Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept and since its inception on social media, marketers have been playing catch up. Whether it’s Instagram revamping their algorithm, the FTC and ASA cracking down on disclosure, or the constant struggle to ensure your influencer’s content is natural and authentic — it’s an industry where many professionals go into the office feeling like they’re always behind.
But we wouldn’t all be here if it wasn’t working, right?
We used to praise those influencers with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of followers and dished out big bucks to them so they’d promote our products. Access to massive audiences online for a fraction of what a television commercial costs? “Yes please”, said the marketer.
It then took five years for brands to realize that relationships with influencers needed to be more than one-off transactions of product and payment in exchange for a sponsored post with the brand’s handle and a couple campaign hashtags. With the rise in importance of authenticity, honesty, and integrity in our marketing efforts, there needs to be a strong professional bond between the content creator and the brand for that to shine through. Without it, both parties are doing the consumer a disservice. And frankly, no party in this exchange comes out a winner.
Introducing the nano-influencer
While everyone is scrambling to adjust their strategies from macro-influencers to micro-influencers, generally defined as someone with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, I’m skipping right ahead to the next phase. Why jump on the bandwagon to where everyone is already going, when I can go to where people will be in a year from now?
Introducing nano-influencers. Haven’t heard of them? Not surprised, the search volume on Google right now is zero and Google Trends doesn’t pick it up as a search term. Nano-influencers have been described as regular social media users with audience sizes ranging from a few hundred followers on Instagram, up to 5,000.
Mark my words, this will be where the industry is headed within two years. How else do you expect the industry to grow from $1.7 billion to $10 billion by the year 2020? Sure, there are literally millions of micro-influencers to choose from. But, once you weed out those that don’t fit your brand, have demographics that don’t align with your target market, have fake followers and engagement, or simply aren’t interested in your product, suddenly your options are far more limited than you initially thought.
There are over 1 billion active monthly users on Instagram right now, meaning there’s a heap of potential nano-influencers for you to partner with. More than you’ll ever need.
Spoiler Alert — Micro-influencers aren’t all that
I’m not done yet; here’s the biggest reason why nano-influencers are the future. Most Instagram users within North America aren’t following celebrities, macro or micro-influencers. They’re following their friends, family members, coworkers, and classmates. Many people simply don’t care enough to pay attention to what Kardashian just had a baby or which Bachelorette has been voted off the show. They care about themselves and the people they know and love. That’s it.
So how do you tap into these audiences? You find cousin Sarah who has 934 followers, an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed and an interest in health and fitness with a degree in nutrition to boot. You build a relationship with Sarah, get her on board with your campaign and in love with your brand. Chances are, she interacts with a good portion of her 934 followers in-person.
Bringing influencer marketing offline
While influencer marketing is word-of-mouth on steroids, there’s nothing wrong with the old fashioned word-of-mouth, right? Why not encourage your nano-influencer partners to increase awareness of your brand in offline interactions? What are the chances your curated feed owning, beige fedora wearing micro-influencer interacts with her 50,000 followers offline? The majority of her followers will only ever know her through what their eyes see and read on the screen held in their hands.
Not only do nano-influencers allow you to tap into the audience pools that aren’t following micro-influencers or celebrities, but they encourage offline conversations around your brand because these nano-influencers are actually interacting with the people who follow them.
5 Reasons you should care about nano-influencers
They’re not sell-outs, they’ve not been approached by dozens of brands. You won’t be one of many promoted on their page — you’ll either be one of few, or one of one. Especially if you get in now before everyone else figures this out.
- Their egos aren’t inflated. They don’t have a media kit, they aren’t looking for six-month sponsorship contracts — they’re happy to get some free product in exchange for access to their audience.
- They’re as authentic as it gets.
- You’re getting access to untapped and unsaturated audiences who haven’t been exposed to influencers or the brands they’re promoting all the time.
- While there are a ton of micro-influencers, there are exponentially more nano-influencers. Meaning the likelihood of saturating this segment is next to impossible.
I’ll admit, it’s not all gravy…
Alright, one thing I won’t argue about is the fact that nano-influencers aren’t as experienced as micro-influencers. They haven’t collaborated with dozens of brands and they might not know how best to ensure traffic feeds through from their post to your Instagram page and ultimately your website. They might not know or appreciate the use of branded hashtags, or understand how their account insights can increase the engagement of your sponsored content.
As a marketer, you should be able to easily show a nano-influencer how to best promote your brand on social media during the onboarding process. If you’re incapable of that, I’d recommend searching for an agency to handle it for you. Influencer marketplaces and platforms are great, but you still need to know how to do it in-house and have the human capital to pull it off. Not to mention, with Facebook’s API restrictions, these influencer platforms will never have large databases of nano-influencers. You’ll need to know how to find them yourself through searching hashtags and location tags.
Nano-influencers are the future of marketing
Now I don’t know about you, but in this constantly evolving industry, I’d rather be three steps ahead than moseying along with everyone else. Nano-influencers are the future of not only influencer marketing, but the marketing world in general.
American Businessman, Scott Cook put it right when he said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it’s what consumers tell each other it is.” If you want a level of control on the conversation that happens between consumers authentically, you need to befriend the powerful voices of nano-influencers to get them on your side here in 2019.
There’s far too much noise out there to expect that your brand’s voice will be heard every time you send out a tweet or upload a post to your Instagram feed. But in this digital age where social media rules the world, one thing that’ll never go out of style is a face-to-face conversation between you and I. That’s just the honest truth.
It’s no secret that this industry is constantly evolving, and I wouldn’t have to twist your arm to convince you that soaking up as much knowledge as possible is crucial to your success in this space. To give people a place to connect with each other, I’ve created a new private Facebook Group to provide people like you with the opportunity to learn and network with others. You can find it here.