With consumers trusting brands less and leaning more toward their peers and other relatable personalities to influence their purchasing decisions, influencer marketing has become an integral part of doing business. And it’s become crucial at every stage of the buyer journey.
From awareness and consideration to conversion and cultivating loyalty, influencers have served as beacons of the customer journey. And Instagram, having reached 1 billion monthly active users, coupled with its increasingly popular content formats, have become the platform of choice for both brands and consumers.
This article discusses influencer marketing, and how you can utilize the practice on Instagram to boost your brand.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing strategy that combines the old marketing technique of using endorsers, and the relatively new technique of using influential social media personalities to tap into their audience. And the advantage these social platforms have over traditional celebrity endorsements is that audiences are not only able to engage with these personalities, but it’s also actually encouraged.
By partnering with influencers that are aligned with their brand values, brands are able to build meaningful relationships with an audience they otherwise wouldn’t have had.
According to Google study, 70% of the teenage audience say that they can relate to influencers better than celebrities, and 40% say that these influencers understand them better than their own friends.
Why Use Instagram for influencer marketing?
While there are a lot of platform choices like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, Instagram is the top choice for influencer marketing.
Here are some of the reasons why they choose Instagram:
- Great analytics platform
Instagram’s business profile has a simple analytics structure that gives relevant data quickly. IG allows you to pinpoint the demographics of your target audience, so you can reach the right people and give a more personalized experience. This kind of analytics is good for influencer marketing because it allows you to find out who you’re talking to, and what their actual interests are.
- Higher Engagement
Instagram has the highest post engagement rate among the three most popular social media platforms, dominating Facebook and Twitter
- Influencer’s Choice
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, most influencers prefer Instagram over the other platforms. While Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest are still good options, influencers themselves would prefer to broadcast to their followers on Instagram.
How to Utilize Instagram for Influencer Marketing
Influencers prefer Instagram because of its ability to create a carefully-curated profile. Additionally, 60% of Instagram users log in daily, which means that its engagement potential is second only to Facebook. Now that you’ve established the importance of Instagram for influencer marketing, here are some tips for your influencer marketing campaign:
1. Set Clear Goals and KPIs
Before you look for suitable influencers, you have to outline your influencer marketing campaign objectives. Map out the things you want to achieve so that you can create a better strategy for how to achieve them. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
These are some of the considerations:
- Specific. For example, you want to grow your brand awareness by 30% in the 18-34- year-old demographic in the first half of the year.
- Measurable. You should be able to point to specific key performance indicators to measure the campaign’s success. Here are some of the KPIs you can use:
- Reach and traffic. This is perhaps the most simple KPI for influencer marketing because it is mainly about how many views posts get, and how much website traffic it generates.
- Engagement and audience sentiment. This is the ability of the influencer to generate conversations. Are the people talking about the campaign beyond the posts? Has it inspired other conversations?
- Conversions. Whether it’s getting people to subscribe, driving them to landing pages, or actually closing a sale – it’s important to identify the type of conversions your campaign is looking for.
- Attainable. Your objectives should be realistic and feasible to achieve within a certain timeframe.
- Relevant. Your campaign goals should be aligned with your overall business goals..
- Time-bound. There should be a specific timeline of when the campaign will be launched and when it will end. Most campaigns are season-based or event-based.
2. Look for the Ideal Influencer
Once you’ve laid out all the goals, objectives and key performance indicators, you will need to look for the ideal influencer to carry out the campaign. It’s important to consider how well the influencer will fit with your brand values because using the wrong influencer could give out the wrong message and ruin your campaign altogether.
Here are some ways you know the influencer is the right fit for your company:
- Niche. Every influencer has a target niche, so make sure that you’re dealing with someone who is passionate about yours. If you own a beauty company, choose an influencer who has an established audience in your industry. These influencers could include beauty gurus, beauty vloggers, product reviewers, and celebrities.
- Principles. The influencer should share your philosophy and vision. If your product is cruelty-free, you can boost your campaign effectivity by choosing an influencer with the same advocacy. If you want to deliver an effective influencer campaign, you should choose the voice that resonates with your own brand.
- Track record. The influencer will be a part of your present and future so it’s important that you put his or her track record into consideration. If that person is notorious for calling companies out on social media then you should take it as a red flag.
- High engagement rates
- Influencer engagement rates are just as important as the relevance because it shows how well they catch the attention of their followers. Simply reaching an audience isn’t enough, you need to be able to engage them.
3. Maintain transparency
After you’ve created a campaign plan and contacted the ideal influencer for it, you have to discuss the details of your expectations. Here are some of the details you should discuss with your influencer before starting a campaign to avoid any potential issues:
- Campaign Timeframe. Discuss when the campaign will start, how long it’s expected to last and when it will end. This will give influencers an idea of how much time and effort will be expected from them.
- Content Production. It’s important to clearly establish what types and how much content is expected.
- Content usage rights. While you’re discussing the content production, it’s important to clarify the content usage rights. These rights involve signed releases and other documents that pertain to the usage of the content created. Clear out any possible misunderstandings on use and rights before the campaign starts.
- Compensation. Compensation can come in the form of any of the following:
- Fixed monetary compensation
- Percentage of generated sales
- X deals with products and services
- FTC regulations. The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines on how to advertise and market online. These guidelines are important in making sure that the influencer is not creating potential legal problems for the company.
4. Execute campaigns that fit your marketing goals
Here are some ideas on how you can execute your Instagram influencer marketing campaign:
- Introducing a new product by showing videos of influencers using the product.
- Promoting a slow-selling product by giving influencers the power to give discounts through promo codes.
- Showing off a certain tourist spot or place in an immersive way.
- Bundling a product with an event or a cause.
- Showing followers how to use a new product or feature.
5. Measure your ROI
Measuring influencer marketing ROI can be tricky. For example, if your campaign is mainly about increasing brand awareness, how do you quantify whatever increase in awareness you get? Instead of trying to manually track your campaign ROI, use tools that can do it for you.
Platforms like NeoReach allows you to monitor performance in real-time. This includes impressions, cost per impression, cost per engagement and ROI.
- Additionally, you can also use custom URLs and unique promo codes to determine direct traffic and sales stemming from influencers’ outreach.
Influencer marketing has proven to be an effective tool for increasing a brand’s reach. But while it has been a powerful marketing trend in the past couple of years, you can’t just jump on the bandwagon without a clear plan. It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish and which types of influencers can help you achieve that. Once you got that pat-down, then you can start getting creative with your approach.
Which influencer has inspired you the most? Sound off in the comments below.
About the Author: Naida Alabata is the editorial managing director of startupcredo.com and she’s a digital marketing specialist in the Philippines. She has a vast experience in social media, digital marketing, e-commerce, web design, SEO, app development and business dev. and she loves to share her expertise in these areas thru content contributions. You can follow her on Twitter @alabatanaida.