Influencers have been running Instagram word-of-mouth for the past couple of years – and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down soon. Big and small businesses alike are utilizing the potential behind an influencer strategy to get their brand out there – and these numbers show why:
Influencers and bloggers influence 34% of purchases on Instagram.
89% of marketers choose Instagram as their primary channel for influencer marketing.
Our guess is you’ve already taken the initial steps – recognizing the benefits of influencer relationships and collaborations – and you’re probably ready to kick things off with your first-ever Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
Stay tuned if you’re feeling overwhelmed and trying to figure out where to start. We’ve prepared the ultimate guide and explained how to build an influencer marketing strategy!
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What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing falls under the umbrella of social media marketing. Essentially, influencer marketing is designed as a cost-effective solution for brands to have their products and services promoted by influential social media individuals. As the most popular social media platform right now, Instagram is the go-to place to implement influencer marketing strategies.
Depending on the type of deal, influencers can post different content formats as long as they mention the brand or a specific campaign.
Instagram influencer marketing is efficient due to several reasons. The most important one is the credibility and trust the influencers have among their dedicated following. Whenever an influencer recommends a brand in their post, it serves as social proof to their audience.
Of course, these individuals need to be successful influencers with a strong following and an expert-like authority to be eligible collaborators in such campaigns – but more on that later.
The 3 R’s Of Influencer Marketing: Relevance, Reach & Resonance
Let’s start by exploring the three “secret ingredients” that can increase your brand’s visibility and engagement. Yes, we’re talking about the three Rs of influencer marketing – relevance, reach, and resonance:
First things first, let’s talk about relevance. Picture this:
You’re at a party chatting with someone who shares your love for vintage sneakers and obscure ’90s cartoons. That instant connection? That’s what you’re aiming for when partnering with influencers.
It’s all about finding influencers who not only vibe with your brand’s values and industry but also speak the language of your target audience. So, when choosing the right influencer, seek out those who can effortlessly weave your brand’s message into their content, making it feel like a natural fit.
Next up, we’ve got reach. We know it’s tempting to chase after influencers with a gazillion followers – but size isn’t everything. Instead, consider the crowd an influencer attracts. Some influencers have a massive following that spans various demographics, like a social media buffet. And on the flip side, you’ve got those who cater to a smaller – but fiercely loyal – tribe.
The key is finding influencers whose reach aligns with your target audience. It’s like hitting the bullseye of your marketing campaign – maximizing your impact without wasting precious resources.
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got resonance. Imagine you’re at a concert, and the artist starts playing that one song that always gives you goosebumps and makes you scream your lungs out. Well, that’s what a “resonant influencer” can do for your brand.
Look for influencers with a knack for stirring up engagement with their audience. We’re talking about people who know how to summon an army of likes, comments, and shares with a mere snap of their fingers. The magic happens when an influencer can create genuine buzz and spark meaningful conversations around your brand.
4 Types of Influencers You Should Team Up With
There are, broadly speaking, four different types of influencers. Let’s see what sets them apart – and how each type can work its magic when it comes to your influencer marketing campaign.
1. Mega Influencers (Celebrity Influencers)
Mega influencers – often including famous actors, musicians, athletes, and other public figures – have a massive following of over 1 million. Imagine someone like Paris Hilton – a true influencer icon.
Their sheer celebrity status allows them to captivate a diverse audience, making them perfect for large-scale brand awareness campaigns. Collaborating with these influencers can give your brand unparalleled exposure. Be prepared, though; it comes with a price tag – literally. Brand partnerships with these influential powerhouses can be quite expensive.
Additionally, since their audience is vast, their engagement rates might not necessarily be as high as those with smaller, more niche followings.
Businesses that can benefit from working with these influencers include:
Large enterprise corporations with hefty budgets and abundant resources
Brands targeting a broad audience with diverse characteristics
Luxury or high-end brands aiming to create a sense of exclusivity
2. Macro Influencers
Now let’s turn our attention to the established personalities within their respective niches -macro influencers. With a following ranging from 100,000 to 1 million, these influencers have earned their reputation through consistent content creation and engagement. They have become thought leaders in their niche and are highly respected.
Collaborating with these types of influencers offers a more targeted approach compared to celebrities. Their followers usually share common interests, allowing your brand to tap into a specific and engaged audience. However, partnering with them can still be relatively costly, depending on your budget.
Here are some examples of brands that can benefit from working with macro influencers:
Startups seeking rapid exposure, growth, and credibility
Nonprofit organizations aiming to raise funds and increase awareness
Hotels and airlines targeting a specific but large audience
Now, let’s shift our focus to the rising stars of the influencer landscape – micro-influencers. With a follower count that sits between 10,000 and 100,000, these niche influencers have a strong presence on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
Marketers love working with these types of influencers because they have the power to captivate a niche, passionate audience with their creative content, relatable recommendations, and genuine interactions. One of the greatest advantages, though, is their affordability compared to larger influencers.
And don’t let their size fool you – micro-influencers are incredibly effective. Studies show that they have a 60% higher engagement rate than macro influencers – and can drive 20% more conversions for your brand. They truly embody the saying “small but mighty.”
4. Nano Influencers
Last – but not least – we’d like to shine the spotlight on the so-called “nano influencers.” These people may have fewer than 10,000 followers, but they possess a special knack for building strong connections with their audience. Their secret?
Authentic engagement and personable content.
Nano influencers may have a smaller reach, but they excel at targeting specific communities and demographics without breaking the bank. We’re sure more brands will recognize the power of partnering with nano influencers in 2023.
Types of Influencer Campaigns
There are different types of influencer marketing campaigns you can implement. You can either go one by one or opt for a combination of a couple of formats and see what works best for you.
Here are some of the most common types of influencer marketing campaigns to help you get a clear picture of what you can do.
IG Stories are one of the most convenient and most widely used content types for influencer brand promotion. This comes as a no-brainer as they are simple pieces of content with plenty of room for creativity. And, most importantly, the swipe-up feature in IG Stories allows for a cool placement of your brand link. Of course, this applies to the more famous influencers with 10K+ followers.
This most intuitive CTA placement is found in the majority of influencer promotional IG Stories.
Another popular way to utilize Stories for influencer collaboration is to use shoppable stickers. Influencers can add shoppable stickers in their stories featuring your products. This way, you are driving sales directly from the Influencer posts.
When combined with a neat and creative post, your landing pages’ link from the influencer’s stories works like a charm. You can use this strategy to promote deals, product launches, and improve sales.
Giveaways and Contests
An influencer-hosted Instagram giveaway is a fast way to spread your brand awareness to a larger, niche audience. Work with the influencer to develop a fun competition accompanied by a creative hashtag and messaging that inspires their audience to engage with your content.
The gifting part drives the audience in, while the buzz created over a short period of time kick starts your Instagram brand game.
Another win-win type of gifting scenario is adding discount codes. The influencer adds the details in their post featuring your product, which gets you both a ton of engagement.
@savoryexperiments show how this can be executed flawlessly. In a pre-holiday post, they created a super useful post on a holiday treat for kids (value), which featured an offer on Oreo cookies at @HarrisTeeter store (client promotion.)
Get your brand message out there with Instagram live. Ask influencers to feature your products or services on their Instagram live sessions and cash in on their dedicated audience.
Influencers can show behind-the-scenes production in your company, live–stream your launching events, do Q&As explaining your product or service, or do unboxing live videos.
Influencer Instagram live videos are powerful means to let the audiences in on what goes on behind-the-scenes and position your brand as trusted and relatable while getting massive engagement with their followers.
Getting a well-thought-out shout out from a carefully chosen influencer is a sure way to skyrocket your sales and brand awareness with one stone.
Let’s say you own a catering service. A shout out from a foodie influencer featuring how you quickly solved their buffet emergency will pay off in hundreds of new potential customers.
Having your brand mentioned or featured in an influencer IGTV video allows for a longer time to connect with their audience. The air time of up to one hour lets you be creative with your messaging, allows adding multiple CTAs throughout the video, and overall creates more chances to get discovered and engaged with. Moreover, it spreads your message in a high-quality format giving your products and/or service a room to shine in their best light.
Let the influencer whose style aligns well with your brand to take over your Instagram account for a day. Suffice to say this has to be someone you trust to execute this without any potential risk for your reputation. This can include a special launching event or any milestone that can be used to direct some of the influencer’s dedicated following your way.
Here’s an example of a smart IG takeover. A micro-influencer @mollyinmaine partnered up with @thecottagejournal and showed how she decorated her home on their IG Stories. This is a win-win because The Cottage Journal gets noticed by Molly’s niche audience, whereas Molly gets a spotlight in a big brand’s feed.
User-generated content is one of the pillars of Instagram marketing. It creates tons of engagement, builds brand awareness, creates buzz, and improves conversions. Let your influencers inspire UGC. People trust them and want to be like them, so it creates a perfect setting for success. And the more followers join the game, the more trust it builds among the audience.
One of your influencer Instagram strategy’s essential features is to have influencers use your branded hashtags in their posts. This gets you recognized by relevant audiences faster.
Create campaign-specific hashtags to be used in marketing influencers’ posts. Take your time to plan and research the most effective ones. They should consist of generic, unique, and branded keywords.
Honest and genuine reviews are super useful because the majority of any influencer’s followers trust their opinion. The more prominent brands get reviews in exchange for their products, ‘cause they’re that good. Yet, if you’re still growing as a brand, you can arrange paid deals with influencers to review your products.
Showing real-time effects of your product/ service with the honest pros and cons reviews improve brand awareness and influences sales.
Here’s how a makeup micro-influencer reviewed @beccacosmetics lipsticks in her IG post:
Tutorials, Demos, and How-Tos
Let the influencer educate their followers on your products and/or services. Ask them to show a step-by-step process of using your services and additional features or different uses. This way, they are positioning themselves as thought leaders and experts while impacting purchasing decisions simultaneously. A perfect win-win, right?
Clickable Link to Your Website in Their Bio
Consider this as it drives a ton of traffic to your website. For a certain period, try to get a direct CTA to your sales page from the influencer’s profile. It gets your brand noticed and communicates your value and credibility.
These influencers have the luxury of dedicating more time and effort to individual partnerships, resulting in tailored content for your brand and personal connections within niche communities.
Businesses that can thrive by teaming up with nano influencers include:
Local businesses targeting specific communities, cities, or regions
Small businesses with limited influencer marketing budgets aiming for cost-effective campaigns
Artisan, home-based, or specialty food businesses
11 Types Of Influencer Marketing Campaigns To Try In 2023
There are actually different types of influencer campaigns you can implement. You could try them one by one or opt for a combination of different influencer collaborations; see what works for you and your marketing efforts. Once you find that perfect balance, you’ll whip up influencer marketing campaigns that will catapult your brand into the stratosphere of awareness and engagement.
Here are some common types of marketing campaigns you can try this year:
IG Stories are one of the most convenient and widely used content types for influencer brand promotion. That’s a no-brainer since they are simple pieces of content with plenty of room for creativity.
Most importantly, the swipe-up feature in IG Stories allows for a smart placement of your brand link. You’ll find intuitive CTA placements in the majority of influencers’ promotional IG Stories. Do note that this IG feature is only available to influencers with 10K+ followers, though.
Another popular way to use Stories for influencer collaboration is to add shoppable stickers. Influencers can include shoppable stickers in their Stories featuring your products, meaning you’ll be driving sales directly from the Influencer posts.
When combined with a creative post, a link to your landing page from the influencer’s Stories works like a charm. You can use this strategy to promote deals and product launches – and, most importantly, improve sales.
Giveaways & Contests
An influencer-hosted Instagram giveaway is a fast way to spread brand awareness and reach a larger niche audience. Work with the influencer to develop a fun competition accompanied by a creative hashtag and messaging that inspires their audience to engage with your content.
The gifting part draws the audience in, while the buzz created over a short period of time kickstarts your Instagram brand game. It’s simple – but highly effective.
Another type of gifting scenario worth considering involves discount codes. Influencers can add details about the discount in their post featuring your product, getting you both a ton of engagement.
One great example of this influencer strategy is @savoryexperiments. They created a super useful pre-holiday post about a holiday treat for kids (value), which featured an offer on Oreo cookies at the HarrisTeeter store (client promotion):
Instagram’s Live option is a great way to get your brand message out there. You can find influencers that will feature your products (or services) on their Instagram live sessions and cash in on their dedicated audience.
Influencers can show behind-the-scenes production in your company, live–stream your launching events, do Q&As explaining your product or service, or do unboxing live videos. The point is:
Instagram live videos are powerful means to let the audiences in on what goes on behind the scenes and position your brand as trusted and relatable while getting massive engagement with their followers.
Getting a well-thought-out shout-out from a carefully chosen influencer is a sure way to skyrocket your sales and brand awareness in one go.
For instance, if you own a catering service, a shout-out from a foodie influencer that mentions how you quickly solved their buffet emergency could lead to hundreds of new potential customers.
Having your brand mentioned or featured in long-form influencer content such as IGTV means more time to connect with their audience.
The air time of up to one hour means you can be creative with your messaging and add multiple CTAs throughout the video – and, overall, it creates more chances to get discovered. Plus, it spreads your message in a high-quality format, showcasing your products and service in the best possible light.
How’s this for an influencer strategy:
Let the influencer whose style aligns with your brand – someone you can trust to execute this without any potential risk to your reputation, of course – take over your Instagram account for a day. Takeovers can be done leading up to a launch event – or any milestone, really – and are a great way to direct some of the influencer’s dedicated following your way.
Here’s an example of a smart IG takeover:
A micro-influencer, Mollyinmaine, partnered up with The Cottage Journal and showed how she decorated her home on their IG Stories. The Cottage Journal got noticed by Molly’s niche audience – whereas Molly got a spotlight in a big brand’s feed.
User-generated content is one of the pillars of Instagram marketing. It creates tons of engagement, builds awareness about your brand, creates buzz, and improves conversions. So, why not let your influencers inspire UGC?
People trust them and want to be like them – which automatically sets you up for success. And the more followers join the game, the more trust it builds among the targeted audience.
One of the vital elements of a winning influencer marketing strategy is having influencers use your branded hashtags in their posts. Why? It ensures that the posts are easily discovered by relevant audiences.
For example, Justcbd, a CBD brand, worked with a micro-influencer Isabella Thorp, to promote their brand. In her Instagram post, Isabella used branded hashtags to increase brand awareness:
Create campaign-specific hashtags to be used in influencers’ posts. Take your time to plan and research the most effective ones and make sure they include a blend of generic, unique, and branded keywords.
Honest and genuine reviews are super useful because the majority of an influencer’s followers genuinely trust their opinion. By showing your product or service in real-time, with honest pros and cons, reviews can improve brand awareness and increase sales.
The more prominent brands may get reviews in exchange for their products – simply because they’re that good. If you’re a growing brand, though, you can still pay influencers to review your products.
Here’s how a makeup micro-influencer reviewed Becca cosmetics lipsticks in her IG post:
Tutorials, Demos, & How-Tos
Here’s another suggestion – let the influencer educate their followers on your products or services. Ask them to show a step-by-step process of using your product, go over additional features, and show different uses. That way, they’re positioning themselves as thought leaders and experts – and, at the same time, impacting followers’ purchasing decisions. It’s a win-win.
Clickable Link To Your Website In Their Bio
Having a direct CTA to your sales page from the influencer’s profile for a certain period can drive tons of organic traffic to the page. It gets your brand noticed and communicates your value and credibility.
On that note, if you plan on tracking web traffic, use unique URLs and UTM codes to learn more about your users’ journeys.
How To Build Your Influencer Marketing Strategy?
You should have some ideas to work with on your first influencer strategy by now. So, let’s break things down into a step-by-step process!
Play By The Rules
The number one rule of Influencer marketing – you do talk about influencer marketing.
To get on Instagram and general laws’ good graces, make sure to read, understand, and follow the specified advertising standards. In the US, specifically, the rules are regulated by the FTC’s requirements on endorsements and disclosures.
While these laws may differ depending on your state, the general rule of thumb is to have a clear and visible disclosure – such as #ad or #sponsored – in any collaboration posts. Don’t rely on the influencer’s common sense; clearly state the disclosure plan in your agreement.
Define Your Goals & KPIs
Now, let’s talk about marketing goals. What do you want to achieve? Are you looking to become the talk of the town, engage your audience like never before, or make those sales skyrocket?
Take the time to think about it; defining your goals will help you shape your influencer strategy and pave the way for victory.
How do you measure success of an influencer marketing campaign? The answer is – solid KPIs. Engagement metrics – from post likes and shares to comments and brand mentions – are like little breadcrumbs that lead to informed decision-making.
Choose The Most Relevant Type Of Influencers
Remember how we discussed different types of influencers and the three Rs – relevance, reach, and resonance – of influencer marketing?
Well, this is where that knowledge may come in handy:
Research potential influencers and identify thought leaders in your target market – people that are relevant to your campaign, know how to connect with your audience, and can help you reach your marketing goals.
With the right influencers by your side, you’ll tap into the full potential of social channels – and create campaigns that leave your audience begging for more.
(Don’t) Control The Narrative
There’s a fine line between being in control of the messaging and suffocating an influencer’s creative process. In fact, 77% of influencers state “creative freedom” as the main reason they continue their relationship with the brand.
Think of the style that got them in the limelight in the first place. If you try to make it your own, the campaign won’t get the seamless effect but instead look salesy, overly curated, and unnatural. Instead, try to find a compromise solution – and let the influencer’s style and tone reflect your mission and products organically.
The collaborations the photographer Murad Osman does with different brands illustrate this perfectly. His signature photography style, tone, and composition are always present, but he finds a way to blend the brand imagery seamlessly:
Play The Long Game & Form Lasting Relationships
It’s wrong to think about influencer collaborations as one-off deals. Instead, try to form a lasting relationship with them – especially if you’d like to work with the same influencers in the future.
When an influencer genuinely connects with and cares about your brand, they get to know your values, goals, and target audience more deeply. It shows in their content – and their audience picks up on it, too. That’s the beauty of long-term partnerships; you get to grow and fine-tune your strategy together as a team.
So, consider doing multiple content pieces distributed over a specified period rather than a one-time deal. It can help your brand stay top-of-mind, build trust among the influencer’s audience, and create more opportunities for engagement.
Repost To Boost The Effects
If there’s room for improving the results of your influencer campaign, go for it. Showcase their posts in your feed and add your take on it. Don’t worry about it looking too promotional; you’re simply ensuring that your influencer content is getting the spotlight it deserves.
Build A Community Of Brand Ambassadors
If you want long-lasting effects and not just a stand-alone influencer collaboration, take the time to build a tribe of brand advocates on Instagram. It’s the best way to foster enduring trust and build a wholesome brand image.
Here’s an example of how a large brand like Coca-Cola includes micro-influencers in its brand ambassador community:
Even though their follower rates are lower, their specific audience and engagement can still impact a brand’s image.
Utilize Other Social Channels
Most influencers use at least one other social media platform besides Instagram, which allows them to share different types of content and cater to different audiences.
So, you should maximize your chances of success by collaborating with influencers outside of Instagram. It can be a link in a Twitter post or a how-to YouTube video, for example. Either way, it allows you to capitalize on their audience anywhere.
How To Track Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
To truly understand the impact an influencer Instagram campaign has on the metrics that matter, you need realistic data points to draw conclusions. That’s especially important for the analysis of the performance of the influencer you’re working with – and, of course, it depends on your goals.
For example, if you want to improve your engagement, metrics like likes, comments, and tags will be the most relevant data points for you. And if you’re going for brand visibility, then keep an eye on reach and impressions in Instagram Insights.
Ready To Team Up With Social Media Influencers?
That’s about it on the topic of how to build an influencer marketing strategy.
Instagram influencer marketing is undeniably one powerful strategy to get the best return on your marketing investment. Simply follow the steps we’ve outlined here – and you’ll be on your way to securing engagement, traffic, buzz, and sales.
Sure, it involves some testing and researching, but once you get in touch with the niche-appropriate influencer who understands your brand, it gets pretty easy – pretty fast. And with relative cost-effectiveness and an unlimited amount of possibilities, it’s hands down one of the best options for marketing on social media.
In today’s digital age, social media platforms are hives of activity. We get it – and we’re here to help you navigate the landscape of social media. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Flock Social today and unlock the true potential of your Instagram account!