Influence marketing

Nano-influencers: the biggest nonpaid labour force on the planet!

, 4 October 2018

Influencer marketing continues to reveal its potential to advertisers who are exploring its possibilities. While they have understood that micro-influencers bring much more value than the Instagram stars, a new profile is already appearing: the nano-influencer. A mere buzz or a real trend? A bit of both. We’ll take a look.

The most powerful group of people in the world

Why nano? Is it because after micro, marketers looking for inspiration, needed a new term? Not exactly, or not only. The scale of nano is 10 to the power of -9. For those who are reluctant to go back to their mathematics classes, that’s a billionth. At the scale of humanity (there are 7.5 billion of us), the nano scale is roughly the same as that of the individual. Like you. You have influence! Were you in any doubt ? According to the Dunbar number (named after an English anthropologist), an individual can simultaneously maintain a stable human relationship with up to 150 people. And the emergence of social networks hasn’t made any difference to that number, which has on the contrary has been confirmed. Without reaching this maximum, at the very least, each of you has a huge influence on your family, your friends and your colleagues.

The Arab Spring is the name given to the protest movement born in late 2010 in some North African countries and the Arabian Peninsula, and amplified through social networks. (Photo credit: Magharebia, via Wikipedia)

The strength of nano-influencers is their number. There are millions of them. And, all together, they have a much greater influence than any group of mega or macro-influencers. A power that can overturn a regime. Do you remember the Arab Spring? Social networks, Facebook and Twitter in particular, were mobilized by a whole population to inform, mobilize and get organized. We know what happened next.

A group unaware of its power in the ecosystem

In reality, it’s very rare that a real buzz is the work of mega-influencers. Most of the time, the viral effect is the result of sharing by a major portion of the mass of people, namely ordinary users with a few dozen or a few hundred followers.

More than the simple pawns of a network that surpasses them, nano-influencers are the driving forces of the biggest phenomena of online sharing. (Photo credit: Pixabay, Pexels)

Therefore this strike force is a dream for marketers. However, nano-influencers are a very heterogeneous group, who aren’t aware of their value or cumulative influence. Given their number, it’s also difficult to organize their strike force, and to pay for it. Indeed, individually, each contribution is marginal. Together, it’s gigantic.

Sincere and authentic “natural influencers”

A large part of nano-influencers’ followers are, besides close friends and family, internet users with whom they’ve already interacted. It’s therefore a human relationship, genuine, reciprocal, and therefore above all a relationship of trust. This trust is a goldmine.

“Culprit”? The integrity of the nano-influencer and the authenticity of their recommendations are in fact never questioned. On the contrary, it’s a source of commitment and maximum trust. (Photo credit: Spencer Selover, Pexels)

A study by Nielsen assessed the trust in recommendations read online depending on their source. The result was clear: 83% of respondents say they trusted the recommendations of people they knew, against 70% (still not bad) for branded content. Why this gap? Because a nano-influencer is not suspected of collusion with the product or service they recommend. Their opinion is perceived as honest and therefore more valuable. This is also the reason why nano-influencers have the highest engagement rate of all types of influencers.

The time to monetize their creativity has arrived

No standard has been established, but a user with a base of between 100 and 1000 followers or daily visitors can be considered a nano-influencer. We sometimes push this number up to 3000. Above that, we’re talking about micro. Some services like Quuu or WeAre8, for the moment mainly in English, are gradually emerging and allow brands to have their content published by hundreds of nano-influencers. WeAre8 prides itself on being able to mobilize an army of 80,000 influencers, for a total reach greater than one billion people.

“You have value” The8 service tries to recruit nano and micro-influencers by sensitizing them to their influence, that is real, but most often they’re unaware of. (Photo credit: screenshot the8app)

Each influencer is remunerated marginally (a few euros), but WeAre8 has found the solution: the user can donate the small sums to the association of his choice. And most importantly, the service hopes that a nano-influencer will be able to accept dozens of partnerships each month, bringing the final remuneration to more interesting levels.

Start your own program

In practice, the use of the services mentioned above produces mixed results. The nano-influencers registered on these platforms relay regularly sponsored content, so much so that their audience, even small, no longer believes in the authenticity of the publications. In short, marketing professionals talk a lot about nano-influencers, without really knowing how to mobilize them, and no service to date has been able to propose an effective solution. So much for the fake buzz.

In reality, the best nano-influencers imaginable are the fans of your brand. You’re not guaranteed to find opinion leaders among your existing followers, but nano-influencers are surely present. It’s not a question of showering them with gifts, you’d turn an honest relationship into something that works only out of interest. Most often nano-influencers’ main objective is to increase their audience and to network. Here are two ways to proceed to take care of these profiles and enjoy the visibility they’ll offer you in return:

  • Online, give them scoops on ads, or a preview of your next product or service. If they’re fans of your brand, they’ll appreciate this gesture, especially as it allows them to produce exclusive content.
  • Offline, events are the solution. An official event is the best way to allow nano-influencers to meet each other and so increase their network. They’ll be grateful to you forever, or almost.

And most importantly, some influencers are the micro and perhaps the macro-influencers of tomorrow. No great influencer built their influence in a day! They all went through the nano then the micro stages. So, building direct relationships with promising nano-influencers may be unprofitable at the time, but it’s also a bet on the future: they’ll return the favour once at the top.

What about companies that don’t have a “fanbase”, i.e. a base of true admirers, for example in B2B? Well, contrary to the buzz around nano-influencers, we’re afraid to have to advise against the adventure. Raising an army of internet users around your initiatives is impossible without a prior affinity for your brand. So focus on micro-influencers (3000 to 10,000 subscribers), a pool of 5 of them being enough to attain a more than satisfactory reach.

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