The Pros And Cons Of Using 'Nano Influencers'

In 2018 we saw the evolution of influencer marketing shift away from large, celebrity status followings, toward more relatable micro influencers. But while 2018 was all about the micro influencer, according to marketers, 2019 is all about “nano influencers.”

Although "nano influencer" is a term that has recently been coined, there really isn’t anything new about it. Nano influencers — defined as influencers with roughly 1K-5K followers — have always been around, as brands have long sought to harness the power of an endorsement from brand advocates and customers.

As the multibillion-dollar influencer marketing industry faces controversy around regulation, and debacles like the Fyre Festival highlight fraudulent behavior, authenticity has never been more critical for consumer engagement. 

Marketers are now seeing the value in these everyday advocates, arguing that they offer brands more authentic connections to consumers, providing more bang for their buck. Like any story, however, there are two sides for brands to consider in activating nano influencers. 




  • Research shows consumers would rather listen to recommendations of friends and family — which attests to the value of nano influencers who feel more like friends, or individuals you can relate to, even people you may know in real life.
  • Less expensive method of distribution, with some nano influencers willing to except a value exchange (e.g., product or samples) instead of cash.
  • A good solution if you need to reach hyper-niche communities.
  • Often have more trust among their follower base.
  • Less likely to have any fake followers or bots.


  • Need significant scale to impact awareness, due to small reach.
  • Tracking the performance of a network of hundreds of influencers is more complicated than tracking just a handful. Also, vetting and management time drastically increases. 
  • Capabilities like the Swipe Up feature in IG Stories are unavailable for nano influencers (need 10K followers).
  • Nano influencers are likely not accustomed to working with brands, which can lead to legal risks. 
  • They may not be as advanced in content creation, therefore content may be less polished.
  • They may not be as advanced in social media overall, limiting opportunities like putting paid behind content for added reach.

Furthermore, social incentive services like Heartbeat or Peersway are popping up to incentivize millennials to become nano influencers, making it easy for them to connect with brands and paying them to do so. Platforms like this could end up diminishing the authenticity that makes nano influencers appealing in the first place. 

Like many things in marketing, successful influencer campaigns don’t follow a secret formula. Consider a broad range of influencers, understanding that everyday users and celebrities have the same access to social media. However, what remains most important is the engagement of an influencer's audience rather than his/her total number of followers.

When it comes to nano influencers, they can be a strong distribution tactic if you need to reach hyper-niche audiences, but if your goal is broad awareness and reach, a set of micro and/or macro influencers will provide greater scale. If nano influencers offer engaged audiences within a target and align with the brand, it may be worth going small. 

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