Nano Influencers: What They Are and Why They Are Important

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Karen Lin

Instagram Growth | May 24, 2024

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If you’re an avid Instagram user, it’s no secret that influencers are taking over the social media app. These days, it can even feel like you are following more influencers than you are friends and family. Of course, some of your friends may have taken the leap and become influencers themselves. Even with a small following, influencer status is still achievable – with the path of a nano influencer. If the term nano makes you think of the word small, you are on the right track. A nano influencer is essentially the starting point when it comes to how to be an influencer. This is how many of the most famous social stars first got their start. From here, they built their brand up, one follower at a time.

Social media fame can seem appealing for many people. We get it. Amassing tons of followers and getting paid to share photos and videos? Sounds like a dream come true for some. Perhaps you are thinking of becoming an Instagram influencer yourself. Wondering what the journey is like and what exactly it entails? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading below as we fill you in on all things nano influencer-related. From the true definition of the term to getting started and, of course, growing – we cover it all.

A nano influencer setting up her smartphone to record content for a brand collaboration.

What Is a Nano Influencer?

As we mentioned above, the first stop on your influencer career journey is commonly thought to be a nano influencer. This is considered your almost average Instagram user. This term tends to cover those who are just starting out on their influencer journey and are at the beginning of the road. Nano influencers have the smallest follower count among influencer levels, typically with under 10,000 followers. While this can feel like a big number to a normal person, it is small when it comes to some of the biggest social stars. While nano influencers aren’t typically thought of as “professional” influencers, they are a genre in their own right. One of the key traits that sets them apart from their bigger counterparts? Authenticity.

Nano influencers work hard to establish themselves in the social media world. They are also commonly well known and respected among their intimate community. Although they may have a smaller reach, nano influencers often have a very high level of engagement. This is because their current audience mainly consists of friends and family. With this type of loyalty, their followers, likes and comments are all real and authentic. When they partner with a brand or business for a collaboration, it’s often done in exchange for goods or services instead of money. This can be a great way to create long-lasting partnerships with smaller brands and grow with them.

Nano Influencer Follower Count

So, just how many Instagram followers do you need to consider yourself a nano influencer? As we mentioned above, the cap is approximately 10,000. However, the range can be anywhere from 100 to 10,000. You may be thinking to yourself, I have more than 100 followers – am I a nano influencer? In reality, you technically are. However, the key is that you are looking to grow your followers and your self-brand.  At the beginning of your influencer journey, it’s true that many of your followers will be people you know in real life. Most likely, you’ve already built first-hand relationships with them outside of social media. This is an important connection to have. It means you can count on their support and loyalty to your brand as you continue to grow and expand.

However, reaching 10,000 followers is no small feat. This involves lots of dedicated hard work and self-promotion. You have to be willing to put in the time and energy that is required. Wondering how to get more followers? It’s best to have a strategy in mind and a plan to execute it. One important thing to consider is following users that will follow you back. Think of it as a give-and-take strategy, earning new followers by following them back. Being proactive and putting yourself out there will make your presence better known.

Nano Influencer Rates

Of course, you’re probably wondering about money. After all, that can often be a driving reason that people get into influencing in the first place. Can nano influencers make a career from their smaller following? If so, what are the going nano influencers rates for brand partnerships and collaborations? Like we mentioned above, it can take time to turn a profit when you are a nano influencer. When you partner with brands for marketing opportunities, it is typically done in exchange for goods and services. These types of agreements work well for small businesses, as they are often also just starting out themselves. Don’t worry, we will cover more about targeted brands down below.

It can also be helpful to hire an agency if you are looking to turn a profit as a nano influencer. This will consist of a team of dedicated people that have your best interests in mind. Agencies have connections with brands that are looking for all levels of influencers, including nano. They can essentially go to bat for you and handle your business contracts and revenue streams. However, keep in mind that these agencies will come at a cost. Most require a monthly retainer or a percentage of your profits from any collaborations.

A focused nano influencer working on growing her brand.

How to Become a Nano Influencer

If you’re wondering how to become a nano influencer, you’re in the right place. And, truth be told, it’s easier than you may think. Since a nano influencer has a low following requirement, it’s often quickly attainable. Whether you’re looking to grow your existing Instagram profile or create a new one, you’ll want to dedicate the page to your new venture. If you wish to create a separate profile from your existing personal one, simply set up a fresh Instagram account. Make sure to think up a catchy and creative Instagram handle that your followers will easily remember. Ideally, you’ll want to keep this name throughout all your social media channels. In this case, it may be helpful to do some research to make sure your desired username is readily available.

There are also a few nano influencer strategies to consider when it comes to starting out. These involve ways to increase your visibility on Instagram and, of course, increase your followers. Below, we will outline many things to keep in mind when planning out your course of action. Read on to figure out how to find your niche and grow your Instagram presence.

Find Your Niche as a Nano Influencer

Truth be told, you can become a nano influencer on just about any topic. It’s all about honing in on your interests and finding your niche among social media platforms. Above all, you have to strongly believe in what you are sharing with the world. It will be clear to your followers and potential brand spooners when you are passionate and knowledgeable. This will help to gain their trust and loyalty to your overall brand.

Wondering where to start when it comes to how to become an Instagram influencer? While it can seem overwhelming at first, we know you will quickly find your way. It’s all about identifying what you are an expert in and how it sets yourself apart from others. To find what suits you best, think long and hard about your interests, hobbies and favorite pastimes. From here, hone in and identify what makes you different. Finding other Instagram influencers that share your same vision is another great way to find your space. This can help get your creative juices flowing and set your intentions.

Growing Your Instagram Presence

As a nano influencer, you’ll also want to focus on growing your following and promoting yourself as a brand. A good way to do this is to make sure your Instagram account is set up as an Instagram business profile. This is easy to do from both an existing account or when setting up a new one. To transition your existing account, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Go to your profile and select the three bars option in the upper righthand corner.
  2. Tap settings then select account.
  3. Scroll down until you see switch to professional account. Select continue to scroll through the notifications of changes.
  4. Next, you’ll need to select a category that best describes you. For many influencers, this will be blogger or digital creator.
  5. Tap done, then okay to confirm.
  6. Select business one last time, then next and add your contact details.

Many nano influencers who are looking to grow also have another artistic outlet. This can be anything from another social media channel or even a blog. By sharing daily or weekly links to blog posts, you are giving your followers another way to engage with you.

Like we briefly mentioned above, growing your followers is a huge part of growing your Instagram presence. An easy way to do this is to identify potential followers from other Instagram accounts that line up with your own vision and aesthetic. Going back to the give-and-take strategy, reach out and connect with them. Most likely, this will cause them to check out what your Instagram is all about and, hopefully, follow you back. You can also use Instagram’s explore page to find new inspirational accounts. Engaging with famous personalities, from celebrities to fellow influencers, will also help to increase your visibility to followers.

A nano influencer looking through his latest photo content on his computer.

Understanding the Influencer Tiers: Nano Influencers vs. Micro, Macro and Mega

Once you become a nano influencer, you will quickly become familiar with the other types of influencers above you on the ladder. It can be easy to see their success and be eager to have that for yourself. For many, this is all the drive they need to continue forward on their chosen career path. Others are perfectly content with their smaller, dedicated following and strive to stay in that space. However, it is perfectly normal to dream big and have your sights set on fame and, hopefully, fortune. You’ll want to remember that social media is a vast space. While there is room for everyone, it can be an overcrowded career to pursue and some will have a hard time reaching the pinnacle of success. Below, let’s chart out the path for your influencer journey, from the beginning stage to the top spot.

Micro vs Nano Influencers on Instagram

As we’ve mentioned above, a nano influencer is thought of as the first step of one’s influencer journey. So, what comes after that? That would be a micro influencer. Wondering just what the difference is between a micro vs. nano influencer on Instagram? Allow us to explain. A micro influencer has gained a larger following than their nano counterpart. They are someone who has approximately 20,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro influencers are extremely dedicated to their audience and are good at identifying potential followers through brand partnerships. Much like nano influencers, they typically have a high engagement rate. They achieve this by being open and transparent with their audience. Authentic content put out by micro influencers tends to mostly be self-created. They also take the time to respond to and engage with their followers through direct messages and post comments.

As you can see, micro and nano influencers are very closely related and intertwined. They both put an important focus on connection with their followers, which often shows with their engagement rates. They are also both extremely credible and transparent with their audience. However, the main difference comes down to their follower count. Micro influencers also have a bit more appeal to brands when it comes to potential business deals. Wondering why? It is mostly due to their slightly expanded audience, which means their content can reach more potential customers.

Nano Influencers vs. Macro and Mega Influencers on Instagram

After you’ve passed both nano influencer and micro influencer status, there are just tiers left to discuss. Up first? Allow us to introduce you to the macro influencer. On Instagram, this is someone that has amassed an approximation of 500k to one million followers. This is considered the third tier of growing as an influencer. Macro influencers tend to have an extremely dedicated audience, making this tier often thought of as the sweet spot of social media. They reach a large audience and frequently get their content featured on the Instagram explore page. In fact, many of their followers know them from somewhere outside of Instagram. This can range from acting to singing or starring in popular reality shows. Being credited with another title helps to create better recognition and a stronger connection among their followers.

The top tier of influencers are referred to as mega influencers. At this level, we’re talking millions and millions of followers. Even tens of millions, if you can believe it. This might sound daunting – and it can be. Luckily, mega influencers often have an entire agency team running their social media platforms and business opportunities. Similar to macro influencers, those who have claimed mega status typically have another claim to fame. We’re talking about celebrities, athletes and musicians. Mega influencers have a massive reach and are able to set trends among their audience. Companies pay top dollar for collaborations with these top content creators and it pays off.

A nano influencer filming a new Instagram reel to share with her followers.

Business Partnerships With Brands That Work With Nano Influencers

You’re officially caught up on what a nano influencer is and how to become on. Now it’s time to dive a little deeper into business opportunities. That’s right, we are talking about partnering and collaborating with companies – hopefully for a profit. Since you know that their reach is on the smaller side, you are probably wondering if nano influencers are a good fit for brands. And what about influencer marketing campaigns? Can you obtain those as a nano influencer? The answer to all these questions is yes. However, it’s important to remember that not all brands are a good match for every influencer. When it comes to brands that work with nano influencers, the criteria can vary. Below, we’ll take a closer look at what kinds of brands target nano influencers.

What Kinds of Brands Are Looking For Nano Influencers?

So, wondering how to target brands looking for nano influencers? Let us assist in your search. As we mentioned above, you’ll want to first identify a list of brands that match your aesthetic, interests and visions. More than likely, you are probably already following a few that fit the bill. Once you’ve got your list, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do a bit of self-promoting. This shows that you are confident in yourself and willing to go the extra mile. With this in mind, utilizing post comments and direct messages on Instagram is a great way to catch the eye of these brands. Although it can take time and effort, an organic approach like this can have a big payoff.

However, it’s important to remember that the opportunities available to nano influencers can be very different from those for other levels. This rings especially true when comparing nano to macro and mega influencers. Brands and businesses know that the reach and audience of a nano influencer is smaller. The best path is to become a long-term partner of brands that are just emerging themselves. Even if there is no monetary gain at first, it’s a great opportunity to build a relationship for future growth.

Examples of Brands That Partner With Nano Influencers

Now that you’re all caught up on the types of brands that work with nano influencers, let’s get into some examples. Of course, it will all depend on your Instagram niche and what your influencing is focused on. Remember, though – there is a social space for every interest. As we mentioned above, getting in with an emerging brand can lead to a great long-term relationship. Keep an eye on new businesses that pop up around your town, from shops to restaurants and gyms.

Of course, there are bigger, well-known brands that embrace influencers with a smaller following. This is especially true for social media-based marketing ads. Let’s take a look at a couple national brands. Is beauty your main focus? If so, consider checking out Nivea (@nivea). This skincare-focused brand is known to partner with smaller influencers when launching new products. Starbucks (@starbucks) is another company that focuses on marketing partnerships with nano and micro influencers. For all things fashion-influencer related, give Macy’s (@macys) a follow. They are known for social media campaigns that feature influencers of all kinds.

At Path Social we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested, and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.