Let’s start off with a simple experiment. Open Instagram on your phone (or if you don’t have an account, access it through your desktop). Note down the first things you notice in your feed, and in user profiles. Chances are high that you’ll see at least one product-based post and a sponsored ad within a few scrolls down your feed. What you and I see in your feed is based on who we follow, yes. It’s also based on specific targeting by dedicated brands and names to put their posts on our feeds, through dedicated promotion. The takeaway? What we see on our feeds is carefully orchestrated to connect with us in the best way possible. If you glance at my Instagram profile section, you’ll see three prominent numbers: Posts, followers and following. Instagram is big on the numbers game. They reflect your “influence” in the platform. In a nutshell, if you look beyond the surface of Instagram, you’ll enter the buzzing world of Instagram influencer marketing.
Whichever way we look at it, there’s no denying that influencer culture has made landfall in Instagram with a bang, and is here to stay for good. From an outside perspective, the life of an Instagram influencer may look glamorous and lucrative. I’m not going to lie to you, a career as an Instagram influencer has huge potential for success in building a personal brand, with a lot of benefits. What most people fail to see, however, is that it is a full-time job in its own right. I encounter many people who seem to think that a career as an influencer is like a get-rich-quick scheme. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The journey of Instagram influencer marketing starts with a single spark of an idea. From there, it requires consistent effort, time, money and passion for seeing your brand rise to the upper echelons of Instagram, ruling your niche. It’s definitely no walk in the park. You have to be committed to the goal through all the highs and lows of the journey, learn from the mistakes and come out stronger and wiser.
Marketing on Instagram is a journey of many steps. If you’re looking to start in earnest and enter the vast world of Instagram marketing, then you’re in luck. I have compiled the ultimate Instagram marketing guide, just for you! With this guide, you’ll be able to catapult your brand to profitable new horizons. So without any further ado, let’s dive straight into it!
At this point, you’re probably wondering: what is it about Instagram that makes it such an effective marketing platform? After all, influencer marketing is a versatile business model that can be applied to any market where there is scope for development and expansion. Why is Instagram hogging the spotlight? The answer is simple.
- Instagram’s vibrant and vast user base makes it ideal for influencer marketing. With around 800 million active users on the platform, the ground is fertile to build a huge following as an influencer.
- The other core aspect of Instagram that makes it such a viable field for influencer marketing is the prominence of product showcasing. As a primarily visual medium, Instagram offers a great platform to exhibit your products and services to a broad online audience. In fact, around 60% of Instagram posts are centred around products one way or another!
As you can see, Instagram influencer marketing offers great value in terms of providing a perfect launchpad for influencers, while also providing the right tools for brands both big and small, to flourish. However, every influencer campaign has got to start somewhere, right? Getting started in the world of Instagram influencers involves making the right moves to get a solid start and hit the ground running. So, where does one begin?
From the onset, you’ll need to look for three things in your search for an ideal Instagram influencer to market your brand.
- Niche. Instagram is a huge playing field, with a plethora of niches and specializations. Your products (and brand) also sit within a particular niche. Look around to find the top influencers in the field you specialize in and see whose interests align with your brand’s.
- Do you want to sound professional and polished? Informal and casual? How you communicate with your audience determines how they will perceive you. So decide the tone with which you will construct your campaign and address the right audience, the right way.
- Your goals. Like any marketing plan, you’ll also need to set clear-cut goals in terms of what your campaign’s endgame is. Not only that, but you’ll also have to decide what the campaign does for your brand in the long run. The ideal way to evaluate your goals is by gauging them in terms of Instagram metrics such as reach and engagement. Make sure you and the influencers you hire are on the same page in terms of what you expect from the campaign.
These three pillars are of prime importance when you look at Instagram from a business perspective. The icing on the cake is these three tips are also applicable from an influencer point of view, so consider this an Instagram influencer guide as well!
We’ve seen how to refine your search for the right influencers from Instagram’s vast array of individuals with a sizeable following on the platform. Once upon a time, when Instagram was starting out, influencer promotion usually meant sharing a few product goodies from a brand to an icon. The “influencer” gets the product for free to put up a post about the product, and the product gets a boost in reach, in a simplistic win-win situation. Today, Instagram influencers call this sponsored posting, albeit a simplistic version of it. Over the years, Instagram’s growth as a social media platform has been meteoric, and the influencer model for the platform has evolved along with it. Let’s take a look at the different campaign types you can run as part of Instagram influencer marketing.
a) Curated branding.
Ever seen a “paid partnership with” text near an influencer’s name in their posts? These are part of the influencer marketing tactic of branded content. This method seamlessly weaves the influencer’s content with pronounced brand elements, either through post or video content. This is an excellent way of targeting the right audiences with pinpoint precision. It extends the influence of the individual while also lending credibility to the brand.
b) Product reviews
Product reviews are another excellent way to go about Instagram influencer marketing. This type of marketing is especially popular in the tech sector and automotive sector, where products are expensive. Instagrammers look to influencers they trust to make purchases, with around 80% of them looking up reviews before online purchasing. Getting influencers to review your product can bring a brand (and its products) closer to the target audience.
c) Interactive contests
Interactive contests offer an excellent way to get your audience to engage with your product, with the added benefit of generating a lot of user-generated content related to your brand. In addition to this, they’re extremely flexible in terms of how you can set them up. You decide the terms!
d) Direct representation
Direct representation also works wonders, both for influencers as well as the brands, synergizing well with Instagram’s visual content. One way that brands go about this is by appointing an influencer as the face of their brand, on a contract basis. Another innovative way of going about this is by handing over your IG account to the influencer for a specific period, allowing them to handle it. This shows your audience that you are open to engaging through direct interaction with your audience, through the people they regularly follow on Instagram.
Aside from this, there’s always the good old method of promoting your products through sponsored posts. Deciding what campaign to run is a decision to be taken after considering an extensive range of factors, including the purpose of the product, the target audience as well as how long you plan on running the campaign. All these factors have to gel together perfectly, to create an optimum Instagram influencer marketing campaign that reaches your audience and increases your profits. As an influencer, it also pays to know these types, as you can specialise in one niche.
Now that we’ve looked at the different kinds of marketing campaigns that we often see on Instagram, let’s talk about facts and factors! Defining clear-cut goals is part and parcel of the influencer game on Instagram.
Before you agree on any deal between you and the influencer, it is vital that you finalize a few parameters to ensure a smooth marketing process for both parties involved. Going over each and every specific parameter that goes into Instagram influencer marketing is beyond the scope of a single blog post. There are specific parameters that you have to account for before you begin, and we will go over them here. Take note of each and every one of them!
The first order of business should be to establish a clear-cut definition of what you both expect from the campaign, i.e. the Key Performance Indicator. Whether it’s post engagement or amount of followers gained, or just brand promotion, have clarity on what you expect at the end of the campaign.
All said and done, the influencer and the brand are still third parties to each other. In that regard, you must draw solid lines when it comes to how, when and where you can use each other’s content and intellectual property. This will be part of the contract that you both sign on when striking a deal, and it’s always better to keep your best interests in mind when drafting said contracts.
Work out your financials, both in terms of payment as well as campaign budget. Deciding on these factors beforehand can save a lot of time and hassle later on when the campaign is up and running. Be transparent with each other when it comes to money matters, it’ll make things a lot easier!
This is of prime importance to any Instagram influencer marketing campaign. The length of the campaign is also what will decide whether the influencer will come on board, as some of them might not be looking for a long-term association. On the other hand, some influencers might be eager to collaborate with you again, which might lead to long and profitable partnerships! The choice is yours!
These factors are to be considered both from the brand’s point of view as well as from the influencer’s point of view. It’s vital to never lose sight of what makes a campaign work from a business perspective, is that it can open up new opportunities and tie-ups for your brand. The first rule of the Instagram influencer guide is to approach it with an open perspective, and benefit from the doors it opens for your Instagram marketing journey!
The Influencer Side
What benefits does influencer marketing in Instagram bring to the influencers themselves, though? For starters, it can be an extremely profitable venture for the influencers, if executed correctly. Think of influencer marketing on Instagram as a self-sustaining engine. Once you get a few projects, you make more connections and expand your personal network on Instagram. From then on, it’s smooth sailing, as your next project is seldom too far off! Work hard and set a strong foundation, to reap the rewards in the long run.
Instagram influencer marketing is a very deep goldmine. Both brands and influencers stand to benefit greatly from the influencer model that Instagram offers for marketing products. With the right marketing knowledge and approach, one can soar high and become an Instagram star!
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