What Are Nano Influencers and Why Are They So Appealing to Brands?

It was just over ten years ago that brands discovered they could increase both reach and sales by leveraging the endorsement power of the social media stars and celebrities who had accumulated a million followers on social media.

But more recently, social media users say they’re more likely to trust regular people over social media bigwigs when they’re trying to make a purchase decision.

A September 2021 survey revealed social media users’ opinions about various types of influencers:[1]

  • 36% of those surveyed said that everyday social media users are more likely to provide unbiased opinions, and subject matter experts were close behind at 30%. Only 12% felt that celebrities were unbiased, and 9% felt that way about social media stars.
  • The most authentic content is shared by subject media experts and everyday social media users (39% and 38% respectively). Only 14% of consumers felt like celebrities shared the most genuine content, and social media stars had the confidence of only 9% of those surveyed.
  • 37% of those surveyed said they would take a product recommendation from an everyday social media user, twelve percentage points over subject matter experts. Only 7% would take a product recommendation from a celebrity, and 6% from a social media star.

A celebrity or mega influencer will generally have lower engagement rates than influencers with less than 10,000 followers – also known as nano influencers. Other influencer tiers include micro-influencers (10K-50K followers) and mid-tier influencers (over 50K but less than 500K followers).

Some of the most effective nano influencers have only a couple of thousand followers. They tend to create their circles of influence by including friends and family, work colleagues, and friends of friends. Because they’re relatable and sincere – and expected to promote only those products that have proven to work for them – they tend to be trusted more than macro-influencers, whose follow counts are 1 million or greater.

A number of people also assume that since social media stars earn a lot of money for their endorsements, they don’t know how much they’re able to trust an Instagram user or a YouTube channel with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Because nano influencers offer high engagement rates, are relatable and trusted, and cost less to hire than macro-influencers with more than 500K followers, how can brands determine if the nano influencer approach could work for them?

Which Types of Brands Can Benefit the Most From Working With Nano Influencers?

If your brand is trying to extend its reach to niche audiences, working with smaller accounts on a targeted social media platform will better serve your needs than working with a larger influencer account that appeals to a broad fan base. Nano influencers can be an especially good fit if what they tend to talk about on their social media accounts matches well with your product or service.

Nano influencers may also be a good choice if you’re launching a new product and haven’t yet settled on your primary customer target. Because nano influencers are affordable, your brand could work with several nano influencer accounts serving different niches or interest groups. If you track and test the different campaigns, you’ll be able to determine which target niche brought in the best results.

Or for business owners who are not quite sure about making a big investment in influencer marketing, run a nano influencer campaign as a test. After the campaign has ended, use the results of the test to decide whether or not to allocate more money to influencer marketing or an alternative digital marketing strategy.

As for nano influencer affordability, note that you’re not only saving money on their endorsement fees versus influencer tiers with more followers. Nano influencers are skilled at turning out impressive user-generated content that would cost a great deal more if you were to add up the costs required to create branded content. Think about how much you could save if you don’t have to hire a production company, scout out a location, book air travel, pay talent, and rent equipment – and that doesn’t even include the costs of lost productivity for your time spent out of the office. 

What Should Brands Keep in Mind When Partnering With Nano Influencers?

Just because nano-influencers don’t have the social media clout of bigger accounts, treat them as you would any professional business partner. You’ll get better results if you compensate your nano influencers fairly and if they’re well aware of what’s expected of them.

Better Compensation Leads to Higher-Quality Campaigns

While many brands are still using products as payment for influencers with a smaller social following, the old adage is true: What you get out is as good as what you put in.

For reference, top nanos can earn up to $100 for Instagram posts, while a YouTube influencer can make $200 per video.[2]

If you offer to pay your nano influencers for their promotional work, they’ll be more motivated to work hard on your brand’s behalf. A nano influencer wants to feel like your brand partner and know that you respect the amount of time put in to create content. A true compensation structure also makes it easier to ask for changes or campaign adjustments if needed. 

Clearly Outline All Expectations

A nano influencer may be savvy enough to be an expert content creator, but don’t assume the average Instagram user will know the ins and outs of running an influencer campaign.

Put together a brief that details everything relevant about the brand and the products your influencer is expected to promote:

  • Make clear which keywords to use and which words to avoid.
  • Identify branded and related hashtags to use in their posts.
  • Spell out your preferred call-to-action language and exactly how they’ll direct followers to your landing pages. 
  • Make sure they know how to explain an affiliate link and that they’re familiar with where links are permitted on the social media platform they’re using.

Then, draw up a contract that lists when deliverables are due and how work will be evaluated. You’ll see better results if you give your nano influencers all of the information they need before the campaign starts.

Build Relationships for Long-Term Success

If you have a system in place to evaluate your influencers, you’ll be able to avoid the tedious process of looking for new ones you can trust to pull off a successful campaign in the future. 

Influencer marketing agencies use proprietary software that will help you choose your nano influencers, and that will help in your initial search. But it’s preferable to find great nano influencers to work with on future projects rather than having to go through the selection process over and over again.

A nano influencer will likely start with little-to-no experience in brand promotion, but you can use that to your advantage. A more experienced influencer with a larger follower count may make more contract demands or compare your company to others they’ve worked with. They may also bring prejudices from past clients into their working environment.

But a nano influencer with hardly any experience is more eager to learn all they can about how they can help your brand and begin the relationship without any cynicism. And if you treat your nano-influencers well, the ones that deliver results for you can become long-time partners who can grow your brand as they grow their following. They’ll become familiar faces who customers associate with your brand identity.

Nano Influencers May Be The Solution for Regaining Brand Trust

A recent Salesforce survey found that fifty percent of consumers have lost trust in brands since the start of the pandemic,[3] and those findings are similar to what other surveys have reported during the past year.[4]

Consumers want to be sure that product recommendations and reviews are authentic, and the everyday appeal of nano influencers drives those sentiments home better than any kind of branded content. Keep nano influencers in mind the next time you plan to use social media marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy.