We’re often asked when it comes to influencer marketing whether bigger influencers equate to greater returns. The discussion of whether to use a macro influencer versus a micro-influencer has gained a lot of attention in the last few years and for good reason. As social media and digital PR continue to dominate, influencers are gaining popularity in almost all conceivable fields.

Learn More: The Modern Day Publicist: Traditional Public Relations (PR) Vs. Digital PR

What’s the difference between a micro and macro influencer?

When you think of influencer household names, typically the Kardashians, Oprah, and LeBron James come to mind. Being a mainstream celebrity and athlete has always coincided with a large fan following and lavish endorsement deals. Endorsements have evolved, with the rise of social media platforms, to what we all know as influencer marketing. The most successful marketing strategies today include them.

Influencer marketing is not just for the famous anymore.

Social media platforms have provided a stage in which ordinary people can become popular personalities in their own right — Giving way to a new type of starship – the micro-influencer.

What are micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers are seemingly “regular” people, compared to their megastar (macro influencer) counterparts. These individuals become known for a specific area of expertise around a theme like motherhood, food, design, world travel, and many others. The majority of their views and posts involve this common theme of interest and that is how they’re discovered by their audience.

Macro influencers on the other hand post about everything from music to cosmetics, to food choices and so on. Their subject matter is not always of interest to their followers, so there is less attention on what they share. The hodgepodge of content that they post can leave their audience questioning the authenticity of a macro influencer’s endorsement. These kinds of posts can actually be less engaging than the sponsorship of a product from a more relatable and perhaps more down-to-earth influencer and subject matter expert.

Take the recent influencer flop with Scott Disick for Bootea Shake on Instagram. Scott posted the following caption, “Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below. Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”

The full caption was obviously not intended to go viral and it left his audience skeptical of his motives. With macro-influencers, it is easy to question whether a post is truly objective or just a business initiative?

Should you choose a macro or micro-influencer for your next campaign or product launch?

When it comes to influencers, bigger isn’t always better especially when authenticity is in question.

For instance, customers interested in Bootea Shake may not see Scott Disick as a health enthusiast or tea connoisseur. Audiences are aware of celebrity endorsements and skeptical of being deceived.

Micro-influencers exude a more genuine-esque quality versus the far less attainable celebrity. So, while they may have fewer followers than the starlet, their audiences are more concentrated and likely more qualified for your product or service. After all, their mastery of a hyperspecific topic is what launched them into popularity in the first place. Their followers are interested in what they have to share and more engaged.

Markerly conducted a survey of 2 million social media influencers and saw that those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a like rate of 4%, while those with fewer than 1,000 have a like rate of 8%. Similar studies have also shown that micro-influencers have two to five times more engagement than big-name macro-influencers.

If you’re looking to drive awareness of a product or service, it’s best to look who is popular and trending in your niche market. Think of it this way – wouldn’t you be more likely to trust a product review if it came from an advocate of that industry – someone who lives, eats, and breathes in that realm versus just a megastar? What if your budget isn’t an issue and you can afford a celebrity influencer?

Perhaps it’s time to rethink your influencer marketing strategy.

Based on what we know, rather than risk a partially interested audience on one extravagant placement that may go unnoticed in an already crowded social feed. You could employ multiple micro-influencers to generate a buzz within a respected and attentive following. This heightens your chances of getting your goods and services directly in front of the customers you’re looking to attract.