The Rise of the Nano Influencer

Nano (n.) a prefix denoting a very small item.

Nano influencers may be “very small,” but their power to persuade their audiences is mighty. This growing group of influencers might be the next big weapon in digital marketing. But to what do we owe the rise of the nano influencer? And how do we wield their power effectively and efficiently to meet our clients’ needs?

What are nano influencers?

Like a good latte, there’s no secret ingredient that makes a nano influencer superior: at the end of the day, a delicious latte is still just coffee and milk. But as coffee connoisseurs will tell you, there’s a difference between using coffee grounds or whole beans; skim milk or whole. The same goes for nano influencers. They’re influencers like any other, made from a slightly different recipe.

Their audiences are smaller.

You call it a con; I call it a pro. Nano influencers have fewer than 10k followers. Some say they must have more than 1,000 followers to qualify as an influencer at all, but even the smallest influencers in the most targeted niches still have, well, influence.

Their audiences are engaged.

Unlike that of an influencer with millions of followers, however, nano influencers’ audiences are invested in their every move. They’re the ones religiously logging onto Instagram for a scheduled update; liking and commenting on every post that influencer makes. As a result, nano influencers boast much higher engagement rates than a cookie cutter macro influencer.

Their audiences are highly targeted.

Call this the norm, not the rule -- but most nano influencers remain small not because their content isn’t compelling, but because it appeals to a small, tight-knit group of people. This is why nano influencers have cult-like followings: they’re creating content for a highly invested, highly specific group of people who can’t relate to the broad appeal and generic content sold by macro influencers.

How to Work with Nano Influencers

Whether you’re a nano influencer looking for work or a client looking for nano influencers to promote your product or service, you’re missing out if you’re not taking advantage of nano influencers in your digital marketing strategy.

Here’s why your next campaign needs nano influencers to survive and thrive -- and how to identify, outreach to and run a successful campaign using us nanos.

Earned, Not Paid

Adweek recommends relegating nano influencers to the world of earned, not paid media. Much like sending out a mass press release, you can mass pitch to a wide variety of nano influencers for a small, even nonexistent, cost.

Unlike influencers with millions of followers, many nano influencers will be willing to work for free product or nothing at all. They’re simply looking for another brand logo to put on their media kits -- and leverage when pitching to brands for future campaigns.

That being said, the fact that they’re unpaid doesn’t give nano influencers license to suck at their jobs, nor does it give you, the brand rep, an excuse to treat them like your slaves. Always treat your influencers graciously, no matter what tier they belong to -- more on that later.

The Golden Rule

At the end of the day, nano influencers need your brand a lot more than you need them. Still, even if they’re not as highly paid, you should still treat your nanos as well as you treat your macro influencers.

In today’s internet age, where almost anyone’s email can be tracked down with a simple Google search, you’ll likely receive a pitch from a nano influencer looking to work with your brand at some point or another. You may not be able to offer them exactly what they’re looking for right now, but that doesn’t mean you should ghost them.

As a nano influencer, I can honestly say that the way a brand’s media reps interact with me shapes the way I view their brand, and can make or break my status as a customer. Your PR team’s communications with nano influencers are an extension of your customer service presence.

So, always be gracious and offer to keep them in mind for future campaigns, no matter how small their following. Never act like they're wasting your time or silly for thinking you'd actually work with them. Keep their media kit on file, and keep track of your communications with them as you would any other customer -- it’s basic Customer Relationship Management 101!

Reward Loyalty

The important thing to understand about nano influencers is that many of them have gotten to this point because of their ambition and determination. While they may have small followings, many nano influencers are shrewd and drive a hard bargain…. And when you see their potential and reward them for it, many of them will become unfailingly loyal in return.

Once you’ve established long-term relationships with nano influencers -- whether through affiliate marketing programs, Ambassador status or content marketing campaigns -- recognize them for their hard work and dedication.

Give your best and longest-standing relationships first dibs on upcoming campaigns. Consider replacing product exchange with small cash payments after a number of successful campaigns with the same influencer.

Above all else, make your nanos feel special. They know their followings are small -- so appreciating their value, despite the size of their followings, will win their loyalty every time.


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