What is the Difference Between Micro-Influencers and Nano Influencers?

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With continued innovations in the tech space, BLAZE PR navigates the forefront with clients like Heartbeat. A leader in modern influencer marketing, Heartbeat is a cutting-edge brand ambassador platform built on authenticity. Check out the article below written by Heartbeat CEO Brian Freeman on the difference between micro-influencers and nano-influencers.

We analyzed 205,000 Heartbeat community members to uncover the answer.

Heartbeat has a unique opportunity to break this difference down as we’ve worked with hundreds of brands over the last 18 months and gather hundreds of data points on our community members. Below I’m going to run through in a very digestible format what the difference between a micro-influencer (defined here as someone with more than 10,000 followers) and a brand-ambassador. At Heartbeat we see brand ambassadors as every day people who are excited about sharing info about brands they love with their friends and family and have less than 5,000 followers.

Micro-Influencer Characteristics

  • Consistent content creation around a theme.
  • Use #hashtags to build following
  • Established value (in their mind) of what they’re worth to brands
  • Business accounts on Instagram w/ insights
  • Pay-rate > Brand Loyalty
  • Celebrity attitude, non-celeb audience
  • Require experimentation to understand value for your brand
  • Pay-rate varies influencer to influencer regardless of following or engagement, based on whatever they got the last brand to pay them making scaling campaigns expensive, time-consuming, difficult to scale.

Brand Ambassador Characteristics

  • Inconsistent content creation b/c it’s their normal life
  • Hashtag use is random, often made up hashtags #hangingwithmyladies #thanksgivingsofull #wheresgrandma
  • No-perceived dollar value for brand promotion (this is fun!)
  • No business account, limited insights without direct access through partner platform (like Heartbeat)
  • Existing brand loyalty = reason for engaging
  • Small, highly engaged audiences of mostly friends & some family
  • Will work/post for association with brand name, payment is secondary & often unnecessary
  • Content produced often similar to micro-influencer content
  • Challenge: EXTREMELY difficult & expensive to scale within small organizations (less than 100 staff)
  • Challenge: At odds for eCommerce & CPG brands that need focus on sales, not dividing attention of customers with multiple email lists

How’s engagement for Micro-Influencers? Not good.

When it comes to social marketing, you are limited in what you can measure in terms of what followers are actually seeing when it comes to a post on Instagram. As a result, engagement is often your best benchmark for whether content will be seen by followers. It’s not the only benchmark of success, but it’s a key decision for educated marketers looking at social marketing through individuals, whether they’re ambassadors or influencers.

The below graph are the results of analyzing 5,645 Heartbeat community members with more than 10,000 followers. As you can see, the engagement by and large for micro-influencers is low single-digits. The best bang-for-your-buck actually occurs around 25-50K followers.

How’s engagement for Brand Ambassadors/Real People? You guessed it, fantastic.

Regular people have a much stronger relationship with their followers (obviously) and Instagram’s algorithm is designed to honor that connection by making sure those friends see the content they create. A brand with a strong brand ambassador strategy can stretch their marketing dollars much further by engaging normal people than micro-influencers.

The above graph is for SPONSORED content created by Heartbeat for its brand partners.

So What Now?

When possible use brand ambassadors over micro-influencers. You’re going to get more for your money, and when paired with Instagram ads for look-alike audiences the results are incredible. We recently had a client turn a $4,000 ad-buy on Instagram into $15,000 in sales during Cyber Monday using a Heartbeat look-alike audience & Heartbeat UGC. I’m going to be going through that analysis in detail in a subsequent blog post.

Happy posting!

Brian Freeman – CEO/Founder Heartbeat



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