Influencer strategies are becoming increasingly common for everyone from big-box brands to small businesses. The trick is finding influencers that will successfully reach your target audience. The general assumption is that working with an influencer with a large following will provide more return on your spend than a smaller one. But, in the past two years working with influencers, I’ve learned that’s not always the case. 

Sometimes, especially for small and local businesses, working with creators who maintain a smaller but more engaged community can help connect you with people who are much more likely to buy from your brand. These influencers are typically referred to as “nano” or “micro” influencers and have fewer than 50K followers. 

Nano-influencers specifically are categorized as having between 1K and 10K followers, most of whom are predominantly local to the market of the influencer. For example, a content creator based in Indianapolis with a following of 7.5K will be more likely to drive sales within Central Indiana because the content being created is more relevant to their followers than, say, a person located in northern California.

Of course, not all of their followers are guaranteed to be local, but chances are that at least 50% of them will be. The same cannot be said for a macro-influencer with 500K+ followers.

According to Planoly, nano-influencers earn a 7% average engagement rate, which is higher than any other influencer group. There are also 3-9x as many nano-influencers as there are macro- (500K-1M) or mega- (1-5M) influencers, giving brands more opportunities to reach these audience members directly.

Here are a few of the top benefits discovered when working with nano-influencers:

They take time to develop relationships.

An influencer with fewer than 10K followers is typically more engaged, replying to comments and DMs from their followers simply because they are able to. The sheer volume of comments a mega-influencer receives would take an army to respond individually. This, in turn, leads to increased engagement rates across the board. The more engaged the followers are, the more likely they will be to carry that engagement across to your brand’s social channels.

They are more trustworthy.

To their followers, these influencers seem less like content creators getting paid to promote a brand and more like friends offering a great suggestion. Their lifestyle, including the products and services they are promoting, is much more attainable. Instead of jetting off to a private villa in the Philippines, they’re taking a two-night staycation right in your hometown. They’re not decked out in designer brands, they’re supporting local boutiques and shopping at Target. 

They are cost-effective.

Many small businesses do not have the budget to court and work with a macro-influencer, paying $500+ per post on Instagram. Even if they decide to go that route, chances are they will only have room in their annual marketing budget for a handful of posts. Nano-influencers are much more likely to accept a trade of goods and/or services in exchange for creating brand-sponsored content. Less than half of smaller influencers (45%) prefer monetary payment for partnerships.

They connect you with new eyes.

For brands looking to tap into a new audience segment, nano-influencers provide the perfect opportunity. Their content, and in turn, their followers, are much more targeted than accounts with larger follower counts because they’re not pandering to the masses. Finding a way to merge your brand with their messaging will provide you with the opportunity to reach demographics previously unfamiliar with your brand.

Interested in including influencers in your social media strategy in 2021? We can help!