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It is estimated that peer recommendations are trusted by approximately 90 percent of customers. This means that this form of advertising has one of the biggest impacts on the general public and their spending habits. So how, then, can you use Instagram influencers to better market your brand? The key is to find Instagram influencers who are not only popular in your industry, but who are also actually relevant to your specific brand.
Although it may seem like a simple process, choosing the right influencers takes time, patience, and lots of research. If you’re going to pay someone to represent your brand to potentially millions of people, you want to be absolutely certain that he or she is the right person for the job.
We want to help you do just that.
Decide if you want to use a handful of macro-influencers with larger followings, or several dozen micro influencers with smaller followings: with macro influencers you have the potential to reach more people, but that usually comes with a cost. With micro-influencers, you may still be able to reach the same amount of people combined, but you may not have to pay as much, or even any amount at all. You may just be able to get by by offering free product samples or a percentage of sales made. Some agencies have even found that engagement is actually higher with micro influencers.
Don’t pick someone simply for the fact that they’re trending or popular: the influencer’s audience, although large, might not be the most relevant for your brand. Choosing a trending makeup influencer to advertise your skateboard channel isn’t likely to resonate with the makeup influencer’s audience.
Research hashtags, tracked over weeks or months, to understand who is popular/trending/influential in particular niches: you can use tools like hashtagify or AiSchedul to find Instagram influencers who are popular and relevant to your channel/brand/product by hashtag or keyword. If not using the tools above, you can simply search by hashtag on Instagram and note the channels that consistently appear in the top 9 results. For example, if you are a dog food company, you could simply type “dog” into the search bar every day for two weeks and note the channels that consistently appear in the top 9 results.
Note how many sponsored posts already exist on a potential influencer’s channel: if an influencer’s content is nothing but product placements/sponsored posts, their audience may start to lose (or already has lost) trust in the legitimacy of the posts. Existing sponsored content isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, particularly if it’s evenly spaced out among non-sponsored content, but if for the past three months every post on a channel’s grid is sponsored, the channel’s followers may think “Oh, she’s doing another sponsored post… Skip.” This can be damaging to both your brand’s and the influencer’s reputation.
Pay more attention to the amount of engagement on a potential influencer’s channel than the number of followers: go through a potential influencer’s posts and note the engagement – likes, comments, reshares, etc. Use sites like ink351 to see the percentage of engagement on influencer posts compared to the number of followers they have. If a channel has 100,000 followers but only 2 comments on every post, what good is that for your brand? Even if a channel does have a decent amount of comments on each post, what do the comments consist of? Are they thoughtful comments or engaging questions, or are they just “Nice!” or “? ? “? Also watch for patterns like the same amount of likes on each post, as this can indicate the use of bots or fake accounts.
Reach out in every way possible: a simple direct message might work (especially if you use a tool like DMpro), but if a potential influencer hasn’t already accepted a previous DM, you have to worry about your message potentially not being seen. Many influencers will have an email in their bio, and most of the time it’s there specifically so channels or brands like you can get in easy contact. Send an email, send a DM, and reach out in any other way possible to increase your chances of getting in quick contact.
Use professional 3rd-party services to connect you with influencers: while you can certainly do all of the above yourself, there are a number professional services dedicated to taking the work out of your hands and connecting your brand with relevant influencers. You can go and do your own research to find the best of these services for your needs, or you can read the very comprehensive and updated list put together by John Gordon from Tribe Growth.
Have success with influencer marketing? How did you find Instagram influencers to work with? Please share your experiences in the comments below!
This article is one piece of a larger, more comprehensive guide we created called Instagram Influencers: Finding Them, Working with Them, and 10 Case Studies to Learn From. If after you’ve successfully found your influencers you need help with the next step, please have a read through the full article.