According to DemandSage, Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels available, with over 2.35 Billion monthly active users. With such an extensive use case, especially for those in crucial customer demographics such as millennials and Gen Z, it's not surprising that many businesses try to harness the power of Instagram to facilitate growth.
One way that businesses try to grow on Instagram is through partnering with influencers. These are individuals with a large or highly-engaged audience, and often both. Companies can use influencers to promote their products, pages, and more, and it has many benefits to implementing this marketing tactic.
However, with things like costs and brand perception to consider, many people still question if using Instagram influencers to advertise your business is effective. Here's a deeper dive into the practice and why it can be a good idea for you.
What is Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Influencers exist on all social platforms, including Instagram, often serving similar functions and purposes. An influencer would have built a following by posting about a particular niche, lifestyle, or aspect of their life, with users engaging with the content because they find it entertaining, educational, or memorable.
Over time, these influencers have built credibility and trust by being authentic and, for many, a source of inspiration. This reputation makes them perfect for businesses to partner with, as soliciting a promotional post with an influencer can get your product recommended by someone with a huge reach and genuine influence over the followers.
One of the most famous influencers on Instagram is Kim Kardashian. With millions of followers, brands often pay for her to post content featuring their products in the hopes that some of those followers will be inspired to use the same products. You can follow a similar principle when partnering with an Instagram influencer.
Mark Pierce, CEO of Colorado LLC Attorney, says, "Influencers have already done the hard part and built an engaged audience that trusts them. Advertising with influencers allows you to borrow their influence to promote your products."
There are many different types of influencers you can use. They are broken down into:
- Nano-influencer - 10,000 followers or fewer
- Micro-influencer - 10,000 to 100,000 followers
- Macro-influencer - 100,000 to 1 million followers
- Mega influencer - 1 million or more followers
Regarding the different types of influencers, Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living, says, "Don't disregard the potential of nano-influencers. Despite their small audience size, those followers are usually highly engaged and focused on that influencer's niche. Partnering with the right nano-influencer can help you find the best leads."
Does Advertising With Instagram Influencers Actually Work?
The states show that advertising with influencers can help your brand grow in audience size and revenue. Civic Science reported that 14% of Gen Z social users and 11% of millennials bought a product after seeing it promoted via influencer marketing. This may sound small, but it offers great potential when you remember that over 2 Billion users are on Instagram.
The benefits of influencer marketing can be huge. As influencers have built up a trusted persona, having your products featured and advertised on their content can make your brand appear more genuine, helping to boost your reputation. Furthermore, partnering with the right influencers that work well within your niche can position you as an essential brand among your target audience.
For example, if you run a sports equipment business, you can position yourself as an industry leader by having your products showcased by influencers within the sport niche.
By using Instagram influencers to build trust, your reputation will soar. Managing your brand's online reputation is critical for business growth, and working with influencers can help with that.
As well as that, influencer marketing can help you reach audiences you may not have been able to reach organically. Gerald Lombardo, Head of Growth at Popl, says, "It can be hard to penetrate a new market or demographic, especially if you want to expand in a new country. Using influencers can help you get a strong foothold."
The best-performing type of influencer content on Instagram is videos. Ironic for an app that started by focusing on image sharing, reels see the most use on Instagram. This means you can pair your Instagram influencer marketing with Instagram Video Ads to capitalize on and maximize your campaign's reach.
How to Effectively Use Instagram Influencers
Using influencers is one of the best strategies for sponsoring products on Instagram, but you have to use them effectively and in the right way. Here are a few things to do to make sure that your campaigns are the most effective they can be:
Know your audience
You need to do market research on your brand to determine the type of Instagram users you should target. Certain brands and products appeal to specific individuals, so to ensure you work with the right influencers, you need a good grasp of the demographic that best suits your product.
After that, you must research potential influencers to see if their audience suits your brand.
Jesse Hanson, Content Manager at Online Solitaire & World of Card Games, says, "We target a specific audience with our advertising. It can be a waste of effort and resources marketing to the wrong individuals, so fully understanding the type of audience influencers have can be super helpful."
Pro tip: Studying your competitors' Instagram audience can provide valuable insights about your target demographic. Analyzing their followers and post types can help shape your audience profile and identify any overlooked segments.
Sprout's Competitive Analysis Report allows you to track your competitors' Instagram performance, engagement, audience growth, and compare it with yours. This enables you to identify key competitors and scrutinize their audience composition.
Follow the rules
When working with influencers, there are clear rules that both of you need to follow. The main thing is that when an influencer posts content featuring your product that they're being paid or compensated for, they must disclose that it's an ad clearly. Usually, an influencer will showcase this by adding '#ad' to the content.
Although this is the influencer's responsibility, your business can get flack if they fail to follow these rules. That's why it's a good idea to draft up some guidelines and include this disclosure requirement in your contract so that they're more encouraged to do it.
Pro tip: Launching an influencer campaign may draw your attention to vanity metrics like likes and comments. However, the true measure of a campaign's success lies in its return on investment. One effective method is using UTM parameters to track website visitors and engagement from each influencer. By assigning unique UTM-coded links to each influencer, you can accurately assess the campaign's impact on your revenue.
Follow the three R's
The three R's principle can make choosing the right influencer easier for your business. The three R's represent Relevance, Reach, and Resonance. You want to make sure that your business is relevant to the influencer. For example, a home design influencer won't be relevant to a Crypto business and could alienate the audience.
The reach needs to align with your goals. This isn't just about trying to get an influencer with the most followers; those followers need to be engaged and suit your product. Resonance is all about ensuring that your product offers a solution many followers experience. For example, a male grooming business will resonate well with an influencer with a predominantly male audience.
Tim White, Founder of Milepro, says, "The three R's govern most businesses' approach to influencer marketing. The more that aligns with your business, the more effective the campaign will be.
Pro tip: Leverage an Influencer & Creator Database Solution – Without the appropriate resources, identifying the perfect collaboration can seem like a daunting task; but remember, you don't have to shoulder all the burden. By utilizing a dedicated platform such as Mavrck's influencer marketing solution, you can effortlessly find and establish connections with creators and influencers for your upcoming campaign.
Integrate Influencer Marketing into Your Advertising Strategy
Instagram influencer marketing can give your business a massive boost when done correctly. Influencers can get more eyes on your product and use their unique relationship with their audience to get them to trust your brand, making you more credible.
Not every influencer marketing campaign will work, and you will need to put the effort in to see results, but they can become an effective way to advertise on the platform. If you’d like to get into the weeds with an expert consultant on how to make your influencer marketing plan effective, or to tackle any advertising question, the team at Marin is ready to help you get started.
Roman Shvydun is a guest contributor to the Marin Software blog.