Instagram has been considered the most popular platform for the majority of influencer marketing over the past few years. As of 2017, it was reported that Instagram influencer marketing had risen to a $1 billion industry. It has also been reported that by 2019, these numbers will double. Research has shown that this year alone, 92% of marketers and 88% of influencers have been using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns, which is why they are experiencing continued growth.
About Instagram Influencer Marketing
Instagram influencer marketing removes the skepticism from traditional ads, because your potential customers are learning about your brand and products from the people they trust (influencers) in a casual way. It’s like a friend recommends a product or service to you, therefore influencer marketing is more engaging and converting better.
The general process involves a brand reaching out to popular accounts on Instagram and offers a partnership in some way. It could be in the form of a sponsored post, story, or a larger, long-term Instagram marketing campaign.
Reasons Why You Should Use Instagram Influencer Marketing
You might still be wondering is Instagram really the best option out there, and will it yield the results that I am looking for? Here are several reasons why you should definitely use Instagram for your marketing campaign.
Reaching Out To The Masses
According to the Pew Research Center, Instagram is the second most popular social media platform on the internet, following Facebook. The report disclosed that 32% of internet users within the United States are on Instagram. As of June 2018, there are over 1 billion monthly active users on the platform. Instagram is on a continual upward climb with no signs of slowing down, therefore, it should be obvious that this is where you should have your influencer marketing in place.
Higher Engagement Rate
Instagram has the most average interactions per post per 1,000 followers, according to a study performed by TrackMaven. It is considered the most engaging social media platform out there with an engagement ratio of 29.67. Facebook only comes in at 16.54 interactions per post per 1,000 followers.
The Chosen Platform By Influencers
Bloglovin spoke with 2,500 micro-influencers and discovered that not only it is the preferred platform, but 59% of influencers also believe it’s the most effective platform for engaging their targeted audience.
Set Your Goals And Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The first thing you need to do before starting an influencer marketing campaign is to ask yourself what you want to achieve. Once you have the answer, you will be able to form the basis for your entire campaign.
So, what are your campaign goals?
- Are you looking to increase brand awareness?
- Are you looking to promote the launching of your product?
- Do you want to increase the number of visitors to your website?
- Do you want more followers for your Instagram account?
- Are you looking to increase your sales?
Once you have your goal in place, it will help you understand what kind of performance metrics will be important for your campaign. Certain metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement, etc would be important if your goal is to increase your brand’s awareness. Not only that, having a defined goal will help you curate your content to help increase conversion rate, and determine your budget for the campaign.
How Much Do Influencers Charge Per Post?
This is one of the leading questions that people ask. When an influencer places a post on their channel, it’s an advertisement and, like any other ad, you will have to pay for it. Not all influencers charge the same, there are other factors outside the number of their followers. You’ll have to research multiple influencers to find a good match for you. Of course, you can negotiate in order to stay within your budget.
Starting off, you probably cannot afford a well-known celebrity like Kim Kardashian, who will easily charge $250,000 just for a photo! You need to allow yourself some wiggle room so shop around. Pricing will greatly depend on your objective.
Some Factors That Will Dictate The Cost:
- How many followers and fans an influencer has.
- The level of engagement from their posts.
- The fit of the advertisement with their brand and following
- The number of posts you require
- The type of post such as image, video, carousel, etc.
- Are you providing the images and videos or will the influencer have to do it? The time and energy required by the influencer will affect the cost.
- Where will the ad be promoted? Will it be on the influencer’s account or are you cross-posting? Also, are you using it in other efforts?
Don’t be afraid to ask a potential influencer for their own metrics. It’s a good idea to know what they have done with other brands and products. Find out how many views they received as well as how many likes and comments the post of past promotions received. Also, find out the demographics of their followers.
Get the data you need to fully evaluate the influencer and gauge their worth. This is also why it’s important for you to determine your goals before hand.
Once you have collected all the data from the influencer, keep in mind, you should consider everything from a financial point of view like any other advertisement campaign.
Now ask yourself:
- What is the potential Return On Investment?
- What is the potential Reach?
- How valuable is the influencer’s audience? Does their audience match your targeted customers?
- How does your return on investment match up with your marketing endeavours?
- Lastly, much would it cost you to produce similar results in other channels?
Before making a final decision, you should speak with a number of influencers with similar audiences and engagement rates. You can then compare their rates and decide which one is best for you. Don’t get too excited when you see two influencers with roughly the same numbers of followers, but one asks for a much cheaper rate than the other. As the saying goes “you pay for what you get”. Although I am not saying that you should blindly pay the highest price possible, but it is very likely that the account with cheap a promotional price is full of fake followers, or most of the engagements are from bots. For that reason, it is important to evaluate an Instagram page carefully before you make your decision.
Another good tip is make sure to negotiate. In many cases, you can actually get a decent deal if you are purchasing a number of posts or you are offering something of great value to their audience.
If you really want some numbers to have an estimate for your budget, then here are some stats I found online:
- 66% of small businesses report that they pay under $250 per post,
- while 27% pay between $250 and $1000.
The Two Types Of Popular Instagram Page
There are two types of Instagram page for you to choose from.
The first is Instagram content curation page. These are Instagram pages that share content from the internet, and most of the time doesn’t have a face behind it. This is a less expensive way to go and will generally promote just about anything you want to. Examples of this include @dogsofinstagram, @drunkpeopledoingthings, @funny_videos. While less expensive, their conversion rates are typically lower than an influencer page.
The second type is an actual influencer page. These are Instagram pages with real people showing their real faces. Typically, they create their own content that revolves around their own lives and what they do. Examples might be – @garyvee, @tailopez, @tonyrobbins.
Keep in mind, influencer pages will cost a great deal more than content pages that have similar followers. When I say A Great Deal More, I mean A Great Deal More! Searching Google, you will discover it could easily cost you thousands and even hundreds of thousands for one single post on a popular influencer’s page. The upside, their conversion rate is much higher!
Micro, Power Middle, And Macro Influencers
When choosing whom you want to work with, keep in mind that influencers are usually categorized into three groups, based on the size of their audience (I am talking about an actual influencer with a face behind their brand). So, let’s break them down:
This group of influencers offers the most authority in a specific audience niche. They have smaller but intensely dedicated followers that range from 10,000 people or less. Micro influencers are a very sought after, hot commodity because they are more affordable and have higher levels of engagement.
Power Middle Influencers:
This group of influencers is made up of audiences ranging from 10,000 to 250,000 people. Those who are in the Power Middle Influencers group are more than likely to have a great deal of experience working with brands.
This is your high-end group made up of the big names in the social media pond. These are your digital celebrities on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Their followers range from 250,000 to well over one million people.
The potential reach of macro influencers will dwarf that of micro and power middle influencers. However, due to their broad reach, the engagement rates are generally lower and are a great deal more expensive.
How Can I Find The Right Influencer?
The process of finding the right influencer can be the most challenging steps of all. Whether you are on Instagram or another platform, it can be a little nerve-wracking. A study performed by Econsultancy found that finding the right influencers to work with is very challenging.
To help overcome the challenge, here are some tips
- Know what you are looking for in an influencer’s
- Know what characteristics and personalities fit your brand the best
- Choose influencers that are a good fit for your brand and campaign
- Make sure they are creative and engaging
- Be sure they have a wide reach
Once you have defined the perfect influencer for your campaign it will be much easier to narrow down your search to find the right person for your brand. Here is the next step
For example, if you’re selling motorcycles, you would search for the hashtag motocycles on Instagram. Click on the top pictures with this hashtag, and see if it has a lot of likes and comments. Investigate that account to see how many followers it has, the average likes and comments, etc. Your goal is to evaluate if the account you’re looking at is a good fit for your brand.
Once you have found an account that is relatively a good match, Instagram has built in a great tool to help you quickly find similar accounts.
When you’re on the influencer profile, just tap on the small button with an inverted triangle and Instagram will give you a list of similar accounts.
Take Advantage Of The Right Tools
You can also make use of influencer marketing tools to simplify your search further. Using these tools will help you get a better list of potential influencers based on relevant keywords or a category. Some of the best influencer marketing tools can be found on BuzzSumo, Ninja Outreach, and Influence.co.
Checking Their Accounts And Followers
Once you have your list of potential influencers, the next thing to do is to check the trust worthy of the accounts. The tool I use is either SocialBlade or IGBlade. Those two tools are very similar, however I prefer IGBlade because it provides more detailed data. You can use whichever you prefer since they are both free.
If you see huge vertical spikes where they gain thousands of followers in a day, then immediately the day after you see a horizontal line, that indicate those followers are fake and were purchased. Below is a screenshot from SocialBlade.
Also, if you see a lot of their followers have no profile pictures then that’s another indication of fake followers.
Again, there are thousands of excellent influencers on the internet but just do your homework because there are others that are downright fake! Performing good searches will help you avoid the bad apples and help you find the influencers that are good people to work with.
Look Into Their Engagement Rates
Another important thing to look for is the engagement rate. A quality influencer (with a face behind their brand) with over 100,000 followers will have engagement (likes and comments) of about 1-3% of their followers. That means you should see 1,000 – 3,000 likes and comments (combined) on an average post on an account with 100,000 followers. Engagement rate tends to drop with the more followers you have, thus smaller accounts should have higher engagement rates. An engagement rate of slightly below 1 percent might be okay for many influencers, depending on their niche and their followers size. If an influencer’s engagement rate for his/her posts is regularly well below this, you should be suspicious.
On the other hand, a higher rate is not necessarily better. If an engagement rate is 10% or more, it could be a little suspicious as well. In some instances, if you see engagement rates that are really high, the influencer could be using artificial engagement techniques. They could be a part of an engagement group in which influencers work together by liking and commenting on each other’s posts to boost up their statistics. In other cases, they are purchasing engagements from bots.
Usually, fake or fraudulent comments are actually very easy to spot. The comments are generic and lack substance. If you see comments that continually say “good job” or “nice picture”, there is a good chance that they are fake. Even though these comments are considered engagement, they have no value to a brand that is hoping for an influencer to persuade his / her followers that the brand’s product will be suitable for them.
There are accounts that have irrelevant comments that are nothing more than spam in order to sell something. Many of these are really poorly thought out and are badly executed sales tactics. You certainly do not want your brand involved in these kinds of tactics. It’s a good idea to ask the influencer to take the insight screenshots of the page, recent posts, and recent stories for confirmation.
Watch Out For Followers To Follow Ratio
True influencers will have more followers than accounts they follow, usually by a substantial margin. If you run into an account that follows thousands of people that’s something to look closer into. Those accounts are most likely are using bots to follow and unfollow people to increase their followers.
An Account’s Lifespan
This is probably not as cut and dry as other aspects, especially in the world of the Instagram archive feature. But, if you check the length of time an influencer has been active on Instagram, it a good way to see if the account is legitimate and their followers are real.
Even though there are rare cases of incredibly fast-growing success stories, most influencers spend years of unpaid hard work to build their dedicated, loyal followers. Therefore, if an account is brand new and has a large following, there’s a good chance their followers are not engaged and are not real.
With the exception of some niches, if you run into accounts that have been around for a long time but have small number of followers, you should question them. Let’s face it, you want to trust an influencer who knows how to grow their followers and improve engagement over time. After all, will they do the same for you and your brand?
Other Things To Look For
An important thing you should consider is that the influencer has to be relevant to what you want to promote. If their content do not match with whatever that is you want to promote then the post will likely be ignored by their audience.
Also, take the following questions into account:
- Are they posting high-quality content? You don’t want your brand to be associated with a page with low quality content.
- What types of content do they post? Not just the regular content, look at their sponsored posts too. Do they post mostly sponsored posts or do they prefer to offer coupon codes or run contests? Make sure that the type of promotion you want to offer matches what their audience is used to.
- Do they have the right voice? Whatever your brand voice is – fun and laid back, professional and full of industry-speak – you want the influencer’s voice to match it.
- How often do they post? If you pay for a sponsored post, how quickly will it go up? Is your post time-sensitive or seasonal? If so, timing is going to matter quite a bit.
Following the above criteria is the best way to ensure you will hook up with real, high-quality influencers on Instagram. You have the option to work with an influencer marketing agency. These agencies will analyze your needs and expectations to connect you with the most relevant influencers in their network.
Contact Your Influencers
Now that you have a list of potential influencers, it’s time to reach out to them! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you contact your influencers either through Instagram direct message or email:
- Make the pitch personal: Do your research and make your pitch personal so that the influencer knows that you really care and understand what they’re doing.
- Keep the pitch short and simple: Make your pitch simple and to the point. Nobody wants to read an essay about your business.
- Offer something in return or ask for their rates: These guys are getting offers from hundreds to thousands of people, so make sure you offer them something that you know they want. Or just straight up and ask what do they charge for a promotion.
- Introduce yourself: Influencers are going to want to work with authentic brands that are credible and bring value to their audience. So show-off who you are, what you do, and how your product or service will benefit their audience.
Keep in mind your influencer might not answer right away or may even say no the first time. So don’t give up, and make sure to stay persistent and consistent!
Implementing Your Campaign Based On Your Goals
Now that you have chosen your influencers, it’s time to get your campaign up and running. Here are some of the most popular types of campaigns on Instagram you might want to consider:
Sponsored Post – You will pay your influencers to create content for your brand. They can feature your product in the content or tell a story about your product, depending on which you would prefer. This type of campaign is quite flexible and works well for just about any goal you have in mind.
Contest – This is a really good campaign if your product is brand new and you want to build awareness. You will send free products to your influencers so they can set up a giveaway contest. This is an excellent choice for engaging new audience and gaining new followers to increase your brand awareness. This is a great way to get the word out about a new product and get people talking.
Review – Have your influencers review your products to help their followers make an informed decision when buying from you. Reviews are great but make sure they are as accurate and as honest as possible. This is important because you want to build trust from consumers while driving up conversions.
Brand Rep Program – You might consider having your influencers serve as your representatives for your brand. Give each of your influencers a custom discount through a link or a code so they can share it with their audience. For every conversion they drive, give them a small percentage. This type of campaign is great for conversions and will help raise brand awareness.
How Instagram Algorithm Works
The biggest tip I can give you, if you’re creating your own content for the influencer to post, is to make it relevant to the influencer’s audience. You can easily 2x to 3x you ROI just by following this tip.
How Instagram algorithm works is that it will show the post to a small amount of people when a new post is published. If the post gets good engagement in the first hour or two, it will then show to more people. But if it doesn’t get people attention, Instagram will then limit the reach of your post. The influencer might have 100,000 followers, but if your content sucks or you’re selling to hard, the post might only reach 10,000 of their followers. On the other hand, if you have good content that provide people value, your post can reach 30,000-50,000 people. Therefore, if you want to maximize your ROI, it’s a good idea to take a look at the influencer’s recent posts. See what kind of posts have the most engagement, then try to replicate that with your promotional post.
If your ad is aggressively selling your product without providing any value, don’t expect it to get much engagement from the influencer’s followers. Thus, the reach will be limited. Make sure you provide value first, then ask for the sell. That way, you will have a much better chance of reaching more people.
Adjust And Repeat
After you have launched your campaign, keep track of your progress and see what results the influencer is getting. It’s also really important to get your influencer to take screenshots of the post’s insight once the campaign has ended. In addition, having a custom URL or unique discount code for each influencer will make it much easier to track the performance of your campaign. After you have analyzed the results from your campaign, this is the time to make any needed improvements or changes for the next go round.