Instagram influencer marketing has gathered a lot of traction in recent times even as marketers try every trick in their armory to get closer to their target audience and connect with them. According to research, it is already a $2 billion industry, market watchers predict that it will grow fast to become 10 billion in the next couple of years.
Despite its widespread adoption by large brands and it emerging as a viable career option for many Instagram users, many people are still not very clear as to what influencer marketing really is and what impact it can have on your business. Some insights into the concept that will serve marketers well in 2019 and the years to come:
What Is Instagram Influencer Marketing
Instagram influencers are those people who have a large number of engaged followers due to their celebrity status, domain knowledge, or any other attribute that provides a reason for their followers to respect them and love them so much that they are amenable to taking their advice or recommendations.
Businesses in virtually any industry will be able to find a number of influencers that their target audience looks up to. The emergence of this aspect of influence has opened up a huge opportunity for marketers looking to make a better impression of their product credibility and brand reputation to potential customers who may not perhaps be convinced that the product has the attributes they seek.
Influencer marketing on Instagram or for that matter on any social media is akin to what brand ambassadors are used for by marketers in traditional advertising, only social media allows a far greater degree of interaction that is not possible in conventional print and TV advertising.
Also, influencer marketing has gained enormous momentum because it allows brands to reach potential customers in a way that is more genuine than compared to traditional advertising. Influencer marketing involves building up relationships with targeted influencers who can recommend products or services to their followers with who they have a loyal and strong relationship that cuts across many aspects of their lives. Taking an Instagram screenshot of the brand sponsorship post is also a popular way of spreading the message among the followers.
How Much Do Influencers Charge
As is common with all services, influencer charges also vary a lot depending on a number of factors like the industry, the number of followers, and the engagement rate. The rate of engagement is more than the number of followers because unless the influencer has a hold on the follower base, the money invested in influencer marketing would just be wasted. According to industry studies, brands work out exclusive arrangements with influencers who can demonstrate engagement rates of upwards of 10%.
Typically, influencers may quote a dollar figure per post for every 100,000 followers; while the figure may not seem impressive, you need to factor in the fact that many of the top influencers have followers running into millions. The earnings are often good enough for them to treat their income from brand sponsorships as their primary income. While only a top brand would be able to afford a star influencer like Kylie Jenner who charges up to $1 million per post endorsed, smaller businesses are often quite happy to work with smaller influencers but who command respect in a narrow niche.
Who Is an Influencer?
Just about anyone can be an Instagram influencer; the only criterion is that you should have a reasonably large but highly-involved follower base. The extent of your influence over your audience will decide how successful you can be as an influencer. If you can demonstrate that people take your suggestions seriously, you could be a very valuable proposition for a brand wanting to make inroads into a fresh target audience. Brand managers will generally research you and your account to ensure that your followers represent their target audience and the following and engagement is authentic.
The genuineness of Instagram influencers is often called into question because there are many influencers who are not above using bots and sophisticated software programs to automatically like and comment just like human followers. The problem with these ghost followers is that they are not real people and brands cannot sell to them. However, to the trained eye, spotting fake followers is not very difficult as they only respond to posts of people in a specific target demographic or posts that contain a certain hashtag. Also, their response is standard and does not start a genuine conversation like an actual follower.
Genuine influencers will also not accept random brand sponsorship contracts because they have a real follower base and need to take into consideration their interests failing which, they are liable to ruin their own credibility and provoke follower attrition.
Genuine influencers also like to craft their own content for the brands they endorse rather than just push across a communication from the brand. At the end of the day, influencers have to ensure that all their posts reflect their own personality and should not appear to be out of place. This is the reason why influencer marketing is more of collaboration than just a commercial relationship.
Working with Instagram Influencers
If you are a brand wishing to cultivate Instagram influencers to increase your brand awareness or bottom line, you need to first decide on a budget because a sustained involvement with an influencer can be pretty expensive. Often micro influencers with a smaller following may be the answer for budget restrictions.
You also need to figure out whether the influencer is a good fit for the brand and whether the followers represent your target audience. Then, you need to perform due diligence of the Instagram account to measure the engagement rate and spot inconsistencies that become apparent when followers have been bought or bots used to artificially elevate the account performance statistics.
When brands face intense competition for market share, it can be a wise idea to move away from playing a price warrior or investing heavily in traditional mass marketing tactics. Influencer marketing for brands, both big and small, has already proven its effectiveness. While the results may take some time in coming, the impact is usually far deeper into the consciousness of the target audience.
Author Bio: Karen is a Business Tech Analyst. She is very responsible towards her job. She loves to share her knowledge and experience with her friends and colleagues.