Macro Influencers | Everything Brands & Marketers Need To Know

Macro influencers

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Working with macro influencers is a huge decision. Uncover the pros and cons of partnering with bigger IG stars.

Let’s start with the obvious. Influencer marketing is exploding. It’s a huge industry with lots of layers:

We’ve got the nano influencers. They’re on the smaller side, but they’ve got high engagement.

Up next, micro influencers. They’re bigger than nanos and they manage to hit the engagement sweet spot.

Then there’s the macro influencer. They have hundreds of thousands of followers. And it’ll cost your brand a pretty penny to work with one.

So let’s talk about macro influencers and get into whether they’re the best choice for your brand. Here’s what this guide covers: 

Who are macro influencers?

Macro influencers are IG superstars who’ve earned between 350k and 1M followers. And, depending on who you ask, they have at least 3% engagement (more on this later).

They’re larger than life. They’re fabulous. And they’ve got highly curated content we can’t get enough of. Let’s flip through some examples:

You’ll notice these Instagram juggernauts have a few things in common:

  • Lots of followers
  • Lots of comments and likes
  • Lots of polish and glam
  • Lots of sponsored posts in their feeds

Plenty of celebs, musicians, and other public figures are macro influencers. Think of this group as the “it” group, the crème de la crème, the popular kids.

But who makes the cut isn’t limited to public figures and already-famous people …

The three types of macro influencers on Instagram

Believe it or not, Instagram fame isn’t exclusive to celebrities and athletes. Although well-known names qualify, there are different types of macro influencers. Let’s explore each one: 

Celebrity and public figure macro influencers

These are people who are famous outside of Instagram. Think movie stars, celebrity designers, and high-ranking politicians. Whether they have IG or not, there’s a good chance you know who they are.

Best brand-fit for marketers who need:

  • Household names
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Brand “mascots”

Self-made macro influencers

The solopreneurs of Instagram. This group knows how to build a personal brand and leverage the heck out of it. They’re ultra-famous on IG. But it usually stops there unless they’re clever, lucky, or a combo of both.

Best brand-fit for marketers who need:

  • Ultra-creative content
  • Campaign inspiration
  • An Instagram expert at the strategic roundtable

Niche accounts

Not all Instagram accounts belong to individuals. Some of the most followed profiles are for sports teams, news stations, and brands.

Best brand-fit for marketers who need:

  • Organizational partnerships
  • Event sponsorships
  • Sports team affiliation 

Important things brands should know before working with macro influencers

Alright, time for the tough stuff. If your brand wants to get into macro influencer marketing, there are some things you need to know. Check these out before jumping in with both feet: 

Credibility vs. celebrity

Not all macro influencer accounts are credible — even if they’re celebrities. Most of them are, but not every single one. Even though no one has a perfect past, do your research before you collaborate. It might save you a PR nightmare down the line. 

Find engagement rate sweet spots

In case you missed it, nano and micro influencers have the highest engagement rates.

As followers go up, engagement rates tend to go down. Of course, there are advantages to working with macro influencers. But engagement rate shouldn’t be the only one.

With that said, make sure the people you collab with at least fall within the baseline window above. Otherwise, you might be wasting your marketing budget on the wrong influencer. 

Be prepared to shell out cash

Macro influencers aren’t short on fame or followers. So it shouldn’t be shocking that a macro partnership comes with serious costs.

Macro influencers also tend to partner with influencer marketing agencies, assistants, or managers. In which case, you’re going to pay for those fees, too. 

Authority isn’t the same as fame

Don’t scratch someone’s name off your list because you don’t immediately recognize their name. Macro influencers aren’t always celebrities. Often, they’re people who know a lot about a certain niche. Maybe even your niche.

Here’s how to measure authority to find best-fit influencers:

  • Measure the number of real and active followers
  • Calculate engagement rate
  • Analyze the quality of their content
  • Determine the depth of niche coverage

If someone has a lot of followers, high engagement, and detailed content, you’re good to go.

The benefits: Why brands work with macro influencers

People like famous people, that’s the easy part. But what about the reasons why brands invest heavily in macro influencer partnerships? 

Macro influencers shape culture

No matter which way you cut it, macro influencers and celebrities are thought leaders. Think about Oprah for a second. When she says “this book is great,” she skyrockets retail sales and makes careers. The products influencers recommend matter because their opinions carry weight. 

Professionalism is the name of the game

Big-name celebs and macro influencers live in the spotlight. They’re used to working with brands. They’re practiced content creators. And they understand their audience, inside and out.

Macro partnerships come with a high degree of professionalism. This is because it’s often an influencer’s full-time job. 

They’ve got serious reach

If you play your cards right, your brand can land a partnership with a macro influencer who has it all. A wide reach and high engagement. 

This is the marketing white whale. The advertising unicorn.
A brand’s hole in one

Macro IG stars naturally have a wide reach because they have a ton of followers. And as we already know, their engagement rates on average are lower.

But with apps like Humanz AI, brands can filter through influencers to find the ones who have both. Lots of followers and high engagement. They’re few and far between, but Humanz makes your search a lot easier. 

Use Humanz AI to filter through influencers who are relevant to your brand. Then narrow search results by follower counts and engagement rates. This instantly identifies those hard-to-find perfect matches. 


The challenges of macro influencer partnerships

Not everything goes according to plan. And the higher you climb, the harder you can fall. Learn about the challenges you face as a macro influencer marketer. 


Let’s break this down with a quick case study on Millie Bobby Brown. 

Note: This isn’t meant to drag Millie or her skincare line.
In fact, Stranger Things and self-care is our perfect recipe for a Friday night.
The following is for example purposes only.

Back in 2019, Millie Bobby Brown launched a skincare line called Florence by Mills. Her line was all over Instagram and she even posted a demo video of herself using the products. But there was a problem.

IG followers didn’t think she used the products in the demo. To them, it looked more like a mock application than anything else. Fans weren’t pleased, Bobby Brown issued apologies, it wasn’t pretty. Why? Because Millie didn’t come across as a skincare authority. She came off as a celebrity endorsing a skincare line. And inauthenticity is a common (and serious) problem for macro influencer marketers. 

High risk potential

There’s a lot of reward in macro partnerships, and a lot of risks. Every macro influencer has upwards of 350100k followers. So if the collab isn’t flawless, literally hundreds of thousands of people notice. Not to mention, your macro mistake could end up all over the rest of the internet.

Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Product fails (e.g. something breaks during a livestream)
  • Posting the wrong caption copy
  • Insensitive brand messaging (think Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad)

Low engagement rates

Except for marketing miracles, there’s no way around macro influencer engagement rates. Nano and micro influencers have higher engagement. And they consistently outperform macro IG stars. 

Macro influencer campaigns are expensive

This is another obstacle for marketers. The bigger the influencer, the more they’re going to cost. Not to mention, macro influencers partner up with agencies who manage their sponsorships. So you’ll be paying more for that service, too. 

Bigger campaigns are harder to launch

Huge Instagram stars can make a ton of money if they’re clever. And part of being clever is picking and choosing which brands to work with. This can make campaign management more difficult for marketers. Here are some examples:

  • Macro campaigns take more time and energy to organize
  • Chances are you’ll need to hire a PR agency to consult
  • You’ll have to show bigger influencers why your brand helps their public image

In short, macro influencer campaigns have more going on behind-the-scenes. And because of this, campaign launches are harder to get off the ground.

How to choose macro influencers relevant to your brand

You understand the pros, you understand the cons. If you’re ready to partner with a macro influencer, here’s how to find the right influencer for your message. 

Check for value and image alignment

Macro partnerships are powerful because they associate big names with your brand. But this only works to your advantage if an influencer’s values and image line up with yours.

Let’s say your clothing brand values ethical labor practices. You’re better off partnering with a celeb who shares this value than one who doesn’t. Here’s why:

  • Macro IG stars seem more authentic when they’re passionate
  • Followers can smell inauthenticity from miles away (it’s a superpower)
  • Mismatched partnerships can result in PR scandals

Google the macro influencer you want to partner with before you go signing contracts. Visit their website, read their blog, and scroll through their post history. You’ll find out the causes they support and (more importantly) which ones they don’t. 

Analyze past endorsements

Research which brands your macro influencer has worked with in the past. This is a huge clue into what they’re passionate about, and who their target audience is.

Go ahead and peek at their sponsored posts, too. You’ll get an idea of how they present products, talk about brands, and curate content. 

Investigate audience connections

Engagement is every influencer campaign’s golden key to success. And brands have to understand how macro influencers engage with target audiences. Especially before hopping into contracts.

The way followers respond to organic content is code for how they’ll respond to your sponsored posts. So if there’s no connection before you’re in the picture, there won’t be any connection afterward, either.

Take a moment to critically examine your macro influencer’s audience. Ask yourself these questions to figure out if they’re a good match:

  • Do their posts generate comments?
  • Does this influencer reply to comments? If so, how often?
  • Do followers tag their IG friends? 

How to work with macro influencers (step-by-step)

Ready to take the plunge? Use the guidelines to launch your next macro influencer campaign. 

Step #1: Identify the campaign type

The type of campaign you run depends on what your end goal is. Make sure your influencer marketing team has a clear idea of what the campaign should do. Talk about this before reaching out to macro IG stars. Here are some campaign examples a macro influencer can help you pull off: 

Sponsored content

You pay a macro influencer to post on IG about your product or brand. Influencers can create their own content, or they can share content you create for them. But before the post goes live, make sure the content matches the influencer’s organic feed style. 

Contests and giveaways

Create a contest or giveaway that’s relevant to your brand and target audience. Macro influencers then endorse the contest. They can do this by tagging your brand or sharing the original post. 

Influencer takeovers

Put a macro influencer in charge of your social media accounts for some set period of time. Could be an hour, or it could be a whole day. 

Brand ambassador programs

Form a long-term partnership with a macro influencer. They regularly promote your brand on IG in exchange for discounts, perks, or cash.

Step #2: Enter negotiation

You’ve got the perfect influencer. You have a clear idea of what your campaign looks like. Now it’s time to seal the deal and get down to brass tacks.

Start by discussing fees or compensation. Remember, macro influencer campaigns cost more than nano and micro partnerships. So expect a higher-than-average price tag, but try your best to find the number that works for each party.

Next up, prepare a contract for everyone to sign. Get a lawyer to write it up. Or at the very least, have an attorney look it over beforehand. Each contract should include details about compensation, deliverables, and so on. 

Step #3: Track campaign results

Even if you land a contract with Cristiano Ronaldo, you gotta track performance. Campaign tracking enables your brand to:

  • Determine whether an influencer fits with your brand
  • Make sure your message clicks with consumers
  • Measure ROI

Invest in tools like Google Analytics, IG’s branded content, and trackable links. This helps measure data points including:

  • Traffic
  • Sales
  • Demographics

Use this information to make changes to your campaign along the way. Or, for shorter campaigns, use the final results to inform future projects.

Final thoughts

Macro influencers bring a lot to the marketing table. But there are some challenges to think about before investing in a macro partnership. How do you know if working with a macro influencer is the right move?

Here’s a breakdown of everything this guide covered to help you make the best decision for your brand:

  • Macro influencers have between 350k and 1M followers
  • They can be celebs, athletes, or niche experts
  • Macro campaigns are expensive and challenging to launch
  • Even though macro IG stars have lots of followers, that doesn’t mean they’re the best brand fit
  • How to work with macro influencers: Choose a campaign type, negotiate contracts, and track performance

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