According to the network itself, Instagram has more than 1 billion active users at the moment, and that number will undoubtedly keep growing.
More than 71% of the Americans age 18 to 29 were using Instagram in 2021. For ages 30 to 49, 48% of Americans were using Instagram. In all, over 40% of Americans state that they’re using Instagram. That is huge:
So if you are searching for your target audience, chances are they are on Instagram.
So how do you reach your audience on Instagram?
Through influencer marketing.
Different people understand influencer marketing differently.
The term influencer often describes a famous person who influences what’s trending in fashion, music, and entertainment.
Influencer marketing often refers to sponsored product endorsements Instagram celebrities do to monetize their social media activity.
I am not referring to any of that.
To me, influencer marketing – whether it happens on Instagram or somewhere else – is the process of building long-term relationships with people who influence your business’s target audience. These micro-influencers are not celebrities, but your target customers look to them for advice and insights.
They may not have millions of followers or thousands of likes to their updates.
But they are real. They get heard by their followers and peers and they can bring trust, authenticity, and loyalty to your brand.
The biggest benefit of those micro-influencers is that they’re real people. Not to say that celebrities are all robots, but micro-influencers are generally easier to relate to than big-name superstars.
Usually, Instagram users with several thousand followers are happy to post unique content, reply to comments, and act in a far more authentic way than a typical celebrity with a social media manager.
Since Instagram recently changed its algorithm to mirror Facebook’s efforts, quality content comes above big-brand posts, which could mean that influencer marketing becomes more effective than content from huge celebrities.
How to Find the Right Instagram Influencers?
Depending on the niche, the process of identifying the right influencers for your campaign may involve various tools.
- Popular Pays is a great platform that helps find your niche influencers and manage relationships with them. Recently acquired by Lightricks, a major player in the visual content creation space, this platform offers tools for connecting, collaborating, and tracking partnerships between brands and influencers, allowing businesses to build long-term connections with relevant creators.
- Sparktoro is another useful influencer discovery tool that is particularly useful if you want to expand your influencer outreach campaign beyond Instagram. The tool finds sources of influencers across multiple social media and web platforms (including Instagram, Youtube, podcasting platforms, Twitter, etc.) For each influencer, the platform shows aggregated reach from all their networks.
Both the platforms allow you to focus on real metrics, like the engagement and authenticity of each social media influencer.
Focus on Engagement with Instagram
Influencers are great at getting your customers engaged. From acting more realistically online by responding to tweets and messages to sharing real and unique content, micro-influencers are generally more likely to start and maintain a conversation than a typical celebrity. That means that customers approach your ecommerce store feeling confident and ready to buy.
Don’t focus on getting as much reach as possible, but on starting a conversation in the audience’s mind.
Here are a few metrics to focus on when planning your influencer campaign:
- Content Engagement: When selecting your influencers, keep an eye on their content, who is engaging with that content, and whether those influencers interact back. What types of content seem to work best for them? Are their followers engaging with photos, videos, stories or Instagram reels?
- Who Are They Influencing: Who are those influencers’ loyal followers? Are they your target customers?
There may be micro-influencers among your current followers and customers: Become their friends. This is also a great way to curate some social proof to use on your channels and even your website. In fact, you can embed Instagram posts directly to your site to enhance your product pages, so make sure to make the most of that content and showcase it on your site.
In a world of infinite choices, it’s important to remember that your influencers are being approached with offers every day — so make it clear why they should work with your brand.
Tailor your message to their needs, instead of your own, and use connections and emails that outline the true value of your organization, and what you can provide not just in terms of compensation, but experience too!
Influencers sift through plenty of emails each day, and they’re far more likely to pay attention to something that speaks to whatever they care about most. Only once you’ve really gotten their attention can you try to bribe them with promotional codes and payments.
If you can show the influencers in your industry that you respect their expertise, and give them a reason to work with you, then you can benefit from better engagement, greater authority, and an audience of more loyal followers.
More importantly, do your best to nurture your relationships with those micro-influencers. One-time collaboration should not be your goal. Instead, prioritize long-term relationships. Consider moving those connections to your own site to tie those influencers closer to your site. In other words, give them space on your site they can call home.
Semrush does this well by using a separate community-driven site called BeRush allowing the brand’s supporters to log in, access their stats, talk to one another using the forums and engage with the brand.
This is an awesome idea. There are lots of plugins allowing you to add community-driven features to your current site. Or you can set up a separate site, like Semrus did, to keep those connections going. Tools like Namify will help you find an affordable domain for that.
It’s All About Micro-Influencers
Because micro-influencers have a more targeted follower base than macro-influencers, you won’t receive as wide of an impact as you might get using a standard celebrity, but micro-influencers do offer a high quality of leads, and they’re easier to connect with too.
Enhance your digital marketing results by building your network of influencers so that you have a host of names in your industry building the value and authority of your products.
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