Influencers have been running the Instagram word-of-mouth for the past couple of years, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Big brands and small businesses alike utilize the influencer strategy’s impact to get their brand out there.
The numbers are precise:
Influencers and bloggers influence 34% of purchases on Instagram.
89% of marketers choose Instagram as their primary channel for Influencer marketing.
If you have covered the first steps that include:
- realizing the benefits of the Influencer Instagram campaign,
- determining the right fit for your brand (if you haven’t make sure to go back to our blog posts on How to Identify the Fake Influencer),
- reaching out to the influencer of your choice,
- making the initial arrangement.
It’s now time to kick things off with your first-ever Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, trying to figure out where to start, stay tuned. We’ve prepared the ultimate guide with actionable steps on how to implement a rock-solid influencer marketing strategy.
Let’s get started.
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What is Influencer Marketing?
Before we move any further, let’s first answer the obvious question – What is Influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing falls under the umbrella of social media marketing. Essentially, social media influencer marketing is designed as a cost-effective solution for brands to have their products and services promoted by influential social media individuals. To be eligible collaborators in these campaigns, influencers need a strong following and an expert-like authority.
As the most popular social media influencer platform, Instagram is the most common place to implement the strategy.
Depending on the type of deal, influencers can post different content forms along with mentioning the brand or a specific campaign. Instagram influencer marketing is super efficient for several reasons. The most important one being the credibility and trust the influencers have among their dedicated following. So, whenever an influencer recommends a brand in their post, it signals social proof to their audience.
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.
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 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.
How to Build Your Influencer Marketing Strategy?
Now that you have all the ideas to work with on your first influencer strategy let’s break down 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 States, the rules are regulated by the FTC’s requirements on endorsements and disclosures. Although the 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, but clearly state the disclosure plan in your agreement.
Play the Long Game
When working with Instagram influencers, it’s wrong to think one-off deals would do the trick. Think of doing multiple content pieces distributed over a specified period. This works better because:
- Your brand stays top of their audience’s mind;
- it builds trust (their audience won’t consider it just an add, but something of actual value since they mention it consistently);
- creates more engagement – multiple content pieces – more opportunity for engagement.
Think of long-term partnerships with influencers. This way, you’re getting scalable results and a win in the long game.
(Don’t) Control the Narrative
There’s a fine line between being in control of the messaging and suffocating an influencer’s creative process. What’s more, 77% of influencers state creative freedom as the main reason they continue the relationship with the brand.
Think of their style that got them in the limelight in the first place (link to the blog post: How Big Influencers Started). If you try to make it your own, the campaign won’t get the seamless effect, but instead look salesy, overly curated, and unnatural. Make a compromise solution and let the influencer style and tone reflect your mission and products most organically. Let it blend naturally.
The collaboration the photographer Murad Osman does with different brands illustrates this perfectly. His signature photography style, tone, and composition are always present, and he always finds a way to blend the brand imagery seamlessly.
Repost to Boost the Effects
Don’t miss any opportunity to improve your influencer campaign results. Showcase their posts in your feed and add your take on it. Don’t be afraid about it looking too promotional. Think of it as a team effort that deserves any spotlight it can get.
Achieve the long-lasting effects of influencer collaboration through influencer communities. By building a tribe of brand advocates on Instagram, you are creating long-term rewards. It’s the best way to go to create lasting trust and build a wholesome brand image.
Here’s an example of how a large brand like Coca-Cola includes micro-influencers in their brand ambassador community:
Even though their follower rates are lower, their specific audience and engagement can still impact a brand’s image.
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Utilize Other Social Channels
The vast majority of marketing influencers have at least one other social media influencer platform besides Instagram to offer a different type of content to cater to different audiences. Maximize your chances by collaborating with influencers on a link in a Twitter post or a how-to YouTube video and 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 from. This, of course, depends on your goals. This is especially important for the analysis of the performance of the influencer you’re working with.
For example, if you want to improve your engagement, metrics like likes, comments, and tags will be the most relevant data points for you.
Instagram influencer marketing is undeniably one powerful strategy to get the best return on your marketing investment. With the cost-effective element to it and literally an unlimited amount of possibilities, it surely is one of the best social media influencer marketing options.
Sure it takes some testing and researching, but once you get in touch with the niche-appropriate influencer who understands your brand, it gets pretty easy pretty soon.
Not to mention when you have a helpful guide to reference every step of the way.
Follow the step-by-step process we provided above to secure your chances for the highest scalable engagement, traffic, buzz, and sales.