Let us tell you a secret about finding the right influencers for your brand: There’s a ton of potential (and money!) in the smaller, rapidly growing creators.
Sure, macro-influencers are great for wide reach, but tapping into a future star sets the root strong for long-term success.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What makes a fast-growing influencer?
- Why should you invest in a small-name influencer?
- How to spot and partner with a fast-growing creator?
What makes a fast-growing influencer?
Fast-growing influencers are creators with a social media account experiencing multiple and significant followers and/or engagement jumps in a short period of time.
Take travel influencer, Eva. Her Instagram account grew by more than 200% in one month — her follower count increased from 10,696 in August to 63,244 in September, and her average likes jumped from 2,668 to 10,720 in the same duration.
But why risk writing a check for the small guy? Wouldn’t it be gambling your return on investment? What if it puts your brand image in jeopardy?
Why invest in a rapidly growing creator?
Let’s get one thing out of the way. If you want to create buzz about a new product launch or test the waters of influencer marketing through one-off partnerships, investing in rapidly growing creators would be futile for you.
But if you have a solid influencer marketing strategy and are looking for long-term influencer partners, collaborating with fast-growing influencers is a no-brainer. Here are three reasons why:
1. Fast-growing influencers are cost-effective
Influencers get paid in part for the size of their audience. And since nano and micro-influencers have a small following, they charge you less (even though they have a higher engagement rate than mega-influencers).
The best part? You’re tapping into new audiences for the same price since these small influencers are booming day by day.
2. Fast-growing influencers have more skin in the game
When partnering with big-name influencers, it's possible that you become just one of the many revenue streams for their business. They may or may not be true believers in your product, perhaps their faith in your brand is dicey, and their content might not be as authentic. If you end your contract with them, there are 20 other brands lined up for mega-influencers because they’re in demand.
(Of course, this isn’t true of every macro and mega-influencer collab, but it’s a likely possibility).
In contrast, nano and micro-influencers are still in their audience-building phase. They’re growing their community and actively overdelivering on brand partnerships to scale their business.
What does this mean for you? Smaller influencers might invest more in creating scroll-stopping influencer-generated content. They’re all in because they want to continue boosting their following and signing brand partnerships. You’re not just another revenue source for them — they’ll do everything to extend the contract, communicate promptly, and be more creative.
⚠️ Warning: Some micro-influencers who just want brand deals might use the shady tactic of buying followers to demand more money. Thoroughly vet each influencer you shortlist with a fake follower tool.
3. Fast-growing influencers are a long-term investment
If you had invested $1,000 in Google in 2011, you’d have around $9,024 today — a gain of more than 800% in a decade.
Partnering with fast-growing creators works the same way. It might seem like your marketing dollars would be better spent on celebrity influencers, but over time, you’ll see the compounding benefits of investing in a small influencer.
How? A long-term collaboration ensures an influencer’s existing and future audience sees you pop up in their feed repeatedly — which means greater consumer trust and a deeper connection.
Data backs this up. Consumers need to see at least three branded posts from influencers before they hunt for more information for a sponsored product and five to hit the buy button, according to a study by HelloSociety.
Sure, rapidly growing creators might not have a massive number of followers like mega-influencers. It takes some time for consistent momentum to kick in, but when it does, there’s an influx of new people. One viral video of a micro-influencer can significantly jump their audience and engagement — and at that break-out moment, your dibs on their feed will pay off significantly.
Once you make fast-growing influencers a part of your strategy, the next question becomes: how do you spot these early stars?
How to find fast-growing influencers: 3 methods
You discover fast-growing creators like a talent agent discovers the next Khaby Lame — before they’re about to pop. But…how?
Doing the math yourself can be painstakingly time-consuming and hard to keep track of. You don’t want your creative marketing minds to waste their time putting formulas in excel, right? Here are three better alternatives:
1. Use Modash’s growth rate filter
How great would it be to filter a list of influencers meeting your desired growth rate?
Enter: Modash’s growth rate filter.
Modash has a discovery platform for finding & analyzing influencers. It lets you search & filter through 200M+ creators. One filter you can apply to your search is growth rate. Here’s a summary of how it works.
Pick the interval & the growth rate you want, and the software will curate a list of influencers who meet your criteria. For example, if you wish to partner with influencers with a growth rate of 120% or more in the last month, simply add the period and growth rate percentage to get a list of creators meeting those requirements.
How does the tool calculate the growth rate? It divides the new number of followers gained in the chosen time frame by the starting follower count. Then, the fraction is multiplied by 100 to take out a growth rate percentage.
For example, let’s say you want to know the growth rate of skincare influencer Ashley. Right now, Ashley has a following of 24,700. In one month, you notice her audience has jumped to 42,000. Here’s how Modash would calculate her growth rate in these 30 days:
Follower Growth Rate = (New Followers / Starting Follower Count) ✕ 100
New followers are calculated by subtracting the present number of followers from the number of followers at the start of the calculating period.
So, Ashley’s new followers in a month are: 42,000 — 24,700 = 17,300
Thus, her follower growth rate becomes = (17,300 / 24,700) ✕ 100 = 70% in one month.
Pretty cool, huh?
The best part? It’s available for all the major influencer marketing channels — Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
(And you don’t have to do the math yourself, LOL.)
⚡Pro-tip: Mix the growth rate filter with other filters on Modash for best results. Different combinations will provide different results — thus, trying various variations will ensure you find exactly the influencers you’re looking for.
2. TikTok creator marketplace
TikTok creator marketplace is a collaboration platform between brands and creators. It shares its influencers’ data — including the number of followers, engagement rate, and follower growth rate.
Not just this: You can also filter creators based on whether they are ‘Expert’ or ‘Emerging’ — meaning influencers who have experience working with brands vs. influencers who are still building their audience. There’s also a toggle to see only rapidly growing creators.
The TikTok creator marketplace is a great resource If you’re looking to start TikTok influencer marketing, but also if you want an inside scoop on TikTok creators.
As great as this method is, it isn’t free of faults:
- For starters, the TikTok creator marketplace is only available in 24 countries. You can’t use it if it isn’t available in your region or collaborate with local influencers.
- Secondly, influencers can join the TikTok creator marketplace on an invite-only basis — meaning you can’t tap into those creators’ data who aren’t listed.
- Lastly, the data you see is limited to TikTok. If you’re targeting Instagram or pumping up your YouTube influencer marketing, the TikTok creator marketplace isn’t for you. Although Instagram has copied TikTok and launched its own Instagram creator marketplace, it’s still in its early stages, and your brand has to request to join it. YouTube has its own version of the creator marketplace — although it isn’t nearly as detailed or helpful.
3. YouTube’s Explore Tab
Click on ‘Explore’ in the left toolbar to spot what’s trending and which creator is on the rise.
These influencers are rapidly gaining popularity, although their audience might not be as large as a mega-influencer yet. You can also keep an eye on YouTube’s monthly reports highlighting a few of its hidden-gems creators.
There are glaring problems with this tool too:
- Creators on the rise are selected from 25 countries only — any influencer outside these geographical limitations becomes inaccessible.
- It’s not clear what the selection criteria is for the selected influencers to be featured. YouTube says some factors it looks at are view count, watch time growth, and upload frequency. Any creator with less than 1,000 subscribers is also not eligible for consideration.
- Even if an influencer has a trending video, the wave might last only for 24 hours. One trending video doesn’t make a YouTuber an exceptional creator.
Once you’ve found and shortlisted your ideal flourishing creators, the next piece of the puzzle is shaking hands on a partnership with them.
How to partner with flourishing creators
Some marketers still downplay influencer marketing because they believe it’s just for brand awareness. But there’s a way to accomplish business goals through influencer marketing. Here are three steps you need to take to go beyond getting some actual moolah from fast-growing creators (and not just reach and likes):
Step 1: Scout a deal at the right time with a thriving creator
Kai Cenet is a gaming influencer who has played the game right and blown up on Twitch.
He began his creator journey on YouTube and joined Twitch in 2021. In September 2022, he became one of only three streamers with 80,000 paid subscribers. Only a few days later, he reached 90,000 subscribers. Presently, he has over 100,000 followers — making him Twitch’s most-subscribed streamer.
Imagine your brand partnering with Cenet at the end of 2021 or early 2022 — right when he was at the cusp of exploding. It’d get you not just millions of eyeballs, but make your pocket heavy with all those sales rolling in.
The power of being in the right place at the right time is undeniable.
- Find a micro-influencer who’s also a fast-growing creator
- Settle on a threshold of growth rate depending on your strategy — like 100% per month
- Sign the papers as soon as your favorite small creator hits that mark. Use our outreach templates if you need to take some work off your plate
⚠️ Warning: Monitor the growth rate of your shortlisted influencers for a minimum of two to three months. Why? Regular examination ensures you avoid the one-hit wonders who had just one viral post before their reach plateaued. You can still partner with influencers who just grew in the last month. They may indeed continue to grow. But remember, it's a higher risk, higher reward play.
Step 2: Set up a performance-based influencer marketing program
Traditional influencer marketing relies on paying for deliverables, having short-term partnerships, and one-off campaigns. No wonder this influencer marketing strategy doesn’t scale and has no business impact.
The alternative? Performance-based influencer marketing. This payment model relies on paying influencers a cut of every sale they bring — meaning you have a scalable influencer marketing strategy, measurable ROI, and a guaranteed bang for your buck.
For instance, Ella Henry is a fast-growing health influencer (>120% monthly) who partnered with Akasha Superfoods on performance-based pay.
The discount code, “GLOW10,” gives her followers 10% off every purchase, helps Akasha Superfoods track every sale coming through Ella, and pay her a cut for every product(s) bought using her code. It’s a win-win all around.
Performance-based campaigns allow you to structure your influencer marketing strategy to contribute to real-world business goals, and not just stay limited to the sham of brand awareness.
⚠️ Remember: Since fast-growing influencers are still learning the tricks of the trade, they might need more hand-holding than macro-influencers. Stay prepared by creating a detailed influencer brief that clearly outlines brand guidelines, provides direction, and includes tips to improve influencer-generated content.
Step 3: Continue nurturing the relationship as the creator grows
Having a breakthrough moment where a nano or micro-influencer booms isn’t uncommon. One of their videos might go viral, or they might start a new series that resonates with their target audience.
How? He changed his strategy from long-form challenge videos to exclusive short-form videos. His monthly subscriber rate increased 18 times in the first month of uploading YouTube Shorts.
You lay your hand on a budding influencer at the sprouting stage, and when they finally ripen, you strengthen your relationship by extending more partnership opportunities. This is important because you want to capitalize on their growth by continuing your collaboration with them.
How to strengthen existing influencer relationships with fast-growing creators?
- Make them a part of your brand ambassador program
- Steer into different types of collaborations you can do with them
- Add a personal touch to the relationship — remember their birthday and send them a gift, send congratulatory merchandise when they achieve milestones, and comment on their posts
Read more: 7 Proven Relationship Management Methods
Pair your micro-influencer strategy with a growth rate filter
If you’re already working with micro-influencers, pair it with finding small, rapidly-growing. Investing in thriving influencers is a triumph for everyone — you save money & capitalize on your early-bird card, and creators learn how to build their community & income.
But don’t waste time scratching your head doing the math of figuring out each creator’s growth rate. Use the growth rate filter on Modash and get a list of rapidly growing creators in the blink of an eye. Sign up for a free trial for 14-days to take a test drive.