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Who are they: Mega, Micro and Nano Influencers

Rodger Smith - April 12, 2021

The age of the mega influencer is maturing. Once dubbed the next frontier in marketing, mega influencers have priced themselves out of reality for many brands. Case in point: Kylie Jenner, the fourth most followed person on Instagram, reportedly earns upwards of $1.2 million for a single sponsored post. Indeed, folks with a smaller following are more affordable to hire upfront than social media influencers turned celebrities. But more importantly, brands see more return for every dollar invested in micro and nano influencers.

Go Bigger by Thinking Smaller

Researchers agree that in general, social media accounts with a smaller, more focused following have better results than their larger counterparts. CMS Wire defines mega influencers as those with 100,000 to 1 million followers, micro influencers as those with 1,000 to 100,000 followers, and nano influencers as the “new breed” with less than 1,000 followers.

More important than the exact number of followers, though, are the behaviors of these emerging groups and their followers. Mention defines nano influencers by their valuable characteristics, emphasizing that they have:

  • Personalized, 1:1 connections with their followers
  • Better engagement metrics
  • More trust from follower relationships
  • Niche but authentic interests
  • The ability to scale (because there are more of them)

Perhaps the most attractive case for nano influencers, though, is their bang for much less buck. While you might invest millions in a partnership with a member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, acquiring loyal nano influencers can cost as little as a complimentary product sample. When The New York Times first reported on the nano influencing phenomenon at the end of 2018, they interviewed everyday folks who had received free cosmetics, coffee, and even restaurant meals in exchange for Instagram promotion– in their words, “Free products are viewed as fair compensation for the ads they post outside their day jobs.” 

The key to meaningful return on nano-investment is partnering with nano influencers who have a passion for your product because it makes a meaningful difference in their life. Why? Their followers likely share those same passions. 

When The Times interviewed Kelsey Rosenberg, a savvy, self-starting nano-influencer, she’d already been reaching out to local businesses with promotion offers. Her sales pitch emphasizes the value of a smaller, more personalized following: “It’s like one of your friends telling you a new skin care product is amazing, but instead of me telling my friends at happy hour, it’s me telling them on Instagram.”

The Power of the Everyday Person

When it comes to online influencing, it’s about the quality of followers more than the number you have. And as it stands today, this new breed of nano influencers have by far the best relationships with their followers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that most of the folks under the definition of “nano influencer” are everyday people interacting with their established circle of family and friends, often picking an offline relationship up in an online environment. They’re typically more authentic and provide much more personalized attention to every interaction on their accounts. Closer 1:1 relationships between individuals can’t exist with larger influencers, and it’s indicative of the larger problem with online commerce: a lack of personal connection.

Successful companies in the future of eCommerce will strike the balance between modern digital and people-based marketing.

In fact, the rise of social commerce (Read: What is Social Commerce?) shows us that shopping is and always has been an inherently social experience. Social commerce sales are on the rise even in spite of a dropoff in in-person shopping that far predates the pandemic. 

(See also- Social Commerce: Where Tech, Influencers, and Brand Loyalty Intersect)

Ultimately, conversations about brands and products are still happening— in fact, they’re happening more often than ever before thanks to social media, and the majority of customers (particularly younger customers) prefer to make loyalty purchases online rather than in-store. The challenge, then, is to identify where those conversations about your brand are happening online and deliberately motivate the telling of a brand story not just through traditional corporate advertising, but through the more authentic voice of the everyday person. Enter: the nano-influencer.

Here, the power of an individual’s uniqueness is most important. When an individual is properly postured with the tools and motivation to tell a brand story in their own words, uniqueness can scale growth like no other method of marketing.

Did you miss Part 1 of this 3-Part series? Read more about Social Commerce here.

Read Part 3 to learn more about deploying a social commerce strategy with micro and nano influencers.

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About DirectScale, Inc.

Based in Orem, Utah, DirectScale has been setting the standard for direct, social and influencer selling industry software platforms since 2013. DirectScale’s powerful SaaS platform boasts fully configurable management tools that are vital to not only running, but also to efficiently tracking and growing an ecommerce business.
With its focus on providing an intuitive and impactful customer experience to corporate clients, influencers, affiliates and independent sellers, DirectScale has revolutionized the way these businesses can be launched and managed. To learn more or request a demo, visit directscale.com.