Getting Started With Instagram Influencer Marketing (The Easy Way!)14 min read


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In a somewhat awkward announcement, Instagram recently highlighted that organic reach on the platform is taking a back seat to paid promotion. 😬

What should you expect to notice (if you haven’t already)? More branded content featuring Instagram influencers as ads in your feed.

What does this mean for marketers on Instagram? To ensure that YOUR amazing content is seen on the platform and you reach the maximum number of audience members just waiting to snap up your product or service, it’s time to consider enlisting the services of an Instagram influencer yourself!

Food blogger The Cookie Rookie frequently partners with brands that appeal to her audiences, like Gourmet Garden spices.

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Social influencers can be a valuable part of successful Instagram marketing. However, the exact definition of an Instagram influencer can be a little confusing, making it harder to decide if this is a marketing avenue that’s right for you.

Allow us to clear up a few things about what and who Instagram influencers, as well as what they’re not!

A social media influencer is pretty much what it sounds like: a person with authority on a social media platform, capable of influencing their loyal followers to buy or try a product or service. By hiring an Instagram influencer to post content on their profile relating to your product, you’re expanding your reach to their audience and receiving an endorsement of your product, which can boost sales.

A successful social media influencer is not always an A-List celebrity or industry icon. In fact, 70% of millennials prefer product endorsements from non-celebrity bloggers or micro influencers!

Want to grow your Instagram followers faster? Get this free checklist for 16 quick, easy wins you can immediately use to build an audience.

Types of Instagram Influencers

As Instagram influencers have grown in popularity (with more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram alone) four distinct categories of have emerged. These are:

 Nano Influencer: The latest type of influencer to emerge, these are tiny influencers with a small following: usually less than 1,000 followers. These people hold influence within their specific community.

Micro Influencer: A micro influencer has an Instagram presence with a following between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. These influencers usually operate in a specific area or industry and are considered authorities and specialists on their chosen topic with a following very interested in that topic.

Macro Influencer: As their name suggests, macro influencers have a huge following. This usually lies somewhere between 100,000 and one million followers. While macro influencers are usually not celebrities in the typical sense of the world, most have gained fame through the internet.

Mega Influencer: Mega influencers are usually household-name celebrities, such as Beyonce or Taylor Swift. They have over 1 million followers, and although they can reach a huge audience at once, they usually don’t have as close of a relationship with their following.

How to Choose an Instagram Influencer

Choosing the right kind of influencer for a successful Instagram marketing strategy can be really tough. In fact, only 39% of US marketers said they were confident in their ability to pick the right influencer to target an audience and impact customer behavior.

With more and more influencers flooding the platform, you may be struggling to decide how to choose the right one. Each type of influencer brings something unique to the table, such as:

Nano Influencers may have a small reach, but it’s a powerful one. Nano influencers typically have high engagement rates from their existing followers and a stronger influence that is undiluted by difficulty engaging with thousands of followers.

Micro Influencers can help you reach a concentrated market, especially one that aligns with your product or service. Since micro influencers are usually considered an authority on a specific topic or niche, finding an influencer who is a respected authority for atopic or industry similar to yours can boost sales and reach.     

Lifestyle blogger Ashley Bell promotes a variety of home, fashion and lifestyle companies and products to her following.

Macro Influencers and Mega Influencers are a great option for making a splash with a large reach. If you’re hoping to launch a national or even international brand, the help of a macro influencer can boost brand awareness in crucial startup stages.

Macroinfluencers can also help you reach targeted audiences like a micro-influencer, but keep in mind that the larger an influencers following is, the less likely it is that they interact with each and every follower consistently. This means trust and influence lessens, and they become more famous than they are influential.

The type of influencer that works best for your social media marketing strategy will also depend on how long you imagine the partnership going. If you intend to enlist the help of an influencer for a one-time feature, campaign or product launch, your criteria might be different than an ongoing influencer relationship.

It’s a good idea to create a solid marketing plan that incorporates the use of influencers before searching out potential candidates so that you can more clearly align your goals with the right person!

Your marketing plan should also include research and confirmation that an influencer aligns with your product and overall brand ethos. In other words, the person should have values and content that you want to be associated with, as well as their audience!

We’ll dive into the tools you can use to evaluate an influencer for fit a bit later, but let’s start at the beginning of creating your social influencer marketing strategy below!

Creating an Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy

The key to finding an Instagram influencer that works seamlessly with your marketing goals is usually defined by your goals and how long you’d like your relationship to last. First, let’s talk about examining your influencer marketing goals before we dive into what influencer relationships look like!

Defining Your Influencer Marketing Goals

Before you dive into the selection process, you’ll want to develop the first part of your influencer marketing strategy. This includes what goals you’d like to reach with your influencer campaign!

Your goals might look different depending on your industry, company or requirements, but the most common goals fall into these buckets:

●      Increase brand awareness for an existing brand or a new startup

●      Boost followers and engagement to increase your social media reach

●      Create more sales and conversions through specific product promotion

●      Recruit brand reps to create content, testimonials and impact long term

●      Promote a specific product, service or event

Spend some time determining what tangible results you’d like from your influencer campaign, as well as the best ways to track your return on investment (ROI).

For example, you can measure followers and engagements by comparing new follower counts, likes and comments prior to launching the campaign. These handy details can be found under each post. Just click the Insights button!

If your goal is centered around sales, or driving traffic and conversions to your website, you can measure revenue or site traffic, respectively. Just make sure you give the influencer a trackable link  (like a bit.ly link)

The goals you’d like to reach, as well as the method you’ll use to track these goals, will inform your decision on the influencer that will work best for you, as well as the length of professional relationship that makes the most sense.

Deciding Which Influencer Arrangement Works Best For Your Marketing

There are generally three types of Influencer arrangements  – short-term advertising, medium-length influencer marketing campaigns, and long-term ongoing influencer relationships.

●      Influencer Advertising –This is usually a one-time advertising agreement, where the influencer is paid to post an advertisement, testimonial, or promotion that benefits your company.

Advertising arrangements are used to access the influencer’s reach, raise brand awareness, and increase sales in the short term. This may be best for product drops, raising brand awareness or launching a new company.

●      Influencer Marketing Campaigns – The next type of influencer relationship usually centers around a specific campaign, much like luxury brands choosing relationships with various mega influencers as the face of their collection each season.

Influencer marketing campaigns often involve content creation, brand building, and collaboration. This can be a good choice for new collections, product campaigns or seasonal promotion.

●      Influencer Relationships – Long-term influencer relationships are part of an overall marketing strategy, where the influencer relationship is baked into the marketing mix and objectives you set. Generally, long-term relationships are established with influencers as partners or star clients. These influencers naturally become a pillar in the community surrounding your company, and their influence is trusted.

These relationships also result in authentic testimonials and recurring content, such as blog posts, shoutouts and features. You might choose this option if you aim for brand reps or ambassadors to keep brand awareness and content creation steady over time.

Now, it’s time to find the Instagram influencer that will best help you meet your goals!

How to Work With Instagram Influencers

Your hunt for the perfect Instagram influencer is on, and you have a few options when it comes to finding an influencer to work with.

How to Find An Influencer

Influencer Marketplaces and Platforms

If you don’t mind shelling out a monthly fee for a subscription, there are tons of influencer platforms on the Internet designed to allow you to find an influencer that matches your needs and campaign goals. Each has various features and methods of rating and categorizing influencers, so it may take some searching to find the best platform for you.

NeoReach has a huge influencer marketplace that you can filter by different characteristics.

Some of the top influencer marketing platforms include:

●      AspireIQ

●      Upfluence

●      Speakr

●      Webfluential

●      Pixlee

You can find more listings and in-depth reviews of popular influencer marketplaces in this article by Influencer Hub!

Search for Influencers on Google

Depending on your region and niche, a quick Google search can help you identify relevant influencers in your area. It can also help if you have a specific product niche or industry that can be easily represented by a figure. For example, a custom paint company might search top home renovations or house flippers on Instagram to find influencers in the home repair and real estate market to connect with!

Search Instagram for Influencers

When searching for relevant influencers who will impact your existing audience and widen your reach to audience members with similar interests, nothing beats a bit of Instagram research! Namely, you should search out the following to locate an influencer than can help with your marketing goals:

●      Influencers your competitors are using

●      Influencers your existing audience is following

●      Top accounts in your industry or niche

Uncover Influencers with Hashtag Research

If searching for profiles on Instagram isn’t turning up relevant influencers, try searching hashtags that are relevant to your industry or product. You can use tools like Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder to suss out the best hashtags to use around your product, and who is dominating those hashtags with their content. This is a great way to hunt down influencers who otherwise may never have popped up in your search!

The search results for #travelblogger reveal a ton of top-performing influencer posts that might be perfect for your marketing strategy needs!

Examine Your Influencer For Real vs. Perceived Impact

Once you’ve targeted an influencer you’re interested in, make sure that you check out their stats, engagement, and content before you approach them for an arrangement. A high follower account is not everything, and doesn’t guarantee engagement from their audience!

Don’t believe us? High follower counts with low engagement led to this macroinfluencer not being able to sell 36 t-shirts, even though she had 2 million followers! Double check levels of engagement through likes and comments on each post, and even auditing how many followers are real through a tool like IG Audit. This can help you avoid paying for influencer advertising with lackluster returns.

You’ll want to choose an influencer with high likes and comments on their posts. However, Instagram is experimenting with removing like counts from public-facing profiles, meaning you won’t be able to see this yourself. Instead, ask your influencer to provide this information as a double-check!

Keep in mind that a smaller following with high engagement is preferable to a larger following with low engagement, as those loyal followers will be far more likely to buy your product or navigate to your site than bots will. 🤖

As we mentioned before, carefully evaluate your chosen influencer to be sure that their values are in line with your brand and what you want to represent in the world. Check the comments section and general interactions with followers to be sure their larger audience is one you’d be comfortable marketing to.

You should also ask for reports on likes and engagements, and references from past collaborators who can vouch for the influencer’s credibility.

Reaching Out to Influencers

Once you’ve found an influencer who fits in your niche, can help you achieve your marketing goals, and has high engagement on their posts and ads, its’ time to strike up a conversation! Depending on the type of platform you’ve used to locate them, you can strike up a conversation over a social platform in the feed, through direct message, or through email.

Be prepared to ask for rates, packages, and contract details before agreeing to an arrangement. It’s important that expectations are made clear on both sides so that the relationship is beneficial to both parties!

You may be wondering exactly how much Instagram influencers charge per post, and whether your chosen influencer might be within your budget.

How much do Instagram Influencers charge per post?

Generally, influencers charge $1,000 per 100,000 followers. The more followers your chosen influencer or influencers have, the higher the price tag for a post! This is another reason why using celebrities and macro-influencers isn’t the most cost-effective marketing option for a small business. A celebrity like Kim Kardashian reportedly charges $500,000 for a post on Instagram!

To give you an idea on how well your influencer hopeful will stack up against a celebrity in terms of cost, engagement, and ROI, you can use the fun Micro-Influencers versus Celebrities tool from Influencer Marketing Hub!

The tool examines number of posts, followers and following, as well as engagement rate and estimated cost per post!

Keep in mind that most Instagram influencers are accustomed to test driving the arrangement with one post or Instagram story. This is a convenient way for you to measure the impact on your goals and decide if you’d like to continue the relationship.

We always recommend that you stick with one post or ad first before committing to a long-term relationship. This can protect both you and the influencer if it turns out you’re not a fit!

Instagram Influencer Marketing Main Takeaways

Getting started with Instagram influencer marketing is not hard, but it does require a lot of research and evaluation before, during and after the contract to ensure you meet your marketing goals.

However, influencers are well worth it! Influencers boost brand awareness, drive sales and attention to products, services, and launches, and can even help boost your own engagement and follower count. Here are the steps you need to take to hire an influencer that will help you meet your marketing goals!

●      Define your goals and the objectives you want to meet from your influencer marketing strategy.

●      Establish the metrics you’ll use to measure these goals.

●      Decide on the length of arrangement that will make sense for the goals you’ve selected

●      Research potential influencers who would make the most sense with your goals and your industry.

●      Check the influencers stats, including engagement, type of content, and value of each post.

●      Reach out to begin negotiations!

Thinking about hiring a social media influencer? Tell us about your strategy for finding the perfect fit in the comments below!

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13 thoughts on “Getting Started With Instagram Influencer Marketing (The Easy Way!)14 min read

  1. I just want to point out that it’s extremely important to click on the accounts who have liked a post to see if they were purchased likes. You can usually tell fairly easily by seeing if an account located in North Carolina, for example, has the majority of their likes coming from the Middle East or Asia (where most bought likes come from) purchased likes are so common now and we get contacted all the time by “influencers” asking for free stays who have purchased likes and followers. The macro influencer you mention in this article is a great example of an account who’s majority following is fake- the real reason she couldn’t sell 36 t shirts is because her followers and likes were both purchased. In reality her “real following” is less than 15% of the number showing up on her feed…meaning actual real people who followed her. I’m amazed no one else has wondered how she got so many followers in such a short period of time.

    You can’t rely on sites like Instagram audit because they only go over the numbers and the website is not able to determine if accounts actually have an authentic following. Even comments can be purchased so keep an eye out for comments that are most emojis or all say random things like “oh wow! Beautiful”

    If you need help determining if an account is worth working with DM me and I’ll be glad to take a look- @ashevilleglamping – we are approached by at least a dozen influencers each week and I’m pretty darn good at picking out the fakes 😉

    1. These are great tips! This sounds like a worthwhile topic to delve deeper into for our readers. Thank you for sharing your insight! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing these great tips and detailed post on instagram influencers, Yes in initial days it’s not easy to grow instagram followers but if anyone follows these great tips then they surely get benefit from it

  3. Yes these are great tips … but stand back and consider the time, effort, angst and uncertainty involved. Then you have to question whether Facebook/Instagram have ruined the platform for new arrivals. Unless they pay. Somewhere along the line you have to pay and spend a lot of time for a moment on a timeline feed. When all is considered you are better off spending your time in crafting your work and promoting it on Pinterest. The only platform still delivering real value.

    1. Hi Malcolm, you raise a really interesting point and a key frustration for a lot of Facebook and Instagram users. The ROI for this investment (of both time and money) looks different for every business and may be more or less effective depending on those unique factors. You are absolutely correct on the topic of using Pinterest as part of a strong social media strategy, especially for specific goals like web traffic and sales conversion. We love Pinterest 🙂 Thank you for sharing your perspective and adding to the conversation!

      Kristen

    1. We definitely prefer building authentic audiences that interact with our content, but purchasing fake followers is still a rampant issue on Instagram and can really skew the perception of an accounts success and influence versus the actual results.:( That’s why we recommend checking an influencers stats very carefully in order to make sure you get the best reach for your investment. 🙂 Kristen

    1. Hi Rahul, Influencer marketing definitely is picking up steam – and a lot of attention! 🙂 Kristen

  4. I am relatively new to Tailwind and the art of hashtags and influencers. This article helped me to get an overall idea of what this involves and how to move forward. Very useful and easy to read, big thanks!

    1. Hi Hana! I’m so glad to hear that this article was a helpful resource to you! Thanks for your comment. 🙂 Kristen

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