Nano & Micro Influencers: It’s About Knowing Your Audience

With influencers, followers either want to be them or be with them.Imagine shelling out thousands to reach an audience, only to see a post miss its mark.

Brands pay big sums to big influencers to feature their product in a post. These influencers can have follower counts of up to millions. The first problem is that they charge too lavishly for some as not everyone can hire an A-lister. 

As it happens, an A-lister is not always the right pick. At times, followers don’t find their content engaging, which shows up in the form of few likes and fewer, skin-deep comments that don’t hint at an interest in the product. This detracts from the goals of these efforts in the first place: getting people to care about a brand’s product. This is a look specifically at Instagram.

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Image credit: A Little Bird

First off, influencers can be separated into tiers, according to follower count. Those thought of as “big” are in the macro tier and above, i.e. having more than 100,000 followers. The group being advocated for here are those below the 100k mark: smaller ones called nano, micro, and mid-tier influencers.

As far as campaigns go, how do posts from big influencers measure up against important metrics? Their positions as influencers, or simply their influence, depends on reach, resonance, and relevance. Their follower count and the number of likes on their posts aren’t everything. See here the trinity of an influencer’s defining qualities: 

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Simply an influencer’s number of followers. The bigger, macro- and mega-influencers have this covered, with millions at times. But a bigger audience is not the sole qualifier for a successful campaign. So then, there’s…


Also known as engagement power. Back to that saying about people around us: we either want to be them or be with them. Not literally inheriting their bodies or necessarily in the romantic sense, we think of them as “just like me,” or “I want them to like me,” and are the ones whose lives we look at and care about.

Not always the case, but posts by bigger influencers can feel like they come from another planet. Though the saying can apply, to the average person, an influencer’s life can come off as entirely unattainable. The thinking is that if they aren’t as relatable, why should anyone care?


This is more aiming for a contextual fit. Influencers do hold specific interests and niches that can align with a brand’s own narrative, style or targeted crowd.

In the case of big influencers, It could be that the audience is far too wide, meaning the brand isn’t reaching the people it wants to. That meant that yes, the actual figures are higher, but does the audience actually care and respond to the content?

Likes are straightforward, in that a captivating post gets many likes. Simple. Comments, you’ll notice, paint a different picture. Sure, there could be many, but if they end up as just *heart eyes* or *kisses* or * fire fire fire* or “wow”; nothing specific that asks about the product. 

On the other hand, smaller influencers have resonance and relevance to their advantage.

Why smaller influencers: niche communities that are focused and engaged

There’s no putting this less than bluntly: budget and cost are strained areas for many companies, especially post-pandemic.

So then, it becomes a question of getting the most out of minimum cash invested. To an influencer, the more a brand is relevant to their audience, the more likely it is an influencer will be willing or even excited to carry it for their followers for less or potentially a product barter.

Outside of financial concerns, smaller influencers have a better connection to their followers, owing to different factors. Chief among these is that their content does not try to appeal to everyone, especially not outside their chosen niche. Relevant.

By focusing their content, they open up avenues of communication with their smaller audience, who resonate with content that appeals specifically to their preferences, and context. 

All this is clear to a marketer when scouting. It is seen from their higher percentages of engagement, or the sum of likes and comments on posts. Second to that, comment sections that look as though conversations take place are an indicator that marketing goals are being met: real people engaging online with a product through other real people.

Really, the way we market products on social media is changing. 

Getting the selection process right is so important. It takes into account the intangibles and is about more than just numbers. So try looking for nano, micro, or at most mid-tier influencers for a campaign to balance off with the mega and macro influencers. That way, you can balance the reach of macro influencers and above with the relevance that smaller influencers bring.

By Hongrui Chin, Public Relations Executive, Mustard Tree Communications

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