A nano-influencer is defined as an Instagram influencer with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Nano-influencers’ audiences are small, niche, and highly engaged. Nano-influencers have the smallest following of all tiers of influencers (with tiers defined based on the total number of Instagram followers).
“Everyone who’s on Instagram has that friend who is just really popular and is racking up ‘likes’ and comments and has great content,” as explained in a recent New York Times story. These Instagram power users are prime candidates for becoming nano-influencers.
HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DOES A NANO-INFLUENCER HAVE?
While follower counts may vary, a nano-influencer typically has between 1,000 and 10,000 Instagram followers.
Compared to everyday Instagram users, nano-influencers may not seem too different. Nano-influencers are oftentimes everyday users who have cultivated a highly engaged following and post sponsored Instagram posts by partnering with brands.
Nano-influencers and their followers share common and usually niche interests. In contrast to their larger counterparts (i.e. mid-tier, macro or mega influencers who wield broad, general or mainstream appeal), nano-influencers appeal to very specific groups oftentimes niche categories or sub-categories.
WHY ARE BRANDS WORKING WITH NANO-INFLUENCERS?
For a quick look at how brands are working with nano-influencers, please visit the section “A Look At Nano-Influencer Campaigns” below.
There are a number of reasons why brands are now working with nano-influencers (in addition to micro-influencers and larger influencers) in spite of their smaller following. Oftentimes nano-influencers’ smaller follower count or lack of fame is, in fact, part of their appeal.
Other major reasons why brands are working nano-influencers include:
- Authenticity – Nano-influencers are essentially “normal” people who don’t use influencer marketing as their main source of income, which makes them more relatable and approachable. It’s easy for many Instagram users to put themselves in the shoes of a nano-influencer.
- Higher Engagement Rates – Nano-influencers have a much smaller following which includes many people they may personally know. This first-hand relationship between a nano-influencer and their followers oftentimes leads to a higher social engagement rate per Instagram follower. Additionally, because of their smaller follower count, nanos are better able to respond to every comment or DM (direct message) fostering a deeper level of engagement.
- Word-Of-Mouth Effect – Nano-influencers know many of their followers personally, meaning their endorsement or promotion acts as a direct word-of-mouth recommendation. Word-of-mouth holds great weight in dictating consumer purchasing decisions, which can help drive conversions for brands.
- Less Expensive = More Return-On-Investment – for the most part, nano-influencers are not “professional” influencers treating social media as a passion project or side gig. As such, many nano-influencers are willing to create branded content in exchange for product or a nominal fee. This low upfront investment means that even a moderately successful nano-influencer campaign can provide a solid return-on-investment (ROI).
- Easier To Work With – Nano-influencers tend to be much more agreeable to the terms set forth by a brand. In other words, they are easier to work with compared to more established influencers who may have their own set of demands and terms.
- Easier To Recruit – some nano-influencers proactively reach out to brands they love to secure sponsorship deals. Brands can also attract/enlist nano-influencers by promoting their nano-influencer program via Instagram, social media, or their website. There’s no shortage of willing and able nano-influencers which can allow brands to quickly launch and scale their influencer programs.
HOW MUCH DO NANO-INFLUENCERS MAKE?
Nano-influencers on Instagram can make on average $100 per Post, $114 per Video Post and $43 for an Instagram Story according to a 2019 study that surveyed over 2,500 social media influencers.
In contrast, macro-influencers (500K+ followers) from the same study averaged $2,085/Instagram Post, $3,138/Instagram Video Post and $721/Instagram Story — a difference of nearly 200X, 265X and 158X more, respectively.
Micro-influencers averaged $172/Instagram Post, $219/Instagram Video Post and $73/Instagram Story — nearly double what a nano-influencer could make from equivalent sponsored posts.
While it’s unclear whether the study accounts for non-monetary compensation, nano-influencers oftentimes accept the sponsoring brand’s product, service, or event invitation in direct exchange for their promotion and endorsement. Additionally, nano-influencers may also be compensated in part or entirely from affiliate commissions — i.e. they receive a percentage of sales from what they are able to generate for a brand (usually accounted for by customers using the nano-influencer’s specific promo or discount code).
For most nano-influencers, compensation is not top of mind when posting to their Instagram. Any sort of compensation will likely be a first for most nano-influencers and occuring on an irregular basis.
NANO-INFLUENCERS VS. MICRO-INFLUENCERS
Micro-influencers (10K to 50K Instagram followers) sit between nano-influencers (1K to 10K followers) and their mid-tier counterparts (50K to 500K). Numbers aside, there are a number of differences and similarities between nano-influencers vs. micro-influencers.
At 10K to 50K Instagram followers, micro-influencers have definitely hit their stride with engaging content discovering what types of posts resonate best with their audience(s) and have begun to amass a critical follower base. Their posts carry an elevated level of quality (i.e. perhaps better camera quality and editing capabilities) and are posted on a fairly regular schedule (e.g. once every other day or every day, Monday through Friday).
Many micro-influencers at this stage have done several sponsored Instagram posts, may be contracted for recurring sponsorships and/or be a brand ambassador for companies they’ve worked for — sponsorships may be consistent or sizable enough to count towards a viable income stream.
In contrast, nano-influencers may not have the fit and finish of a micro-influencer nor the recurring content engine and posting schedule however because of their niche or hyper-focused content and smaller avid followings, nano-influencers may have higher and more meaningful levels of engagement.
HOW TO FIND NANO-INFLUENCERS
Aside from leveraging existing lists (e.g. see below for a look at some top nano-influencers), searching and subscribing to specific hashtags on Instagram can be a good way to surface up-and-coming nano-influencers.
In recent years, Instagram enabled users to “follow” hashtags. From there, users can also explore related hashtags in addition to toggling between “Top” and “Recent” photos posted with the hashtag. Search both and related hashtags to find nano-influencers. One hashtag example is #discoverunder10k which many nano-influencers use on their posts. Refer to our guide on detecting fake influencers for tips on how to spot inauthentic engagement.
In addition to searching and subscribing to specific hashtags, users can also find nano-influencers through related accounts. Oftentimes nano-influencers follow and engage with similar nano-influencers. When following an account, note how Instagram will serve other related accounts — take notice of these when finding nano-influencers. Additionally, users can also search which other accounts nano-influencers follow to find related nano-influencers.
Other telltale signs on an Instagram user’s profile page that make it clear they’re a nano-influencer (or aspiring to become one) include:
- Interests & Specialties In Instagram Bio
Nano-influencers usually include a summary of interests and/or areas of specialty within their bio to help brands understand how they may partner or collaborate.
While this may vary depending on the nano-influencer niche, aspiring nano-influencers may have an elevated, consistent photography aesthetic with higher-quality editing.
Currently appearing in the bio section below the website URL option and before the profile posts/feed, Story Highlights can be used by nano-influencers to further define/share their interests or showcase past collaborations with brands.
- Contact Information
Nano-influencers oftentimes are explicit when displaying contact information and asking brands to contact them direct.
For marketers or teams who don’t have the bandwidth or knowledge to find nano-influencers, there may be influencer marketing platforms or agencies that specialize in nano-influencers. As with all influencer marketing platforms, nano-influencers would either have to opt into the platform (in order to be discoverable or searchable) or the software would need to be sophisticated enough to pull public search data (via APIs) from Instagram or other socials.
When working with influencer marketing platforms or agencies, request case studies that show how the agency specifically strategized and leveraged nano-influencers for brand marketing campaigns.