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Why does Gen Z love nano-influencers? Because they're *not* famous.

More and more Gen Zers are relying on social media nano-influencers to learn about new products and services. Here’s the 101 on this up-and-coming trend and why you should make these influencers a part of your social media strategy.


Gen Z tends to find out about new products via social media. They also tend to value social influencers who speak honestly, authentically and without a hidden agenda. While they might follow social media “macro-influencers” like Kylie Jenner, DJ Khaled or Hayden Williams, they recognize that celebrities who get paid up to a million dollars per Instagram post aren’t necessarily the best metric for authenticity. That’s where so-called nano-influencers come into the picture: regular people with only 2,000 - 10,000 social media followers who, nonetheless, can “influence” Gen Z brand engagement by virtue of... not being famous.

Unlike the social media royalty of this world, Gen Z nano-influencers are everyday folks, complete with class schedules, student loans and day jobs. While they may be skilled at using social media, they’re not using it as a vehicle for “building their personal brand” or becoming the next, breakout social media megastar. They’re using it because, well, because everyone else is, too: their friends, their relatives, their classmates and their colleagues at work.

Nano-influencers don’t have to be well-versed “experts” about the brands they’re promoting. They just honestly happen to like certain things — including products, services and solutions similar to those your brand offers. Which lends them enormous credibility when they start singing your praises on Snapchat. Because they actually mean it.

The benefits of marketing “under the nano-influence”

Social media is teeming with people who are ready to say good things about your product or service — and genuinely mean those good things. True, you’ll need to find a whole lot of them if you’re looking to have your messaging reach Gen Z on a large scale, since they don’t have the multi-million mass audiences of, say, Logan Paul or Zoe Sugg. But nano-influencers can still drive brand awareness and sales in ways that macro-influencers can’t. To prove it let’s run some numbers.

Nano-influencers command roughly four times the engagement rate from their followers than social media royalty. Why? Because they’re real people who are responsive to their friends. Indeed, a recent study finds they get 22x the number of buying conversations you’d get from your average consumer — and up to 11x the ROI you’d pay for a digital advertising campaign.

Finding the right nano-influencers for your brand campaign

Choosing nano-influencers isn’t like bobbing for apples.The key to success is finding people on social media who already project a visual identity or communication style that matches up with your brand. You’re going to want people who, even if they don’t know a whole lot about your brand at first, would still be the kinds of people who’d readily adopt and like your products and services whether you were incentivizing them or not.

The fact you’re even sponsoring them at all would be, in their eyes, simply gravy on top. By offering them incentives such as free samples of your product, they’re now ready to declare their love for your brand from the rooftops. And mean it. Because the whole point is authenticity, right? Right.

To sum it all up

Nano-influencer (“nan-əʊ-in-floo-uhn-ser”) is a word that might well end up in the Oxford or Webster Dictionary one day. But in the meantime, it’s a word all Gen Z-focused brands should get to know. And consider applying to their marketing strategies.

John Wheeler
John Wheeler
Contributor, Gen Z Insights

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