7 steps to begin your Instagram influencer marketing campaign

Influencer marketing has become an essential part of many brand and business’ social media strategies in recent years. Incorporating social media influencer marketing into your wider marketing strategy adds another avenue to increase your brand awareness, connect with your target audience and convert them into customers.

So if you’re considering using it for your business, what are you waiting for? 68% of brands and businesses say they consider Instagram influencer marketing specifically to be the most important platform for them. Read on to learn more about building an Instagram influencer marketing strategy. 

What is Instagram influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy where brands and businesses collaborate with ‘influencers’, such as bloggers and social media users with a large following, to promote their products, services or campaigns, or simply to increase their brand recognition.

According to MediaKix, 89% of marketers say Instagram is an important tactic in their influencer marketing strategy - it’s the social media platform of choice for most influencer marketing campaigns. 

Examples of types of influencer marketing tactics include:

  • Sponsored Instagram posts or stories.
  • Sponsored blog posts.
  • Sponsored physical events with an influencer appearance, such as conferences/panels, meet and greets, store openings, or brand trips.
  • Sponsored social media marketing posts on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Snapchat or Pinterest.

What is an influencer?

Simply put, influencers are people who have an influence over consumers. Social media influencers have typically built a large (but not necessary), trusted and actively engaged following on social media.

This is of particular importance: for an influencer to have any real influence, their following needs to be active. Akin to the ineffectiveness of link farming, an influencer whose audience is mostly paid for - using ‘like for like’ tactics - will offer little-to-no value to you. 

However, if you discover the right influencer for your brand, they can reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement, which is why it is crucial to find someone who aligns with your visions. 

Types of Instagram influencer 

Social media influencers can be categorised in many different ways, most popularly, depending on the size of their audience. These are:

  • Micro-influencers - These influencers are niche and have a smaller audience, usually under 100k followers on their respective platforms. Although influencers with a smaller audience won’t reach as many people, they typically have strong relationships with their following. With micro-influencers, a stronger, more defined targeting is available. Many brands that collaborate with micro-influencers have been known to use several influencers as part of the same campaign to reach more people.
  • Macro-influencers - These influencers have about 100k to 1 million followers on social media. They can be celebrities, but often are just micro-influencers who have continued to grow their follower base and have turned influencer marketing into their full-time job. Macro-influencers are typically more expensive to work with, but reach a larger audience, which makes them an attractive option for bigger brands.
  • Mega-influencers - Mega influencers have audiences of over 1 million followers and tend to be celebrities or public figures. This type of influencer can be very expensive to work with, and although they have a huge audience, it means a large part of it isn’t your particular target audience.

Why use Instagram influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing allows brands and businesses to reach their target audience in a way that feels far more genuine than traditional advertising. The advantage of working with influencers is that there’s already a loyal, authentic relationship between them and their followers, so when they recommend a product or service on their channels, it comes across as a trusted recommendation. 

Influencer marketing is always a great tactic to have as part of your social media strategy to increase brand awareness, generate new leads and get your content seen by new eyes.

When it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram is by far the most popular social platform, with it largely outperforming the likes of Facebook, YouTube & Twitter.  With 81% of people using Instagram to research products and services, it’s easy to see why!

Social media influencer marketing

How to build an Instagram influencer marketing strategy

1. Set clear goals 

As with the beginning of any marketing campaign, you’ll need to establish your goals. These will help you measure the success of your Instagram influencer campaign.

When determining your goals, make sure to make them SMART and follow the 3 Rs of influence:

  1. Relevance - is the influencer you’re looking at relevant to your business? Does their content and audience align with your target market?
  2. Reach - can you potentially reach the number of people that you need through the influencer’s follower base?
  3. Resonance - does the influencer have the ability to drive audience members to a specific action?

2. Define your campaign audience

Your target audience should remain the same regardless of which type of influencer you work with. Each influencer may have different ways of connecting with your audience, but your overall marketing goals and buyer personas won’t change.

3. Choose your influencer type

Do you want to work with an influencer with a smaller, more defined follower base, or reach the masses with a celebrity influencer? This section should help you to determine which type will work best for your business’s goals and target audience.

4. Consider your budget

Budget is important to consider when working with social media influencers. Although some influencers will offer work in exchange for products, many use influencer marketing as a full-time job and in turn have high rates. If you have a low budget, you might choose to work with a micro-influencer. If you’re a bigger company with more to spend, you have more to invest in working with a macro or mega influencer!

5. Choose your influencer 

Once you’ve carried out the previous steps, it’s time to find the right influencer for your business. This is an important step because your brand will be directly impacted by whoever you collaborate with, which is why it’s so important to find genuine influencers who align with your brand vision.

First up, how to find Instagram influencers:

  • Google Search - carrying out a simple Google search using industry-relevant terms and keywords, and browse articles on the topic
  • Social media - search for hashtags, keywords and phrases and the profiles of specific users
  • Influencer software - influencer marketing has become so popular that there is now software to help you identify and measure influencers. Two popular sites include GRIN and Upfluence
  • Talent agency - this is a more relevant option if your business is wanting to work with a mega influencer where it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to send them a direct email or give them a call. 

Next, do your research into each influencer. There a few key things to look out for:

  • Do they have a genuine following and a trusted, loyal community?
  • Have they worked on any influencer campaigns in the past? If so, what kinds of products or brands have they promoted? This will help to inform if they would be a good fit for your company.
  • Take a read of the influencer’s social media comments, are your target demographic engaging with their content?
  • Which type of posts do they receive the most engagement on - stories, image posts, video posts - as this will help inform your campaign.

6. Reach out to your chosen influencer

The exciting part! Do this personally and privately, either through direct message or via their email address. Take time to write a personal message to each influencer - mention your favourite pieces of their work, it will show you’re serious about a potential collaboration. 

Provide as much information as you can about your brand, what you hope to accomplish with your Instagram campaign, how long you’re hoping to work together, and payment. Make it clear how the influencer will benefit from your partnership.

Are you willing to let them take creative freedom or do you need them to remain on-brand? It’s best to provide some guidelines about what you’re looking for, but remember, social media influencers are experts in content creation. You’ll get the best value from their work by allowing them to showcase their skills, which are recognised and loved by their audience.

7. Measure your results

Measuring your results is how you’ll determine the level of success you’ve had in reaching your audience with influencer marketing. Make sure to refer back to the SMART goals you set to help you determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives.

When it comes to marketing on Instagram, it’s important to create trackable links for your influencers. This way, you can see exactly how much traffic they’re driving to your page.

If you’re not yet using Instagram influencer marketing for your business, now is the time to start.