Instagram has become an insanely popular marketing tool over the past couple of years. With recent trends showing more Instagram users are buying products based on what shows up in their feeds, brands are learning to adapt – and influencers are helping them do it.
Instagram influencers are users of the platform with larger, established audiences. These users have built-up credibility with their audience and have a larger degree of trustworthiness. It’s for this reason that influencers provide a great opportunity for marketers. But finding the right influencer is easier said than done.
Some users can charge exorbitant sums of money for a shout-out – and without picking the right influencer for your brand – this can mean a lot of wasted funds. If you plan on using influencers to market your brand – it’s best to make sure you’re choosing the right influencers and going about it in the best way.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing an influencer and running an influencer campaign.
1. Know your audience
It’s important to establish early on who you want to market to. This will help in selecting the right influencer to grow your audience. The influencer with the most followers might seem to be the best – but it most cases, it’s not.
Think about your target demographic. How old are they? What interests them? What are they likely to scroll past and what’s likely to catch their attention? Knowing which influencer to select is all about knowing your own audience. Try to avoid focusing too much on the number of followers and influencers has and focus more on the types of followers they have.
2. Stay transparent
The average internet user is more media-savvy that they’ve been in the past. It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating a promotional post that feels more like a shameless plug. If your campaign comes off as disingenuous then it can hurt both your brand and your influencer’s credibility.
Be honest with yourself and your audience. If you believe in your product or service – find an influencer that you genuinely think would benefit from the use of it. If your influencer really digs your product, this is going to make your marketing campaign all the more effective. Users can tell the difference between a sincere endorsement of a product and a half-hearted plug, so make sure to choose an influencer that genuinely likes your products.
3. Consider the user experience
Think about how you want your audience to engage with your product in the context of your marketing campaign. Avoid thinking too much about direct sales relating to your campaign – using influencers is a long-game marketing strategy. Successful influencer marketing strategies are more about creating brand awareness among users who you think would benefit from your product.
4. Treat your influencer as a partner
Instagram influencers have motivations for partnering with brands that go beyond simply making money. When coming up with ideas for a campaign – think of what your influencer wants to get out of the campaign as well.
The best brand-influencer partnerships are ones in which the influencer truly benefits from your product. Find an influencer that genuinely believes in your product. This will make the campaign resonate more with their followers.
5. Don’t overlook content
Instagram is a visual medium – above all else. This means that as analytical as you are about the types of users you’re targeting, you also need to be sure that your product is something that lends itself to visual branding and that the content for the ad is visually interesting.
Products like clothing, phone cases and jewellery are generally better for a visual medium like Instagram. You obviously want your images to include the influencer alongside your product – but remember that the image has to be visually interesting.
Take this photo from Burst as an example. This could easily be an image like this used to promote a hat, watch or clothing – but what’s important to take away from it is the way the lighting, framing and color-scheme all help to brand the product and set a moody atmosphere. It works because it showcases the products in a way that adds to the character of both the brand and the influencer.
Don’t pick influencers with too many followers
This may come as a surprise but it’s been shown that engagement with a post in Instagram decreases as the user gains followers. Influencer marketing platform Markerly showed that for unpaid posts – Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8 percent, while those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a like rate of 4 percent. This has given rise to what marketing gurus refer to as “micro-influencers” – smaller Instagram profiles that target more niche audiences.
As the number of followers goes up – the percentage of engagement goes down. This means that it can actually be beneficial to use influencers with smaller amounts of followers – especially because these influencers target more specific niches. It makes sense when you think about it; it’s far easier to built trust networks with smaller audiences and content promoting a product feels more genuine coming from users who have more intimate relationships with their audience.
On top of this – smaller influencers are likely to charge a lot less – or even not at all – since they’re likely working on building their own fan-base and promoting their own content. It’s in this was that working with many smaller influencers can be more beneficial than working with one larger influencer.
HarveyStewart is a writer and digital artist based in Toronto, Canada. He’s written about content marketing, futurism and technology. He graduated from York University in 2012 with a degree in Journalism. You can visit his Instagram to learn more – https://www.instagram.com/harveystewart/
Image: 123rf/ Tul Chalothonrangsee