For past few years, influencer marketing has been witnessing a boom thanks to high ROI and wider audience reach within short timeframe.
When it comes to building brand awareness through digital marketing, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to do it.
From multinational brands to investor-backed startups, companies are now spending millions of dollars to push their products or services in front of their target customers through social media influencers.
When it comes to small businesses they find it difficult for collaborations especially due to budget constraints.
Businesses like grocery shops, restaurants, convenience stores, and small startups look for the best and cheapest way to promote their products and services.
Also, most of the social media influencers (with millions of followers) charge hefty price for sponsored or branded posts.
There’s another category of influencers called nano-influencers who can help small businesses in brand awareness campaigns.
Who are they?
Why you should work with them?
How to find them?
Are they reliable?
You can find the answers to all these questions in this post. Let’s start with the first one.
Who are Nano-Influencers
Nano-influencers are social media content creators with less than 5000 active followers. Their audience is very small, niche-focused and highly engaging. Majority of their posts are informational, value-adding, and entertaining.
Their closer counterparts are the micro-influencers who are also niche-focused with 1000 to 10000 followers.
Then there are professional content creators with over millions of followers and they have been in the social media space for a long time.
Past few years, movie and TV celebrities are also active on social media and they have garnered large following thanks to their “offline” popularity.
But when it comes to making a huge impact on their audience, nano-influencers are far better than their bigger counterparts.
That’s why many global brands started including nano-influencers into their influencer marketing campaigns. To know more about social media influencers in general you can check out this video by Influencer Marketing Hub.
Nano-Influencers for Small Business – Why You Should Work with Them
As a small business owner, you are new to social media or struggling to promote your business online.
Collaborating with nano-influencers will give you the initial push.
It will help you to achieve three major goals – word of mouth publicity, reaching new audiences online, generating sales, and building brand reputation.
Also, there are plenty of benefits you can get from working with these social media content creators. Let’s see them.
1. Highly Engaging Audience Means More Reach
As mentioned earlier in this post, their social media followers consist of highly engaging and niche audience. This is because of their regular interactions with their followers through comments, DM’s, and live video sessions.
A nano-influencer tries to answer each and every comment under their posts with a meaningful reply or ask a question in return to understand their followers better.
This kind of close relationship is the reason behind the high engagement and trust from their audience.
According to the State of Influencer Marketing 2019 survey by HypeAuditor, the engagement rate of nano-influencers is double compared to other groups of influencers.
If the engagement rate of an influencer’s post is high that means the post’s reach is also high.
This means that if an influencer shares a post talking about your product or service then their followers will definitely see it and engage with that post.
Also, this will increase the chances of people talking about your business on social media and other online platforms.
2. Nano-Influencers are Niche Specific
Most of the nano-influencers you see on social media platforms are niche-specific. They create content that caters to a particular segment of audience.
This means that it is easier for you to reach different segments and better position your product or service.
For example, if you own a local restaurant then you can collaborate with an Instagram food vlogger who likes to travel places for finding exotic food.
The influencer will create content based on your requirements and will share it to their followers who are mostly foodies.
Are you looking to test your new product or service before the big launch? What about introducing it to a small set of niche audience?
Nano-influencers can help you with that. They can provide you with valuable feedback from the reactions of their followers after they are introduced to your product.
3. They are Cost Effective
Unlike their bigger peers, nano-influencers don’t get many requests from brands for product endorsements.
They are happy to do product reviews or talk about your business in exchange for your product or service.
Also, paid collaborations or sponsored posts will cost you less and doesn’t impact your overall budget.
Also, many of them are looking for new content ideas for their next post on Instagram or Facebook. Collaborating with a brand means new exciting content to share with their followers.
Check out this Pilates and Yoga instructor based in Barcelona who is endorsing handmade leggings from an apparel brand.
You can use the content created by the nano-influencer on your own social media pages or on your website. For that, you need to make sure include this in the contract.
This shows that nano-influencers are the best way to promote your startup or small business with a limited budget.
4. Gain a Real Edge Over Your Competition
If you check your competition, you will see that most of them have not realized or underestimate the power of nano-influencers.
You won’t find any of their sponsored post or branded content on Instagram or Facebook accounts of these influencers.
Also, your competitors may have big advertising budget or a dedicated team for brand awareness campaigns.
Yet you can gain a real edge over your competition with the help of these niche content creators.
Since nano-influencers are highly affordable, you can partner with a group of nano-influencers for the same campaign. This is a chance for you to grow an army of ‘brand ambassadors’.
In time, some of these influencers will become micro-influencers and some of them will become macro-influencers.
5. Tons of User-Generated Content (UGC)
Before making a purchase decision, people look for reviews by other customers about the product or service they bought.
These days, customers want to get social proof that your product/service is worth buying.
That’s how user-generated content became so popular.
If you don’t have a loyal customer base to generate enough UGC then collaborating with nano-influencers can provide you with this content.
The UGC can be influencer-follower interactions (through comments and DMs) about using your product or service. You can take screenshots of these interactions (with the permission from the influencer) and share them on your social media channels.
Another way of generating UGC is by asking the influencer’s followers to tag your brand in their social media post about their experience after using your product/service.
You can reshare those posts on your Instagram or Facebook brand page.
Also, UGC helps you to come up with new content ideas for your social media promotions and for your website blog.
6. Word of Mouth Publicity
When your small business gets enough reach through nano-influencers, in time people will start mention your brand in their conversations online.
If your customers (acquired via influencers) are 100% satisfied with your product then they will definitely refer it to their friends, colleagues or family members.
This will in turn make people start talking about your brand on social media, blog sites, discussion forums, business review sites, and so on.
You can track these online brand mentions using free tools like Google Alerts, Mention or Mentionlytics.
You can use these brand mentions to boost up your website’s SEO and maintain your online reputation as well.
How to Find Nano-Influencers
1. Your Employees Can Help You
You can start your search for the right nano-influencers from your office itself.
Your employees may have considerable and active social media following. Their followers mainly consist of their family members and friends. [Very rewarding if you are a consumer-facing brand.]
It will do a lot of good in terms of brand awareness when an enthusiastic employee talk about your products or services you provide.
When it comes to handling compensation, you need to do somewhat differently since the “influencer” is your employee than you would deal with an outside influencer.
When it comes to Instagram, you can follow niche-specific hashtags to spot up-and-coming nano-influencers.
It has widely been observed that nano-influencers use #discoverunder, #blogger, #smallblogger and #bloggers hashtags on their posts. You can explore that too.
On Twitter, you can search a niche-specific hashtag along with an additional keyword. For example, #nanoinfluencer fashion for content creators in the fashion category.
2. Nano-Influencers on Linkedin
If you are a B2B startup/company, you cannot ignore Linkedin as it is now gaining attention among professionals, entrepreneurs, recruiters, corporate executives, and business owners.
The professional networking platform which has now 722 million users (and growing) worldwide and you can use it for branding, lead generation, sales conversions, and to recruit top talents for your company.
You can use Linkedin’s search option to find nano-influencers from your industry. Use search terms like job titles, niche-specific terms and of course hashtags.
There are lots of filters (including location) that help you to refine your search for niche content creators on the platform.
3. Tools for Tracking Nano-Influencers
Social media listening tools like Meltwater, Keyhole, and Digimind to monitor social media conversations related to your brand, competitors, and your niche.
By tracking these conversations you can find people who talk about your brand or your niche. You can make a list of social media users who comes under “nano-influencer” category.
There are influencer marketing platforms that can help you manage execute and manage your campaigns effectively. They can help you with a wide range of activities from finding influencers to tracking progress of your influencer marketing campaigns.
These platforms will provide you with a list of influencers (whether they are nano, micro or macro) and provide their statistics also.
Keep in mind that these are paid tools and you can choose the right platform based on your budget and marketing requirements.
Things You Should Know Before Approaching Them
1. Threat of Fake Influencers
Before approaching nano-influencers, you need to do thorough check on their accounts to ensure they are genuine, authentic and trustworthy.
Due to the growing demand for social media influencers, fake influencers are becoming a concern for brands and marketers. So, you need to be extra careful when dealing with influencers.
Browse through their accounts check whether their followers are real or bots, quality of their posts, comments, and the influencer’s bio.
2. Rise of Engagement Groups or Pods
With the intention of getting monetary benefits from brands, there are nano-influencers who artificially boost the engagement of their social media posts.
This is done by using engagement pods or engagement groups.
These groups of Instagram or Twitter users commit to consistently engage with each other’s content in order boost impressions and engagement. Group members communicate with each other via Twitter/Instagram DM’s, Facebook groups, or use chat apps.
Every time a group member shares a new Instagram or Twitter post, other members in the same group will have to click on the post, like it, and leave a comment.
Since the number of likes is much higher than the number of comments, it doesn’t significantly affect the engagement rate of their posts.
Bear this in mind when you decide to work with an influencer based on comments.
3. They are Not Professionals
Compared to their bigger peers, nano-influencers are newbies in brand collaborations and sponsorships. So, they need help and advice from your side.
You need to give them detailed brief but do try to control them with strict requirements regarding their way of interaction with their followers. Their audience immediately notice that their posts look artificial and salesy.
If you are new to influencer marketing, you can start with one influencer and test with one or two posts to know audience’s reaction.
Based on the influencer’s feedback, you can change your content plan or continue with current content strategy.
Nowadays, brands and marketing specialists don’t look for follower counts or the number of likes an influencer’s post gets.
Instead they look for content creators who have an individual approach and certified as trustworthy by their audience.
Nano-influencers will help your small business to grow as a brand. If you partner with them now, in time they will become your highly-influential brand promoter.
Is this the best way to promote a small business? Let me know your thoughts on whether they can help in converting your business as a brand.