How to master influencer marketing on Instagram

Influencers are easy to find on Instagram, but identifying the ones who best fit your brand can be full of pitfalls if you ignore a few simple rules.

influencer marketing

One of the biggest challenges large enterprises face is finding a way to connect with their core demographics. The reality is, the larger the business, the more difficult it can be to be viewed by potential consumers as authentic and relatable.

And as studies have shown, consumers list authenticity as one of the most valuable characteristics a company can have. In fact, 63 per cent of consumers say they’d rather buy from a brand they trust than from a brand they don’t.

I’m going to go over some of the most important ways large enterprises can achieve that authenticity: by enlisting influencers on Instagram. We’ll discuss the ways you can identify influencers, as well as the things you should look for in a potential influencer partner.

Identifying influencers

The first step is, naturally, to identify the influencers who could potentially partner with your brand. There are a few ways to do that, but before you can start that process, you need to determine what kind of influencer is best for you. Influencers are typically broken into two groups: macro and micro.

Macro influencers

Macro influencers are people who are very well known by a large segment of the population – such as movie stars, sports professionals and musicians. That’s not to say that all macro influencers will fit the traditional definition of a celebrity, but they are social media celebrities by virtue of having an extensive reach.

A perfect example is astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He has a large following and is respected by those who know him, even though you probably don’t see him on TV or in advertisements very often.

Another example is Desi Perkins; she may not be a household name, but her makeup and fashion tips have helped her build a tremendous following on Instagram. So if you’re looking for a way to get your brand in front of the largest possible audience, you can’t go wrong with a macro influencer. Top influencers can have millions of followers across various social media platforms.

Micro influencers

While macro influencers offer greater exposure, there are also a lot of benefits to using micro influencers. These typically build their audiences by consistently demonstrating authenticity and relatability, which are two qualities you should be looking for in an influencer partner.

Bloggers such as Tyson Mayr, Daisy Beet and Robin Arzon are all types of micro influencers who have relatively small but engaged audiences.

READ MORE: 9 case studies where clever Instagram marketing got huge results

What to look for in an influencer

While you’re searching for an influencer, there are a few key attributes you need to keep in mind. Partnering with just any old influencer isn’t advisable; you should be aiming to partner with an influencer who can deliver what you need.

Audience size and engagement

The natural temptation is to pick the influencer with the largest following. It seems like common sense: the larger the influencer’s audience, the more of their followers you can potentially convert into customers.

It’s true that the size of an influencer’s audience does matter, but not as much as you might think. What’s more important is how engaged the influencer’s audience is — in order to ensure the highest possible ROI, you need to partner with an influencer whose followers not only listen to their recommendations, but who also act on them.

To get a ballpark idea of an influencer’s engagement rates, take a look at their Instagram posts. Divide the amount of average engagement they receive on their posts (comments and likes) by the influencer’s total number of followers.

So if an influencer has a million followers, but typically only receives 1,000 likes or comments, their engagement rate is 0.1%. Ideally you want to identify influencers who have an engagement rate of 0.5% or better if you want their recommendations to spur people to action.

A good fit

It’s also vitally important that you partner with an influencer who’s a good fit for your brand. For example, if your brand is retail-focused, you don’t want to partner with a science and tech influencer. Their audience is likely to be a completely different demographic so you’re unlikely to see a solid ROI.

Ensuring a good fit between your brand and the influencer isn’t just important for you; it’s also important for the influencer. If the influencer’s audience doesn’t think the person they follow actually uses the brand they’re promoting, suspicions will be raised.

Followers won’t just be unwilling to check out your brand – they’ll also begin to view the influencer as inauthentic, which means their recommendations will carry much less weight.

READ MORE: 8 ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business

Previous endorsements

Another factor you should consider is the brands and products a potential influencer partner have endorsed in the past. It’s a good idea to find influencers who have endorsed brands or products that are similar to yours — even competing brands and products.

When doing so, try to determine if the brands an influencer has previously endorsed are in line with yours – do those brands share some of the same values or key messaging points? By looking at an influencer’s endorsement history, you can also get a good sense of whether or not that influencer will endorse any brand that pays them (which may have an impact on how authentic their endorsement is considered to be by their audience).

Causes and charities

It’s also a good idea to identify any charities or causes an influencer has supported in the past. Part of ensuring a perfect fit for your campaign is not just by looking at their endorsement history, but by getting a view of their overall brand.

For example, if the influencer you’re considering is a well-known activist (someone like Leonardo DiCaprio – who has become a well-known environmentalist), ask yourself if your brand aligns with the causes they currently support or have supported in the past. If it doesn’t, there are two potentially negative possibilities: the influencer might turn you down, or their audience (and yours) might see the influencer’s endorsement as inauthentic.

If your brand has historically supported certain causes, you can limit your search to influencers who have championed those same causes in the past. From there, you can then view their endorsement history and determine if the influencer is a good fit for your brand.

Final takeaway

When identifying a potential influencer partner, make sure you keep one thing in mind: getting in front of a large audience is good, but getting in front of the right audience will yield much better results.

The difference between a successful influencer campaign and an unsuccessful one is incredibly slim, which is why it’s so important to keep these tips in mind when planning your next campaign. If you do it right, your target demographic will view your brand as more authentic and, by extension, more worthy of their money.

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