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Influencer marketing is not a new game in the marketing world, and the concept is built upon recommendations like word-of-mouth marketing. Pretty simple, right? You enlist an individual with influence and credibility, and you associate with influencers to put your brand in front of their community, which if you did your homework should be your target market.

Influencers can be anyone from bloggers to YouTubers, Instagrammers and social media users that have an established following on their platform of choice. Wіth that said if you want to reach a bigger audience with your influencer marketing campaign, use a visual marketing platform like Instagram which has over 600 million Instagrammers for best results.

Whаt Can Influencer Marketing Do for You?

One of the obvious benefits of marketing through the use of influencers is brand awareness. While that’s helpful, it’s certainly not unique to influencer marketing. The real strength lies in its ability to create a very personal and powerful association between your brand and a particular group of consumers. They are not just aware of your brand. They consider it relevant to who they are and what they believe in. In effect, influencer marketing can shift consumer perceptions and the buying patterns through a very personal association that is unlike anything possible with mainstream media campaigns.

Why Is Influencer Marketing Beneficial?

Influencer marketing is a very flexible tool that can be used for just about any company or brand regardless of size. Here’s why.

Scalability: With influencers, it’s not necessary to have a large national or international campaign. It’s just as useful, if not more so, on a local or regional level. It allows for incredible focus on the main pockets of influence.

Affordability: Because it’s scalable and investment levels are flexible, programs using influencers like brand ambassadors can be a more affordable option for just about anyone. The size of the campaign can be adjusted to virtually any budget.

Visibility: The ability of the competition to see your influencer marketing campaign is largely under your control. If you are a small brand, you can implement a grassroots campaign that is nearly invisible to your larger competitors until you have momentum that’s hard to stop.

How Do You Find and Work With Instagram Influencers?

To effectively engage with an influencer for your brand, it is important that you do the following steps first.

Step 1: Research Other Brands

Pick 3 direct competitors that are doing amazing things on Instagram and analyze their posts. Look for what’s getting the most engagement for inspiration. Read the case studies posted by Instagram’s business blog to learn more about how brands are getting the most of out of Instagram.

Step 2: Create a List

Use your favorite spreadsheet creation tool whether that is Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets (which I highly recommend) and set up a spreadsheet that covers all the details you’ll need to track influencers. The basics are a name, Instagram link, email, and site. Also, track when you emailed them and will follow up. Before searching for influencers, keep the following criteria in mind.

  • Relevant. They’re considered by your target market to be authoritative and influential in the particular arena in which your brand is a key player.
  • Relative. The influencer can communicate and engage with your consumer base in ways that is easy to relate to and considered genuine.
  • Respected. They carry enough influence to generate both feeling and action on the part of your target market. Without a compelling call to action, the association has too limited a benefit.

Step 3: Find Influencers

The fastest way to do this is by searching your industry hashtags on Instagram. Then, find posts with the highest engagement (the most likes and comments). Also, use the brand research on step 1 and see if your competitors tag someone else as the content creator. Those are influencers that you can work with, too. Add them to the spreadsheet you made in step 2 to keep track of them.

Step 4: Write a Pitch

Create a pitch template that you can modify quickly whenever you have to email influencers for collaborations. Keep it save as a canned response to pitch your influencers list quickly.

Step 5: Set Up Guidelines

Once you have selected a few influencers to promo your brand, you’ll need to agree on a collaboration structure. Create a document with the following:

  • Deadline. Let them know when you’ll need the campaign to be done by and follow up with them to make sure that they are going to meet the deadline.
  • Brief. Either write down your ideas for the campaign or send them a mood board. You can also put together a secret Pinterest board with your ideas for the collaboration and invite them to the board to make things easier.
    • Tip: Give them freedom to be creative with their post but be clear about what you want them to create.
  • Production. As I mentioned above, be sure they know what they’re making for you. Add a section on your guidelines with the specifics you want from the influencer. For example, one Instagram post style with your product, and one twitter mentioned tagging you and using your branded hashtag. Something crystal clear like that so that there are no misunderstandings.
  • Usage. Be clear about the content usage rights. The content’s ownership is theirs (since the influencer is the content creator) but set a content usage agreement that works for you, too.
  • Disclosure. Ask for the post to be listed with the #sponsored or #ad hashtags to meet the FTC’s requirements. Put “Sponsored” or “AD” at the beginning of the post and not hidden at the end or in between a bunch of other hashtags.
  • Payment. Expect to make some sort of payment. Whether you agree on a fee or negotiate with the influencer to take a free product (service or experience) instead of the fee, it’s up to you and the influencer. Keep in mind that this individual is doing multiple things for you. They are creating content (writing and photography), promoting your brand, and giving you access to their audience. Compensate them accordingly!

Step 6: Repurpose Content

With permission from the influencers, repost their content on your site and other social media platforms.

  • For online shops: Create a page that features all the content your influencers have made for you using your branded hashtag. There are plenty of tools like Snappt that can aid you in setting that up.
  • Facebook Ads: Use the influencer images for your Facebook ads to refresh your current ad, make new ones and increase your conversion rate.
  • Social media: Post the images from your campaign on Instagram (tag the influencer), and write a new blurb or a tip and share it on twitter. Create a board on Pinterest just for influencer content, but also pin it to other boards for maximum exposure.

Influencer marketing is a cost-effective way to create awareness for your brand and produce unique content that gets in front of an individual’s already engaged community.

Have you done an influencer marketing campaign before? Let me know in the comments below.