The opinion of the accidental nano-influencer
What is a nano-influencer you ask?
A nano-influencer in simple terms is a normal (is anyone normal?!) person with the power to influence, probably a bit of a social media guru and they’ll usually have between 1000-5000 followers!
So, anyone can be a nano influencer? Technically yes. Although having tried to educate my parents on the world of insta during lockdown, it may be trickier for some.
About a year ago I started a food account on Instagram – simply as a way of keeping track of recipes we liked and getting some recipe inspiration. Fast forward to lockdown and 4 months on furlough, I’ve done a LOT of baking & cooking with the pile of clothes that no longer to fit to prove it. That’s meant a whole lot of content for my Instagram and over the past few months its quickly grown to have 5.5k followers.
Back in June, when I was on around 2.9k followers, a brand reached out to me to create content for a paid partnership – had I accidentally become an influencer? Apparently so.
I did a lot of research into the brand to decide whether it would fit with my feed – that was the easy part. The brand had asked what my rate was. I had no idea. So of course, I did what every normal person does when they don’t know something these days & asked Google.
This was when I realised how new the industry still is and this was just the first hurdle into the unknown. In my previous blog I highlighted the lack of knowledge & professionalism as big challenge for brands to work with nano influencers – and being in the influencers position made it ever so clear why this is so.
I wanted to be professional when talking to the brand and after asking a handful of questions I wanted to convince them that I knew what I was talking about but there is such little resource out there it was near enough impossible.
Between food bloggers on Instagram there seems to be this unspoken rule about paid campaigns – no one wants to share any insights in case it gives someone else’s page the upper hand. And I guess, as a result of this – newbies have a pretty hard job finding any info they need.
Questions I had:
-What rate should I charge and how does this change as my followers grow and if brands are moving away from follower count, how do I calculate my engagement rate?
-Will brands reach out to me or is there a platform for this?
-Do I need to sign a contract?
-Do I need to send an invoice? How do I send an invoice?
-How do I get brand approval to tag them as a paid partner?
-What’s the difference between gifted / PR sample / Paid ad?
-Do I have to post something if it was gifted and I didn’t like it?
-Do I have to share my insights with the brand?
-When will I get paid? What happens when I don’t get paid?
-What rights does that brand have over my content?
There’s no how-to guide on how to be an influencer.
I was recently told about the app Tribe – and to me, it’s perfect for the nano-influencer industry, both for brands & influencers. Brands use the platform to share briefs and outline their requirements. Influencers can then curate the content and submit for approval with their fee – brands then choose the content that fits the brief and their brand the best and approves for publication. The best bit, the app handles everything, it gives you a ballpark suggestion of how much to charge and after either 48 hours or 30 days of publication, your money is ready to withdraw! No contracts, no back and forth, not invoice.
Another challenge for brands was the content quality nano influencers provide. I think it’s safe to say that the majority are limited to phone camera quality pictures – they’re not in this for a career after all, it’s a hobby. Nano-influencers aren’t being paid the big bucks to afford professional cameras or photographers. They’re simply taking snaps of their day-to-day. And that to me, feels more authentic than a perfectly snapped set up image. All my images are taken on an old Ikea white shelf as the backdrop with an Iphone7plus and edited on my phone. We’re not professional photographers and the prices that nano influencers charge, reflects just that and the time spent editing and curating the content is still just as important.
After researching the industry for my first blog I was intrigued and took to my Instagram account to find out more – I asked my followers if they set out with the intention of becoming an influencer – everyone that answered said no. That’s a huge benefit to the industry because to me, that speaks authenticity. They’re not here to make huge bucks, but for a bit of a hobby & if they can make a little bit of pocket money sharing brands that are on my usual weekly shop, why wouldn’t they? It also highlights that I’m not on my own when I say I accidentally became a nano influencer – accidentally falling into something I luckily knew about through talking to clients & candidates so I may know more than most, but it was still a world of unknown. And so, it’s no surprise that more support is needed.
And that authenticity comes at a price – whether that be that brands need to move towards more paid partnerships as opposed to gifted or brands spending more time and effort on working with influencers throughout the process. Researching this area and experiencing it first-hand has been mind boggling. Brands are desperate to overcome ‘influencer fatigue’ and ensure content perceived as authentic and if nano influencers are expected to play a large role in fixing that they need time and effort to be nurtured to be maximise effectiveness.