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Influencer Marketing

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Lesson 4, Topic 5
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Micro and nano influencers

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Within ecommerce, we can segment influencers into three categories: celebrities, micro-influencers and nano influencers.


Most consumers think an influencer is a celebrity. Celebrity influencers are aspirational because they sell what others might aspire to. Millions of Gen Zs (under age 25, roughly) and Millennials (ages 25 to 40) model their purchases after Kim Kardashian, for example. They want the same makeup, food, and clothing. Aspirational influencers are usually expensive and correlate with audience size — the larger the more costly, especially for mega audiences of 50 million or more followers. I’ve seen fees of $500,000 and more for audiences of that magnitude.

For ecommerce merchants, the practical considerations to using celebrities depend on how broad of an appeal a product or service carries, as well as risk tolerance. Gigantic audiences mean loose targeting. This is why you’ll see Kim Kardashian, with 219 million followers on Instagram, promoting Uber Eats and other generic categories, as a large segment of her followers will presumably find them useful. Niche products with a narrow focus typically experience a poor return on investment with aspirational influencers.

The risk has to do with spending the money (or, in some cases, a share of a company) in the hopes a single voice will drive response. To be sure, celebrities can have a big impact. But they are not for the faint of heart and beyond the reach of most ecommerce retailers.


On the other end of the scale, we have micro-influencers. It’s a relatively new term and has barely anything to do with the buzz, fame and fortune influencers from our report generate. Micro-influencers are social media users with significantly smaller, but more engaging following than macro-influencers. For example, in the case of Instagram, a study from Takumi proves that the huge following has an inverse effect on engagement. 

So, micro-influence is not defined by the number of one’s social following but the relevant conversation groups that a buyer engages in. Therefore, a micro-influencer is not someone with a specific number of followers – engaged or otherwise – but the people whom your potential buyer speaks with when considering a purchase decision. The truth is, that the number of followers in no way allows predicting if someone will buy or not. Having this in mind, it seems that more and more brands tend to engage micro-followers.

Whereas a macro-influencer has an impressive follower count and can get you a lot of traffic, they don’t operate in local or niche markets. And unless you are a very popular brand like Coca-Cola, BMW or Samsung, you probably would like to stick to your target audience. Here’s where micro-influencers come in hand. Although they have much smaller audience, the followers can usually relate much more to a micro-influencer or nano-influencer, than to a big celebrity living a rich and luxurious life. What’s more, generally speaking influencers are more believable, because user generated content is much more sincere and appreciated on social media than brands’ own content.

In the world of influencer marketing, numbers frequently lie. More followers do not always equate to better engagement and conversions. Relevance and authenticity are far more impactful. Identifying micro-influencers who align well with your brand values and who can engage with your product or service in a candid manner might equal fewer impressions but will deliver more meaningful results.

Working with micro-influencers may actually be good for almost any brand, but especially if you are in eCommerce market. As you may already know, social media presence is very helpful when building brand awareness. Your digital marketing strategies should focus on reaching potential customers, and micro-influencers are here to help.

Nano influencers

Generally speaking, they are social media personas with lower reach, usually working locally (limited to one city / country) or in a very specific niche. These people have less than 10,000 followers on Instagram, which is the most common place to find influencers. Nano influencers work in niches. That means they are more focused on their local market – for example, foodies, who review restaurants in their region; or explore a specific niche – for example, fashionistas interested in sustainable clothes.

Some companies tend to deliberately or unintentionally avoid lesser-known social media profiles because they see no profit in working with such a small audience. This approach is unjustified! A carefully planned nano influencer marketing strategy can benefit both the brands and the influencers, who can later become brand ambassadors.

What’s good about the nanos is, unlike larger influencers, they can keep making branded content long after you complete your contract. Sending some free products might work as a strategy and just a few mentions in posts can boost positively purchase decisions for their small followings. Moreover, these accounts might tend to treat their influencer work more seriously than bigger names. This is their chance to shine and show they can influence a purchase decision same as a person with a million followers.

Nano-influencers are more likely to answer almost every comment and provide real answers or ask a question in return to understand their followers better. More genuine interaction leads to higher engagement and trust from the audience.

Smaller influencers are trying to establish themselves and you might find they haven’t posted much, if any, sponsored content before. They will likely need some advice but using them in your social selling strategy is an opportunity to grow a base of brand ambassadors. In a few months, they can become your loyal micro-influencers, and some of them macro-influencers within a few years, so you’re effectively helping each other.

Micro influencers VS nano influencers

The difference is somewhat flexible and relies on the number of followers. Generally speaking, nano influencers have less than 10,000 followers on Instagram, whereas a micro influencer oscillates between 10,000 and 50,000. There are also macro influencers and mega influencers. It all boils down to the number of followers they have.