Navigating the Influencer Spectrum for Authentic Brand Growth in the Social Media Era

As social media continues to grow, forging partnerships between influencers and sports brands has become an increasingly powerful strategy to reach a wider audience and drive consumer behaviour [1]. It is predicted that in 2024, marketers will collectively spend US$7.14 billion on influencers [5]. But how do you know which type of influencer – Nano, Micro, Macro or Mega – is the best fit to help your brand grow its audience while remaining authentic?

Who are sports influencers?

Sports influencers can be athletes, coaches or sports enthusiasts who have gained a following on social media through their involvement in sport. When brands or teams work with a respected sports influencer it can boost the brands credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of their followers and maximise brand exposure [4]. Collaborations can take the form of sponsored content, behind-the-scenes access, or exclusive partnerships, creating a cooperative relationship where influencers enhance the brand’s digital presence while the brand provides influencers with unique content and experiences. Such partnerships not only strengthen the ties between sport and social media but also create a win-win situation for both influencers and sporting brands in terms of exposure, engagement, and brand loyalty.

In a 2023 survey of 1,000 US consumers, it was found that 69% of respondents would trust influencers, and family and friend recommendations over information coming directly from a brand [6]. Consumers seek authenticity in the influencers they choose to follow, preferring those who produce relatable and unique content or offer trustworthy expertise, thus proving the importance of collaborating with an influencer who aligns with your brand values.

Influencer Categories

There are four categories of influencers, based on the number of followers, which are:

1k - 10k Nano

Nano-influencers (1K – 10K followers):
Nano-influencers can connect brands with new audiences through local ties and genuine engagement.

10k - 100k Micro

Micro-influencers (10K – 100K followers):
Growing in reach, micro-influencers provide an avenue for brands to access niche markets and foster deeper connections with their followers.

100k - 1m

Macro-influencers (100K – 1M followers):
With a broader audience, macro-influencers can offer brands extensive reach and visibility, as they appeal to a wider range of demographics, interests, and locations.

1m+ Mega

Mega-influencers (1M+ followers):
Boasting massive followings, mega-influencers have the potential to enhance a brand's global visibility and expand their fan-base internationally.

It's important to unravel the unique strengths of each influencer category to guide your brand towards a strategic partnership that resonates with your goals. 

Which Influencer is best for your brand?

Knowing which influencer to collaborate with is essential for brands to ensure a successful marketing campaign. Brands must ensure the influencer aligns with their brand values, target audience, and marketing goals while remaining authentic to their followers [3].

While nano and micro-influencers hold the least number of followers, they tend to have the most authentic influence over their audience. Due to their smaller size, they are perceived to be more genuine and relatable, fostering greater trust with followers in their recommendations [2]. MyProtein, the fitness brand, effectively utilises micro and nano-influencers in its marketing strategy. By partnering with individuals, such as Fitness Blogger Kate Jones (@kj.fitnesss - 61k Instagram followers), who have smaller but highly engaged followings in the fitness community, MyProtein taps into the authenticity and relatability of their content. These influencers create compelling narratives around MyProtein's products, sharing workout routines, nutrition tips, and reviews with their followers. This strategy expands MyProtein's reach, fosters genuine engagement, and drives brand loyalty, ultimately boosting sales in the competitive fitness market. Brands should recognise the value of this authenticity when considering partnerships, as nano and micro-influencers possess the ability to offer enhanced credibility and access to niche markets. However, opting to work with macro and mega-influencers also has advantages.

"Brands must ensure the influencer aligns with their brand values, target audience, and marketing goals while remaining authentic to their followers" [3] 

Collaborating with macro and mega-influencers can be a strategic benefit for brands seeking to amplify their reach and make a significant impact on a broader scale. While nano and micro-influencers excel in authenticity and relatability within their niche markets, macro and mega-influencers bring a different set of advantages to the table. With follower counts ranging from 100,000 to over 1 million, they command large audiences that span across diverse demographics and geographical locations. The association with a well-known macro or mega-influencer can lend a sense of credibility and authority to a brand, instilling confidence in their products or services. The sheer magnitude of their follower base maximises international exposure, enabling a brand to be seen by untapped audiences.

GymShark, a British fitness apparel brand, strategically harnessed the power of mega-influencers to significantly elevate its brand presence and reach. By forging partnerships with prominent figures in the fitness community, such as Nikki Blackketter and Lex Griffin, GymShark effectively leveraged their extensive followings and credibility to showcase its products. These influencers were carefully selected not only for their large audiences but also for their genuine passion for fitness and authentic connection with their followers. Through this targeted approach, GymShark effectively tapped into the influencer's authority and resonance within the fitness community thereby amplifying its brand message and fostering widespread awareness. As a result, GymShark experienced substantial growth, cementing its position as a leading player in the fitness apparel industry and demonstrating the impact of influencer marketing on brand expansion.

In essence, while nano and micro-influencers excel in cultivating strong connections within niche markets, macro and mega-influencers offer the appeal of widespread visibility. Each type of influencer can be beneficial to your brand, but it is essential to ensure the influencer has an interest in your brand, their followers align with your target audience and their engagement rates are high for optimal results.

How Story10 can help

With a focus on nano, micro and macro-influencers, and access to a network of over 7.5 million influencers, Story10 finds influencers that align with your brand values to ensure authentic collaborations. We tailor your campaign, not only by platform but also by influencer type, maximising campaign reach and improving brand sentiment. Creating original content specifically targeted to succeed with their own followers, our influencers deliver genuine authenticity. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your influencer collaborations.  

Read about our latest influencer partnership with DPWorld and TheJazzyGolfer here


[1] SproutsSocial. (2023). Micro-influencer marketing guide: Facts and uses. Available at: Last updated: 9 January 2023

[2] Forbes. (2024). What you need to know about working with Nano Influencers. Available at: Last updated: 8 March 2021

[3] LinkedIn (2024). Power of Influencers: How Sports Influencers are Taking the Sports Marketing World by Storm. Available at: Last updated: 15 March 2023

[4] Nifty. (2024). The Power of Influencer Marketing in Sport. Available at: Last updated: 19 May 2023

[5] Influencer Marketing Hub. (2024). 16 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2024. Available at: Last updated: 13 November 2023

[6] Matter Communications. (2024). Consumers continue to seek influencers who keep it real. Available at: Last updated 22 February 2023.