Today’s influencer marketing landscape is anything but simple. When tasked with building out an influencer strategy, do you try to pay a celebrity to post about your brand, explore ways to partner with bloggers who write about your industry, or develop a system for encouraging hundreds of your most influential customers to spread the word about your company?

The short answer is, all of the above, and more.

Marketers often have a very narrow definition of “influencer.” They see influencers as synonymous with celebrities, or bloggers, or happy customers who have sway over their smaller networks. While all of these definitions are accurate, this limited understanding can lead to incomplete influencer marketing approaches.

Before developing an influencer strategy, marketers must first understand the six types of groups that together make up what I like to call an integrated influencer marketing mix.


Celebrity athletes, actors or artists are all considered mega-influencers. What defines this group—and each of the groups below—is not reach or engagement, but rather the influencer’s motivations and behaviors. Mega-influencers earn their primary income through the work that has made them celebrities, but given their influence over millions of fans, they often explore paid influencer relationships with brands.

Generally, mega-influencers are expensive. While celebrities like Kim Kardashian can charge $250k per post, even lesser known mega-influencers can charge tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you want to light up a product launch or brand awareness push, a one-off campaign with a mega-influencer could get you the impressions you’re looking for—as long as you have the cash to make it happen.


Bloggers or creators who have large spheres of influence, and whose primary means of income is through influencer posts, fall into the macro-influencer category. While not as expensive as mega-influencers, macro-influencers still require significant compensation. For instance, Digiday reported that an Instagram post with a macro-influencer can cost $1000 per 100,000 followers.

If you have the same goals of gaining significant visibility for a product launch or brand awareness campaign, but you’re missing the million dollar budget, a macro-influencer might be the best fit for your brand.


This group consists of everyday consumers who have relevant influence amongst their friends and family, but do not make a living through paid social posts. Some micro-influencers are not aware of how influential they are, while others are keenly aware of their influence and aspire to become a macro-influencer.

Unlike mega- and macro- influencers, which generally require significant sums of money in order to post, micro-influencers can be are incentivized by brand VIP treatment. Consider offering them entry into exclusive rewards communities, or brand swag to encourage them to post.

If you want to move past impressions and to drive conversions on any number of business objectives—product purchases, survey completions, or customer acquisition, to name a few— then micro-influencers are right for you. Research shows that this group can be the most effective in terms of driving these types of activities.


The primary difference between advocates and micro-influencers is their sway over friends and family. Both are passionate about the brand and active in making recommendations. But micro-influencers have consistent success driving conversions from their activity, whereas advocates have little influence amongst their friends and family.

Still, advocates are an important group to nurture. Over time, the amount of influence that advocates have over their networks can increase. Also, if advocates create great content on social, you might have opportunities to reuse that content, or promote it via paid amplification.

If you’re putting in place a micro-influencer strategy, consider using many of the same incentives to activate advocates that you are for micro-influencers.


Referrers are similar to advocates, with the critical difference that they are less enthusiastic about making recommendations. For instance, a referrer might not proactively talk about a brand’s product or service, but if a close friend or family remember asks them for a recommendation, they will refer them to the brand.

When developing an influencer marketing strategy, consider putting in place programs to turn these referrers into advocates.

For instance, you could set up a social monitoring program that looks for when people ask for product recommendations, and someone responds with your brand. You could then reach out to that person to see if she wants to become part of their advocate network, or other programs that could help them build more brand affinity, and turn them into an advocate or micro-influencer.


Loyalists are the people who love your brand, but are not willing to share. While it might be tempting to simply dismiss this group, loyalists can still offer incredible value through items like survey engagement and product feedback.

If you consistently reach out to loyalists for their feedback on products or services, and consider offering them some of the same perks that you offer micro-influencers, you could find that these people move up the influencer chain and become a referrer or advocate.

Each of these six groups can help take your influencer marketing to the next level. If you are just beginning to put together an influencer marketing strategy, our hope is that you take each of these groups into serious consideration. If you are currently running an influencer marketing program but haven’t evaluated one of these groups, there’s no time like the present to do so.

Read more: Combating Fake Followers in Influencer Marketing