Marketing has become as much a science as an art. Part of our job as marketers is to analyze trends and find novel and effective ways of getting our message out. Our audiences are often global, meaning we have to make a big noise to get big results. Influencers can play a huge role in this, but to find Instagram influencers that fit your brand can be quite the challenge.
Instagram as a platform for Influencer marketing, has become increasingly popular as it draws in mass audiences and influential users. Partnering with social influencers on Instagram is like a superfood boost to a brand. The voice of an influencer stands out from the crowd. When Meghan Markle recently wore a lesser-known Australian designer dress on her Australian tour, the designer’s website crashed. The voice of an influencer screams, “Come check this out!”.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Finding the right Instagram influencer to represent your brand means working smart. And, working smart means finding clever work solutions to get the job done quickly and done well. Instagram is steaming ahead of Facebook and other social platforms, fast becoming the platform of choice for marketing influencers. In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on all the things you need to know when searching for that perfect Instagram influencer.
Instagram: the Influencers Choice
The first step in influencer marketing is to locate the best platform. Instagram is certainly shaping up to be the marketer’s social platform of choice. Influencers love Instagram. A 2018 Hashoff study into Influencer marketing, found a whopping 81.7% of influencers choose Instagram as their preferred platform. And, 99.3% of influencers say they use Instagram to market brands, beating Facebook by more than 30%.
Instagram has exciting stats around customer engagement and reach, that you can’t ignore. Check out these Instagram follower demographics that show the power of the medium for marketing:
- Audience size – in June 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion users
- Global market – over 85% of Instagram users are outside the USA
- Instagram audience age demographic – 78% of users are between the ages of 18-44
Influencers on Instagram are able to push these limits even further.
The influencer-Instagram-brand love triangle is complete.
Best Hacks in Finding and Employing Influencers on Instagram
Finding the best-fit: How to find Instagram influencers
Getting the best influencer, that is the right fit for your brand, is a tricky first step in your marketing push. It isn’t easy to find the right person to promote your products. Engaging and enthusing them enough to do so, needs careful consideration. Building a relationship is crucial to not only getting the right influencer onboard but also to build true enthusiasm for your brand. The first vital step in getting influencer backing is to find the right one. You should think about creating a curated list of potential influencers. This list is your basis for identifying your best-fit influencer.
Here are two simple ways to begin the search for your perfect Instagram influencer:
- Search for relevant hashtags on Instagram – look at the engagement of users associated with those hashtags.
- Use Google to search for “top influencer in (name of niche)”
Once you’ve created a list of potential influencers, it’s important to gauge how active and engaging they are. This can be quite time-intensive. To make this process simple, Upfluence has released a free Chrome plugin that accompanies the main software. It’s the easiest way to see the most important metrics from an influencer, at a click and a glance.
When deciding on your best-fit influencer, you should also add in data about the audience you are targeting, for example: audience demographics, age, location, language, likes, dislikes, and so on. Mapping this information will help you focus on the ideal influencer candidate and brand ambassador. Once you have your list of potential Instagram influencers you can focus in on finding that perfect fit.
How to Approach Instagram influencers
Before approaching any individual influencer, it is worthwhile following them on Instagram as well as other social platforms. This will offer insight into how they interact with their audience. Once you have found the influencer of your brand-dreams, you need to engage with them directly.
Prepare your pitch, have your campaign ideas crystallized and ready – then reach out to them directly through their Instagram page. This usually contains contact information or often a link to another website through which you can make contact.
Finding an Instagram Micro-influencer
The micro-influencer can be as important in your Instagram influencer choice as many bigger celebrities. To be labeled under the micro-influencer umbrella, an individual must have between 10K to 1 million followers. Micro-influencers are domain experts – in other words, they “know their stuff”. Because of this, they have kudos in that community. However, this also makes them harder to identify. Micro-influencers can be highly influential, especially in certain markets.
With micro-influencers, it is all about quality over quantity. Hashoff found that micro-influencers had 10x the impact of celebrity influencers.
Some simple ways to find the elusive micro-influencer are:
- Look out for blog posts and articles in your industry – then check to see if these articles are posted using social media and gaining interest in the community.
- Go on industry forums – where is the engagement happening and who is making the noise?
- Check out Reddit – subreddits are a great place to identify industry influencers.
Once you have found your micro-influencer, check out if they are on Instagram and add them to your list of possible micro-influencers.
Spotting influencers in your industry and engaging them
It would be a hard sell to get a well-known cybersecurity expert to talk on Instagram about lipstick. When looking for best-fit influencers on Instagram you need to hone your story and understand the demographics of your audience.
An authentic tale is the key to getting the influencer on-board and to drawing in an audience. This is also where a micro-influencer may have an advantage over well-known celebrities – they add weight to your authenticity.
A great influencer will connect with your audience through your story. The Bolton Consulting Group found that authenticity is one of the main criteria for engaging with a brand.
One way to build authenticity is by engaging with industry-specific influencers. Your industry peers can talk to your audience in a language they understand. A great influencer will add value to your story and might even bring out angles that enhance your ideas.
Are there any tools to help me to identify the perfect influencer?
Instagrams influencer market size is expected to be worth over $2 billion by 2019. As the power of the influencer becomes accepted, new, innovative tools to help find the perfect influencer have emerged. With specialist search engines, integrated contact, campaign management & analytics, social listening reporting, and an integrated payment platform, after all, identification is useless if you can’t act on the results!
I’ve got my Instagram influencers list; how do I use them to target my audience?
Targeting an audience is about understanding them. Audience data allows you to map the requirements for your perfect influencer. This influencer will have the criteria to fit your demographic needs, e.g., they will have your target audience within their reach. Tools, like Upfluence, can analyze data from identified Instagram influencers to determine a best-fit. Historical data, such as interaction with communities and audience data, can be mapped to give you a view of how well they’ll be able to appeal to and interact with your audience.
When you mix this with an influencer who has pictures that pop, that have high engagement, and effective brand tagging, you have a winner.
Choosing an influencer who makes your stories resonate
The art (or science) of the Instagram influencer is a much-discussed topic. How an influencer reaches out to your audience and makes posts that resonate, is up for debate. But influencers have a number of known factors that make for an effective, engaging, post. When choosing your influencer, make sure they can craft posts that bring in engagement:
- Honest and authentic posts: Influencers have noticed more engagement with their posts when the content is honest – even if this is a negative emotion like crying.
- Create a storyline: People want to feel part of an ongoing dialogue. Influencers use stories to create continued engagement. Using Instagram Stories helps create content that is more than just a pretty picture.
- Real people using real brands: Influencers who actually use a brand, as opposed to only marketing it, have more success in promoting said brand.
- Reaching out with Instagram tools: Changing up the post type can be a positive way to get followers to take note. Instagram polls and the Instagram ‘Question Sticker’ are ways to reach out and get direct audience interaction.
When choosing your influencer, check out how genuinely involved they are on Instagram.
How to identify fake followers on Instagram
Not everything that glitters is gold and not every macro or micro-influencer can influence. Fake followers are the curse of an effective Instagram influencer – this can reduce the authenticity of the influencer significantly. The fact is, you can buy followers and you can fake likes and interactions. Instagram has been plagued by social media spambots as much as any other social media platform. The New York Times recently highlighted how prevalent the activity of creating fake followers is. Spambots can make it look like an influencer has a lot of likes and is interacting with their audience, making it difficult to spot real vs fake engagement. In a Pew Research Center study, they found that almost half of Americans were unable to spot a bot from a real person on social media.
It is vital that the influencer you choose to be an ambassador for your brand that has good quality followers. Check out our blog on how valuable the right influencer can be to the success of your campaigns.
How much do Instagram influencers cost?
Influencer pricing is not ‘one-size fit all’. There is no such thing as a standard rate card for an influencer. Each influencer will be able to set a value, based on a number of criteria, including their engagement rate, real followers, and follower growth. Engagement rate is the average number of engagements per post divided by the number of followers. Some other things that are harder to quantify, include how influential you believe them to be in your marketplace – especially if you’re within a niche market. The work you have done to identify your perfect influencer(s) will help to determine how valuable they will be to your brand.
How much budget you have for influencer marketing will have a major impact on your choice of influencer. Bearing in mind, that although micro-influencers have fewer followers, they see a 10x increase in engagement: you may get more value for money using a micro-influencer.
To give you a starting point, a recent Bloglovin survey on pricing an influencer, found that:
- Instagram influencers charge 2-3x more for an Instagram post than a blog post
- A general rule of thumb is to charge $100 per 10K followers
- Other factors like agency rates and content quality may need to be applied on top of this figure
- Exclusivity often costs more
- Brand affinity can cost more
To muddy the waters, some influencers are paid partly in gifts or samples. However, the general influencer market is showing a trend towards increased monetary payments, rather than gifting.
The near-future of influencers – what to remember when choosing your influencer
According to Hashoff, expectations and types of influencer are changing – here are some emerging areas you should be aware of when picking your Instagram influencer:
- Influencers want to create their own content around your brand
- Instagram is the platform of choice for influencers – build your campaign around the platform
- Focus on “quality, not quantity” and use micro-influencers in your campaigns
- Offer a good compensation package that reflects the work that an influencer puts into building their Instagram audience and engagement
As the influencer marketing platform of choice, Instagram offers a magical mix of beautifully composed pictures and videos mixed with influential people with massive reach. An Instagram influencer can take a brand story directly into the heart of your target audience. The difficulty lies in finding the right influencer for the job. You need to balance a complicated equation of followers, engagement rate, demographics, reach, and ability to craft great content. You also have the job of weeding through the fakes to make sure you don’t blow your budget on a bot. Hopefully, with our ten influencer tips, we’ve given you some ideas about what to consider when looking for your perfect influencer. If you work smart, using the right tool for the job, you can find the perfect Instagram influencer. Once you do, you will reap the benefit of a happy audience who will love your brand, both for its authenticity and your inspiring brand ambassadors.