Instagram is famous for its' large number of "Influencers", or people with very popular accounts that are paid to promote, advertise, and talk about products from their partners.
In a social network so focused on image, these influencers who consistently produce quality posts, gain thousands of likes and followers and hundreds of comments per post can be the difference between growing faster than you've ever grown before, and paddling along at your businesses' current rate of sales.
In this guide, we'll explain how to find and get in touch with these seemingly unreachable people, explain how your average Instagram influencer partnership deal works, and give you a whole range of information and tools that can be used to set up a program for yourself, to start exposing your brand to a much larger audience than ever before.
What are Instagram Influencers?
Influencers are people who can encourage people to make decisions based on their opinion.
They're very useful people in all walks of life that you would always want to get on board when you're doing something like running a business, running for political office, trying to make a change in your town/city, or generally trying to gather people and resources to do anything.
They're the people that can get support for what you are doing, and that translates very well into making sales for a business.
Because of the way that Instagram operates, and its' social purpose, Influencers are just as important on Instagram (and many other social networking sites), due to their larger audiences, and their skill for self promotion, and their ability to promote your product or business.
Instagram was designed to give popular accounts a massive audience, and generally, the more popular an account gets, more people will see its' posts in new places like the "Featured" section. This has two meanings for you:
Number One: Gaining Popularity
Although this is a guide on finding Influencers to promote your business, we'll cover a few points on how you can use Instagram to your advantage while trying to create popular posts.
As I mentioned above, Instagram uses a system that features some of the most popular posts with a relevant hashtag or location to a user without them actually following you. You can check this out in the discover section of the app.
What does this mean for your operations on Instagram? Well, a few things. It encourages you to promote yourself and your posts more aggressively, which is often discouraged in many other social networks or websites. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Like your own posts. It helps. Nobody really pays attention, and you can always do it after you have enough likes to tabulate the list of accounts that have liked your post, so it's less likely to be visible to someone anyway.
- Don't be afraid to ask friends for help. Plenty of successful Instagrammers we know regularly send us requests to like or comment on their posts, and there's a reason for that, a really simple one too.
Instagram bases what it features to other users based on the number of likes and comments on a specific post. Sure, don't be too annoying about it, nobody likes five messages a day asking for them to like or comment on a post on anything, but if you don't post too regularly, and make sure you ask your true friends and fans of your brand, it can go a long way to starting that little push needed for a post to become viral.
- Use competitions to gain viral traction. By running competitions that require people to interact with your post, you can quickly gain popularity and get the post featured by Instagram from the high rate of engagement of the post.
You need to be creative about the competition and make sure the prize is worth people sharing with others and participating, but it can be a very useful way to quickly build a large audience on the network.
If you repeat these techniques and keep releasing good content that users actually find interesting and engage with, you can easily grow your audience on Instagram to propel you into popularity.
Number Two: Finding Instagram Influencers
Why would you want to find an Influencer? Because these people can act as sales channels, brand ambassadors and also increase the reputation of your brand. They are used by many businesses, and there are a large number of potential Influencers who you could make a partnership with.
However, it can seem almost impossible to find the right influencer for your brand, as you have to take into account a number of things, such as themes, audience and popularity. So what can you do to make it easier? Here are a few things:
- Think about who your ideal influencers would be. Their personality, appearance, and interests should match that of your target audience.
- Take a look at who is popular in your social circle. Some of the popular accounts you regularly see may be openly inviting businesses for a partnership.
- Use a tool like Buzzsumo to take the hard work out of searching for influencers.
Once you've found out exactly who you're interested in working with, you next need to find a way to get in touch with them. A lot of bigger accounts have links and contact details for business opportunities, and if they don't have that, then you can usually get in touch via direct messaging on Instagram itself.
If all else fails, sometimes even just leaving a comment on a post of theirs can help to get their attention.
After this, it's just a case of agreeing on terms with them, in terms of rewards for them (we'll make a guide about paying Influencers soon!), and requirements from yourself.
How Can Influencers Help My Business?
There are a number of things that influencers can do to help your business grow sales, gain new followers on Instagram, and generate more traffic for your website. What exactly will be done by your own influencer depends on your agreement with them, and what you need them to achieve for you.
Below, we'll cover the most common forms of promotion that are usually offered by Instagram influencers for businesses.
1. Promotional Posts - much like product placement in films, TV shows and events, influencers can make posts on their account that promote your product/service, and encourage their followers to visit your account/website.
2. Story Mentions - You can also get your influencer to create visually appealing story posts that link to your profile to generate new followers for your account. These only stick around for a day, so you should agree upon multiple story mentions over different days to ensure you get multiple chances to utilize their followers to grow your audience.
3. Biography Links - Influencers can also add a URL set by you into their biography on Instagram, to direct traffic from their profile to your website. This can be improved upon by them adding call to actions in the comments of their posts to get users to click the link.
4. Shoutouts - You can also ask your influencer to make various shoutouts about your business through videos, stories and comments of posts, to help grow your following.
5. Product Reviews - You can also encourage your influencer to make videos and photographic reviews of the products you send to them. While mostly exposing you to their audience, this also creates content you can add to your website and share in various places online.
By using the right combination of popular influencers and a number of options like the ones above, you should see a strong interest in your business from a much larger audience. Don't forget that although your main business aim is to generate sales (well, usually..), you can see a much better long term return on your Instagram if you also encourage them to perform activities that increase your following also, and by using a number of popular influencers who are relevant to your target audience, soon you'll be popular enough to continually get the attention of thousands of users.
Using Instagram Influencers as Brand Ambassadors
If you can find the right influencer (dedicated, proactive, and organized), you can also use Influencers as real life brand ambassadors.
By ensuring they're always hooked up with your newest products, that they're involved in what you do and that they understand their own social power, you can spread your image to a much wider range of people and significantly grow your brand's presence in many of your potential customers' lives.
There are a number of ways that you can utilize influencers to act as brand ambassadors for you in specific situations. This may require an investment in terms of your team's time, money, and other resources, and if executed properly, can do wonders for your business. Here are just a few examples:
Invite them to company events. An age old pr trick of larger companies, as long as they're close enough, and you can put on an interesting event, the news can gain some traction in the local media. This will provide you with a chance to expand your brand to a whole new level.
Involve them in advertising and creation of content for your business so that customers can see a familiar face in your business, which will help create emotional bonds to your brand. Everyone knows that people make decisions based on emotion rather than logic and rationality, so a customer with an emotional bond to you is one of the best customers you can have.
Get them to make introductions to people who could help grow your business. They already have a large interest from your target audience on social media, and that often translates into the real world too. Make them a part of your life, and expand your personal network.
Influencers work. Yes, you need to take all logical steps to ensure that they will really be able to help you, but the right kind of influencer, along with the right kind of audience in their following can massively increase sales and exposure of your business.
If you have an target audience that really does suit Instagram (and you can tell that by looking at your engagement and some other key info, some industries will never get the results of others due to the nature of the network), then investing in reliable Instagram Influencers can really help propel your sales to new highs.
If you're willing to engage with Influencers even further, you'll soon find that the best of them can do huge amounts to help you promote your business.
After all, they did get to that level themselves, which will provide a huge return on investment over time, especially if you have a particularly young or female oriented target audience, and you rely on a lot of graphical posts and advertising for your brand.
We're working on a new range of tools to help you find and recruit effective influencers, which will be available from our reports section (if you haven't signed up already, you can do so here), so make sure you keep updated to find out when it comes out so you can try using influencers for yourselves!
Do any of you guys have any experiences with using Instagram Influencers? It would be great to be able to compare experiences with our audience, just comment your views below.
About Dylan W.
Dylan founded Prysma, a Digital Marketing Agency in 2016 after period of freelance marketing for a number of companies. Since then he’s developed his knowledge in a number of digital marketing areas, such as Social Media Marketing, Analytics, and Traffic Generation Strategies.