Now that we have seen who influencers are, how they can make a positive impact on your brand, and how the term “influencer marketing” came into being, let’s take a step-by-step look at the marketing process involving them.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
To put it simply, influencer marketing involves associating your brand with suitable social media influencers who then market your brand to their followers. Naturally, for this to work, the influencers you associate with don’t need to have a huge following on Instagram, but they should cater to your brand’s niche. For example, using a widely followed influencer specializing in the apparel sector to promote your restaurant is not exactly a sound marketing strategy.
With the right kind of influencers, you can significantly enhance awareness of your brand, because their followers look up to them and usually trust their recommendations. It is reported that 92% of people would rather go with word-of-mouth recommendations by somebody they trust than blindly believe what the brands say. This makes influencers an important asset for your marketing campaign on social media, especially on Instagram.
Various small businesses have reported that influencer marketing is one the fastest ways of acquiring customers and that your ROI with this strategy can see more than a sixfold increase if done right. Of the businesses that are already working with influencers, 59% are planning on increasing their budget for influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing on Instagram can be used to raise your brand awareness, increase its popularity among target audiences, and drive conversions (increasing sales or inducing the users to take certain actions, such as visiting your website or subscribing to your service).
How to Find the Right Influencers for Your Campaign
The simplest way to find the right influencer on Instagram, who specializes in your niche, is by tracking them using relevant hashtags. You can also use various platforms like Statista, which constantly updates the top 10 list of best influencers on various social media platforms in domains like beauty, fashion, food, design, and travel.
Once you come up with a shortlist of influencers you want to engage with, it is always wise to perform some due diligence before contacting them and talking about a potential partnership. Sure, their content may look impactful, and their follower base may be huge, but there are a few aspects that need to be analyzed before getting them on board.
The brand fit and the authenticity of the influencer are very important, or else they will not be able to promote your brand in an honest and inspiring manner. It is also important to note how their content, imagery, and stance will align with your brand.
Of course, there is the matter of quantitative analysis of the influencer’s profile. This involves various parameters like:
➡️ Number of followers (translates into reach).
➡️ Follower growth (speaks volumes about the influencer’s ability to bring in new followers).
➡️ Like – follower ratio (a measure of the influencer’s engagement rate).
➡️ Outgoing mentions and posts (to check if the influencer is working with any of your rivals).
The concept of influencer marketing is getting so popular that several agencies aggregating the services of social media influencers have started cropping up around the world (search on Google for “influencer marketing platforms”). These influencer marketing platforms act as matchmakers between the advertisers and influencers.
They also act as mediators between the two parties and ensure that the whole transaction is fair for everyone involved. If you are new to the world of influencer marketing, approaching influencer marketing platforms to get things rolling is actually not a bad idea.
Approaching the Influencers
Once you’ve created your influencer shortlist, it’s time to reach out to them and establish contact. You can start by following the influencers, engaging with their content, and then approaching them directly by asking for a quote. You can also ask them to review your products or offer to sponsor their initiatives related to your brand, in addition to being open to co-creating content with them. A good influencer will initiate their side of the relationship by trying to know more about your brand and what sort of role they can play in promoting it.
The product review or sponsored initiative would serve as an interview process for both parties. As a brand, you can gauge the influencer’s ability to generate engagement with your brand, while the influencer will know whether his/her association with the brand is going to be fruitful in the long run or not.
A successful influencer is also one who receives collaboration requests from top brands on a daily basis. So, your proposal should stand out from the rest, and this means that you need to keep your first contact brief, simple, and to the point.
Provide them with a brief description of your brand and its values, along with an outline of the planned campaign and its objectives. This is a good way to start. The time frame of your planned collaboration is also an important piece of information to communicate. If you manage to evoke a response from the influencer, it’s time to share more info and highlight the strategy of your campaign.
Once you establish a conversation with a suitable influencer, the next step is to negotiate terms of cooperation. During this phase, it is important to talk about your expectations clearly, so that you can evaluate whether the influencer can help you achieve your goals.
Depending on the type of influencers you are engaging with, you may have to vary your incentives. For example, a micro-influencer in your niche may be content with a free product for review, whereas bigger influencers will have to be persuaded with large payments and even invitations to exclusive events.
One thing many influencers say is, “The advertisers have to give us something of value in order for us to work with them.” Money is always welcome, but in several cases, depending on the nature of the collaboration, influencers also accept products or services in exchange for their promotional services. The bottom line is, you need to give the influencers something solid for them to accept your campaign proposal. Asking them to post a story with a discount on your product for their followers and promising them a marginal commission if they sell a product is a type of proposal well-established influencers steer clear of.
At the end of the day, influencers are human beings like the rest of us, and they shouldn’t be treated as advertising media. So, communicating with a personal touch and taking a real interest in their personality will help the relationship-building process. This also makes price negotiation easier and more transparent.
Bringing Influencers on Board
Now that you’re done negotiating the terms and conditions of the cooperation, it is time to get the influencer onboard. During this process, it is imperative to strike a fine balance between allowing the influencer to exercise his/her artistic freedom and ensuring that they respect certain specifications of the campaign to make it successful. Opting to co-create the content for the marketing campaign with your influencers is a nice way to blend their unique appeal with the authenticity of your brand.
The contract should include some aspects like campaign time frame and deadlines, required hashtags and tags, quantity of content and involved channels, required disclosure of paid cooperation (it’s a matter of legality depending on your country), appearance and aesthetics of the content, tone adopted in the content, usage rights of the content under cooperation, exclusion of competitors in posting, and so on.
When the campaign sets sail, it is important to keep in constant touch with your influencers so as to keep tabs on the progress of your campaign. Being supportive of the influencers during the campaign and being open to their requests will help you build a strong relationship with your advertising partners. This constant monitoring will also give you valuable insights into the usefulness of your team of influencers. Who is difficult to work with? Who is easygoing? Who follows the preset guidelines the best?
Things to Do Post-Execution
Finally, you have finished running an advertisement campaign on Instagram using influencers. Things don’t end here, because you have to determine the magnitude of success the whole operation has achieved. By reviewing KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) and measuring the campaign outcome, you can determine how each influencer performed and how much value they have added to your campaign.
Depending on the nature of the campaign, KPIs may vary, but generic parameters include the follower growth on your Instagram channel (number of followers who came to your brand’s account from that of the influencer), quantity of content under the cooperation, engagement (likes, comments, reposts), quality of comments, media value (the buzz the influencer managed to create around your brand), and mentions/tags.
The main objective of reviewing the campaign’s effectiveness after the execution is to identify the room for improvement and to evaluate which influencer was successful and which one was not. This insight would greatly improve your success rate when it comes to future Instagram influencer advertising campaigns.
Retaining the Good Influencers
Just because you completed your campaign and have no plans to launch a new one in the immediate future, that doesn’t mean you should disconnect from the good influencers who propelled your campaign toward success. Getting suitable influencers who can relate to your brand and its principles and add real value to your advertising campaign is easier said than done. That is exactly why you should try, by all means, to sustain the relationship with the right influencers that extend beyond the realms of a single ad campaign.
With the increasing popularity of Instagram’s marketing potential, influencer marketing will continue to grow in importance for small, medium, and big businesses alike. Your business may be a small eatery in a humble city or a giant multi-national car manufacturer; you can always increase your marketing potential on Instagram by collaborating with the appropriate influencers and dishing out interesting and engaging ad campaigns.