Superfans - Influencers You Can Afford

superfans believe in you and your product
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

The world of influencer marketing has gone crazy since the first Facebook posts in 2010. Amazon connected Facebook with its brand. Then it shared what friends and family were buying.  It worked…very well.

At the same time, millennials and gen Z distrust traditional advertising. They want social proof – what friends say. 

The astronomical rise of social portals like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter supports this process. It seems to be one that many businesses want to tap into. But before you jump in, there are some facts you need to know.


There are different types of influencers based on how many followers they have.  While volume is important, it's their audience that should be your criteria for selection.  The more followers they have, the broader their reach, but the smaller their level of engagement.

Those with over 100,000 followers get 1.1% engagement on Instagram, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Nano-influencers have the highest level of engagement. They get a whopping 7.2% on Instagram. 

  • Mega-Influencers – over 1 million followers.
  • Macro-Influencers – 100,000 t0 1 million followers.
  • Celebrity-Influencers – generally over 500,000 followers and perhaps into the millions.
  • Micro-Influencers – 2000 – 50,000 followers
  • Nano-Influencers – Under 1000 followers

The most important aspect of choosing an influencer is that they love and believe in your product. But their followers must also include the demographics of your ideal client.  The tighter the match, the more likelihood of higher ROI.

General use products work well with the celebrity and larger influencers. Niche products need an influencer whose audience is the tightest match to the desired client.

Brand representatives

I’ve been asked, about the difference between a brand ambassador and an influencer.  The brand ambassador generally has a long-term relationship with the product. The influencer is more likely short-term. 

Brand ambassadors tell people about your product.  Influencers promote by example…how they use your product.

Brand advocates are people who believe in and tell others about your product.  They may be nano-influencers. 

Consider commercials with celebrities trying to sell you products.  They are paid.  In fact, endorsements, postings, and advertisements are valued as the quickest ways to huge income streams. A single post or spot could be tens of thousands of dollars and up.

Major influencers may work well for huge brands with massive marketing budgets. But they are out of reach for most smaller businesses. 

The trend has also become tarnished in recent years. Some influencers are buying fake lists. They do it to make it look like they are generating interest. There is zero real engagement.


Nano-influencers are everyday consumers. They share because they love a product. They are your superfans. It’s much easier to relate to another consumer than to a celebrity.

I recommend as you start to build your business, develop client-focused programs. Rewards, recognition and customer advocacy.  Recognize and thank your superfans.  We all want to be recognized and valued. Nothing like recognition gets fans more excited.

Superfans have a smaller market reach. But they really know and engage with their followers.  They may be real-life friends and neighbors.

Would you be apt to take action on a referral from a celebrity? Or do you prefer a friend you know and trust? 

If you’re like me, you’d be more apt to take your friend’s recommendation. It might be for skin care, CBD to help me sleep or a great brand of travel clothing. 

Cost of superfans

What do nano-influencers cost your business?  They are not paid. They purchased and like a product.  Maybe they got a free related sample and tried something else.  Maybe you offered a discount code for the best price. Small incentives, not major dollars.

Superfans posts generate the kind of social sharing millennials and gen Z love the most – user-generated content.  Social proof. 

Some businesses have started offering influencer affiliate programs.  People sign up and get a financial reward for sharing your brand. 

The only downside to affiliate programs is that they become paid ambassadors.  Their audience may feel this erodes their genuine enthusiasm and authenticity. 

Get the message out...

I’ve been in the beauty/spa industry for over 25 years. There was always a sure way to get your message out.  You may remember the old adage... “telephone, telegraph, tell a woman.”  Even better…tell a hairstylist.  They are in the middle of the buzz.

Stylists are in near-constant connections with consumers.  Conversations flow like water.  Get your local store or new product in the hands of hairdressers. Get them excited.  They’ll share the news.

Look for opportunities to connect locally. Maybe a special event, pop-up, or product sampling. It can be much easier to catch the enthusiasm. You can't see, feel, and touch products digitally.  And, it's not as much fun.

Bottom line...

The bottom line for success is to really know your target client. Then focus on the pathways they use in their decision to buy process. No influencer will be beneficial if your goals and audiences don’t match.

When I work with clients we focus on identifying the target client. Then we work to develop superfans.

While influencer marketing is big news, it may not be the best for you. Consumers have become more skeptical. They want natural authentic user-generated content and conversations. Just the kind they see from superfans.

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