influencers
  • Might have experience in influencer marketing which may lead to low-quality campaign content and images or legal complications. 
  1. Micro-influencers (10k – 50k followers):

Micro-influencers were the most popularly employed influencers in 2018, mostly because like the nano-influencers they were niche specific but have a wider reach. Because of this slightly larger audience, micro-influencers could achieve mild brand awareness while maintaining a safe engagement and conversion rate. 

Unlike the top influencer categories, micro-influencers give honest and unbiased reviews this, in turn, breeds trust in their audience, and this is what your brand can tap into if you collaborate with them. However, after this level, the other categories of influencers see a decrease in engagement and comments with an increase in followership. And this may be due to the increased chances of inauthenticity due to the influencers’ quest to enter other top influencer categories. And according to a survey by Keller Kay, 82% of followers will follow a recommendation by a micro-influencer.

Pros of micro-influencers

  • Low campaign cost
  • High engagement
  • Assured positive ROI

Cons of micro-influencers

  • Low reach and mild brand awareness
  • Time consuming to manage multiple micro-influencers
  • Followership authenticity begins to dwindle
  • There’s a risk of low-quality content
  • They might also collaborate with your competitor in an attempt to make as much money as they can. 
  1. Midtier influencers (50k – 500k followers): 

The mid-tier influencers are the bridge between the lower influencer category and the top categories of influencers. At this level, influencing can be an influencer’s full-time job, because there’s more work and dedication needed to cross over to the rosy part of the industry. Campaigns done by mid-tier influencers reach a wider audience than the micro and nano influencers but are not as massive and the macros and the Megas. 

And although pay per post is now more sizeable than the previously discussed types of influencers, they are cheaper when compared to macro and mega influencers. 

Mid-tier influencers have more Instagram marketing experience and are easier to identify than the Nanos and the micros. Mid-tier influencers are divided into two: native and no-native mid-tier influencers. 

Native influencers are those influencers that grew their audience from the scratch and are niche specified, an example is the fitness and nutrition coach whose bio is below

On the other hand, no-native mid-tier influencers are those influencers that got to this influencer category due to their popularity outside of Instagram, see example below. So, you can’t generically say the mid-tier influencers are niche-specific or otherwise. 

Pros of midtier influencers

  • They have a loyal following
  • Cheaper than other top influencer categories 
  • Large audience
  • Easy to identify and contact through influencer marketing agencies like anystarr.com (link)

Cons of midtier influencers

  • They are not niche-specific
  • Reduced engagement rate
  • They might promote your competitor so they have a low level of commitment. 
  1. Macro influencers (500k – 1M followers): 

Influencers at the macro level can now be called Instagram stars, not only because they have amassed a huge amount of following, most of them have taken on influencing as full-time jobs and earn thousands of dollars per social media post. 

Macro influencers are usually made of celebrities who have loyal followings. The main interest of the followers of these types of influencers is to have a view of their celebrities’ personal life and perhaps behave like them. They have a wider reach and a combination of two to three macro-influencers will do magic to your brand or product’s awareness and popularity. 

Consequently, they charge a lot of money for an ad, and unlike the lower types of influencers, they are not agreeable, can be difficult to work with, and sometimes insist on the freedom to post your content in a way that suits them. Not only these, macros and Megas have a reputation to insist to fly first class (if your campaign is location-based), might ask for a five star hotel lodging and might even ask that you cater for their pet or family. 

Pros of macro-influencers

  • They are experts in Instagram marketing and campaigns
  • They have a very large follower base which equals a good brand awareness

Cons of macro-influencers

  • They are difficult to work with
  • They are costly
  • Chances of a bad social image if something goes wrong with the collaboration
  • Very low engagement
  1. Mega influencers (1M+ followers):

Mega Instagram influencers, like macro-influencers, are the stars of influencing. They are made of people who are popular outside the world of social media. With a mega influencer, you’re sure that word about your product or service will spread quickly, but it comes with a heavy budget. 

For instance, coca-cola paid the popular Selena Gomez over $500k for one social media post. What are can’t vouch for is the conversion rate of this particular collaboration because followers of mega influencers freely give out their likes and comment more than they do their money. 

Pros of mega influencers 

  • Assured brand awareness and popularity

Cons of mega influencers

  • High budget
  • Low conversion rate
  • They are difficult to work with
  • Difficult to get access to them
  • Things might get messy if the collaboration fails.

Notice something, as the number of followers increased, the pros decreased and the cons increase. This shows that with Instagram influencer marketing, the size of followers shouldn’t always be the focal point. If your brand’s influencer marketing goal is brand awareness, then you should choose from the top influencer categories. However, if your brand’s influencer marketing goal tilts to an increased conversion rate, then you have to choose the lower influencer marketing categories. 

Remember that whatever brand goal you’ve got, anystarr will help you in your search for the perfect influencer to work with. 

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