expert insights

Move Over Micro-Influencers. Make Room for Nano-Influencers.

By: Kikora Mason, Manager, Digital

Influencer marketing is big business and, when used properly, it’s a powerful vehicle that can generate great conversation about a product or initiative. When used improperly (ahem, Fyre Festival), it can be a legal disaster and mess to clean-up.

To date, brands have shelled out thousands of dollars for the digital savviness of Millennials and Gen Z to generate awareness, sales or click-throughs. Traditionally, the school of thought has been the more followers an influencer has, the more exposure a product gets. However, that thinking has been turned on its head by a new crop of folks. Those who don’t have followings in the millions, or even double-digit thousands, with significantly higher engagement rates (E.R.): nano-influencers.

The nano-influencer is the everyday person. They probably have a 9-5 job or could still be in college. Their feed isn’t saturated with branded content and, believe it or not, they may only have somewhere between 1-5K followers. So, how can a group with so few followers be of any help to an agency or brand? Well, I’ve got three reasons explaining how:

They’re more relatable

In the agency world, “authenticity” is way over-used, but admittedly, it’s true. Nanos are more real (and so are their followers – no bots). Their intimate audiences know them as trusted sources within their spaces because of content that’s less staged and products that look like they’ve actually been used. Their captions are conversational and don’t sound like copy/pasted key messages. Here’s an equation for you:

Trusted Source + Real Language/Authenticity = Higher Engagement Rates

As marketers, the engagement rate is really what we’re here for, right? In 2018, analyzed the last 3 campaigns of 100,000 influencers and found that the E.R. of nanos doubled that of mid-tier influencers (<100,000 followers). People tend to trust what and who they know – and if nanos are valued everyday people, they’re living proof that good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing is alive, well and flourishing.

Nanos will make your job easier

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about working with influencers, it’s this: at times, the more followers they have, the more difficult and costly it is to work with them. Certainly not all though! Fortunately, nanos are much more agreeable and accommodating, as they’re often more excited to begin brand collaborations.  Although there are no guarantees in life, you get pretty close working with nanos; they’re more inclined to share their appreciation for the product, which is the equivalent of landing a client placement in a top-tier publication. As a PR pro, keep in mind this is about establishing and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. We have results we must deliver to our clients, while influencers want opportunities that align with their brands. Meeting in the middle makes for a match well made.

They better match the needs of the campaigns

Tapping the savvy of 20-40 nanos to promote a product to a niche audience will yield higher engagements and better return than enlisting 2-3  — with followings in the hundreds of thousands – who may not be the best fit for the program. Nanos only talk about products they actually believe in and may have used (or used something similar,) whereas micro-influencers are more likely to post about a product they aren’t as passionate about for the right price.

So, what’s the bottom line? Influencer marketing can be a mysterious space, but for right now, nanos are the best bet for brands. Of course, it’s a case by case basis, but those looking to generate authentic conversation about their product without breaking the bank, should consider nanos.

I leave you with this: who was the last person you took a recommendation from? A trusted source or a random influencer on your timeline?