When we think of influencer marketing, typically celebrities with massive followings come to mind. I immediately think of the Kardashian ladies plugging weight-loss teas and hair vitamins. What’s interesting is that social media marketing has become such a lucrative field that companies are not just targeting the big players. Instagram accounts with as few as 1000 followers can make some extra cash if they check the right engagement boxes. With the pandemic causing losses in sales and unemployment, many of us are looking for alternative income sources. Your Instagram account may be more valuable than you think.
Welcome to the small but powerful world of the nano-influencer.
What is a nano-influencer?
It’s the year 2020 and the profession of a social media influencer is no longer considered an unusual career path. Influencers are plentiful, powerful, and come in many shapes and sizes. Take a look at this diagram from Mediakix which outlines the industry-established Instagram influencer tiers.
Each group has a part to play in the Instagram eco-system. The nano-influencer has between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Their audiences represent a small but highly engaged group, focused on a specific niche, like beauty, fitness, or food. Think of your friend who has a decent-sized following, posts frequently and consistently gets lots of likes and comments on their content. That person has the makings of being a nano-influencer.
How do nano-influencers make money?
I want to preface this section by stating that the majority of nano-influencers do not make a lot of money! Most of them will have a full-time job that is their main source of income, and they use Instagram as more of a side gig or hobby.
Nano-influencers can be approached by brands to do a sponsored Instagram post or story where they promote a product. More often, it is the nano-influencer who contacts a brand they like offering to do promotional work. Depending on the popularity of the influencer’s account, they can make on average $100 per post, $114 per video post and $43 for an Instagram story, according to a 2019 study. Those who really work hard and develop partnerships with brands can make between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.
However, in many cases, money isn’t part of the deal. Free products and services are viewed as fair compensation for the ads they post outside their day jobs.
Why do companies work with nano-influencers?
Nano-influencers are not celebrities. They are, for want of a better word, regular people like you and me. Followers find this type of influencer more relatable and approachable. Their opinions feel genuine, like a friend is making a recommendation, not some massive celebrity who doesn’t know your name.
Because of their smaller audience, nano-influencers are highly engaged with their followers. They reply to direct messages, comments on posts, and will often follow their followers’ accounts. This activity fosters a trusting relationship between influencer and fan, a very valuable asset for sponsorship companies.
Influencers with up to 1 million followers can charge $10,000 per post. That’s going to hit a brand’s marketing budget pretty hard. Conversely, many nano-influencers are willing to create branded content in exchange for a free product or a nominal fee. This low investment means that even a moderately successful nano-influencer campaign can provide a solid return-on-investment for a company.
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How to be a nano-influencer?
Thinking about becoming a nano-influencer? Spoiler alert: it’s a lot more work than it seems! But if you’re the kind of person who enjoys using social media and interacting with people online, this could be the side hustle for you! Here’s a quick list of what you need to become a successful nano-influencer. For a more detailed account, check out the article; Nano-influencer Marketing 101 by Sprout Social.
- Focus on a niche: Nano-influencers and their followers share common and usually niche interests. Think non-toxic beauty brands, gluten-free recipes, and thrifted interior decorations.
- Post consistent content: You must post consistently if you want the Instagram algorithm to notice your account and highlight you on the Explore page.
- Use insights and analytical tools: There are many tools available that help you keep track of what posts/stories receive the most engagement and viewership. Use this data to drive your follower engagement forward.
- Build a following: Take the time to follow similar accounts and build relationships within your niche. Keep an eye on the follower:following ratio, however. Try to keep your following just below your follower count to avoid looking spammy.
- Engage, engage, ENGAGE: The Instagram algorithm favors accounts that have high engagement. Companies looking for brand partners will need to see this as well. This means responding to every comment, keeping the conversation flowing on your page and replying to your DMs. Support your community as well by engaging with other accounts.
If you were going to start an influencer Instagram account, what would be your niche?!