The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working With Super Influencers vs. Mainstream Influencers

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So you want to work with influencers? Who is better to work with? Is a super influencer, anyone from a celebrity to a web celeb, with the reach of one million or are more mainstream influencers each with the reach of 100,000 followers better to work with? Good question, right? It comes down to your goal ultimately, but let’s break it down.

Working With Super Influencers

  • >> Carefully look at the super influencers and your brand association: is she or he the right fit from a brand association perspective? They are a brand in their own right, so you may have two competing brands. You will need to do a deep dive into their content to make sure it aligns with your brand and the message you want to portray. Celebs/web celebs often take risks and are more controversial. An electronics brand recently used a web celeb whose content was filled with questionable language. Do you want your brand associated with that even if it is someone Millennials relate to?
  • >> Hiring a super influencer is easy to execute: hiring a super influencer is easy to execute in some ways. You find one and you’re done, more or less. However, a super influencer will often require lawyers and contracts to execute. They will also have more sticking points on what they will do or not do. You will have to work through a manager or agent. These negotiations tend to take time, so if you are in a hurry to launch a campaign, you will have to start early.
  • >> Super influencers give you instant reach: if you are looking for instant reach and impressions, then a super influencer will give you this. But if you are looking for meaningful social engagements with your brand, and not engagements that are just associated with interacting with a super influencer, you might want to look to more mainstream influencers.
  • >> They tend to be channel specific: super influencers tend to be channel specific. You are buying a YouTuber or an Instagrammer or paying for a super influencer on Vine. If that is the only social channel you are looking to impact, then that can be a fine strategy.
  • >> You don’t own the content: with a super influencer the more you ask, the more you pay for and typically the deliverables are limited. You will also have to negotiate to own the content for distribution across your owned channels and the web.
  • >> Super influencers can be very expensive: Now that influencer marketing is hot and celebs and influencers are more in demand than ever, they can be very expensive to hire, with rates spiking up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Working With Mainstream Influencers

  • >> Mainstream influencers give you better control of the audience: choosing a mainstream influencer allows you to do better targeting of their audience from both a lifestyle and a geo-targeted basis, for example.
  • >> Mainstream influencers will generate a diverse amount of content: unlike super influencers who will primarily work in one channel and create a limited amount of content, a mainstream influencer is working not just for your brand, but for their personal brand. This means they will be out promoting and syndicating the content they create for you because it benefits their site traffic and follower counts. They will want to make sure the content gets seen and will promote the content across multiple channels.
  • >> The more mainstream influencers, the more complexity: obviously using a multitude of mainstream influencers creates more complexity with the added scale. Managing 50 to 100 influencers is next to impossible without enlisting an influencer marketing company’s help. But because a mainstream influencer generally has closer ties to their audience, we often find there is more engagement with the content.
  • >> The mainstream influencer route gives you the ability to optimize top performers: With mainstream influencers you employ over and over again, you get the ability to track historical performance and optimize your influencer campaigns.
  • >> You have broader rights to the content: most mainstream influencers will allow you to own the content for use on your brand’s owned channels. So that recipe or new usage occasion video they created can be featured on Facebook or your website and they will delight in the potential traffic it can send to their site. But remember to always credit the influencer, provide their URL and link to their site. It’s a win-win for both of you.
  • >> The advantage of more creativity: mainstream influencers love to be creative, and often have more time to put towards your campaign than super influencers. It’s important you give mainstream influencers creative freedom.
  • >> You can develop intimate audience relationships: mainstream influencers love to have intimate relationships with brands. They crave the opportunity to work ongoing with a brand and to get exclusive content or background on your brand. A little love thrown their way and you’ll often see engagement from them without a request for compensation. A celeb will rarely, if ever, give your brand a free endorsement. However, the relationship has to be built off of opportunities that are relevant to the influencer’s audience.

Choosing which route to take…the super influencer or the mainstream influencer selection takes careful consideration. If your goal is reach then perhaps the super influencer is the right decision. But if you’re looking for engagement and better targeting, then mainstream influencers are the better choice. It all comes down to your goals. Either way, influencer marketing is an important part of the marketing mix for reaching today’s connected audiences.

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