The Rise of Nanoinfluencers and Why Brands Love Them

Influence marketing, that quintessentially 21st century approach to monetizing one’s internet fame has gone increasingly mainstream. From true blue celebrities with their millions of followers to the more relatable blogger or Instagram superstar with their hundred thousands, brands have tapped them all to sell everything from coconut water to luxury vacations. 

The rationale behind this is that followers already have an interest in what a given personality is saying. So it follows that partnering with influencers with the most followers should yield optimal results. However, this is not always the case. Smaller scale influencers tend to have higher engagement rates.

What are Nanoinfluencers?

According to an article by Mavin, nanoinfluencers, defined as having anywhere from a hundred to ten thousand followers, and engage up to 8.7 percent of their followers. Celebrities with over a million followers, on the other hand, only engage only 1.7 percent. The difference is authenticity. 

Nanoinfluencers tend to focus on a particular subject matter that interests them personally, acquiring a small but highly engaged following of like-minded people. With their niche interests and modest fame, nanoinfluencers are brand advocates that provide a level of friendly intimacy not typically found in a well-established influencer’s feed. It’s this familiarity, and the sense of connection it engenders, that makes their endorsements seem less like paid promotional content and more like a recommendation from a friend. And this matters greatly, especially among younger consumers. 

According to Jess Watts, associate planning director at RPA, and co-author of The Identity Shifters: A Gen Z Exploration, the next generation relies more on the opinion of online peers that traditional authority figures. “In our Generation Z research, we found social media outranked both news outlets and actual people they knew, like friends and family, when it comes to finding information and news they trust,” he explained.

Brands also enjoy working with nanoinfluencers. Unlike their more established counterparts, they are relatively inexpensive, oftentimes working for free products or a small commission. Because of this, brands can afford to reach out to more of them. This in turn allows brands to reach a larger number of engaged followers. 

Nanoinfluencers aren’t just low-cost, either. Due to the high engagement rate of their followers, money spent on them tends to give a higher return on investment. As Mae Karwowski, the chief executive of Obviously, told the New York Times, “You’re able to place a lot of really small bets rather than, ‘We’re going to work with Kim Kardashian.’” 

In essence, working with a number of nanoinfluencers with a combined one million followers is cheaper and more effective than working with one Influencer with the same follower count.

Utilizing Nanoinfluencers

Utilizing nanoinfluencers also poses its own set of challenges, however. Aside from their limited reach, their lack of experience working with brands may necessitate closer supervision and more work for marketers. 

Carolyn Shlensky, social media manager at Pelicon Iconic Creative, shared that “Larger influencers understand the process of working with brands, from contract negotiations to brand content review. Nanoinfluencers may require some education in these areas.” So it becomes doubly important to ensure that nanoinfluencers have a deep understanding of your brand. Without a clear grasp of what a brand means, what it says, and how it says it, there is a risk of the brand’s message becoming fragmented. This is turn can lead to poor market penetration and a weaker influencer marketing campaign.

Effectively making use of nanoinfluencers can be a balancing act in itself. The authenticity that makes them so appealing requires a light touch on the part of marketers. Nanoinfluencers tend to already be deeply passionate about their interests, and their communities reflect this. Amplifying their content is a great way to support it without stepping on their toes, as is the occasional reply and like. 

Another possible way to enrich your brand’s relationship with them is through behind-the-scenes access to your company, as well as the opportunity to meet with people from your organization. While care should be taken to ensure the nanoinfluencer represents a given brand consistently, the urge to micromanage should be avoided. They are, in many cases, Superfans whose enthusiasm for your brand should be allowed to shine through. After all, it’s this devotion that attracts like-minded followers.

If seeking them out sounds daunting on your own, make use of available platforms that help connect brands with up-and-coming influencers. One we like is, who have up to 13,000 influencers in their database to get your brand started. There are also tools like SocialBook that simplify influencer research. You can use it to both lookup influencers and assess their reach

Prioritizing Engagement Rates with Nanoinfluencers

In this high-visibility digital age, influence marketing is fast becoming an increasingly important consideration in raising brand awareness and connecting with one’s target audience. Selecting an appropriate strategy and gauging your marketing goals when it comes to social media is more crucial than ever. While conventional thinking might lead brands to choose mega influencers over smaller ones, the question now is whether you want more people knowing about your brand, or greater customer loyalty and connection. If engagement is your goal, then nanoinfluencers are the way to go.

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