The Pros and Cons of Using Nano Influencers

by: Dustin Hawley | Wednesday August 14, 2019

Last year in 2018, we saw the trends of influencer marketing shift away from large, celebrity status followings, toward more relatable influencers with smaller audiences known as "micro-influencers". But while companies using micro-influencers was all the rage in 2018, marketers believe 2019 is all about the “nano-influencer.”

influencer standing in front of a neon sign at a diner

What are nano influencers?

Though "nano-influencer" is a fairly new term that has been coined recently, the idea behind it is anything but. Nano influencers — defined as social media users with roughly 1000-5000 followers — have been around for quite some time, and brands have long been seeking to harness the power of an endorsement from both brand advocates and customers alike.

Influencer marketing is a multibillion-dollar industry that has faced more than it's fair share of controversy around regulation, and catastrophes like the Fyre Festival shed light on the sometimes fraudulent behavior that occurs within the industry. It's just one of the many reasons that authenticity has never been more critical for consumer engagement than it is today. 

Marketers have finally come around to seeing the value of these everyday advocates, claiming that they offer brands more authentic connections to consumers, and yield more bang for their buck. But as is the case with any story, there are two sides to it, and brands need to consider both when considering activating nano-influencers. Let's discuss the pros and cons of using nano-influencers.

The Pros And Cons Of Using 'Nano Influencers'

influencers filming content while eating at a restaurant

PRO - They are seen as more trustworthy than traditional spokespeople

Influencer marketing statistics indicate that consumers listen to recommendations of friends and family far more than those of traditional spokespeople. This aligns with the idea that the value of nano-influencers lies in their ability to feel more like friends, or simply people you can relate to. Want to know how influencers contribute to the purchase decision? It starts with the trust that many nano-influencers have with their followers.

CON - They have limited reach

As their follower counts indicate, nano-influencers audiences are rather small. So brands would need to significantly scale their efforts to greatly impact awareness, due to this limited reach.

PRO - They are extremely cost-effective

Even with the reduced costs seen with brands using micro-influencers, nano-influencers can be an even less expensive method of distribution, with many nano influencers willing to accept a value exchange (such as product or samples) instead of cash.

CON - Managing and tracking a large roster of nano-influencers can be overwhelming

When it comes to both managing and monitoring a social media marketing campaign, it's a task that isn't for the faint of heart. So if you are tracking the performance of a network of hundreds of influencers, it's substantially more complicated than tracking just a few. Take also into consideration the time it takes for vetting, and management time dramatically increases.

Brands with the manpower to handle these additional factors need not worry. But for organizations less blessed in the labor department, this can be a major factor behind deciding whether or not nano-influencers are a good call for your campaign.

PRO - They are great for hyper-targeted campaigns

Nano-influencers are a great solution if you need to reach hyper-niche audiences. As media becomes both increasingly important and fragmented, the role of the nano will become even more important as brands look to target a specific niche in the market. Nano-influencers typically have audiences based around their very specific, niche interests. And when those interests align with your product or service, you have the ideal voice with a built-in ideal audience for promoting your brand. 

CON - They have limited capabilities on social platforms

While they may be very adept at social media (and likely they are if they have established even a modest audience), they still have their limitations when it comes to brand marketing on social media. Options like the Swipe Up feature in IG Stories aren't readily available for nano influencers, because Instagram requires a minimum of 10K followers to access the feature. Though there are some workarounds, having these limitations can potentially complicate things.

PRO - They have incredibly strong connections with their followers

graph depicting the average engagement rate on Instagram

As noted earlier, nano-influencers often have a high level of trust among their follower base. Much of that enhanced trust is the byproduct of a strong connection with their audience. These audiences may be smaller in comparison to the meso and macro-influencers, but their stronger connections often bring target audiences deeper into the sales funnel than their larger-scale counterparts.

CON - They often lack experience working with brands

Though they may come at a fraction of the cost of influencers with larger fan bases, this bargain may be a double-edged sword. Many nano-influencers are likely not yet accustomed to working with brands on deals, which can lead to complications in both negotiations, and even potential legal risks in some situations. While this should not be treated as a non-starter when considering working with nano's, it's certainly something to take into consideration for your campaign. 

PRO - They are typically more authentic

Authenticity is key to social media these days. And with authenticity comes trust. As social media has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, so has the desire to attain social metrics by any means necessary. This has led to a bit of a crisis as it pertains to verifying the authenticity of social stats like follower counts, likes, comments, etc.

One of the key benefits of working with nano-influencers is that they are far less likely to have any fake followers or bots. They aren't chasing the big numbers and social clout that many on social media today strive for. Instead, they focus on building content and connecting with their audience. Simply put, nano-influencers bring a certain level of reliability to your brand.

CON - They may lack experience in creating high-quality content 

While nano-influencers have established influence within their niche community, their content may not necessarily be top quality. Because they may not be as advanced in social media content creation, their content may be less polished. This can create potential conflicts with brand alignment, or create a need to bring in additional resources to create high-quality content, which of course may eat into your overall budget. 

Final Thoughts

As is true with most things in marketing, there is no secret formula for creating a successful influencer campaign. It's best practice to consider a wide range of influencers for your marketing efforts, keeping in mind that both everyday people and celebrities alike have the same access to social media.

Nano-influencers can be an effective distribution tactic for brands looking to reach niche audiences, but if your goal is to achieve large-scale brand awareness and reach, a combination of micro and/or macro-influencers will likely provide greater results. But if you are a niche brand on a limited budget, nano influencers who offer engaged audiences within a target and align with the brand may be the perfect entry point for your brand into the world of influencer marketing. 

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