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Influencers; you’ve probably heard of them, but what do they really do? Influencers are often used to advertise products in an indirect manner. Once an individual has a following on social media that has shared beliefs, they may become an influencer. For example, a yoga teacher may share information about yoga, yoga clothes, lotions to relax muscles, and so forth. Companies may send this yoga teacher samples of their products to try. If the yoga teacher/influencer likes them, they can form a partnership to share information about the products. Consumers often appreciate a real marketing approach. Influencer marketing is booming and should continue to grow. 

What is Instagram influencer marketing?

An Instagram influencer is an Instagram user that has cultivated a considerably large following through years of engagement with their audience. An Instagram influencer has established credibility in a particular niche, while at the same time, having a voice that is unique, engaging, and persuasive. Their presence on Instagram has the power to impact various markets due to the fact that their followers see them as authentic and trustworthy. They have the power to influence users to buy particular products and services that they recommend. Instagram influencer marketing then is when a brand collaborates with an Instagram influencer to expand the brand’s awareness, develop a positive identity for the brand, and/or help sell products or services that the brand offers. A company will work with the Instagram influencer to create, publish, and prompt brand-sponsored content in the form of photos, text, and videos. 

How Instagram influencer marketing works

Instagram influencers already have content that is entertaining and that engages their large audiences, therefore it is up to a company and the influencer to create a way to seamlessly integrate a brand’s product, service, event, or brand positioning into content that follows the framework of the influencers previous content. It may be off-putting for the influencer’s core group of followers, if by pairing with a particular brand, the content that they have grown accustomed to, and the content that they love, was suddenly a complete reversal of everything they have come to know. If this is the case, the influencer could lose followers, and the entire marketing campaign could potentially backfire. Some of the easiest ways that influencers and companies try to make Instagram influencer marketing campaigns subtle is through product placements, hashtag campaigns, event appearances, and creative campaigns. You may already know what a product placement or hashtag campaign is, or what event appearances are, but what is meant by Instagram influencer creative campaigns. Here is an example of some of the more common creative campaigns that companies use when launching an Instagram influencer marketing campaign.

  • Host giveaway: A host giveaway is where an influencer asks users to complete a task like entering an email address, following a brand’s account, liking, commenting on, or sharing a post, and in exchange, they could win a highly valuable prize. This tactic can help a company collect email addresses, gain followers, and/or create some excitement around a brand or a particular product or service.
  • Affiliate marketing: Affiliate market is an interesting approach that gives incentive to the influencer to come up with ways to promote your product or service on their own. Their compensation is a percentage of every sale that comes from a direct referral from content created by the influencer. It is a win-win situation. The influencer gets paid for their efforts and the company gets the sale. Additionally, the company does need to invest time or energy in helping create the content. The influencer is incentivized to do all the work on their own. 
  • Product seeding: Companies often send their products as gifts to Instagram influencers hoping to score some free publicity. Influencers can record reaction videos of them receiving and opening their gifts. These videos then can be used to launch marketing campaigns around a new product. If the influencer loves the product, their followers who see the video reaction may be persuaded to purchase, or at a minimum, look deeper into the product or the brand. As an added bonus, the influencer can mention a special coupon code or a special offer that is only available for a limited time for the people who have reviewed the influencer’s reaction video.

These are just three examples of common ways that companies use Instagram influencers to help launch marketing campaigns around a product or service. The best part of Instagram influencer marketing is that a company, working with influencers, can be as creative as they would like to be in order to create the most engaging content to drive sales. 

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

With the rise of social media influencer marketing, the benefits of such campaigns are becoming more apparent. Here is a quick list of some of the benefits that companies who start social media influencer marketing campaigns enjoy. 

  • An influencer can bring trust and authority.
  • Effectively reaches target audiences through niche influencers. 
  • Enhances brand awareness. 
  • Sets trends.
  • Connects to a wider market than other forms of advertising.
  • Creates partnerships between the company and the influencer.
  • Generates leads.
  • Helps content strategy. 
  • Offers tangible value.

These are just a few of the many benefits a company can enjoy by launching its own social media influencer marketing campaign. 

Types of social media influencers

When it comes to different types of social media influencers, you can categorize them in different ways. You can categorize them by the type of content niche they are associated with, and you can categorize them by how many followers they have. When it comes to content niche, there are twelve main categories that social media influencers fall into. The content niche of a popular social media influencer may be one of the following categories: parenting, fashion, beauty, travel, photography, bloggers/vloggers, sports and fitness, and gamers. When it comes to categorizing social media influencers by the number of followers they have, you have the four main categories seen here. 

  • Nano influencers: Nano influencers are social media users with 1,000 to 10,000 followers who have very engaged social media followings with high engagement rates. Nano influencers are great for small or midsize businesses with a smaller marketing budget who are looking to test a product launch or who are looking to cross into a new social media market niche. 
  • Micro-influencers: Micro-influencers are social media users with 10,000 to 100,000 followers who most likely are an authority in their specific niche. Although they have a large following, they are still engaged with their audience and they are seen as relatable by their followers. A company that is looking to generate focused leads in a particular niche may consider seeking the services of a micro influencer. 
  • Macro-influencers: Macro influencers typically have between 100,000 and 1-million followers. A macro influencer may be an internet celebrity or social media start. Since they may have a smaller engagement rate, a company may want to work with a macro influencer to bring brand awareness and to help establish a brand reputation.
  • Mega influencers: Mega influences have 1-million or more followers. They also tend to be celebrities that are already famous for other reasons other than their social media presence. A company looking to work with a mega influencer should already have a pretty large marketing budget since the services of mega influencers can be expensive. However, if a company can afford it, they can create brand awareness and reach millions of people in one well-planned and effective campaign. 

How businesses can leverage influencer marketing on Instagram

There are several ways that businesses can leverage social media influencer marketing on Instagram. They can create giveaways and contests, acquire reviews from influencers who are seen as authoritative figures in their niches, create special add-on sales and promo codes, and they can have influencers create testimonial videos. A company is only limited by their imagination and their marketing budget. 

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