Brands have universally embraced the role of influencers as marketing partners. Of the 400 brands analyzed in the Gartner L2 Intelligence report, Social Platforms and Influence 2019, 95% have an influencer strategy—up from 70% in 2017.
Knee-jerk logic says that influencers with large followings make the best partners given the potential for more impressions. Reality is more nuanced. While it’s true that the small share of posts authored by influencers with 250K followers or more capture the vast majority of interactions, small-scale influencers (25K or fewer followers) have the most engaged audiences—meaning, a larger percentage of their followers interact with their content. Brands seem to have gotten that message and have filled almost half their rosters on average with small-scale influencers.
Yet it goes without saying that each brand must develop an individual influencer strategy based on its values and audience. At the highest level, brands fall into three influencer marketing archetypes: Small but Mighty focus on small-scale influencers catering to a specific and engaged audience; Playing to the Middle mix large and small influencers and shift focus based on in-the-moment need; and Outsize Bets focus on influencers with huge followings to expand brand awareness and reach.
Pay attention as well to the range of platforms used by influencers. The dominance of the Big Three platforms—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—is beginning to show early signs of erosion, especially among Gen Z consumers embracing a wider variety of social media platforms. Diverse influencers may make better partners for brands looking to engage that audience.