When you imagine a typical Instagram influencer, who do you picture? Kylie Jenner or Alexa Chung may come to mind, but they are by no means the only social media mavens capable of getting followers excited about partnered brands. Often, the most effective influencers are those who, at first glance, don’t actually seem to wield that much influence.

The title of influencer originally denoted a major following of devoted users. As the term implies, these followers could be influenced by their favorite accounts’ suggestions for purchasing products or investing in services. Hence, the rise of influencer marketing, in which brands seek sponsorships with Instagram’s most notorious accounts.

In recent years, many small businesses have purposefully opted for partnerships involving micro influencers. These accounts may possess fewer followers, but their appeal lies in their targeted nature. This allows partners to get the word out to the consumers who are most likely to convert.

The micro influencer is here to stay. In fact, this revolutionary concept is now accompanied by an even more targeted version: the nano influencer. This Instagram phenomenon brings an abundance of opportunities not only to aspiring macro influencers, but also, to business owners who would like to experiment with this popular form of marketing.

What Makes an Instagram User a Nano Influencer?

What Makes an Instagram User a Nano Influencer

Defining micro and nano influencers can be difficult. Even social media experts differ in where they draw the line between micro and nano. Most, however, agree that micro influencers have tens of thousands of followers and a moderate level of experience partnering with brands. Nano influencers have yet to build as large of a following and may not have worked extensively to promote businesses. Still, they’re eager to prove their worth, and often, better capable of connecting with consumers on a deep level.

Follower count can be a tricky parameter for defining nano influencers, as some have fewer followers than ‘ordinary’ Instagram pages. In fact, it’s possible for a user to be considered an influencer despite having just a few thousand followers. Still, it’s also possible to be considered a nano influencer after developing a greater reach.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the nano influencer is the quality of their relationships with their followers. They may personally know a singificant share of the social media users they target. The rest tend to follow similar accounts or even share real-life friends. What’s more, nano influencers may hold similar interests or live in the same geographic region as the majority of their followers.

Top Benefits of Working with Nano Influencers

Top Benefits of Working with Nano Influencers

When searching for sponsors, many businesses make the mistake of focusing primarily on follower count or other surface-level metrics. These numbers fail to tell the entire story. A campaign based on such indicators alone may see muted results.

When exploring influencer marketing, consider the unique appeal of the nano approach, which provides the following key benefits:


The appeal of any influencer lies with that person’s ability to form a genuine connection with followers. Extensive research reveals that social media users are far more likely to follow the purchasing suggestions of accounts they find relatable. This can lead to significant improvements in conversion rates. Results from Rakuten’s Influencer Marketing Global Survey, for example, suggest that 81 percent of U.S. consumers have made purchases after clicking images or links shared by influencers.

Unfortunately, over time, some influencers lose the authentic touch that made them feel relatable in the first place. Those who accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers and partner with top brands may begin to feel more like celebrities and less like ‘real’ people.

This isn’t true across the board, of course, but it’s often easier for average Instagram users to relate to nano influencers who have yet to hit it big. Some businesses even capitalize on nano influencers who were passionate about the products in question before they were approached for partnerships. This genuine enthusiasm simply cannot be faked.

Niche Appeal

While micro influencers are capable of targeting their approach to meet the demands of certain users, many are only willing to go so far with niche content. Businesses looking to attract attention from a very specific type of customer may find better results with nano influencers, who do not need to water down their posts to appeal to tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. These influencers can recommend products for a narrow set of followers without worrying about alienating significant portions of their fan base.

Nano influencers’ partners can be confident that niche-oriented posts will make an impression among users, prompting conversions rather than continued scrolling. Many businesses have discovered that a few carefully targeted posts from a nano influencer can prompt far more action than generic partnerships with more popular accounts.

Lower Cost

Like it or not, cost needs to be considered when developing an influencer campaign. Some businesses simply cannot afford to partner with the major names they’d like to include in their marketing efforts. This is especially true as influencers begin to command greater compensation.

Pricing data from IZEA pinpoints the cost of the average sponsored Instagram photo at $1,643 as of 2019 — an astounding increase from the mere $134 investment required in 2014. Macro influencers may earn tens, even hundreds of thousands for a single sponsored post.

With rates like these, it’s easy to see why many small business owners believe that influencer marketing is not financially viable. With nano influencers, however, it can be. Many of these users view small sponsorship budgets as the price of admission — especially if they believe in the core message and purpose of the brands they promote.

Less Competition

No matter how much you spend on your marketing campaign, it’s less likely to make an impression if your partnered influencer is already associated with several other brands. Exclusivity can be difficult to come by for macro or micro influencers who constantly receive offers, but nano influencers may only work with one or two businesses. This lack of competition allows followers to build strong associations between influencers and the brands they promote.

Wrap Up

argeted approach to social media or influencer marketing

Of course, nano influencers aren’t right for every brand. This approach carries some risk, as small-scale influencers may be less polished than their more experienced counterparts — and they may require more guidance. This will be especially important as Instagram cracks down on those who neglect to make their sponsorship status obvious. Still, those who are willing to put in a little extra effort could see the reward of a cost-effective and highly authentic influencer who produces real results.

As you craft your next social media marketing initiative think small. You’ll be amazed by the splash a hidden gem of a nano influencer can make.

Are you interested in experimenting with a more targeted approach to social media or influencer marketing? If you’re not quite sure where to start, look to the experts at Vinci Digital for help. Reach out to request a quote or to learn more about our social media services.

PS: What do you appreciate about working with micro or nano influencers? How are you looking to shake up your Instagram efforts in the future? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is the CEO of Vinci Digital with over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He partners with mid-size, established businesses as a growth and scalability consultant and strategic branding advisor as well as offering a full-suite of agency services. Gerald calls Carmel, CA home with his wife Safira and two children. He has co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”