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Sometimes I get clothes in the mail from people who put me on an influencer list. They are typically very cheap female clothes (people who send me clothes just see my audience and address and don’t check my gender) so they really don’t get much use from me. Recently however, it’s come up a few times with one of the athletic brands I talk about- should I try being an influencer. I regard myself as having too small of an audience to really count as an influencer (about 14k people). I even made a post about how it would take me 5 years to make a million followers, spending 25k a year. Sadly, a lot of my information on influencers is wildly out of date- I haven’t really worked with influencers very much in the last two years as I’ve been working more in the HES (Home Entertainment & Sound) market and less in the apparel market. We didn’t quite have the use of data so down back then either. When I often talk about influencers, you have 20k for a micro influencer and 1M for a real influencer. I’ve used that language in the past week- I was wrong. I get things wrong all the time when my data is outdated.

L2 created a breakdown of influencer types, and their level of engagement with their audiences.

  • Advocate, 0-5k Followers, 8.0% Engagement
  • Micro, 5k-25k Followers, 4.0% Engagement
  • Small, 25k-100k Followers, 2.4% Engagement
  • Medium, 100k-250k Followers, 1.8% Engagement
  • Large, 250k-1M Followers, 1.8% Engagement
  • Mega, 1M-7M Followers, 1.6% Engagement
  • Celebrity, 7M+ Followers, 1.6% Engagement

Would you look at that; it looks like I am an influencer after all- just a micro influencer! The engagement rate is even about right- even though I hate having an engagement rate of 4%, analytics lets me know only 10% of my audience even sees my posts.

How do we use influencers, really? It used to be I’d choose one in the right target demographic, give them a very petty amount of money and a free product, and they would post about 3 times a week. As long as there was a correlation of them bringing in sales that was greater than the average sale rate from Facebook, we’d keep working with them. It really just seemed like a magical money pit, and I didn’t know why it worked but we would dump money in, and people would come buying the product.

84% of activewear brands that I have benchmarked use influencers*. Also, about 16% percent of the activewear brands promote their own influencers- with people like Gym Shark jumping well over expectations and some days having upwards of 4 influencer shout outs on their Instagram stories as well as having “Family Fridays” where they share their influencers posts and social on Fridays as a way to cross promote.

At first glance, it would appear better to have 10 micro influencers than 1 medium influencer if you are looking to have sales occur, especially if they have overlapping audiences assuming you could get the costs to break even.  There must be a reason people keep going to the mega and Celebrity influencers however, I just don’t have the data on why yet.

*(Puma and Fila are not part of this list)

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