Macro, micro and nano-influencers: paths for influence marketing

By Amanda Lima

Now, in my twenties, it is curious to think that not long ago there was no Facebook or Instagram, our main social media in Brazil was Orkut – and its 12 photos per profile limit – and that we used to exchange texts via SMS, and not Whatsapp. Maybe this text reaches someone in 2022 and I am judged by my old-fashioned comparisons. The difference is that, for us, communicators, all these trends impact directly in our work model. With influencers – a futurist concept for the Orkut Amanda – it could not be any different.

When a brand thinks their campaigns with influencers, the most natural path is through macro-influencers: accounts with millions of followers and an enormous reach in social media. However, this not always represents the most adequate path. Besides the high costs for exposure of brands in these big profiles, the great demand for these accounts ends up making the relation with the product less customized – more quantitative than qualitative. Besides, do you think consumers really trust these profiles that produce clearly sponsored content?

Within this scenario, I remember well observing many discussions during the rise of the “micro-influencers” category, a strong trend during communication congresses in 2017. These smaller profiles, of 30 or 40 thousand followers – small when compared to millions of macro accounts -, were the niche resource the brands could use to obtain quality results on a very low budget: the long tail of influencers.

This is not a new concept, but it is suitable to justify the rise of nano-influencers. In outline, the long tail is a theory that states that culture and economy are migrating from the top of the curve (where the successful products in the market would be, or the macro-influencers) to a much wider niche market (segmented products for segmented publics, or smaller influencers in number of followers).


What we observe now is the evolution of this new “nano” concept, whose members have a smaller coverage area than the other two categories, but with an important difference for our work: between 4 or 5 thousand followers are more humanized partnership possibilities – and economical (it is possible to hire many nano-influencers for the price of one macro) – and the chance of influencing a select and qualified group of possible consumers, since these profiles interact with close people, as in the “heard through the grapevine” marketing.

If we stop to consider, this new strategy seems to serve smaller establishments very well, those who want to impact a specific region. My surprise when I read articles on the topic, was finding a publication in The New York Times about brands of a stronger market presence that came to see in these users with fewer followers a good possibility.  

The tendency is that this is a natural process in the recent and devastating world of influencers market. The brands see potential in social media, as well as in the current macro-influencers. These content producers learnt how to appreciate this work and, of course, how to charge more for it. This sector, naturally, got saturated, and motivated the rise of other categories.

On the other side, in the last few years several tools arose capable of measuring and monitoring the results of campaigns with influencers, what facilitated companies to work with more influencers at the same time, in a more practical and profitable way – that is a touchdown for micro and nano-influencers.

This is, without a doubt, a topic that changes quite quickly. In a short time, it is very likely that all these analyses are completely out-timed. Then, we will meet again in a month or year to talk about the new impacts for our sector.