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TikTok Micro-Influencers vs. Celebrity Influencers

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Micro-influencers on TikTok can help take your brand from background noise to front-page news with the right influencer marketing campaign vs other social media channels. However, before you can get started, you need to make sure you choose the right influencer. If you fail to partner with the right personality, it can greatly diminish the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign, even if it is otherwise well-executed.

In recent years, marketers have developed categories for understanding influencers, which also apply to the TikTok influencer marketing industry. At the heart of these categories are two main questions: should you choose micro-influencers with fewer followers but a more engaged social media audience, or is it better to work with a celebrity influencer who can reach millions of people with the push of a button? Ultimately, different types of influencers can help you achieve various goals, so it is important to choose the right one. There are over 1,360 influencer agencies representing millions of social media influencers to choose from, and according to Statista, there are 393,000 TikTok influencers in the U.S. alone, with 3.1 million worldwide. Finding the right person to lead your TikTok influencer marketing campaign requires important foundational strategy work, including aligning your goals, budget, and audience. However, there are a few new things to consider when it comes to TikTok that you should keep in mind.

Why Invest in TikTok Influencer Marketing?

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media network and has significantly outpaced Facebook and Instagram in its early growth. While it was originally popular mostly with teens in 2018-2019, the pandemic helped it reach their parents and millennials. In 2021, it was the most downloaded free app in the world. A big part of its success has been the popularity of influencers, who have a larger presence on TikTok than on other social media platforms. According to influencer marketing platform Upfluence, TikTok has much higher content engagement rates for influencers than other social media platforms, which can give you an idea of how many people an influencer will actually reach with your message

Engagement Rates on Different Social Channels:

TikTok:

  • Micro-influencers: 17.96%
  • Celebrity influencers: 4.96%

Instagram:

  • Micro-influencers: 3.86%
  • Celebrity influencers: 1.21%

YouTube:

  • Micro-influencers: 1.63%
  • Celebrity influencers: .37%

As you can see, TikTok users are very receptive to influencers’ content, so TikTok influencers can be very valuable to your company. In fact, a report from micro-influencer platform SocialPubli found that 67.9% of active TikTok content creators have purchased a product after seeing a post from someone they follow on the platform. No wonder the same report found that 61.5% of marketers believe TikTok is a leading network for social media influencer marketing and is here to stay. To get the most out of your marketing budget, it is important to know how to find the right influencers for your particular niche in the market.

For more information on TikTok social media strategies, check out our guide “The Top TikTok Strategy Guide for Social Media Marketing

Influencer Marketing: Understanding the Differences Between Micro-Influencers and Celebrity Influencers

influencer marketing and the differences between influencers

The difference between TikTok social media platform micro-influencers and celebrity influencers is based on their social media follower count. Micro-Influencers have a lower follower count than their celebrity counterparts. It is important to be aware of the different tiers of influencers. Nano influencers, who have the smallest number of followers, should not be underestimated. Despite their lower follower count, they can still be effective in influencing their audience.

Influencer tiers:

  • Micro-influencers: 5,000-750,000 followers
  • Nano-influencers: 5,000-50,000 followers
  • Mid tier influencers: 150,000-750,000 followers
  • Celebrity influencers: 750,000- 2,500,000 followers
  • Mega influencers: Over 1,000,000
  • Macro influencers: 750,000-2,500,000 followers
  • Celebrity Influencers: 250,00,000+ followers
  • Celebrity: Traditional celebrities who have a following on TikTok, followers vary
  • Publishers: Theme pages, followers vary

Within each category, there are sub-sets of influencers based on follower count which can help you strategize more accurately. But there’s more to it than simple popularity. Behind the numbers, the viewership, engagement rate, and cost all factor into the meaning.

What's Considered a Micro-Influencer on TikTok ?

It’s challenging to define a group of people as diverse as “micro-influencers,” who cover topics from beauty, fitness, dance, entertainment, pets, fashion, cooking, politics, and more. However, they all tend to share similar traits.

  1. Who are the micro-influencers? Regular people who share their lives, niche expertise, or opinions on TikTok
  2. How many followers do you need to be a micro-influencer? Micro-influencers are classified as content creators with youtube channels with 5,000+ YouTube subscribers with 10,000 – 100,000 Instagram followers and 50,000 – 150,000 Instagram readers on TikTok. They are sometimes considered experts in their niche.
  3. Specific Niche: Micro-influencers usually garner fame for one skill or trait they are good at, such as applying makeup or cooking.
  4. Close Community: Micro-influencers have a small but devoted niche audience they are able to nurture with direct contact.
  5. Credibility: Influencers at this level are more easily seen as peers than celebrities, which helps them come off as trustworthy to their audience.
  6. Authenticity: TikTok creators who haven’t reached celebrity status still have the same everyday experiences as everyone else, making them more relatable and approachable.

For more information on Micro Influencers 

What is a TikTok Celebrity Influencer?

There are many kinds of high profile influencers. Some are like micro-influencers, but with more following, but there are also brands, movie stars, and other personalities with highly engaged audiences that come into play as well. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Who is a celebrity influencer? Professionals, artists, stylists, entrepreneurs, politicians, brands, movie stars, and regular people with a lot of followers. 
  2. Mega-Influencers: With a high follower count over 1 million on TikTok which includes celebrities and macro-influencers. Mega influencers can reach large portions of the target audience.
  3. Identifiable: Influencers with massive followings are easy to find and define. They have a well-understood brand within the TikTok framework and often professional support. Like Instagram influencers ,  TikTok influencers or  celebrities are only famous within the platform.
  4. Luxury: Celebrity-Influencers, even those who never seem to work, create visions of luxurious lifestyles that their followers vicariously live through.

The most significant differences between the two categories are in size, reach, and psychological relationship the audience has with the influencer. Micro-influencers are relatable. Macro influencers are aspirational.

Micro-Influencers Pros and Cons

When weighing the benefits vs. the drawbacks of working with TikTok micro-influencers, always keep your end goal in mind: reaching the target audience.

Pros:

  • More Affordable. Think hundreds of dollars vs. thousands for a campaign. More influencers vs one celebrity.
  • Targeted Reach. They have fewer followers but you can tap into a very particular niche market or subculture that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
  • More Trusted. Because they are more relatable, micro-influencers are more trusted by consumers.
  • Higher Engagement Rate. More interaction means there’s more of a chance for your marketing campaign to send viewers into your sales funnel.

Cons:

  • Less Exposure. These influencers have too little reach for brand awareness or broad-reaching messaging strategy.
  • Juggling Influencers. You may be working with more than one multiple micro-influencers at once to get the results you want, which can take some serious management hours.
  • Less Experienced. Some micro influences have spent less time in social media stardom, so there may be more communication to kick things off than with a more seasoned influencer.

Celebrity Influencers Pros and Cons

Celebrity and macro-influencers are appealing because their brands are easy to understand, have huge followings and names you’ve heard before. It’s hard to argue with a celebrity endorsement. But it would help if you considered the disadvantages along with the advantages before making a selection.

Pros:

  • Vast Exposure. With a well-known person, you can reach millions of people and target a diverse demographic with a high follower count. Some big TikTok influencers also have a presence on other social media platforms, so brands can get more exposure.
  • Creative Control: Thanks to the high price tags, many brands have more leverage to keep ownership of the related creatives with celebrities. This can mean marketers can use the creative for more than just TikTok, expanding the return on investment.
  • Easier to Find: It’s easier to narrow down your choices because there are not as many celebrity influencers.
  • Top Quality TikTok Content: Big stars come with ample support and are often able to produce jaw-dropping creativity.

Cons:

  • High Cost. A high profile influencer is expensive, so no surprise there. However, their cost per thousand can be lower than some micro-influencers because they have so many followers.
  • Lower Engagement Rate. Influencer marketing with big-name celebrities doesn’t result in a lot of direct sales, which can feel disappointing, especially considering the high expense.
  • Not as Authentic. Celebrity influencers can be in high demand and may decide they don’t want to work with your brand. But what is worse? They could work with you, but your brand ends up appearing as just one of many buying their way onto this particular celebrity’s feed. If the connection between the influencer and your brand isn’t authentic, chances are the campaign will be a miss.

Which Influencer Type Should You Choose

which type of tiktok influencer should you choose

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for any social media influencer marketing program, and the same goes for TikTok influencer marketing. Whether you choose to work with a niche TikTok micro-influencer or a celebrity influencer with a large following depends on your goals and audience. Each level has its own unique benefits.

When Celebrity Influencers Make Sense

Celebrity influencers make sense for reaching large swaths of people. Typically brands partner with influencers at this level when the goal is mass brand exposure, and there’s plenty of budget to invest. It’s an investment that can pay handily, increasing a brand’s sales an average of 4% relative to the competition, according to research by Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse and Barclays Captial analysis Jeroen Verleun. They also find that the endorsement of a celebrity influencer increases a company’s stock value by .25%!

But don’t expect the sales to come rushing in. Big names may have a high follower count but they are more effective at earning name recognition and buzz than direct sales. However, keep in mind the love eventually fades and usually returns to normal over time unless the influencer marketing relationship is continually cultivated. So, think long-term when it comes to enlisting a star for your next campaign.

When Micro-Influencers Make Sense

TikTok Micro-influencers can help you reach a small, self-selected, interested audience that would be difficult to define in any other way or with one celebrity influencer. In addition micro influencers charge less. It’s just the recipe for driving sales and budget, and marketing goals that must be in consideration. Partnering with smaller niche influencers lends you their credibility and gives you access to a subculture of potential customers receptive to new ideas. This leads to higher engagement rates, case studies have shown, and subsequently to more direct sales than celebrity-driven campaigns. But above and beyond all, the micro-influencer has to legitimately like your product enough to want to endorse it. 

How to Get Started

Once you have an idea of which kind of influencer is right for your brand, you’re ready to start! It’s time to come up with the perfect influencer marketing campaign.

  1. Set your goals and objectives
  2. Calculate a budget (think long term)
  3. Imagine the result
  4. Research Influencers
  5. Partner with a influencer marketing agency
  6. Create marketing magic

Once you’ve got a partner, the collaboration begins. Come up with a content strategy that makes sense for both of your brands and that resonates with the key audience. Get your best creative minds involved and press publish.

Ok, so it’s not really that simple. No personality-based marketing campaign is. But it can be with experienced collaborators. Running an influencer marketing campaign on TikTok can take a lot of energy and management, but if done right it can provide the kind of higher ROI you’re looking for in your next campaign.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to do your due diligence when researching influencers. Make sure to partner with someone you can trust with your brand and who can deliver results. Many agencies have developed strong relationships with influencers and influencer talent agencies and can help.

Kimberly Stricker

Kim Stricker, the founder and lead social media strategist at Social Motto, possesses over two decades of specialized experience in B2B social media marketing. Her expertise lies in harnessing the power of social media platforms to drive business-to-business engagement and growth. Kim’s strategic approach blends innovative social media tactics with in-depth knowledge of B2B marketing dynamics, making her an adept at crafting impactful digital campaigns and social media storytelling that effectively connect businesses with their professional target audiences.
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