Think Small For Big Results With Specialty Food Influencers

As social media spins faster and more out of control, don’t get caught up in the size of the audience. Instead play small ball. Go for quality. Focus on relevancy to what your objectives are. And be authentic in your relationship with a NANO or MICRO Influencer that you can actually build something with.

Could It Actually Be A Better Strategy To Work With Smaller Influencers When It Comes To Your Food Brand? I’ll Break It Down, & You Decide.

Lou Nicolaides

April 28, 2023 11:29 AM

10 Minute Read

I believe the real power of social media lies in using it to build better, long-lasting personal connections. Ones that can help you accelerate product sales, enhance your gourmet brand, and create stronger customer engagement. One of the best ways to do this is to find and connect with a specialty food Influencer with a smaller following.

But how can you find the right one – without hours and hours of research or spending thousands of dollars on costly web platforms that don't have a focus on the food industry? And once you do track them down, what's the best way to reach out, connect, and create a winning campaign?

In this post, I'll detail why NANO Influencers (1k-10k followers) and MICRO Influencers (10k-50k followers) can give you a better return with the potential to be game changing for your marketing.


Think Small For Big Results With Specialty Food Influencers

You may be surprised that thinking small does have its merits. Meaning it could actually help up-level your marketing and sales, enhance your brand, and extend your audience reach. Just two words to keep in mind: NANO and MICRO. Yes, there are pros and cons to working with any size Influencer. But for now, let’s look and see what makes the most sense for you when it comes to specialty food Influencer marketing. And why smaller might be better.

The Potential Of Influencer Marketing

I’m sure we can start by at least agreeing an Influencer could be a great way to get you out of your social doldrums and actually help grow your audience.

Influencer marketing was valued at over $13B in 2021 with an average of $5.78 per dollar in return. –Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2021 Benchmark Report

These days, brands can align with Influencers with follower counts of all sizes. But the trick is to choose the right one that digs your brand. They're a person that could become your friend, maybe because they share similar values as you and are a kindred spirit. So start following them and find out.

What Is Influencer Marketing For Food Brands?

It's when an Influencer works with a company like yours to promote your products via brand mentions and endorsements. In return, you compensate them with cash, gift cards, free product, or rewards.

Influencer Marketing means partnering. Mostly with bloggers and content creators to help satisfy their audience’s hunger for stories and opinions about products they buy. In gourmet circles, Influencers may want solutions to fuel their content needs. Food brands can enjoy better success than in other industries for reasons you know, such as:

  • Recipes are insanely popular and shareable on social media
  • Not all of us love making crafts or rock climbing, but we all eat!
  • Eating is fun, romantic, social, and celebratory for any occasion
  • Food touches most of our senses and creates awesome visual content
  • Some of the best sources of food content come from Influencers

Is A Bigger Audience A Better One?

You might think so. However NANO or MICRO Influencers are often way under served. They can be a highly effective strategy to separate you from your competition. But there are pros and cons in trying to create campaigns with Influencers – at all levels. Often brands see massive follower counts and think each follower equates to dollars in your pocket.

Before you look down that path, consider this: Big-time Influencers mean big-time demand With their huge audiences, we both know MACRO (500k-1M followers) Influencers will be more sought after, as brands aim to try and leverage their million member followings for maximum exposure and insane reach.

But on the flip side of all this, is that making partnerships with them involves layers of management, agents, agencies, and more. Be prepared for this to be time consuming and complicated – usually with long lead times for planning and implementation. At this level, smaller campaigns may not be possible, and moving quickly is pretty much out of the question.

Will You Pay The Price?

Because bigger follower counts mean lower engagement and higher costs and risk, ask yourself if you can gamble running a product campaign to be profitable. While many would have high hopes their brand’s content with a MACRO Influencer will payoff, it’s probably more of a longshot.

his is proven by more and more industry studies and surveys in digital marketing and social media which reveal followers who purchase product from a massive audience is fewer with smaller ROI.

Getting Down To What’s Real And True

As an influencer enjoys increased popularity and gets more “juice,” more products want to partner with them. So how can you ensure your brand is presented authentically and the Influencer is sincere?

Remember, an Influencer’s success is also measured by how real they are and how they come off sounding – in their voice. But as more and more paid content shows up in their feed, audience trust has a better chance to become compromised. Are these Influencers just interested in the payoff?

It's why you’ll want to review how often sponsored content is posted and promoted by the Influencer. This can become pretty illuminating and it will reveal if the Influencer actually could or would care enough about you, your brand, and company if you were to partner with them.

Smaller But More Targeted

With smaller followers, NANO and MICRO Influencers typically have stronger relationships with their followers and brands they partner with. They’re trusted and show thought leadership in their area.

A targeted audience like this can be awesome for a brand to fit into their niche. And the more focused the community, the better the engagement, and also the better the chance of you seeing stronger sales, more awareness, and recouping your investment to profitability.

NANO And MICRO Influencers Are More Affordable

An Influencer’s following will dictate how much you pay to run a campaign. Leveraging smaller audiences is more affordable. NANO and MICRO Influencers want to grow their followings. And you can bet they’d be way more motivated to find awesome products, serve you the partner well, and serve their audience well with higher quality content.


“As a functional nutrition & lifestyle practitioner, I’m always on the hunt for brands that fit my audience,” notes Allison Samon. “And I’d love to create more win, win partnerships with products I know my followers would really love, such as in the food sensitivity area.”

Small Yes, But Engaging Even Better

Less eyeballs means less sales right? Maybe not. Survey data shows that on average, smaller more engaged audiences result in higher overall conversion. Think about it. There’s more trust, more authenticity, which yields more shares, comments, re-posts and overall positivity for purchase around your brand – provided of course you run a solid campaign with excellent content and a killer offer.

According to Social Bakers, MICRO Influencers “boast up to a 60% increased engagement rate compared to MACRO Influencers.” And when it comes to conversions, MICRO Influencers have over 20% higher conversion rate. That can be a tremendous boost to your e-commerce sales. Consider the benefits of a smaller, less expensive campaign with a smaller audience. Your smaller investment may indeed result in a bigger bang for your buck.

Reaching Different Markets

Here’s where you can create campaigns in various areas and with various Influencers from all walks of life, within categories your products occupy. And then add to it with other communities where Influencers voice their opinions, for example in the Vegan, AIP, Keto, Functional, Active, Sustainable, or Non-GMO, space.

Now you’re expanding your reach. Plus you’re adding smaller bite-size audiences into your growing community. By creating campaigns with Influencers of different demographic and psychographic backgrounds, you’ll be connecting with audiences you’ll most certainly miss by working with one MACRO Influencer.

Niche Markets & Relevant Topics

A NANO or MICRO Influencer knows their audience and topic content they want and look for. It’s because of the Influencer’s expertise in these focused topic areas that define how their following values their expertise. And the level of trust built in their audience relationship. These communities are focused, curated, and targeted. Smaller audience but higher engagement.

Up Your Skill And Get In The Game

In marketing, fail often, but hedge your bet. Most importantly, learn and get better at running smaller campaigns, connecting with Influencers, creating offers, and crafting stronger content that is true to you and relevant to your Influencer and their audience.

Start With One Good Influencer

I believe the real awesomeness of social media lies in using it to build better, long-lasting personal connections. Ones that can help you. Consider getting your brand to Influencers with audiences that it speaks to. And then get your products seen by this audience inexpensively and efficiently.

“Last Year, Views Of Food And Recipe Content Grew 59% & Social Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares) On Food Channels Rose 118%.” –ThinkWithGoogle

Earn An Average Of 6X ROI

We have created a simple, inexpensive, and effective resource for specialty food brands to succeed with NANO and MICRO Influencers. Please check out our 2023 Food Influencer FastStart Kit. It will help get you in the game. No matter what your food category, there’s an Influencer waiting to share your brand with their engaged and passionate audience.

Summing It All Up

As social media spins faster and more out of control, don’t get caught up in the size of the audience. Instead play small ball. Go for quality. Focus on relevancy to what your objectives are. And be authentic in your relationship with a NANO or MICRO Influencer that you can actually build something with.

Now go out and find those passionate and affordable advocates for your brand. And drop me a line about how your campaign went and what you learned to make the next one better.

Good luck and happy influencer marketing!

Lou Nicolaides
(626) 703-4592


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We blog to provide insight and education to help specialty food brands and CPG companies grow better online.

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