If you’ve never dealt with Instagram influencers before, it can be intimidating to figure out where to start. You’ve probably seen sponsored posts on your feed for a while now. You know what they look like.
But how do you get from point A to point IG?
There’s a right way to go about influencer marketing on Instagram. When you’re getting started, a little knowledge will get you far. Don’t get yourself in trouble just shotgun blasting pitches to a bunch of people via DM, or reaching out to people who aren’t interested in your product.
Here’s how you can create an effective, authentic influencer marketing presence on Instagram:
1) Authenticity All the Way
When you’re looking for an influencer to contact, look at the way they interact with their market. Are they reaching a niche market in an authentic, interesting way, or are they taking any product they’re given and trying to work it in? Sure, sponsored posts are paid. But people can sniff it out if your chosen influencer is just taking money from any old company that happens upon them.
“Our brand actually came about because of my frustration with many baby products that were out on the market. We have the opportunity to work with some big influencers—including Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher), Cara Loren (@caraloren), and Megan Mitchell (@meg_legs)—but if it doesn’t come off authentic, it doesn’t matter what you do. They have to actually care.”
2) Recruit for Relevance
When choosing influencers to contact, you need to make sure they’re relevant. Some influencers have a more broad reach, with followers coming from a variety of backgrounds with a number of different interests. Others are in hyper-specific niches. Whoever they are, make sure that you’re not just going for follower count.
If you can find an influencer that’s positioned perfectly in your niche, that may pay off more for you than someone who has a larger follower count. Relevance matters. Though it might be more flattering to your company to say you work with a big name, sometimes smaller ones are a better bet.
3) Reach for the Stars
Reach is important as well, though. Follower count isn’t the only number that you should look at, but it does matter. It’s a proxy for how well-respected this person is within their niche. Judging based off follower count alone will lead you astray, so try to measure based off other people in that niche.
If you’re selling, say, custom paint jobs for tabletop gaming figurines, your influencers will probably have a smaller reach than someone who’s selling cars. Look for people who are top in their sector, not just overall.
4) Find People Whose Message Resonates
If you’ve ever looked at a famous person’s Instagram post right as it’s posted, it’s dizzying to see the speed at which comments and likes add up. Whoever your influencer is and whatever niche they’re in, that resonance has to be there.
What good is someone who preaches to an empty room?
Or someone who has a message that people don’t want to listen to—even if their follower count is high? A low level of engagement can sometimes even be an indication of bought followers, which is a real problem if you’re trying to grab interested eyeballs. You don’t want to spend your money on an influencer who has a disengaged or bought audience …
You want results.
5) Too Much of a Good Thing ISN’T a Good Thing
Have you ever looked at an Instagram personality’s feed and seen sponsored post after sponsored post back to back to back? It turned you off, didn’t it? It’ll do the same for your customer base.
If your chosen influencer is already oversaturated with sponsors, you’re probably not going to have much success. Someone who’s doing sponsored posts all the time already probably shouldn’t be an influencer you go after.
Over time, too many sponsored posts will erode the trust that person has built up with their audience—and your voice isn’t going to stand out as much when placed against the others.
6) Know Thy Audience
The famous maxim “Know thyself” has been around since before the ancient Greeks. But there’s an updated version that matters for Instagram: “Know thy audience.”
That means doing some research.
Who is your audience actually? Do you know?
You may think you do, but before you spend a lot of hard-earned money on an Instagram influencer marketing campaign, it’s worth getting empirical data. Make sure you’re not throwing money at someone who’s reaching an audience that’s not interested in you.
Knowing your audience will focus your influencer search.
The Power of Influencers
Influencers hold a lot of power, especially on Instagram. Instagram’s posts usually have double the engagement rate of most other social platforms. They’re visual and easy to engage with, and they’re in a media format that’s native to the mobile platform.
If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toe in the water with influencer marketing, now is the time to do it. Use these tips to focus your search and qualify the people you choose to represent your brand.