How to Get the Most out of Working With Nanoinfluencers

They come at a lower cost but also have a smaller fan base

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nanoinfluencers don't always leave a lasting impression since they're usually not too well known.
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When it comes to influencer marketing, is small beautiful? That’s what a chorus of recent commentators would have you believe. The New York Times is only one of many outlets to hype the potential of under-the-radar social media figures to drive outsized impact on awareness and consideration. With audiences numbering in the low thousands, these niche content creators are said to offer a level of relatability no Kardashian can match, along with being much cheaper to work with. What’s not to like?

Not so fast, though. Nanoinfluencers may have big dreams, but their real influence and potential remain just as small as their name implies. When you’re looking to spend millions of media dollars on influence at scale, bringing nanoinfluencers into your campaign is likely to be a highly frustrating and largely futile exercise.

That’s not to say that there’s no place for nanoinfluencers. With low costs, high authenticity and an eager-to-please stance toward their sponsors, they can indeed offer an interesting alternative or complement to traditional influencer marketing. The key is to keep your expectations realistic and go about it in the right way.

Put them in the right part of your budget

Nanoinfluencers may have big dreams, but their real influence and potential remain just as small as their name implies.

Nanoinfluencers are a bad fit for traditional influencer marketing. They’re hard to amass at scale and pose management and measurement challenges that can make any campaign a slog. In that sense, instead of being lumped into the same context as top-tier influencers and paid media where their shortcomings are all too evident, nanoinfluencers more properly belong in the earned media realm. Long-tail, PR-style influence is a better fit for both the scale of nanoinfluence and the character of the nanoinfluencers themselves.

Keep cash payments low or non-existent

While higher-end influencers can command up to five-figure payments for a single sponsored post, many nanoinfluencers will work for food or whatever you’re asking them to help promote. Most are in this for fun and passion and don’t expect to make a living from you. If they do ask for cash, they’ll often be happy with enough to cover a month or two of utility payments. The homespun nature of their content and the personal connections fostered by their small fan base makes nanoinfluencers perfect for helping to spread word of mouth in exchange for a few freebies now and then. Whether as a complement to ongoing marketing or PR activities or as a low-risk standalone initiative, this kind of grassroots effort can better meet its goals than a more ambitious traditional influencer marketing campaign.

Use organizations to scale

With most nanoinfluencers a fraction the size of even a typical microinfluencer, it takes a lot of them to assemble a reasonably-sized campaign and a lot of time and effort before you can hope to see an impact. To spare yourself having to identify candidates one by one, try going after them in bunches by using the organizations or affiliations they’re associated with. For example, there are some 400 SoulCycle instructors across the country. That’s a great persona for some brands to leverage. The first ones you bring in can help recruit others, putting a network effect to work to build scale more quickly.

Maintain strict control over messaging

Top-tier campaigns usually involved giving creative control to the talent—after all, their large following proves that they know what they’re doing, and it’s their own personality and content style you’re hoping to leverage. That also puts you at risk of a brand mishap if an influencer gets carried away. With nanoinfluencers, you can maintain strict control over messaging to maximize impact and avoid the kind of missteps that even mainstream influencers can make (to the detriment of their sponsors). Your creative agency should tell your nanoinfluencers exactly what to do, when and how.

Learn from your nanoinfluencers

The small-scale and intimate audience of a nanoinfluencer offers interesting opportunities for learning. While measurement is a challenge on a nanoinfluencer-by-nanoinfluencer basis, you can still analyze aggregated metrics across larger groups of nanoinfluencers to see which types of content or creators drive the most purchases, clicks and engagement. You can use those insights to refine not only future nanoinfluencer campaigns but also traditional higher-end influence campaigns.

Nanoinfluencers also often engage in more substantive dialogue with their followers who see them more as friends than remote celebrities. Comment threads can also provide perspective on how the posts you sponsor are being received and how your brand is being perceived as a result.

In some ways, nanoinfluencers represent the web at its best, combining do-it-yourself content, hand-curated personal connections and a willingness to start small and dream big. But these days, they also stand for the hype and unrealistic expectations that novelty can breed. Don’t let the pundits lure you into an unmanageable social media morass. Let nanoinfluencers do what they do best.

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