A rising trend in influencer marketing is the use of nano influencers, or social media users with less than 10,000 followers on any social network.

Who are they?

Nano influencers are what you might call “regular people” who have cultivated a following, albeit small, for their content. Though they can appear like your typical social media user, what sets nano influencers apart is their ability to engage with their network, usually at a higher rate than their more popular counterparts.

They cover anything from general interest topics like photography or fashion, to niche communities like law enforcement or bullet journaling. As often as they build their own communities, they can take part in others.

 

Cody Zimmerman, a Canadian photographer, worked with Expedia as a travel photographer

In the B2B space, nano influencers can be small business owners, C-level executives, journalists, or even marketers. You might find them joining conversations that influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk start, without the GaryVee price tag.

 

Rob Finch is a cryptocurrency investor and enthusiast whose thought leadership contributes to crypto conversations on social

And as we mentioned, their smaller follower counts often have higher engagement rates. Logistically, it’s easier for a nano influencer to interact with their audience, and their relative lack of fame makes the interaction feel more authentic and less intimidating to the layman social media user.

 

Smokin_gunn, a police woman and world traveler, commands a small but loyal following

Whereas prominent influencers often form online communities around their content, like James Charles and his “sisters,” or PewDiePie and his subreddit, nano influencers can drive conversations, build narratives, and sway opinions in these communities. Nano influencers can be seen as thought leaders without the fanfare of a more popular influencer.

Why are they popular among marketers?

Because of their high engagement, nano influencers posting sponsored content can appear more authentic than their micro and macro counterparts, appearing more like a friend than an advertiser. And, as research suggests, recommendations from friends are still the most credible form of advertising.

In this way, nano influencers are the logical evolution of an industry that values authenticity and profits off the perceived legitimacy of an influencer’s opinions. Campaigns using nano influencers can easily be scaled, in that their relatively small follower counts do not command as high a price as larger influencers. Many are happy to be compensated with gifts, discounts, or paid experiences. Scaling nano influencers for a word-of-mouth campaign can be a cost-effective alternative to using fewer, more popular influencers at a higher cost.

 

BoyWhoBlogs achieves higher engagement rates on sponsored posts than organic posts

Scalability isn’t the only appeal, though. Marketers can seed an online community with nano influencers, leaning on their authenticity to start and propagate a conversation. A good example of this is Electronic Arts’ Game Changers program, which gifts influencers exclusive content, studio development teams, real-life events, and the opportunity to have a significant impact on game development in exchange for reviews, features, and streams of their new games.

Fashion Nova, a brand best known for its expansive influencer marketing programs, uses everyone from the smallest nano influencers to rapper Cardi B for its always-on program. Using nano influencers on their own or as a part of a larger activation can inject a brand into social conversations with ease.

The nano tradeoff

Though all the headlines might have you thinking otherwise, nano influencers are not strictly a replacement for micro, macro, and celebrity influencers. Each has their own purpose, and one type might work better for a campaign than another. While nano influencers can provide great cost savings, scaling them can be difficult without the proper tools to manage and track their campaign deliverables. They can lack the polish of a professional influencer, and sometimes their audience is more sensitive to sponsored content than the audiences of larger influencers.

And although the scale is smaller, the stakes can be higher with nano influencers. One or two posts that miss the mark can permanently stunt their growth, while larger influencers can potentially recover from scandals and mistakes (Jake and Logan Paul still have millions of subscribers despite their controversial antics).

While this may not affect a brand, it can hurt the partnership. It’s therefore important to ensure that nano influencers are right for your campaign, and will help you reach your goals. That’s why the Julius influencer marketing platform provides in-depth audience analysis and campaign analytics.

The future of influencer marketing is nano

Nano influencers are an evolution of best practices in influencer marketing – they prioritize engagement, appear authentic, and genuinely enjoy working with brands, even without monetary compensation. Their rising popularity is further proof that the most effective influencer marketing campaigns are the ones that say the right things to the right people.

Through cross channel promotions, influencer marketing campaigns can use a variety of voices to convey a similar message in different ways. Nano influencers can enhance the scale of these campaigns, while fine-tuning their targeting. For example, marketers can use larger influencers to start a conversation, and have nano influencers propagate the message. Or, marketers can use nano influencers to seed a product in smaller audiences through word-of-mouth before a more robust campaign. Nano influencers can even be used as A/B testers for new products.

All in all, the rise of the nano influencer offers marketers more tools with which to make compelling, captivating influencer campaigns, without breaking the bank.