Anne Dolinschek, founder and chief strategist at Nfluential, says that the local influencer market is unique and there’s a need to define what is viewed as the different categories of influencers in South Africa. Nano, micro, mid-tier, macro and mega influencers mean something else in South Africa than they do in the more established markets when we look at follower counts.
All influencers have their place, and this is dictated by the objectives and target markets of influencer campaigns. Brands need to know what they want to achieve and put a plan in place that can be measured at the end of it. Every category of influencer has their own strengths when it comes to marketing products and services.
Every person is a nano influencer because everyone belongs to their own tribes. These are the various social circles we operate in on a daily basis – i.e. work, family, different friendship groups, clubs we belong to and so forth. It is natural to share our product and service experiences with our tribes. When you loved a product you will always recommend it to your friends and family, and likewise, if you didn’t like it.
This makes you a nano influencer because you’re influencing someone else’s purchasing decision or opinion on a particular product or service. Nano influencers are more about real life conversations with their tribes and don’t necessarily have a lot of social media followers. They typically have up to a combined following of up to or less than 1000 followers across platforms and personally know their followers. Nano influencer are seen as genuine and authentic – someone who won’t recommend anything they don’t personally use or like.
Micro influencers are experts on certain topics and have built a decent following on social media. For example, fitness, food and beauty bloggers/vloggers and influencers who have highly engaged audiences. Micro influencers have a combined following of up to 10,000 across platforms. As with nano influencers, they are very influential because they engage their followers and are seen as authentic within their area of expertise.
Mid-tier influencers are famous within their niches and include up-and-coming celebrities. They have a huge following on social media but are still regarded as accessible by their audiences. Mid-tier influencers have a combined following of up to 50,000 across platforms. Their audiences aren’t as engaged as with nano and micro, but they have a big reach and thus create awareness to larger audiences.
Macro influencers are celebrities and social media celebrities who aren’t only famous within their niches, but also to the general public. In South Africa, macro influencers are those with a combined following across platforms of up to 300,000. They partner with brands and aren’t always seen as 100% authentic when it comes to sponsored posts, but they create awareness to mass audiences.
Mega influencers have big star power and commonly aren’t only known locally but also have an international presence. Think Black Coffee or Bonang Matheba. Mega influencers have over 300,000 followers across platforms. The general public view them as another advertising platform when they partner with brands and thus, they aren’t good for influencing purchasing decisions, but they create mass awareness to mass audiences.