You might think that the world of influencing is only for social media elites with hundreds of thousands of followers. But alongside the evolution of the Instagram model, we’ve also seen the expansion of the influencer market. A six-digit follower count is an intimidating prospect, but you can become a nano-influencer with far fewer than that.
Brands are increasingly looking for nano-influencers to partner with. This is because they have loyal followers who genuinely trust their opinion, which represents an excellent means of lead generation for partnering companies. Before we dive into the best ways to make your social media brand a success, let’s clarify what you need to do to qualify as a nano-influencer.
What makes an influencer nano?
Just in case you’re not already familiar with influencer tiers, it’s primarily separated by follower count. Nano-influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Micro-influencers make up the next highest level and have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. So, as influencers go, the nano category consists mostly of amateurs.
This means that they tend to be everyday people who are sharing different aspects of their lives. Their follower base may largely be made up of friends and wider social or business acquaintances. This is exactly what makes them special and why it’s entirely possible for you to become a nano-influencer too.
Why nano-influencers are valuable
Micro and macro-influencers might have thousands more followers, however, the nano-influencer’s more humble numbers are precisely what makes them attractive to brands.
Research has shown that nano-influencers have the highest engagement rates of all the influencer tiers. In fact, this report demonstrates that they achieve double the engagement of macro-influencers, with an average of 3.69%. This level of interaction is directly tied to their tighter-knit community of followers and the trust built between them.
Naturally, efficiency in business is a priority for most marketers. That’s why nano-influencers have massive appeal. Their high engagement means that for every pound spent on a post, they’re likely to see a higher return on their investment.
Find a niche
Nano-influencers can start out by sharing general highlights of their life. This could include places they have traveled or things they have personally found useful, be that a new mop or how to stop spam flooding your inbox. But to really up your influencing game, it is a good idea to have a niche.
Think about what your interests are and what you like posting about already, then get more specific. Say, for example, you’re a bookworm and also a mother. You could start reviewing and recommending children’s books. This is already something you enjoy and will be helpful to other parents who follow you.
Having a niche will also help you attract the right brands for your content. This will be helpful if and when you decide to reach out to a business about working together, but will also help them find and recruit you.
For nano-influencers targeting a specific niche, using hashtags on Instagram truly makes a difference. Harnessing the power of the hashtag can not only bring more followers to your page, but it can also help businesses find you as well.
To get started, do your research. Begin by searching for keywords relevant to the content you like to post. You’ll then be presented with a long list of popular hashtags that are related to your content.
For example, if you search “travel” you’ll find a long list of results, starting with the obvious #travel which is saturated with millions of posts. This is where having a niche is useful. For example, traveling on a budget will give you hashtags with fewer posts that are far more specific such as #budget travel.
When a budget travel brand searches for influencers, they start by looking at posts with relevant hashtags. Hashtags are your influencing friends.
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It may be tempting to view other influencers as your competition, but they are far more valuable as your collaborators. Start by looking for other influencers whose content is within the same sphere as yours.
Your best bet is to focus on finding collaborators who share your niche and would relate well to your audience. This may include fellow nano-influencers or those with more or fewer followers.
A collaboration might just be content that you both work on, such as a live stream or video. Or it might be as simple as sharing each other’s posts. You’ll be helping each other out by increasing engagement and introducing new followers to your pages.
Treat your followers like your friends
Perhaps most of your followers are your friends and that’s more than okay. However, as your social media presence begins to grow, you’ll find that new followers arrive, who you don’t know personally, but who are no less interested. Talk to them like you would your friends.
You don’t need to rush out and sign up for a hosted phone system, but you do need to use your best communication tools
This doesn’t mean giving up your life to be on social media all day, but it does mean being highly responsive to any contact from your followers. Reply to as many as you can, as often as you can.
We all use multiple communication methods at work such as phone, Gmail, and Slack and your nano influencing work should be the same. Whether it be replying to comments, direct messages, story replies, or question boxes — keep the communication channels open. This particularly applies to public comments or replies.
This shows your followers that you care and that they are important to you, but it can also be helpful to others. Answering one person’s question may answer that same question for others. Visitors to your page will notice that you engage with your community, and that will encourage them to click the follow button themselves. Brands will notice that you make your audience a priority, encouraging them to work with you for the best campaign results on both ends.
Keep it real
Honestly, the most important quality you have as a nano-influencer is your authenticity. The high engagement rate that nano-influencers enjoy is down to the trust and loyalty they have with their followers.
The saying goes that you should write what you know; likewise, you should post what you love. Make sure that whatever you share on social media, you are being genuine and true to yourself. This is even more important when it comes to partnering with brands.
Perhaps you have reached a certain follower count and established your niche. Now you’re being contacted by companies who would like to work with you. The offers may be attractive, especially financially, but be cautious.
Say your Instagram page shares your life running an online shop. You’re then approached by a company that offers VoIP for small businesses. Chances are, you have small business owners in your followers who would find a post about this useful.
On the flip side, say you shared a post advertising a discount for a paintballing company. If you have never mentioned paintballing before, it will almost certainly come across as inauthentic and forced.
You could easily damage the trust you have built with your followers by agreeing to every brand deal that comes your way. Be discerning and only agree to partnerships that feel natural and that you believe in. This is important in the long term too, as other brands will notice you are selective in your deals and that is a big plus.
Via Social Shepherd
Other aspects that make nano-influencers attractive to marketers is their affordability and approachability. Those with many more followers might be receiving multiple brand requests a day, but nano-influencers are likely to be more responsive, with lower financial expectations.
Remember that you are at the beginning of your influencer career. Sometimes the benefit of a brand partnership might not be great financially, but can still help you both. If a company is not able to pay you much, or not at all, be flexible about other options like free products.
This could turn out to be valuable in the long run. As your career and their brand grow, you might be able to make a more profitable deal down the road. It’s also important to be flexible in adapting to their needs while still knowing your worth in the partnership.
As a part-time influencer, it might not always be easy to accommodate their requests. However, much like auto dialer software can help make outbound calls more efficient, there are apps that can post to social media for you.
Search for apps that have a post later function, if it’s not already possible on the platform you’re using. That way, if a brand has requested a post at a certain time e.g. for the start of a sale, you can do it even if you’re at work or in a meeting.
Nano-influencers will always be a bit of a risk for brands at the beginning. Being flexible and reliable will help build their trust, so they want to keep working with you.
Now you’re ready to become a nano-influencer
The most important thing to remember as you become a nano-influencer is what makes you unique. Nano-influencers are admired by followers and brands alike as real, genuine people who share trustworthy content.
So, don’t be tempted to transform yourself into a highly-polished professional straight away. There’s plenty of time for that later, if that is your goal. Don’t forget the magic of approachable stories or the genius of an Instagram photo dump. Don’t stray from what you really like and enjoy.
Basically, be yourself and you will find your audience.
John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8
John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.