How to Win Friends (and Sales)? Influence People.
February 25, 2020
Back in 1936, when American writer, lecturer, and self-help pioneer Dale Carnegie published How to Win Friends and Influence People, he probably didn’t know just how impactful his book would be—or how relevant his message would remain. Today, in 2020, influencing is as key to marketing as ever, so much so that the act itself has become its own career.
In this day and age, influencers have a global reach—typically garnered through social media. For those who have amassed a large following, their work really pays off. For example, the highest paid influencer of 2019 was Kylie Jenner, who earned about $1.2 million per Instagram post. That may seem outrageous, but considering those posts have the potential to reach more than 163 million followers, there’s no doubt that brands can benefit significantly when they choose to use her as a megaphone. And with experts estimating that influencer marketing spend will hit $5–10 billion this year, this business model certainly isn’t slowing down.
With that in mind, regardless of how you feel about the current culture surrounding internet popularity and the like, it’s important to know what’s up when it comes to influencer marketing—and its potential.
Like many aspects of business and life, there are multiple tiers of influencers. Rank is determined based on a number of factors, including the size of their following and how engaged their fans are. Let’s begin with a quick breakdown of each tier, starting with those at the top of the heap. (Note: this applies primarily to Instagram, where photo-centric, shoppable posts create an environment ripe for making sales.)
Mega-influencers: With 1,000,000 or more followers to their name, these players are bona fide celebrities, whether they found fame in film, television, music, or on the social media platform itself. Mega-influencers are typically the choice for big brands with dough to spare. Those brands know a single post can drive trends and help make—or keep—their product a household name. But working with mega-influencers isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, even for those willing to spend the big bucks to reach their fan base. Why? Those sponsored posts can easily appear inauthentic to the many people in the mix who are well aware of brands’ willingness to spend.
Macro-influencers: At 500,000–1000,000 followers, macro-influencers’ social media reach is nothing to sniff at. And one study indicates this may be the best group to court in terms of getting the most bang for your buck. The study found that influencers in this group—with a hearty average of 850,000 followers each—had the lowest organic CPM, reaching more people than those with both larger and smaller audiences.
Mid-tier influencers: What does 50,000 to 500,000 followers get you? Actually, quite a lot. This is usually enough of a following to merit full-time work as an Instagram influencer. For brands that don’t have the kind of deep pockets of say, Coca-Cola, mid-tier influencers can be a great option, with posts costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, rather than six or seven figures.
Micro-influencers: They’ve got 10,000–50,000 followers—and lots of potential. Micro-influencers bring in a smaller sect, often with more specific interests. That can dictate significant opportunity for brands that have an equally specific message to share. And with a per-post price tag that could be as low at $50, working with a micro-influencer may be a good way to get into the influencer marketing game.
Nano-influencers: With 1,000 to 10,000 followers, nano-influencers may be using the platform as a side hustle more than anything else, but they can still make a real impact. For this crew, lacking celebrity actually works in their favor. When they endorse a product or service, people believe it’s truly worth a try, rather than assuming it’s the money doing the talking. And since their communities are small, they tend to know exactly whom they’re engaging with, further upping the chance that followers will take their word for it and try something new.
With this primer in the power of influencer marketing, you can determine if and how this new social strategy might apply to you. Think about whether it could be worth it to seek out a new influencer partner to help spread the word, or whether you might be the influencer brands need to make their mark.
1 “How Much Does Kylie Jenner Earn on Instagram?” BBC Newsround, July 26, 2019, https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/49124484
2 Kurt Wagner and Rani Molla, “Here’s How Much Social Media Stars Get Paid to Post Ads: Surprise! The Biggest Celebrities Aren’t Always the Highest Paid,” Recode, September 14, 2017, https://www.vox.com/2017/9/14/16290536/social-media-how-much-celebrities-make-ads-advertising-instagram-influencer
3 “Influencer Tiers for the Influencer Marketing Industry,” Mediakix, https://mediakix.com/influencer-marketing-resources/influencer-tiers/