Instagram marketing is the way that brands use Instagram to connect with their target audiences and market their offerings. Recently, it’s gained popularity as an exciting method for brands to show off their cultures, recruit new employees, engage with customers, and show off products in a new light.
Instagram is a hub of trendsetters, fashion icons, life gurus, and other social media personalities that a large number of people look up to and follow dearly.
These personalities are known as Influencers and they hold the ability to greatly influence their followers’ buying decisions and introduce them to new products and services.
In fact, Instagram Influencer Marketing is now a 1.7 Billion dollar industry and is expected to grow increasingly higher in 2020.
These influencers are much like the celebrities you see in TV ads, but instead of appearing on TV, they appear more often on social media feeds and are more directly in touch with their followers.
Why Influencer Marketing Works
Since these Influencers have such a large and active fanbase, businesses often partner with them to promote their products in a more indirect fashion than traditional social media marketing.
Consider Influencer Marketing as a visual extension of word-of-mouth marketing; it’s a lot more personal, target-specific, and interest-oriented towards the potential customer.
When in partnership with a business, an influencer does essentially three things:
- Create promotional content for your brand
- Recommend your products to their followers
- Spread positive word-of-mouth for your brand
The reason it works so well is that influencers, unlike businesses, have a friendly vibe to them. It’s easier to trust them because their recommendations are more like a friend’s suggestion than a brand’s active promotion.
The psychology Influencer Marketing works on is pretty simple: you are more likely to check out your friend’s suggestion than a brand’s promotional post.
Find the Right Influencers in your Niche
Influencers can help you develop that bond with your target audience. That is IF you select the right influencers to partner with.
Simply choosing just any influencer isn’t going to do any good because their followers might not be interested in the kind of products you are offering.
You need to partner with influencers specific to your niche. Here’s how you find them:
1. Research Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to find out people’s interests and the influencers in your niche. For instance, if you are a beauty and lifestyle brand, follow “#beautyinfluencer” and browse through the posts that show up.
You are likely to run into posts from some influencers who might be suitable for your brand. From there on, you can visit their profiles and email them directly that you wish to partner with them.
2. Using Tools To Find Influencers
If you want to skip doing your homework, you can easily find tools online that can help you find relevant influencers directly. Keep in mind that these might be a little pricey depending on the tool and its features.
Tools like HypeAuditor and Social Bakers are a great start to do just that. You can add in your criteria and the tools will give you a list of influencers along with their statistics so you can make an informed decision on who to pick.
3. Ask your Consumers for their Favorite Influencers
This one is my personal favorite because of how direct it is. Along with doing the above-mentioned points, you can also simply survey your current consumers and ask them directly about the influencers they follow.
With the data you receive, observe and analyze which influencers seem to repeat the most. Keep in mind that your consumers’ favorite influencers might not always be relevant to your industry.
In this case, you’ll have to filter out the irrelevant ones and approach the relevant ones which are the most suitable according to your business.
Mistakes to Avoid when finding Influencers
1. Avoiding Local Influencers
If you are a local business, say a restaurant in NYC, then it’s better to go for local or micro-influencers than global ones because in most cases, only the people located near you will be able to visit your restaurant.
To find local influencers through hashtags, simply type in the name of your location and add the word “influencer” after like shown below:
Local influencers have fewer followers, but they have the added advantage of catering to an audience who are more connected to them and are in closer proximity for direct influence.
Not to mention that local influencers can also spread positive word-of-mouth and are often a lot cheaper than macro or mega influencers making them ideal for local businesses.
2. Considering only Follower-Count
Businesses often tend to tunnel-vision when finding influencers for promoting their products and focus solely on the follower-count of the influencers they observe.
Though follower-count is a necessary factor in determining the popularity of an influencer, it’s not the only thing that counts. Other factors like active engagement and ratio of genuine to bot followers count as well.
If the influencer of your choice has a ton of followers but the majority of their audience is inactive most of the time, then partnering with them is probably not a good idea. In fact, if you are not careful, you may end up partnering with a fake influencer.
3. Sticking to One or Few Influencers
You might have found a couple of great influencers who are suitable for your business, but that doesn’t mean that you should stick with them endlessly and not continue searching for other influencers.
Different influencers have different audiences with different buying habits. Opting for just one influencer limits you to a specific audience that the influencer has and doesn’t introduce your products to new people.
Avoid this from happening and keep searching and partnering with new influencers so as to widen your reach and incur engagement for a variety of people.
Things to Keep In Mind
1. Make it clear of what you expect out of your partnership with the influencer. Do you wish to increase sales, boost social engagement, or drive brand awareness? The clearer your influencer is regarding your goals, the better and more accurately they can do their job.
2. Be specific about the kind of content you want. Content can be in various forms and you need to make sure that your influencer is aware of what kind of content they are supposed to create for you.
3. Give your influencer creative freedom. Your influencer knows what their audience will and will not like and engage with. Ask for their opinions and suggestions and allow them to tweak your strategy a little bit if required.