With the ever-rising popularity of social media, Instagram influencer marketing has become one of the most effective tools for marketers in every niche.
Consumers now look to fellow consumers and their favorite Instagram personalities for making their purchase decisions.
They are strongly influenced by social media posts and comments, especially on Instagram.
This has opened up a new channel for businesses to promote their brand through influential individuals.
Related Article: Forgetting Filters: Is It Time to Abandon Your Instagram Strategy?
What is Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Instagram influencer marketing is the process of marketing products, brands, or services through popular individuals on Instagram who can influence their follower’s purchase decisions.
It's somewhat similar to word-of-mouth marketing, but doesn’t necessarily involve overt recommendations.
An influencer can be anyone with the ability to sway consumers and convince them to take action.
How Beneficial is Instagram Influencer Marketing for Businesses?
Instagram influencer marketing is rapidly overshadowing traditional advertising mainly because of the following facts:
1. PageFair and Adobe published a report showing that the number of active adblock users has increased to 198 million worldwide.
The growth in ad blocking means that marketers can no longer rely on traditional ads to reach consumers.
2. A survey by Variety revealed that teens are more influenced with top YouTubers than with traditional celebrities. In fact, their emotional attachment to YouTube stars is seven times greater than that toward traditional celebrities.
Also, they're perceived as 17 times more engaging and 11 times more extraordinary than mainstream stars. These social media influencers dominate the top positions in the survey’s celebrity influencer list.
This means that the more people talk about your brand on social media, the higher your search engine ranking will be.
Instagram influencer marketing can be a great way to get people to mention your brand and boost your search engine ranking.
4. A McKinsey study revealed that in comparison with paid advertising, customers generated through word-of-mouth advertising have a 37 percent higher retention rate.
Since Instagram influencer marketing is also a form of word-of-mouth advertising, it helps brands both acquire and keep customers.
How Influencer Marketing via Instagram Helps Businesses
As one of the most popular social media channels, Instagram has become an effective platform for brands to market themselves through influencers.
Recently, it's confirmed that Instagram has crossed 400 million active users, which makes it a better marketing place than Twitter.
Let's look at how these businesses have successfully launched their Instagram influencer marketing campaigns.
1. Lord & Taylor
Retail brand Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influential Instagrammers to promote its new Design Lab collection.
Each of these influencers posted pictures of themselves wearing the same dress. The dress then sold out the following weekend.
For Madewell, partnering with just five influencers on Instagram was enough to reach more than one million targeted customers.
The campaign was designed to promote the anniversary of their signature tote. It also involved “regramming” the influencers’ photos and featuring them on their company blog.
NatureBox is a delivery service that specializes in healthy snacks. With just three pictures of the Goddard’s kids snacking on food from Nature Box’s monthly round up, the company gained credibility with popular mommy blogs.
The campaign resulted in 1,200 likes.
An excellent Instagram influencer marketing program can be seen in the case of Birchbox when they teamed up with blogger Emily Schuman.
Emily helped curate their May box and promoted the partnership through five Instagram photos. These photos resulted in 18,000 likes and reached more than 550,000 consumers.
On Mother’s Day, Christina Zilber of Jouer Cosmetics took over the Birchbox Instagram account for the day.
The campaign involved Christina detailing her life in Los Angeles. There was also an Instagram giveaway where users filled the comment thread with top beauty tips for moms.
Related Article: How To Sell On Instagram: Emerging Trends and Platform
As a result, there were 1,135 user-generated posts with an incredible engagement rate.
Easy Steps for Instagram Influencer Marketing
Social Media Week has reported that 68 percent of Instagrammers between the ages of 13 and 24 interact with brands regularly using the platform.
It could be anything from looking at photos and liking them or following accounts. Therefore, Instagram influencer marketing is an effective way for brands to reach out to their right audience.
Here are some tips to help you launch a successful Instagram influencer marketing campaign:
1) Define your niche
The first step to a successful Instagram influencer is to identify your unique niche. What's your brand all about? What kind of audience are you reaching out to?
Maybe you're a retail brand selling women’s fashion or fitness program. Understanding your niche will help you select the right influencers for your brand.
2) Set your goals
What are you planning to achieve through Instagram influencer marketing? Whether you’re planning to extend your reach or promote a new product, defining your goals is necessary.
Having documented goals will help find the right influencers and reach your business targets. Additionally, it'll be useful in measuring the success of your campaign.
3) Locate top influencers
Look for influencers who are already natural fans of your brand and talking about your company.
Since these people will be eager to work with you, the partnership will be more authentic. It’ll be much simpler to build your relationship with these influencers and get them to promote your brand.
Yet, it’s not always easy to find influencers who are already vouching for your brand. I suggest conducting a manual Instagram search.
Check out shout-out pages and niche specific pages. For example, if you're a health supplement company, then a page like Motivation Fitness could help you find influencers in the bio of each photo. You can also use tools like Klear to easily come across top influencers in your niche.
4) Calculate their engagement rate
Now, how will you determine if the individual has enough influence? It’s not just about the number of followers someone has because some might be fake.
It's important to see whether they are driving enough engagement in their posts or not. I have seen thousands of users who have a high number of followers but very low engagement rate.
Use the following process to measure the engagement rate of potential influencers.
Create a spreadsheet and list out Instagram account URLs for each influencer. Record the number of followers.
However, consider the number of followers as secondary criteria after taking his/her relevancy to your business.
Select any three non-promotional pictures (most likely selfies) the influencer has posted on their Instagram account. Note data like the number of likes and number of comments received.
You'll find the spreadsheet template at the end of the post.
Calculate the individual engagement rate for each picture using the formula given below.
A= (# of likes + # of comments) / # of followers
E = (A+B+C)/3
Here, E stands for the “Post Engagement Rate," A stands for "Engagement Rate for Image 1," B stands for "Engagement Rate for Image 2," and C stands for "Engagement Rate for Image 3."
Now, take the average of the engagement rate of all three images to determine the final post engagement rate of the influencer.
A higher engagement rate typically spells out a wider reach and stronger influence.
5) Dig up their contact details
Once you've identified which influencers you’d like to work with, the next step is to find contact information to start your outreach.
Check out their Instagram bio to determine if they’ve included any contact information like an email address. If you can’t find this, send them a direct message asking for their contact details.
You could also try finding their website or another social media account where contact information is listed.
6) Build a relationship and start pitching
Before you pitch to an influencer about a partnership, it’s important that you first build a relationship with them. Let them know that you're a real person.
After establishing a connection with your influencers, start pitching to them about working together. Your outreach email should highlight important details like what you expect out of them and what your brand goals are.
Make sure you clearly explain what benefits they'll gain from the partnership. Ninja Outreach can help you outreach influencers with free, effective templates and make your mail more personalized.
Let’s review a few sample pitching templates:
My name is [name] from [company]. We’re big fans of your Instagram posts and we have an amazing opportunity for you. We feel that your personality and style are closely in line with our brand values.
We’re coming up with a new line of products that we feel would be a success with someone like you promoting it. Here’s what we can offer you:
Let us know if you’re interested. We're looking forward to hearing from you.
We at [company] absolutely love your Instagram posts! So here’s an offer for you.
We’d be honored to partner with you in promoting a new event about [topic]. We feel that it’s a cause strongly related to your values and we would love to get your support.
In exchange for your partnership, here’s what we propose: [list benefits]
Let us know if you’re interested so we can set up a meeting and discuss it further.
7) Calculate the ROI
Finally, you’ll need to ensure that the investments you’ve made in Instagram influencer marketer are paying off. Measure the social media ROI to determine your total spending on the campaign and total conversion or revenue generated within a fixed duration.
It’s important to closely track your performance when launching an Instagram influencer marketing program.
Use this free template to easily manage your Instagram influencer marketing campaign and meet your goals.
Hopefully, the tips I've mentioned above will guide you in launching successful Instagram influencer marketing efforts.
Remember to make minor tweaks and experiment different ideas to find what works best for you.