The rise of the nano-influencer: how really small is the next big thingMarch 2019
Social media influencers are firmly established as part of the marketer’s arsenal, with companies increasingly tapping into the power that influencers have when it comes to brand awareness, engagement and sales.
But, while not so long ago every brand was desperate to sign up a mega-influencer (think Rihanna or the Kardashians, celebrities with millions of Instagram followers), there’s a new influencer on the block, whose following is tiny in comparison. All hail the rise of the nano-influencer.
Who are the nano-influencers?
A nano-influencer is someone with around 1,000 to 5,000 social media followers. Often, they have a particular specialism or interest – fashion, beauty or fitness, for example. But what’s key is that they’re not famous; they’re just ordinary people who are particularly active on social media and know how to create a great-looking post that clocks up the ‘likes’.
Nano-influencers are a resource with a huge potential and the ability to grow brands through word-of-mouth marketing – and they can be much easier and cheaper to deal with than more well-known social media stars.
Why nano-influencers are so appealing
It’s their lack of fame that makes a nano-influencer attractive. While many mega-influencers might have lost that all-important ‘genuine’ touch, nano-influencers have it in heaps. They’ll have grown their following organically and social media is likely not to be their main livelihood.
This makes them more trust-worthy in the eyes of their followers. And people are much more likely to buy something if it’s personally recommended by a trusted friend than by someone they don’t know. Only 32 per cent of social media users follow big influencers while 70% say they’re influenced by friends and family.
Nano-influencers will often seek relationships with brands that they genuinely love and, as they know many of their followers personally, they’re more able to respond to comments and DMs. All of this adds up to a deeper level of engagement and a more authentic experience for followers.
They are also, of course, less expensive, willing to promote your brand in exchange for free products or a small fee, and they’re less likely to have their own creative demands, which means less time spent negotiating contracts and more control over content.
The cons of nano-influencers
Nano-influencers can be a great asset for brands but they do, of course, have their drawbacks.
By definition, they have a limited reach. To achieve a reach anywhere near as wide as one mega-influencer’s, you would have to manage several nano-influencers at once. So if achieving the biggest reach in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort is paramount, then nano-influencers might not be the right option for you.
The other con is their relative lack of experience of dealing with brands. They might need more hand-holding than your more seasoned influencer, and you might need to invest more time in making sure they fully understand your brand – or risk weakening your message.
Where to find a nano-influencer
So you want bag yourself a nano-influencer. Where do you start?
There is a large and growing number of influencer marketing platforms that do the groundwork for you, such as Tapinfluence, Upfluence and AspireHQ, using AI and data mining.
But we think there is no substitute for your own manual labour. This means “stalking” potential influencers, checking their profiles carefully and using reporting tools such as HypeAuditor to check whether their followers are real, where they’re located, and their growth and engagement rates.
This mix of manual selection and reporting is the best way to begin what could become a mutually beautiful relationship.