You may often see popular Instagram personalities telling their followers about the benefits of a particular product they use and encouraging them to try it.
Influencer marketing is when a person with influence markets a product among their followers. It’s a popular strategy on Instagram, and more importantly, it works.
With 63% of marketers planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets and the influencer marketing industry estimated to grow to approximately $13.8 Billion in 2021, using influencers to promote brands is a growing trend and an unmissable opportunity to give your marketing strategy a boost.
But, who are influencers? And, which are the top influencer marketing strategies?
We’ll discuss these points a lot more in this blog. Let’s jump in!
Who is an Instagram Influencer?
Instagram influencers are Instagram users with an established follower base and high credibility among their followers. Followers trust their opinions, and they enjoy the potential to drive followers towards a specific course of action.
Influencers constantly engage with their audience and regularly share their thoughts and opinions on their areas of interest.
An influencer need not have a large following on their Instagram account — they need not have millions of followers to be an influencer, which is what most people think is required to be an influencer.
In fact, the smaller the number of followers an influencer has, the higher the engagement and ROI in terms of the number of likes and shares.
Why You Need An Influencer Marketing Strategy For Your Business
People attain the tag of influencers only after they build a significant following and develop trust among their followers. To do so, they have to establish authority in their area of interest and be truthful in their opinion for people to believe in them.
It is a process that takes time, but the followers who remain once you attain the ‘influencer’ tag are yours forever.
This trust and loyal follower base that influencers enjoy are what innovative businesses capitalize on for promoting their brand.
Users are tired of watching loosely-curated ads featuring someone who has no relation to the brand or industry (and will call an apple a banana if paid the right amount of money) popping up on their screens and asking them to buy some product. Users no longer trust such ads and consider such ads as trash.
Brands know this and are thus increasingly using influencers for marketing their products.
Here are some benefits of using influencers:
Get access to an audience that is willing to listen
By promoting your brand through an influencer, you get access to a user base willing to listen to what you have to offer and believe it to be true. Capturing audience attention is one of the biggest challenges marketers face, and using influencers solves this problem in one shot.
Build brand credibility
Reputation is what matters the most to influencers. They enjoy cult status and will not stake their reputation to endorse a product that does not offer what it claims.
Influencers know that their followers will disavow them if they endorse false claims. Followers are the only asset that they have, and they simply cannot afford to lose them.
This fear of losing trust contributes to their success as they only endorse brands and products which meet high standards and are suitable for their followers.
One shoutout campaign from influencers is all that it will take to strengthen your brand’s credibility among that particular set of followers. No amount of ads can help you get such quick results to build your brand.
Enjoy live feedback
Influencers know their followers in and out. They constantly engage with them and talk on various topics regularly. By using influencers to promote your brand, you can get live feedback about your brand from the end-users and improve your brand experience.
Finding the Right Influencer
Although selecting the right influencer is key to a successful influencer marketing campaign, it is far from easy.
With the ever-changing social media landscape, it becomes imperative to find influencers who are abreast with the latest trends relevant to your product.
You could either do a manual search by finding an influencer through your industry-relevant hashtags on social platforms (Instagram in this case) or by typing any keyword on Google that would associate with your industry/brand.
You can sit down and prepare pages and pages of spreadsheets to analyze and maintain your manual search records or use modern tools like SocialPilot to do influencer analysis and make the process of finding brand-relevant Instagram influencers seamless and easy.
10 Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategies
#1 Be clear about your Instagram influencer marketing campaign
If you want to measure success, lay down all the goals you want to achieve from the influencer campaign. Do not start without having clear, predetermined goals in mind.
This helps minimize the chances of campaign modifications in the middle of the campaigns and reduces cost overruns.
You need to analyze several factors, such as the reason you want to collaborate with the influencer(s), your preferred platform for the marketing campaign like Instagram, the influencer you want to collaborate with, and their content forte.
Your goal must be detailed and include specific numbers and platforms, to say the least. Although the factors outlined in your goal or your overall goal plan may change, it acts as the start point of your marketing campaign strategy.
#2 Long-Term Partnership Over Single Projects
We know that cracking sales can be tough. It takes time and may take multiple efforts to close the first sale.
Even influencers with the most engaged audiences cannot assure you of any quantifiable marketing outcome from a single post or project that will help your brand in the long run.
Once you zero in on the right influencer, always think of associating with them for the long term. Using the same influencers over a long time helps strengthen the brand and send across a consistent message.
It may seem like an unnecessary expenditure at first, but it is always a better option than spending on a single sponsored post only to realize that it did not yield any result.
The example above is a subtle yet clever marketing move by Stella Artois, a popular alcoholic beverage brand that has collaborated with Blake Griffin, popular NBA player with over three million Instagram followers, to boost their brand presence.
#3 Partnering With Micro-Influencers
Influencers fall into different categories: from nano influencers with a few thousand followers to celebrity influencers with millions. A study found that micro-influencers, particularly those with fewer than 25K followers, have the highest engagement rates at around 7%.
Given that Instagram’s engagement rates are experiencing a steady decline, you should focus on collaborating with influencers having an engaged audience even though they may have fewer followers.
Doing this would be a win-win situation for both: you can market your products to a difficult-to-find engaged audience and influencers will get their revenues.
In the above example, Freya Treasures Jewelry has collaborated with Giorgia Ylenia Gasio Thomas, a micro-influencer with more than 12K followers, to promote their jewelry collection.
#4 Giving priority to authentic content
Gone are the days when being ‘salesy’ was okay. Today, all consumers care about is authenticity and benefits that the brand can provide them.
The more your ad looks like a promotion, the less impact it would have on the viewers. When collaborating with influencers, you need to ensure that the content they create for you to promote your products and services resonates with the target audiences.
An ideal strategy would be entering into partnerships with influencers whose target audiences would correspond with yours. Sponsored content becomes authentic when you build a genuine sense of excitement around the brand that you’re conveying through advertising.
This sponsored Instagram ad by Skillshare below is a classic example of influencer marketing. Lilly Singh, formerly known as Superwoman, is a very popular influencer with over 9 million followers on her social media channels and is known for her creative and insightful content.
The sponsored ad by her shares that she would be teaching how to make authentic videos on Skillshare. Note that Skillshare aims to produce authentic classes and Lilly’s aim to teach how to make authentic videos complement each other.
#5 Creating awareness about a social Issue
Social and environmental responsibility is one of the top priorities for users today, with 87% of customers preferring brands that are involved or have association with a good cause and have no qualms about changing their preferences for the reason.
The same study found that 95% of respondents surveyed said there was less probability of them skipping a brand’s ad if it promoted social awareness and/or a partnership with a cause.
Partnering with a cause is the key to enhance a brand’s marketing and advertising strategies and make them more effective.
Brands can reach wider audiences through cause marketing by using a powerful message. From rewarding posts on social issues to spreading positive messages through posts, raising awareness about social issues can help brands stand out from the rest and help create a lasting impression on the audience.
This aim of Cause Marketing to address social issues such as diversity and inclusion can help create an impact on consumers and select influencers to partner with.
Although there’s increasing diversity in choosing influencers, you need to revamp your promotion method, inculcating diversity and inclusion in your brand promotion strategy
In the example above, Shelly Dahlia, a nano-influencer with over 3K followers, promotes Human Filth, a clothing line that donates 10% of its proceeds to Living Lands & Waters. It is dedicated to environmental causes and conducts activities such as river cleanups, tree plantations, and environmental education workshops.
#6 Using Pets as Influencers
According to The Woof Agency, when people see pets in commercials, they don’t feel the adverts are being that salesy. Having pets can help create positive vibes. Pet influencers can have higher engagement rates as compared to human influencers although both may have the same amount of engagement and reach on their social media channels.
Pet influencers have thousands or even millions of followers. This makes these accounts powerful enough to reach out to a wider audience, influence them, and attract new followers.
In the post below, Infinite Pet Life, a provider of supplements for dogs, has collaborated with Cooper (whose Instagram handle name is @cooperthecountsurfer), who has more than 25K followers, to promote the former’s supplementary products. Cooper even encourages viewers to avail 10% discount on purchase through the promo code given in the caption.
Thus, a pet influencer marketing strategy is a great way to communicate and create conversations with potential customers interested in your content and boost engagement and conversion leads.
#7 Using Paid Advertising
Advertising is a crucial part of influencer marketing strategy and if done right, can reap wonders for your brands. While it may look that paid ads are generally not associated with influencer marketing campaigns, paid advertising can be win-win for both brands and influencers due to the amplification of the content created by influencers.
Earlier, brands who paid influencers for posting sponsored images or video ads on their Instagram profiles observed that their brand reach extended only upto that particular influencer’s followers on the platform.
As Instagram evolved, it started allowing posts uploaded by you using Instagram’s ‘paid partnership’ feature (which is displayed above the post) to also display a toggle through which you give your business partner the permission to boost your engagement.
The feature is thus greatly useful for your brand and provides an opportunity to appear in the Explore, feeds and Stories section to a wider range of audience on Instagram while they browse through it, even if they don’t follow your influencer partner on the platform.
Moreover, with Facebook Ads allowing you to define your marketing campaign and audience and with the help of the advertising tools that are available on various other social media platforms, you can conveniently deliver high-quality influencer content to the audience who are really interested in viewing it, without depending on social media algorithms to boost your presence.
The above example is of a paid partnership Instagram ad by Chef Allie who has more than 32K followers on the platform in collaboration with Real Good Foods Co. to tell her followers how easy it was to cook chicken breast.
#8 Reviewing Your Product
According to BrightLocal Consumer Survey, 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as friends and family. Collaborating with influencers is thus another great move to boost your brand presence.
The influencers post reviews about your product after trying it out themselves so that their followers can make an informed decision when buying from you.
You need to ensure your influencer partner gives an honest review about your product or service to gain your target audience’s trust. This form of campaign is perfect for you if your marketing campaign objective is to raise awareness about the brand, build consumer trust, or boost conversions.
This strategy involves you gifting your influencer partner(s) freebies and samples of your products to help them schedule one day of the week for unboxing and trying your products on social media, crediting you, and either reviewing or using them at that instant on the platform for users to know about your product.
In the above example, Megan Adams, a micro-influencer with over 11K followers, is doing product review for Herbiar, a skincare brand that offers organic and natural products to users.
#9 Campaign Timed With Occasion
Another way to leverage influencer marketing campaigns is to time it with an occasion or an upcoming event.
This strategy includes you collaborating with quality influencers to promote your brand for the occasion or spread the word about your upcoming event. However, note that while you owe them a promotion fee or provide them with incentives such as free tickets to your event, you need to convey reviews about your product or the upcoming event through influencers, and not what your brand symbolizes.
Simply put, the promotion should not sound scripted but authentic and genuine enough for the audience to believe your brand.
In the example above, GoPro, a popular camera brand, posts a picture captured by Deigo Prol, a nano-influencer with over 3K followers, using the brand’s camera to time it with Father’s Day.
#10 Planning And Data Monitoring
You need to ensure that planning and data is an integral part of your influencer marketing strategy at any given point. With the increasing number of collaborations between brands and influencers, you need to have a systematic campaign plan for collaborations with different influencers.
There also comes the need to track the social media marketing metrics so you know the influencer you are collaborating with is worth all the expense you incurred for them. While influencer networks do have some analytics and reporting in place, if you are collaborating with an influencer that particularly seems a newbie, you need to ensure they understand which social media metrics are important to be given priority and accordingly deliver value.
Use SocialPilot’s Instagram Analytics to gain insightful analytics on your influencer marketing campaign strategy and make data-driven decisions accordingly.
Influencer marketing, in simple words, can be called a modern and sophisticated version of “word-of-mouth” publicity and allows you to leverage the influence of another person to promote your brand effectively.
Use these strategies and create an awesome influencer marketing campaign!
CTA: Seamless communication is essential to ensure the success of your marketing strategies. Visit SocialPilot and learn how you can smoothly plan your social media posts and effectively collaborate with your team.