A Different Take on Influencer Marketing

Johann Warnholtz
4 min readJun 23, 2021


A Different Take on Influencer Marketing

These days, Influencer Marketing inspires visions of Instagrammers and YouTubers with millions of followers, plugging brands before, during, or after their content.

My problem with Influencer Marketing is that it quickly lost relatability and started feeling like the characters of a show, giving nothing more than a commercial. It’s not personal, and sometimes the product being advertised doesn’t fit all that well with the content being watched.

I think Influencer Marketing needs to be reimagined. Instead of using personalities that have hundreds of thousands of followers, why not focus on the people that have fewer followers but a much more attentive community?

Nano-Influencer Marketing

This “nano-influencer” strategy will seem more appropriate for smaller brands that don’t have the budget to hire a big influencer, but I believe big brands can also benefit from the community it creates.

This is where you find your “nano-influencers”. By creating a fun, relatable voice on social media, and actually engaging with potential customers, brands can connect and create relationships and communities. This gives the brand a personality and if it’s well executed, people connect with that personality.

If done well, people will feel like the brand is a friend of theirs. They’ll feel like the brand is paying attention to them, which creates instant loyalty.

Here are some examples of brand accounts that have engaged in this way:

These brands did not post any of these tweets to sell anything or promote a specific product. They are simply fun, random, relatable tweets that get a ton of engagement.

This is where the strategy really begins. Identify people that frequently interact with the brand account. Look for people that constantly post about you, tag you, and recommend your brand to others. Take notice of how people respond to these posts.

With enough time and attention spent on this, you will hopefully find a group of fans that do all these things because they genuinely love your product or brand. That is the key!

Once you have identified those people, reach out to them directly. Follow their account, reply to their content, and DM them. They will feel the love and will love you more for it. DM them and simply tell them you want to send them a thank you gift.

This will shock them because they didn’t ask for it. Then they will be over the moon with excitement. You’ve acknowledged their fandom and rewarded it, instead of trying to buy it with money or freebies.

This is the perfect moment to give them some kind of referral code or link to share with their friends. They will be so excited that you acknowledged them, that their willingness to share the love with everyone they know will be extra-high.

Suddenly they go from being an avid promoter of your brand, to being a turbo-charged promoter of your brand. Your word-of-mouth gets a boost, their loyalty is at an all-time high, and it only cost you the price of whatever you sent them, the discount you offered, and shipping costs (if applicable).

This is the most important point in this entire strategy: Build your community and your fanbase by having a fun, relatable voice on social media. Once you have fans that love you, you can then identify the fans that stand out and thank them for their passion.

If you flip this and try to use rewards and gifts to build that community, you will have built it on weak foundations. The community comes first, and the gifts come second.

Remember that if you use gifts to buy someone’s love, that love will only exist as long as the gifts keep coming. If you build the love without gifts, the gifts will only strengthen the love.



Johann Warnholtz

I’m an extroverted PR professional with an interest in humanity. I’m looking for a greater understanding of what makes us tick and I want to explore that here.