What’s all the fuss about Instagram influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is taking over the internet one post at a time. If you’ve been thinking about partnering with influencers for your next marketing campaign, Instagram might be the perfect platform to make it happen.
This article is going to walk you through Instagram influencer marketing and explain how you can start leveraging influencers for your next social media campaign.
What is Instagram influencer marketing?
We all know the basic definition of influencer marketing—a person or group of people on social media endorsing a brand, product, or service. Here we are doing the exact same thing except all of it is on the popular platform, Instagram.
Influencer marketing on Instagram has been around for quite some time, most of us just never realized that’s what it was. Once a few brands saw that creators on Instagram could take epic photos and share unique videos of their products, they began targeting these influencers with collaborative opportunities.
Instagram influencer marketing leverages a creator’s Instagram presence, combined with a brand's products or services, to organically deliver content that promotes those products in a way that feels natural and uncoerced.
Think of it like your best friend telling you about a new happy hour spot in town that serves up the best margs on the planet, except it's on your Instagram feed instead of in person!
With a massive monthly user base of over 1.3b people, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing on Instagram is growing at a rapid pace. This user base is constantly searching for new products and services that will improve their lives and Instagram is the place where they are going to find them.
Pair that with an 89% increase in Facebook advertising costs, and it’s no wonder why brands are looking at Instagram influencer marketing as a better alternative than throwing their money away to Mr. Zuck’s Meta-whatever.
Why are brands choosing Instagram for influencer marketing?
Of all the social media platforms to work with, Instagram seems to be the standard choice for almost every single brand working with influencers?
First off, let’s get this straight—the influencer marketing industry is expected to grow to $16.4 billion in 2022—that’s a 30% increase from 2021. With a $5.78 return for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, it’s very clear that brands are only going to continue building out their influencer marketing efforts on channels like Instagram.
If that wasn’t enough, 70% of active brands on Instagram are already using influencers to bring attention to their products and services.
Of all the major social media platforms (Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, and Facebook) Instagram has a hold on the two largest and arguably most valuable demographics—Gen Z and millennials. These two audiences are on their feeds constantly looking for unique, thumb-stopping content that could make their lives better.
To put it in perspective, over ⅓ of all Instagram users fall between Gen Z and Millennials. Of that group, over 80% of them engage with Instagram content to decide whether they want to purchase a product or service.
Simply put, if you are not using instagram influencer marketing to grow your reach and sell your products, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to win the hearts and dollars of millions.
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How to start influencer marketing on Instagram.
Starting your first Instagram influencer marketing campaign might feel like a massive undertaking but it’s actually very simple when you break it down into steps. Here’s how you can get started on your influencer campaign this afternoon.
1. Set Goals, KPIs, and Budget.
Goals: Influencer campaigns will always fail if there’s no established goal. This goal varies from brand to brand, industry to industry but at its core, this influencer marketing goal is looking to achieve one of three outcomes—brand awareness, sales, or direct response.
KPI: Once the goal is set, it’s time to determine your KPI. KPIs tend to vary depending on the social media platform, but since we are talking about Instagram, it’s important to know what KPIs you need to pay attention to. These include CPM (cost per mille), engagement rate, average likes, and follower growth. These KPIs will help you understand if you are succeeding or failing in this effort.
Budget: Just like any other campaign, a budget is critical. Setting your budget for this campaign will tell you how much you can spend per influencer and give a reference for ROI when your campaign is finished. When it comes to budget, be willing to set aside a chunk of change (a couple hundred up to a thousand), the same way you would for ad spending on Facebook or Google.
2. Build an Instagram influencer marketing strategy.
Depending on the goal you chose in the last step, you’ll need to develop a few strategies that will help you reach your goal with this Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
Think of it like this, if your goal is to increase brand reach, how can you partner with influencers to make that happen?
The answer to that question then becomes your strategy or set of strategies.
While there are tons of different influencer marketing strategies out there, there are 6 we’ve seen from brands time and time again that absolutely crush it. Check them out…
- Sponsored Content
- Giveaways & Contests
- Affiliate Programs
- Brand Ambassador Programs & Discount Codes
- Product Gifting
- Social Media Takeover
Once you’ve got your strategies set, it’s time to find influencers!
3. Find Instagram influencers that align with your campaign and brand.
With a goal and strategies at the ready, it’s time to start finding the right influencer for this Instagram campaign.
Bear in mind that most of the time with these influencer campaigns you are going to work with multiple people.
Just like paid ads, you wouldn’t shoot one image and write one line of copy to promote your product, you’d do multiple! The same goes here with influencers—as you start your search remember that too many is always better than not enough.
Often we see the best results come from brands who are willing to explore a few different creators in different niches to see what performs best.
Here are 3 ways you can find influencers for your social media campaign
1. Native Social Media Channels
This is where most people will start looking for influencers because it’s the most accessible. Scouring an influencer's social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkTree) is always a quick way to try and get in touch with them.
The problem is that the larger the influencer you work with, the better the chances that they aren’t the only person running that account, making it hard to get through to them.
2. Social Media Search Tools
Social Media Search tools are great for finding influencers in your industry or niche as you can usually sort and filter through specific credentials. These tools are often supported by other influencer-backed organizations or resources so you might end up finding creators you never knew existed in your niche!
Here are three social media search tools we recommend to brands looking for influencers: Mention, Social Searcher, and Google Trends.
3. Influencer Marketing Agencies
Influencer marketing agencies vary in size and focus, but they are a great way to find influencers who have already established themselves as collaborators with brands and want to do more.
The beauty of working with these groups is that they’ve established a network of influencers who are eager and excited to work with brands and know how it all goes down. Usually, these influencers cost a little bit more than non-represented influencers, but their ROI tends to be higher as they have experience in this space.
By the way, did we mention that we do exactly that? We love to pair influencers and brands together to make Instagram magic and have done so for some pretty reputable brands.
4. Start outreach to Instagram influencers.
This is where brands start to overcomplicate this process and we’re not going to let you do that.
The best influencer campaigns are simple and start with a creative brief. This creative brief is clear, concise, and less than a page long. It contains all the details that your influencer needs to know about this campaign from top to bottom like…
How much are they getting paid?
What deliverables are needed?
What is the timeline?
What’s the scope of the campaign?
Once you have this creative brief written down and formatted for sending, it’s time to write a simple outreach email that you can send to this influencer.
Remember, influencers are busy people, so this outreach email needs to be straight to the point and captivating enough that they are going to open your message and actually read it!
5. Determine a testing and feedback period.
These testing periods are used as opportunities to allow the influencers to create under the guidelines you’ve set, knowing that there’s room for improvement and adjustment.
You don’t want to just throw a creator out there with zero feedback and hope that it performs well, instead, allow this 7 day period to show you where they can make adjustments.
During this, we highly emphasize freedom with guardrails in that you give them the ropes to do what they want with small guidance on the few things that have to be done or included based on the scope of the project.
6. Kick off your Instagram influencer marketing campaign and optimize!
Once your influencer or group of influencers have come to an agreement, go ahead and let them do their thing. You’ve put in the time and effort on your end to set them up for success, now let them get out there and make it happen!
After you’ve conducted this first influencer marketing campaign, go back and look at how it performed. Use your KPIs to determine if you met your established goal or if you missed the mark. These findings will help inform what content your audience craves and what content they can do without.
From there, you can take those learnings and partner with new influencers that more closely align with the content preferences of your audience!
4 Instagram influencer marketing strategies to try
We figured all this influencer marketing talk got you fired up and eager to start so we pulled out 4 of our favorite influencer marketing strategies with some examples for reference. Check them out.
1. Sponsored Content
You (the brand) collaborate with an influencer to create content (posts, videos, pictures, etc) that is shared on their (the influencer) channel.
Unlike organic brand content, sponsored content allows you to directly reach a new group of potential fans, whose interests align with yours, without coming off as insincere, out-of-place, or forced.
2. Giveaways & Contests
Partnering with influencers for giveaways and contests are effective because they are a trusted peer in their niche.
Instead of some random celebrity trying to convince you to drop your email, this influencer comes from a respected place, leading to more participation from community members.
3. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are built for those influencers who are creating content that constantly drives business back to your brand.
At its core, affiliate programs give influencers a stake in the money you make off the content they provide.
4. Brand Ambassador Programs
This strategy involves an influencer having an ongoing partnership with a brand that is paid upfront with cash or often a combination of cash and free product.
They are then given a case-specific discount code to share with their audience.
Ready to start your Instagram influencer marketing campaign?
Influencer marketing on Instagram can change the game for your brand, all you need to do is make the jump.
If you’re feeling like you’re ready to make the jump, we want to do it with you. We work with a network of over 2,000 influencers who are ready to help grow your reach and convert your followers into customers!