The Difference Between an Influencer and a Micro-Influencer (And Which is Best For Your Brand)

An Instagram influencer is defined as someone who has established an engaged audience on Instagram and can use their credibility, trustworthiness, and authenticity to persuade that audience to convert.  

In short, an influencer is anyone who has influence over a group of people. 

It’s a common misconception that in order to successfully partner with an influencer, the influencer account must have an extremely high number of followers, or be a high-profile celebrity. 

This is simply not true. 

Learn how to tell the difference between an influencer and a micro-influencer! Plus ways to figure out which type of influencer is right for your brand.

It’s not a bad idea for a business to show up in the feed of a well-known Instagram celeb-- in front of hundreds of thousands of potential customers. But 9 times out of 10, we can easily spot a paid or sponsored post from an A-lister, and it doesn’t feel quite so authentic when we KNOW that they’re only there for the paycheck. 

Additionally, just like the rest of us, these social celebrities have an Instagram algorithm to compete with. The presence of the algorithm means that your product or service will not necessarily be seen by all of the followers of that particular influencer.  

Since the Instagram feed is now non-chronological, and the platform chooses to show content to followers based on what it deems important-- there is no guarantee that your product or business will make it to the eyes of all 100k+ followers that your potential influencer claims to have. 

In fact, depending on the influencer’s audience engagement, you may only be seen by a small fraction of those 100k+ followers.  

And what’s important to note is, in most cases, the average engagement of an Instagram influencer actually declines as the account grows in followers.  



Below is a graph showing an average of 5,000 Instagram influencers based on their REACH (how many people are actually seeing their content) and overall ENGAGEMENT (how many comments and likes, or “actions”, are being taken on that content). Image from


It’s pretty obvious here that a general rule applies: typically the more followers an influencer has, the lower their overall engagement becomes. 

Now this doesn’t mean that working with an influencer with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers is a bad business move.  It simply means that you shouldn’t choose your partners on Instagram based on vanity metrics alone, (ex: follower number). 


The introduction of the algorithm and the steady decline of engagement rates for larger accounts have birthed a new potential partner for small businesses-- the Micro-Influencer. 

What’s A Micro-Influencer? 

Someone who has established an engaged audience on Instagram and can use their credibility, trustworthiness and authenticity to persuade that audience to make a decision to convert. 

Notice how the definition of a micro-influencer is exactly the same as for an Influencer?

That’s because there is no difference, other than the total number of followers that this particular account may have. 



For many small businesses, the perks of working with micro vs. top influencers comes down to one thing-- cost. 

You most likely won’t find a top influencer with a large following (for reference, we will say a large following is 100k or more) who will collaborate on any post or shout out for the exchange of product only. 

Usually these partners will send over a media kit which will outline their rates for posts and shout outs. More on this later*

However, a small business might be able to partner with 10 micro-influencers, all who have 10k followers, in exchange for free product / service only. 

So, instead of paying one top influencer (hundreds or even thousands of dollars) to be able to reach a possible fraction of their 100k followers, you can potentially reach the same number with multiple partners for the cost of goods alone-- which is usually less expensive depending on your product/service. 



Whether you decide to work with only top or micro-influencers, or a combination of the two,  there are certainly many benefits to using strategic partnerships to build your business on the platform. 

Broaden Your Reach to a Targeted Audience + Drive More Traffic 

Influencers have spent time growing an engaged audience. They know who their followers are and what they like. By partnering with them strategically, you’ll get to introduce your business to these new faces, in a way that doesn’t feel forced or slimy.  

Curate Creative Content from Partners for Reposting 

We all know how time consuming creating content can be. By working with creative influencers, you’re not only gaining more exposure for your business, but you’re essentially hiring a content creator. Once they’ve posted, you can scoop up their content to use on your own feed as well. 

Real Customer Stories for a More Authentic Experience

By choosing the right partners, you’re able to get real social testimonials about your business in an authentic way.  Because an influencer has built a loyal following, their audience trusts their recommendations and opinions, so they’re more likely to check you out based on their word, alone. 



Obviously, the type of influencers you’ll partner with will depend greatly on your budget, your business, and the specific results that you’re after.  

So maybe you’re into the idea of partnering with influencers but you’ve still got questions like: 

How do you get started working with influencers?
And how do you find the right partners?
How much should you pay for a post?
And then how do you actually measure if an influencer marketing campaign was successful?

It’s a lot to unpack when you’re just getting started, so I’ve created a brand new training called Insta-Inspired: Influencer Academy to help you answer all of those questions and more. 


With this resource you’ll learn how to develop your own unique influencer program, determine who to partner with, and discover exactly how to reach out to begin collaborating. 

You’ll also learn how to track and measure the success of your influencer campaigns. 


Ready to increase your brand awareness and make more sales with strategic partnership?! Learn more + sign up for Insta-Inspired Influencer Academy now!