By now you have probably heard of influencers, that group of internet-famous people who have more than a million social media followers and can make big money by plugging various brands. And you may have even heard of microinfluencers, who do the same thing for a still sizable but somewhat smaller social media audience — from the tens to low hundreds of thousands.
Now get ready for the nanoinfluencers.
That is the term (“nanos” for short) used by companies to describe people who have as few as 1,000 followers and are willing to advertise products on social media.
Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them approachable. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion or a furniture brand on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as advice from a friend.
Brands enjoy working with them partly because they are easy to deal with. In exchange for free products or a small commission, nanos typically say whatever companies tell them to.
ADVERTISEMENT With roughly 2,700 Instagram followers, Alexis Baker, 25, had a relatively ordinary social media presence, with photos of fashionable outfits and tropical vacation spots filling her feed. But her online persona changed when she started posting in praise of products like Suave Professionals Rose Oil Infusion shampoo, Clinique Beyond Perfecting foundation and concealer, and Loco Coffee, a mix of cold brew and coconut water.
People who know Ms. Baker were surprised when the hashtags used to denote advertisements — #sponsored and #ad — started popping up on her account. They were also a little impressed that she was Instagramming like an influencer.
“My friends were like: ‘Wait a minute — you don’t have tens of thousands of followers. How did you get contacted about this?’” Ms. Baker said in an interview. “I didn’t really have an answer for them.”
Ms. Baker, a leasing manager in Alexandria, Va., said she had stumbled into the hobby-slash-gig after being scouted by Obviously, which describes itself as “a full-service influencer marketing agency.”
To Mae Karwowski, the chief executive of Obviously, nanoinfluencers are a largely untapped and inexpensive opportunity.