Instagram Influencer Marketing
People trust people. A staggering 72% of Instagram users report having made a fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on Instagram. With figures like this it’s hardly a surprise that Instagram influencer marketing has rapidly grown to be a multi $billion industry. It also has the added benefit of being scalable so large and small brands can benefit.
Most influencers have an engaged audience who follow them specifically because they post about a specific niche. Understandably influencers try to stay true to their followers and remain relevant and authentic. By partnering with influencers who have an authentic voice, great content and an engaged following your business is placed in front of people who are already interested in your niche and have actively signed on to hear more.
Who or What are Instagram influencers?
Some influencers are famous personalities from another medium such as film, TV or sport but many have acquired their loyal followers due to the lifestyle they portray on Instagram, their hobby, the clothes they wear or the stories they tell.
These are individuals who’ve built a significant and engaged following that respects their opinion. The format of Instagram makes it ideal for these influential individuals to recommend products and services to their loyal following.
What’s in it for your brand?
Brands build relationships with Instagram influencers. Rather than aim directly at customers brands partner with influencers who then promote their products and services. Brands align with influencers who have a following that matches the profile of their target audience allowing brands to reach their target audience in a way that feels far more genuine than traditional advertising. Features on Instagram include polls and questionnaires meaning Influencers can act on your behalf to conduct direct market research which can be invaluable especially with the current changes caused by the pandemic, resulting job losses and what now seems may become longer term social distancing requirements. Finding the right influencers now can help you navigate our rapidly changing world.
The role of trust in Instagram Influencer Marketing
The relationship Instagram influencers have with their followers is such that when an Instagram influencer recommends a product or service it can come across as a trusted recommendation from a friend. Obviously from your brand perspective this has significant advantages over other forms of advertising that lack such an authentic 3rd party endorsement. It also means that Influencers are becoming more and more careful to choose only brands that align with their core values. The wrong brand affiliations can quickly compromise an influencers relationship with their audience resulting in an increasing focus on social responsibility.
What are the costs for Celebrity Instagram Influencer Marketing?
In the early days of Instagram Influencer Marketing rising Instagram stars would accept free products or services in exchange for free products. Those days are loooooong gone for the big stars of Instagram. The biggest Instagram Influencers charge mega bucks for their golden endorsements and with good reason as the best of them are so trusted in their niche they can literally catapult your product from obscurity into a major trend. A top influencer with 50 million followers can command $100,000 or more for a single post. The top 10 Instagram stars each with over 135 million followers all charge between $700k and a million dollars PER POST. Of course, this is the elite end of the market. The price a influencer charges depends on various aspects including the industry, number of followers, location, engagement rate and the types of content proposed.
Enter the Instagram Micro-Influencer
Many small businesses can no more afford a top modern-day Instagram Influencer than they could have afforded a primetime TV ad spot. Hence the rise of the Instagram micro-influencer. A micro-influencer is an individual who has grown their account outside their friends and family to the level of a significant but not huge following. Nevertheless, this could be anything from a 1000 or so followers to tens of thousands. All with an interest in your specific niche. Rather than an “Instagram celebrity” endorsement many micro-influencers still have the air of authentic online friend about them. Even for micro-influencers cash is the most desired form of payment and having a smaller following the fee charged is a lot less for paid posts and a few are still open to free products or service in exchange for their recommendation. If that’s still too rich for your pocket then nano-influencers who as the name suggests have far fewer followers again (less than a 1000), charge even less and are generally more open to receiving your products in return. You also need a lot more time to find, develop and manage the relationship with a lot more people to get anything like the total number of followers.
Followers do not equal reach
Another big plus for the little guy is that the engagement rate for micro-influencers is usually much higher. Even that number isn’t everything though it’s also whether they paid attention and most important, far more so than how many people were reached is how many connected with your brand.
Before you get started with Instagram influencer marketing
As with most things first off you need to set a goal and determine what it is, you’re trying to achieve. For example, is your goal to raise brand awareness?
You’ll also need to have a crystal-clear idea of who you’re trying to reach in order to make sure the Instagram influencers you select to approach are relevant to your audience and to your brand. If you’re trying to market to a very local market then a nano-influencer would quite possibly make the most sense.
How do you select the right Instagram influencers for you?
In addition to being a good audience match you’ll want to look for influencers with good content quality that aligns with who you are and who have high engagement rates. Even though Instagram is a predominantly visual medium aesthetic doesn’t always equal higher performance. It’s the starting point but as with most social media posts with great content drive the best results so working with Influencers to strengthen content is crucial. It’s rare that an influencer’s entire audience matches yours, what you’re looking for is to be certain that there’s a big enough sweet spot where your audiences overlap.
Like any relationship it takes time to build your relationship with your influencers. The stronger the relationship the more authentic and enthusiastic the promotions will be. The longer the relationship and the more regularly followers see someone they follow post and partner with your brand, the higher the trust factor builds. Before spending a lot of money on one post, consider the benefits of building longevity with your chosen influencers and establish yourself with their audience.
Be uber clear about what you want, then stand back
If you aren’t clear with what you want and don’t communicate that effectively to your chosen influencers don’t be surprised if you end up with content that doesn’t really match your needs and expectations. Let your influencers know upfront the type of content you’re looking for them to create sponsored posts, contests, branded content, and reviews and the key message you want to communicate. Then let them do their “thing”. Instagram audiences are savvy and if they sniff out a lack of authenticity, they could lose trust in both your brand and the influencer.
To achieve success from Instagram influencers it’s important to consider every stage of the Instagram influencer marketing process, from profiling the Instagram audience you’re looking for, clearly identifying your objectives and the discovery and onboarding of the right Instagram influencers for your brand and budget to influencer management, content creation, and analysing and reporting the success of your campaigns.
There are significant advantages to be had partnering with Instagram influencers to showcase your brand but it’s important to remember that influencers aren’t just another advertising medium. These are real people, with a real connection to their followers. If you chose well, through them you have an unequalled opportunity to connect in a very real way with an audience actively engaged in your niche.