No, you’re not a micro influencer when you have 95,000 followers, as some other sources claim.
Having more people following you than you can humanly get to know along the span of your lifetime does not put you into the “micro” category.
We were just as confused as you were in regards to how many followers do you need in order to be a micro influencer or a nano influencer. So let us simply put it as directly as we possibly can and answer the question: “How many followers do you need to be an influencer?”
And of course, if you prefer visual explanations, the cover image of this article is summing up in a better way this cheat-sheet answer.
Now, naturally, all these categories have specifics details that we need to expand on, so we’re going to address every category, along with signs of how to know whether you are truly in that category or not.
Besides, we’re going to look at every category through one very specific lens:
How much of an expert is an influencer on a specific topic?
As our “How To Become A Micro Influencer - 8 Lifelong Rules To Follow” guide mentions, an influencer is essentially guiding people into a certain direction when it comes to a certain topic.
Influence boils down to this: showing (useful) expertise in one or more topics. Therefore, what better way is there to look at these categories if not through the lens of expertise on a topic?
We will describe every single category, along with actionable advice on:
So go ahead, have a look at the table of contents below — find your category based on the number of followers you’ve got and learn how to do all the things noted above!
Nano influencers have between 2,500 and 5,000 followers and are usually in the process of finding a niche, as they try on different topics. Nano influencers are people who have started the process of exploring several areas, so as to see:
Nano influencers are a specific case, as at this size, some people are simply getting to 2,500-5,000 followers through their network of friends. Friends of friends just follow them. In other words, something about what they do seems interesting so that people follow them.
It could be the way they dress, the way they tell stories or simply the fact that they know people (who know people… who… know people).
This category could be accidental — some people don’t want to make a career out of it, but they simply become nano influencers.
Most of the time, nano influencers will receive freebies. Yes, a nano influencer’s audience is not specifically big, but brands do see the value behind an audience of 2,500 to 5,000.
One thing to look out for as a nano influencer is your engagement rate: at this stage, you will need at least an 8% engagement rates (meaning, for instance, 200 likes per post, if you have 2,500 followers).
Don’t be discouraged though — your rates can be lower, but remember: brands need to “drive value” from a partnership with you. And “drive value” is just a fancy wording that brands (more specifically, marketing people) use in order to say: we need to make money from this partnership.
If brands spend $100 with you, they need to make more than $100 out of it.
We will see in a second what kind of brands would want to work with nano influencers, but the idea is that you will want to stand out as a valuable nano-influencer — one that is choosing to build a very engaged audience.
As we’ll soon see, not every brand needs influencers with +100k followers — but high engagement is what they’re looking for when choosing someone who’s got between 2,500 and 5,000 followers.
Nano influencers are needed by brands that are local, brands which can not expand beyond a very large physical area — to put it in other words, a London-based bakery will work with nano influencers from the very neighbourhood in which they’re located.
Nano influencers which have between 2,500 and 5,000 followers are needed by business like:
Think about it this way: if your local Pizza shop would work with Kylie Jenner, would they benefit from it?
Sure, their Instagram profile would get a lot of clicks — if they’re located centrally in a big metropolitan city (most pizza shops aren’t), people might fly from all over the world to visit that place.
However, is the business getting the most out of their partnership? Most probably, taking into account the amount of money that they had to spend, the answer is no.
If the brand would work with more nano influencers, they’ll receive fewer inefficient views (for instance, people that are in Singapore, Berlin or New York, i.e. people who are not close to this pizza shop). It actually gets better: the number of views that they receive is going to be smaller, but more targeted, since (presumably) the nano influencers they are going to work with will have a high engagement rate.
500 likes on a post from a local London-based nano influencer with 3,500 followers are way more important than 2000 likes from an international influencer with 20,000 followers.
Why? Local brands need… locals! The amount of people they need to be in business doesn’t expand beyond:
To sum it up, the short answer is this: nano influencers are needed by brands that need local power, and which can not expand beyond a geographical area. Most of the time, these are service-based businesses like cosmetic salons, where most people need a local brand to fix their problem (hair dressing, in this example)
Truth be told, most nano influencers who have between 2,500 and 5,000 followers won’t be able to receive huge amounts of money in exchange for posts or stories. This probably won’t come as a surprise, but it makes sense since your topics of expertise are not properly defined.
However, that shouldn’t discourage you. Check out our guide on how to become a micro influencer — we’ve written 8 lifelong rules anyone should follow if they want to know how to grow their audience!
We even explain how to find these topics of expertise and how to expand upon them.
Nano influencers might, however, be able to get paid in cash when collaborating the brands if we’re talking about a long-term partnership or a campaign.
Since a campaign would involve more than just a post or a story, the plans are bigger here.
Once again, having a highly-engaged audience will help wonders here, and the more of a niched influencer you are (in other words, being an influencer in an area where there are fewer other influencers), the better it will be for you.
Micro influencers have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers and are usually in the process of starting to build expertise in a certain field. Full expertise is usually achieved yet, but word has started to go around about what this influencer is doing.
This is about the last category where people are accidentally becoming influencers — most of the time, people who have more than 10,000 followers already have a feeling for what exactly it is that they’re doing which gathers followers.
Yes, there are cases where people have accidentally gathered 10,000 followers, but either:
A) They are going to stop growing at the same rate
B) They do discover what it is that makes people “gather” around them
If you’ve started your influencing career and have gotten at this stage, keep on going: it means something you’re doing works.
The reason why we mentioned earlier that micro influencers who have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers are starting to build expertise is that this focus hasn’t been solidified (yet).
At this stage, it’s very likely that you’re still trying stuff — and the most important bit is that you need to find a way to see what works (so you can keep on doing that) and what doesn’t (so, naturally, you can stop doing that — and move on to trying other new things).
This is also the moment when most influencers will have their first interactions with brands willing to partner with them.
Most of the time, micro influencers will receive freebies, but this is also the category of influencers where money will start coming up more often.
Naturally, we’re not talking here about $10,000 per post but hey — the cash or items you’ll receive now will solidify your future partnerships:
At this stage, we do recommend working with as many brands as possible (as long as they fit the personal brand you’re building)
As you grow, brands will be more eager to pay more for partnerships with you if you show that you’ve got more experience in the field. How do you show that experience? Displaying brands you’ve worked with in the past — and actually having that body of expertise.
Even if it’s a free partnership, we do suggest you go for it. Having more brands you’ve worked with “under your belt” might make the difference between you and another influencer — or between $500 and $800 per post.
As we’ve mentioned in the nano influencer area of this guide, one thing to look out for is your engagement rate: the better your engagement rate, the more of a unique influencer you are.
In fact, more brands than you might imagine will choose you, with somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 followers, over someone with 30,000 followers — given the right niche and engagement rate.
Another idea from the previous section of this guide which applies here as well is the following.
Brands need to “drive value” from a partnership with you. And “drive value” is just a fancy wording that brands (more specifically, marketing people) use in order to say: we need to make money from this partnership.
If brands spend $100 with you, they need to make more than $100 out of it.
But enough talking about abstract stuff — let’s have a look at what kind of brands will want to work with micro influencers.
Micro influencers will work with brands that sell to local people — brands that can not sell internationally (as opposed to online shops, who most of the time sell to the whole country or the whole planet).
There are exceptions, of course, but most of your efforts should be put into reaching out to brands that need local people.
For the sake of giving examples, it’s very likely that a brand like Asos that’s both big and an internet brand (meaning they sell to… pretty much everyone in the country and/or the world) will look out for influencers with bigger audiences.
That shouldn’t discourage you: there are plenty of brands that need influencers with audiences that are very focused on London — or New York, or Amsterdam or… wherever the people that the brand wants to reach are.
Micro influencers which have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers are needed by business like:
Think about it this way: if your local massage centre would work with Selena Gomez, would they benefit from it?
Sure, the massage centre’s Instagram profile would get a lot of clicks — if they’re located centrally in a big metropolitan city, people might fly from all over the world to visit their location.
But even then, it’s inefficient. How many people will actually do that? Compare this to an online shop where everyone from all over the world can place an order. The online shop would have more extra orders from the partnership than the massage centre would get from the same collaboration.
Is a local company getting the most out of their partnership with a celebrity? Most probably, taking into account the amount of money that they had to spend, the answer is no.
If the brand would work with more micro influencers, they’ll receive fewer inefficient views (for instance, people that are in Amsterdam, Paris or San Francisco, i.e. people who are not close to this massage centre).
It actually gets better: the number of profile clicks that they receive is going to be smaller, but highly targeted, since (presumably) the macro influencers they are going to work with will have local influence — as opposed to the worldwide influence of a celebrity.
This becomes your advantage as a micro influencer. The more you grow, the more you lose this advantage.
2,000 likes on a post from a local London-based nano influencer with 9,500 followers are way more important than 8,000 likes from an international influencer with 50,000 followers.
Why? Local brands need… locals! The amount of people they need to be in business doesn’t expand beyond:
Conclusion: micro influencers are needed by local brands. The companies who can’t sell beyond a geographical area are the ones which are most likely to collaborate with influencer who have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers, since they need local influence.
Most local brands are companies that sell services — look out for them, reach out to them and get cracking!
The short answer is yes, a micro influencer can receive money in exchange for posts or stories — depending on their engagement rate. The longer answer is: it depends.
Can you? Yes.
Will you? It depends on you.
Should you? Maybe not as often as you’d think — read again our take on this subject by scrolling above (in the “How can you monetise your audience as a micro influencer” area).
To put it shortly, working for free with more brands will be better in the long run, since you’re becoming a more trustworthy influencer for brands.
Generally speaking, indeed, it’s very likely that you’re able to charge money for posts when you’ve got between 5,000 and 10,000 followers.
The older this guide gets, the more that will become true, as in 2020, the state of the influencer industry is the following: people don’t realise how much value there is in working with influencers.
Yes, articles are written left and right about how it’s the “new thing” — but in time, you, as an influencer, will have it better and better, as companies realise the benefit of working with you.
Check out our guide on how to become a micro influencer — we’ve written 8 lifelong rules anyone should follow if they want to know how to grow their audience!
We even explain how to find topics of expertise and how to expand upon them.
As the name says it, milli influencers have thousands of influencers. Get it? Milli? Like millimetres?
Milli influencers are influencers who have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. This is a special category that is different from those who have between 50,000 and 200,000 followers, as different things happen in this class.
And hey! Fun fact! Milli influencers have it the best way! When you’ve got between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, your headaches are down to a minimum:
At this stage, you’re definitely solidifying your expertise on one specific topic. Towards the late stages of this category (meaning: when you’re approaching 50,000 followers), this area of expertise of yours is solidly formed and you’re ready to experiment with more.
Your areas of expertise might be unique and at this point they’re tightly integrated into your “persona” (meaning: how other people see you).
You might be already mentioned in circles as the go-to person for that specific area of expertise of yours:
Milli influencers collaborate with a mixed bag of brands. Naturally, every other type of brand we’ve mentioned before (for nano and micro influencers) still apply here, but in this category, more “national” brands emerge.
What is a national brand? We’ve explained in the earlier parts of this article what local brands are — business who want to attract people who live quite close to the area in which they activate.
National brands are those who have influence across the country, but not necessarily worldwide influence. Think of a brand that is not yet in other countries, but which is big enough to be known amongst the nationals. That is your sweet spot as a milli influencer!
In need of a list of example of what kind of brands work with influencers that have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers? Here are some suggestions:
Finally, the golden word: influencer.
The word that has garnered so much attention as it’s an umbrella term for the whole class of influencers.
As we’re aiming at building the world’s standard for the Influencer industry, within the Social Podium Academy we’ve chosen to call influencers those who have between 50,000 and 200,000 followers.
Why? Based on our experience, we’ve felt like the biggest chunk of influencers lies in this segment, where the audience size consists of 50,000 to 200,000 followers.
Yes, there are outliers who have +1m (celebrities, as explained below), but within the sphere of influencers, the most influencers lie within this audience size.
Where is an influencer situated when it comes to expertise?
An influencer is already a master of one topic of expertise, as more than 50,000 people paying attention to what this person is displaying is most of the time a point of confirmation for authority in a field.
But it doesn’t stop there. Most influencers have solid expertise in one topic, but are already developing other topics of expertise. Perhaps just as the nano/micro influencer is looking for areas they can impact, influencers are in a sense back at that stage.
Most of the time, influencers will expand into fields which are close to their area of expertise:
The piece of advice remains the same, just like in our written guide to becoming a micro influencer: the new topic of expertise is what will lead your growth of followers. One major advantage that an influencer has over a micro influencer is its already-established audience, which will be there to give you feedback for your decisions.
With that being said, let’s have a look into what kind of brands an influencer will work with, as opposed to marco influencers or celebrities.
We need to stress one thing before diving into it: these examples we’re giving are your sweet spot of brands you want to collaborate: sure, you will be able to work with brands that are bigger than the ones we’ll list — but these ones below are the most likely to be worth pursuing yourself!
Other than that, of course — if something big lands on your plate, go for it! But maybe it’s not worth spending time chasing something bigger if you’ve got these options in front of you.
Macro influencers are those who’ve grown audiences between 200,000 and 500,000 followers. At this stage, macro influencers are more than likely to have developed mastery in two very well-defined topics.
As a consequence, it’s likely that these two topics have “mixed” or “crossed” within the audience: if an influencer was mixing the topics of travel and luxury, each side of the audience (the travel-interested audience and the luxury-interested audience) got to know about the other topic of expertise.
A mega influencer is an influencer who has managed to amass between 500,000 and 1,000,000 followers.
At this stage, mega influencers have clear authority in their main area of expertise, while at least two other topics are mastered. However, it doesn’t stop there. Multiple other topics are:
It goes without saying that mega influencers engage in a mix of topics for their audience, as that explains the big number of fans they’ve garnered.
Within the Social Podium Academy, we regard celebrities as influencers who’ve garnered +1m followers.
There can be great debates about the types of celebrities that exist beyond 1 million followers, but given that the Social Podium Academy was built to help influencers of smaller sizes succeed.
The truth is, at this size, the Academy is not for you anymore! But if you read this and are a celebrity, make sure you join the Social Podium, as we’ll be building something for you at a certain point for sure! Or say hi! Reach out to us, as we’re more than happy to have a conversation.