The days when traditional ads could work are far behind us. Modern customers seek peer recommendations, so it’s no wonder that influencer marketing is growing rapidly and Instagram influencers are taking the world by storm.
Having a loyal following on social media is a key for everyday people to become influential and therefore secure collaboration opportunities with big brands who want to cut through the noise and promote their products, by capitalising on influencer relationships with fans. Moreover, the number of influencer marketing campaigns is growing annually.
The market size of influencer marketing has increased from $6.6 billion to $9.7 billion over the last year and 91% of marketers believe that it’s an effective form of marketing, according to one report. Moreover, 87% of respondents use Instagram for influencer marketing as it’s a visual platform with the most engaged user base.
The Popularity of Instagram Influencer Marketing
Instagram’s community has reached one billion monthly active users and 90% of them follow at least one business on the platform, so it’s no surprise that companies of all sizes are using Instagram for their businesses. In fact, 25 million businesses are active on Instagram.
With the high competition on the platform, brands need to find new creative ways to reach their target audiences, so they turn to Instagram influencers to spread the word about their products and it can certainly return results.
Not only do 69% of marketers plan to spend the most of their influencer marketing budget on Instagram, but they also find Instagram Posts (78%) and Instagram Stories (73%) to be the most effective content formats.
For influencers, this means an opportunity to monetize their Instagram accounts and many users are trying to establish themselves as worthy of brands’ attention on the platform.
Instagram is a great influencer marketing tool for three main reasons:
- It’s a visual platform where Instagram influencers utilize a blend of images and videos
- It has the most engaged user base and people prefer to follow influencers on Instagram
- It has a variety of in-app features to interact with followers
Now that you know Instagram influencer marketing is on the rise, let’s find out reasons why running these campaigns can be beneficial for both parties–businesses and influencers.
Why Instagram Influencer Marketing is Beneficial for Businesses and Influencers
One of the reasons people use Instagram is to follow their favorite influencers and 65% of people say they keep an eye on opinion leaders on the platform. Since people are happy to connect with Instagram influencers, running influencer marketing campaigns on this channel is beneficial for both businesses and influencers.
If you’re a business owner or a marketer, working with Instagram influencers can be great for the following reasons:
- Reach a wider audience fast 📈
- Increase brand awareness, loyalty, and trust 🤝
- Promote products or services 📢
- Provide potential customers with social proof 🤩
- Drive ecommerce sales 💰
- Create UGC images for social media profiles 🏞
- Understand your target audience better 💭
And if you’re an Instagram influencer, here are several reasons why you should team up with brands:
- Attract more followers 🚻
- Increase user engagement rate ❤️
- Use products or services you love for free 😍
- Monetize your Instagram account 💸
- Get professional photos 📸
- Become more influential 🌟
Doubtless, influencer marketing campaigns can help both parties, but many businesses and opinion leaders wonder how to establish relationships with each other on Instagram, build successful partnerships, plan and execute a winning campaign, and get a return on investment.
Believe it or not, there’s no need to have a following of over 100k followers on the platform to become an influencer who drives results.
Today, Instagram influencers come in all sizes and shapes, so it’s important to understand the difference between common users and influencers. Thus, we need to identify Instagram influencers and read more about their four main types.
Let’s dive in!
Types of Instagram influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro, and Nano
It’s no secret that social media job responsibilities include running influencer marketing campaigns, so every social media marketer should know how the main types of Instagram influencers. They can be divided into four major groups–mega, macro, micro, and nano influencer, depending on the following count.
Mega Influencers (1 million+ followers)
Potential price range: $10,000-$1 million+
Mega influencers–opinion leaders with over one million followers–are first on the list. Instagram has over one billion users, so there’s no need to be a TV star to influence people. Once you’ve achieved one million followers on the platform, you’re considered to be a mega influencer who affects the buying decision and sets trends.
Obviously, having more than one million followers takes a lot of time and effort, but the payoff is huge. These influencers are not only popular but they are also well-paid. The Instagram Rich List report claims that Kylie Jenner is the most paid Instagram influencer and makes $1,266,000 per post. Pretty great, huh?
It’s no doubt that getting a shoutout from a mega influencer can skyrocket your business results, but it can be daunting to secure a collaboration opportunity with a mega influencer unless you’re a well-known brand with a solid influencer marketing budget.
Macro Influencers (10,000-1million followers)
Potential price range: $1,500-$10,000
Next comes macro influencers, the biggest influencer group as their following varies from 10,000 followers to one million fans. Not only do these influencers still have access to all Instagram business-specific features, like Instagram Stories swipe-up links, but they can also reach a solid number of your potential customers.
Most marketers say that working with mega influencers can drive business results as their fans listen to them actively and their following grows quickly. Moreover, you can find macro influencers in any niche–parenting, fitness, lifestyle, pets, etc.
Whether you want to get a shoutout in Instagram Stories or get a 2,200-characters Instagram post, macro influencers are here to help you. Here’s an example of collaboration with macro influencers:
The above-mentioned macro influencer, Simon Hooper aka Father of Daughters, has 966k followers, but his post got only 12,457 likes and 64 comments which means an engagement rate of 1.2%. Is it worth paying big money for such a low engagement rate? It’s you who decides…
Micro Influencers (1000-10,000 followers)
Potential price range: $200-$1,500
Another type of Instagram opinion leader is the micro influencer who are the same influencers but on a smaller scale. Having between 1000-10,000 followers, they are commonly individuals who are experts in their respective niche.
With a great number of micro influencers, these opinion leaders have to be creative so they often use lesser-known Instagram tools which gives them an opportunity to create eye-catching visuals posts that seem to be more authentic. As a result, brands see great results when working with micro influencers.
Working with micro influencers, not only helps businesses increase brand awareness, but they also benefit from expertly created UGC photos without having to spend much money themselves. Here’s an example of how Cluse teamed up with a micro influencer in their niche:
The idea of working with micro influencers isn’t new and many famous brands like Sephora, Frank Body, and Coca-Cola have utilized the power of smaller yet powerful Instagram influencers.
Nano Influencers (up to 1000 followers)
Potential price range: $0-$200
Another influencer group–nano influencers–are a new breed of opinion leaders who have less than 1000 followers on Instagram. Having a small following, these opinion leaders have in-person connections with the majority of their followers, so they have higher engagement rates. At the same time, nano influencers are happy to work with brands in exchange for co-mentions or branded freebies, so they become extremely popular among both big and small brands.
Nano influencers are affordable, so it’s no wonder that small businesses team up with these influencers to spread the word about their products. However, big brands like Dunkin’ also turn to nano-influencers. Why? It gives an opportunity to promote products authentically and fast. For example, a nano influencer Maura has only 838 followers, but her Instagram post with the mention of Dunkin Donuts has got 113 likes in 12 hours.
The good news: If you’re a nano-influencer, chances are that you can grow your following and therefore become more influential to team up with more brands that are ready to pay for shoutouts. Moreover, nano influencers get many offers from businesses as they drive great results. This means nearly every Instagram user can become an influencer.
No matter what your influencer marketing budget and business goals are, there are Instagram influencers of all sizes and niches so you can definitely find an opinion leader who suits your needs and wants. To make the most out of your partnership, learn from other companies and check out their best practices.
7 Best Practices for Instagram Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is extremely powerful these days and when done right, it can help you achieve many goals for your business. To inspire your next influencer marketing campaign, here comes the list of 7 best practices for working with Instagram influencers that can help all brands get their businesses to the next level.
1. Ask for User-Generated Content
Living in the age of authenticity, when people value brands that are real and deliver on their promises, overly polished brand content isn’t the most effective to post on Instagram. Modern customers are 2.4x more likely to say that user-generated content is more authentic than brand content.
Modern users are ready to help you produce user-generated content as taking photos/videos on their phones is second nature. Did you know that Instagrammers upload 95 million photos or videos daily!
There are two main ways to encourage your customers to create UGC: being a popular brand like Starbucks or teaming up with influencers who set an example for other Instagrammers. No matter how big and popular your company is, the second option works well for everybody.
For example, Lulus invites Instagram influencers to become brand ambassadors and these opinion leaders are happy to take photos of themselves in Lulus’ wear. Then, the company publishes these images on their profile.
However, it’s not the only one way Lulus asks Instagram influencers to create user-generated content. The company also uses its Instagram bio to spread the word about a contest that rewards loyal customers for publishing UGC on social media.
As a result, the contest attracts both interested influencers and customers who love the brand which allows the company to promote itself without eating into too much of their influencer marketing budget.
2. Invite Influencers to Attend Your Offline Event
Online and offline marketing go hand in hand. Whether you organize a fashion party, grand opening, or a conference, working with influencers is a great way to reach your target audience, promote your event, and get more attendees.
Why? Fashion or lifestyle influencers often take their followers behind the scenes, sharing the moments of their everyday life via Instagram Stories. Thus, you can get a mention about your event and brand without paying for it.
But if you want to get a mention about your event in an Instagram post, you can team up with the influencer and ask him or her to publish backstage photos/videos with a tag. Check out how Calvin Klein did it:
The outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us that events can be canceled or postponed, but this doesn’t mean that this best practice isn’t relevant these days. Since the number of online events is growing, working with influencers and asking them for shoutouts is a proven way to promote your brand during social distancing.
3. Send Brand Freebies for Review
Instagram shopping has revolutionized ecommerce. According to one report, 70% of shoppers use Instagram for product discovery and 130 million Instagrammers tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.
This means brands can turn Instagrammers into customers and increase ecommerce sales. To start selling products on Instagram, you need to prove your potential customers that they are worth giving a try. Since most consumers read customer reviews before making the purchase decision, sending brand freebies for review is a great way to provide social proof and ease the worried minds of other customers.
Believe it or not, restaurant marketing also works well on Instagram. If you have a restaurant, bar, or cafe, you can invite local influencers to visit your local business for free in exchange for writing a review on their social media profile. Here’s an example from one food blogger:
Sending brand freebies for review is a great way to understand what your target audience thinks about your products and get social media reviews without spending much money as many opinion leaders–especially nano and micro influencers–are happy to review your product for a chance to test it.
4. Sponsor a Giveaway
Practically every Instagram influencer aims at growing their number of followers on the platform. To get more new fans and interact with the existing ones, influencers seek out new creative ways to create engaging content. Thus, they often organize and run giveaways as people love this type of content.
When it comes to influencer marketing ideas, sponsoring a giveaway is a great way to establish a connection with the influencer who needs sponsors in order to offer better prizes and spread the word about your products without overtly selling.
Here’s an example of this strategy in action:
Want to know the best part? All brands can sponsor a giveaway even if you run a pet care business like ThePets. In this case, you can find a local influencer and offer free gift certificates. As a result, you make sure that the giveaway attracts the right audience who is interested in your products or services.
Example? Check this one below!
Sponsoring a giveaway is a great way to offer an influencer various prizes that can help to attract more participants. As a result, you help the influencer grow on Instagram and therefore it helps to establish a connection with your brand which means you are more likely to team up with this influencer in the future.
5. Collect Customer Feedback
To grow your business, you need to know your customers, so it’s no wonder that big brands collect customer feedback to help them understand their target audience better and find their product market fit.
If your customers share their thoughts about your business, that’s great. If not, it’s important to encourage them to do so. How? Instagram influencers are here to help you again. When done right, influencers can start a conversation with their followers and encourage them to answer the questions you want.
Let’s take a look at the following example. When a fashion influencer Camila Coelho shared a video with three outfits, she invited followers to vote for their choice with the number. The post got 1.3 million video views and 1,882 comments.
Obviously, everything depends on the question an influencer asks. For example, you can ask an opinion leader to add a customer satisfaction survey as a bio link and include a call to action in the caption that draws attention to this link. Simply put, there are many ways to interact with the engaged audience and therefore understand your customers’ needs and wants better.
6. Mention Your Products in Instagram Stories
Do you know that stories grow 15x faster than feed posts? With a short lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram Stories create a sense of urgency that encourages users to watch this content and engage with it. Just imagine: 500 million people create or watch Instagram Stories daily. It’s also said that ephemeral content has increased the average time spent in the app from 15 to 54 minutes.
Instagram influencers have realized the power of Instagram Stories so they often communicate with their audience via stories, and it delivers results! Since followers can reply to stories privately, they often watch stories and ask questions.
Whether you want to drive website traffic with the clickable link or collect customer feedback with the question sticker, there are many ways to collaborate with influencers and therefore spread the word about your product with a variety of Instagram Stories features.
7. Create Instagram Ad Campaigns
With the popularity of Instagram marketing among businesses, it’s no wonder that the competition is getting harder which means brands need to run social media ads to cut through the noise. In fact, 2 million advertisers promote products with Instagram ad campaigns.
If you want to speed up the process and create Instagram ad campaigns, consider working with Instagram influencers as featuring famous people helps to gain brand loyalty and trust. To inspire your ad campaign, check out how Milton & Goose use UGC in their ads:
The company teamed up with Laura Izumikawa Choi, a popular photographer on Instagram, who shared an image on Instagram of her daughter playing with M&G’s toys. Featuring real kids instead of product photos, the campaign was discovered by 50% of Milton & Goose customers and 38% of unique website visitors. It also resulted in a 2.8X increase in holiday sales and a 4.6X increase in 2018 Black Friday sales. This shows how influencers help to maximize Instagram ad campaign’s results, too.
Visually plan your posts. Drag and drop everywhere.
Plan your social media posts.
Visually plan your posts. Drag and drop everywhere.
As you can see, there are many ways to team up with influencers of all sizes and get results. But before you start working with an influencer, you need to make sure your partner is right for your business.
How to Choose an Instagram Influencer for Your Campaign
As a marketer, you need to choose the right influencer before planning your influencer campaign. It’s also important to make sure that collaborating with a particular influencer can help to achieve business results without wasting the whole influencer marketing budget.
No matter what your business niche is, you need to choose an Instagram influencer based on the following factors:
- Niche: No matter how many followers influencers have, not all of them can help your business. Influencers help businesses promote their products as they give you an opportunity to spread the word about your offering among your target audience who can become your potential customers. First, pay attention to the niche the influencer is expert in.
- Engagement rate: Having a solid following isn’t enough to make brand endorsement effective. Although marketers pay attention to a number of metrics, the engagement rate is the most important one. When followers are engaged, they listen to the influencer and pay attention to his/her recommendations. Note that the engagement rate of 3.5%-6% is considered to be high on Instagram.
- Market penetration: It’s no secret that businesses want to collaborate with influencers who can bring results. But choosing an opinion leader who works with all your competitors isn’t the best idea. Why? These influencers don’t seem to be authentic, so their followers are less likely to follow their recommendations.
- Price: Whether you love it or not, every business is limited to a certain influencer marketing budget, so influencer marketing costs matter. Luckily, there’s no need to pay much for collaboration with celebrities like Kylie Jenner to get results as nano-influencers also help to promote your business without costing an arm and a leg.
To make the most out of your influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to set a goal and discuss your partnership in advance. The more details an influencer has, the better results you get.
In a Word
Taking into account the growing popularity of Instagram marketing, Instagram influencers are here to stay, so it’s your chance to become an influencer or promote your company with word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t miss your chance to make the most out of this trend.
Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant who helps small and medium businesses and she claims that Instagram has great sales potential for all brands. She is also a guest blogger who contributes to top-notch marketing blogs to share her social media tips. To read more from Val, follow her on Twitter.