Over the years, influencer marketing has become one of Instagram marketers' favorite channels. It’s growing so fast that the influencer marketing industry is projected to grow from 8 billion in 2019 to 15 billion in 2022.
It’s not surprising that this powerful marketing method which harnesses the power of social proof and word-of-mouth marketing is picking up such momentum. Over 70% of businesses say the quality of traffic from influencers is better than from other sources. Even Hubspot uses it to attract customers with HEART (Hubspot’s Culture Code).
Since its rise, influencer marketing beyond its social media origins. Now, blog writers, podcast hosts, and gamers are closing deals as well. According to an Oberlo study, 97% of the respondents plan to use the Instagram channel for their marketing in 2020.
Influencer marketing is possibly the most effective way to get more customers and increase brand awareness. But like always execution is everything. The good news is that it only takes five easy steps to get it right!
1. Finding The Right Influencer
This is the most important step to be effective and successful with your influencer marketing campaign. This step is so important that it consists of two parts; defining your influencer and finding your influencer.
First, you have to define what it is that you are trying to achieve with your marketing campaign. According to research the top five reasons for which brands choose influencer marketing is:
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Reach New Audiences
- Generate Sales
- Improve Brand Advocacy
- Drive Lead Generation
Once you have established your goal and defined your target audience you are ready to start defining who the right influencers are for you. Choosing the right influencer means that their audience aligns with your demographically and geographically. Their specializations and interests should align with your customers to achieve the utmost effect.
For example, if you are a clothing company trying to generate sales then a good influencer story with a link to your website might be the way to go. If you are trying to increase brand awareness for your new luxury brand, however, it might be better to use influencer posts or videos to achieve better engagement.
It is also recommended to spread your campaign over several influencers. As a matter of fact, according to InfluencerDB, the average influencer marketing campaign for a big brand uses 726 influencers.
2. Analyzing The Influencer
Now that you have a list of your prospect influencers it is important to make sure that they are all legitimate and none of them are skewing their numbers using fake followers and likes. This has become one of the biggest concerns for marketers when using the influencer marketing channel today.
Instagram has been cracking down on this for a while now and hopefully will eliminate this program in the new feature, however new technologies arise all the time that make this issue more difficult to resolve. In the meantime, you can fortify your success using a few simple checks.
- Make sure that the engagement rate is good and doesn’t have abnormal spikes. Engagement rates vary depending on the follower count of the influencer, so it is important to use a scale to determine the authenticity of the influencer. If there are sudden spikes in engagement that are outside the normal benchmarks, this could be a sign of tampering.
- Check the quality of engagement and make sure that the accounts which are liking the influencer’s posts and are commenting look authentic.
- Beware of new accounts that have a high number of followers.
- Make sure that the post content and tone of the influencer matches your own. You don’t want to make the mistake of soiling your brand by collaborating with the wrong influencer that doesn’t align with your brand identity.
- Check the locations of the influencer’s followers. For micro-influencers, this is most likely where they live, however the larger the influencer the larger the geographical spread of their followers will become and it is important to consider that in your decision-making process.
It is important to note that a verified badge can go a long way to help with these checks, however, it should not replace them. Instagram is very careful about who receives a verified badge, however people become smarter every way, so it is up to you to make sure that you run through these checks even if they do have a verified badge.
3. Setting Up Collaborations
Now that you have your influencers lined up and you know who you are planning to collaborate with you can begin setting up your collaborations. Depending on what you decided your strategy will be, the collaboration may take one form or another.
There are several ways to collaborate on Instagram with influencers, and as Instagram grows there are sure to be a great many more. Currently, the top methods of promoting yourself on Instagram through influencer marketing are
- Posts (this include single posts or a series of posts which may cost a little more money)
- Videos (video posts tend to run a little higher in cost than image posts)
- Stories (one of the best ways to promote your website or include a link in your ad)
- Bio links (a link the bio of the influencer, which may often take the form of affiliate marketing)
One of the latest trends in influencer marketing is something that some companies are labelling as "creator marketing". This is when instead of providing content to the influencer, they generate their own using their instinct and creativity.
For example, if you are a clothing brand then this may mean you first have to get the product to the influencer. Sometimes this is in a form of a money transfer which they can use to purchase the item themselves. Sometimes this means sending your product directly to the influencers which they can wear and promote.
You may also choose to create ongoing contracts with brand ambassadors. Many brands choose this method since it creates a long-lasting relationship with the influencers.
Before you finalize your collaboration and the influencer posts your ad, it is imperative to review it before it is sent out. Many marketing platforms can assist you with this process, one of which is listed below.
It is important to note that in some cases the process of approving the influencer's work is easier than others. For example, if you are buying an affiliate link in the influencer’s bio it is most likely just a simple check to see if it’s there. If it's an image created by the influencer you may have to request a revision to get the tone of the advertisement to better align with your brand. Using a good influencer marketing platform will help you ensure that your ad looks just how you want it and can simplify this process.
Collaborating effectively is an art and there is no better way to get efficient at it than to learn from the masters. Here are some examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns to give you some inspiration.
4. Measure Your Results
After you have completed your collaborations it is important to go back to your goals and reflect on how effective your campaign was. This is another crucial point where a good influencer marketing platform may be of use.
If you are contacting the influencers directly without using any tools, it will be really difficult to measure the success and you will most likely have to rely on reports they send or hire someone who can access each of your collaborator’s profiles.
The most important metric is the engagement, of course, however, if you were using links for the stories or shopping tags you may choose to track those metrics as well. These KPIs may vary based on the goal you set in the very beginning.
Once you have learned what is effective and what is not, you can also boost your success even further by sponsoring your influencer’s post to give them a little more visibility and create a stronger brand association with those influencers in your customer’s mind.
5. Repeat And Automate
Once you have tried out your first influencer marketing campaign properly - you will become hooked! According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average return on your ad spend is $5.78 to every $1 spent and can reach as high as a ratio of 18:1. Compared to other marketing channels these numbers are incredible, especially considering the powerful social media presence it provides.
As seen in this diagram it is important to consider which size of influencer you are choosing. If you are a large brand you may benefit from a large influencer, however, if you are a local brand or chain store you may benefit from using a large number of nano and micro-influencers. They tend to have a higher engagement rate and good collaborations can provide a better return on your overall investment.
Finding a large number of influencers who are perfect for each of your campaigns and then automating to reduce your acquisition costs can be draining. Thankfully, there are some marketing platforms that you can use to automate this process and reduce your headache.
AdMass is an influencer marketplace that helps you automate your Instagram influencer marketing campaigns and run them more effectively. It allows you to create campaigns and save time on looking for influencers and instead have them come to you. Each collaboration is preceded by an analysis and an influencer agreement for you to see and is approved by you before going public for your convenience.
Now that you have learned everything you need to know to execute effective campaigns, it’s time to put your plan to action. Good luck!