6 Effective Instagram Influencer Marketing Techniques

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For businesses and customers alike, Instagram is all the rage right now.

A massive user-base of over 1 billion, second only to Facebook? Check.

A whole slew of business features such as Instagram Stories, ads and advanced analytics? Double-check.

But perhaps most pressing for brands is the phenomenon of social selling on Instagram. In fact, 60% of users rely on the platform to discover and research new products.

It doesn’t matter if you’re marketing to Alaskan adventurers or expectant mothers: Instagram is a powerhouse for social selling.

And you better believe that Instagram influencer marketing is a huge piece of why so many brands are flocking to the platform en masse.

Why Instagram Influencer Marketing Works (And How to Get Started in 2019)

The rise of influencer marketing has been a long time coming.

Much like Facebook, the Instagram algorithm has caused some serious headaches for businesses who are watching their organic reach dwindle. So rather than dumping money into paid ads, businesses are looking for a way to introduce their products to new shoppers that actually results in reach.

Instagram influencer marketing is a cost-effective, authentic means to do just that. A staggering 92% of millennial and Gen Z customers trust product recommendations from influencers versus traditional ads.

Also, consider shout-outs breed long-term brand awareness among your target audience rather than paid ads, which are time sensitive and require optimization to be truly effective.

Getting started with Instagram influencer marketing might seem daunting, but it’s arguably easier than ever. That’s why we’ve highlighted six techniques to ensure you’re building buzz the right way by partnering up with influencers:

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1. Have Your Branded Hashtag Handy

Before getting knee-deep in researching influencers, it’s important to make sure that your own business is ready to approach influencers.

Boasting a branded hashtag might not like a big deal. However, tags are essential to an effective Instagram influencer marketing campaign.

How so? Hashtags help raise brand awareness and provide followers with a low-hanging avenue to promote your content. Not only that, but branded hashtags also allow brands to better measure the success of their campaigns.

the northface instagram bio page

The greater the exposure of your branded hashtag, the more potential customers you can reach. For example, North Face puts their #neverstopexploring hashtag front-and-center in their Instagram bio.

This makes it easier not only for influencers to tag their content, but also satisfied customers who want to show off the brand’s products in the wild.

Branded hashtags allow you to spot satisfied customers who could also double as influencers. For example, a hashtag in heavy use like #jcrewalways contains posts from accounts both big and small. You might be surprised at who’s already willing to promote you organically.

jcrewalways instagram branded hashtag example

Branded hashtags are also critical for encouraging and curating user-generated content. With the PowerReviews Visual and Social Suite, your brand instantly pulls UGC from Instagram for your on-site product pages and requests permission from users to put it on display.

mac visual and social display graphic

By collecting and displaying this authentic marketing content, the visuals from Instagram serve as an awesome trust-builder to boost conversions. Additionally, influencers will likely enjoy the spotlight of living on your product pages.

2. Make Sure Your Influencer is the Right Fit

Perhaps the biggest challenge of Instagram influencer marketing is simply finding someone who’s the right fit.

After all, there are millions of influencer posts floating around right now. Tracking down the perfect person for your brand might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

And then there’s the challenge of ironing out specifics such as your budget, how many followers an influencer should have and so on. That’s a lot–right?

Relax. There is no “right” way to find influencers. But the following tips can help you find some solid leads fast.

When in Doubt, Look at Your Audience

When scouting for influencers, ask yourself: “Does this person reflect my target audience?”

Think about it. It wouldn’t make much sense for a skinny tea brand to reach out to a video game influencer, would it? On the flip side, a gaming chair brand probably isn’t too worried about the world of modeling and fashion on Instagram.

Your brand’s customer demographics, current followers and sales data helps clue you in on who to target. You can also look at industry-specific hashtags to highlight Instagram users who might speak to your audience.

For example, brands like oVertone have influencers that fit into such demographics like teenagers or twentysomethings with vibrant hair and personalities to match. With follower counts both big and small, the folks dominating the #unicornhair tag are the exact sort of power users they’re looking for.

unicorn hair hashtag search on instagram

Source Influencers From a Third-Party Tool

If you’re not sure where to start looking for influencers, a third-party tool can do a ton of the legwork for you.

Tools such as TapInfluence have a massive database of influencers broken down by industry keywords and tags such as #fitness or “cooking.” Users can see details such as follower count, engagement rate, reach and price to narrow down their ideal influencer.

tapinfluence product gif example

If you’re looking for potential influencers and power users on Instagram to promote your products, we’ve got you covered. BzzAgent has a growing community of hundreds of thousands of everyday influencers.

This massive directory of shoppers is more than willing to review your products on Instagram and other social channels to build consumer trust, authority and authenticity for your brand. And at the same time, you deliver hundreds of authentic reviews from folks who will give their real opinions on your products.

Want to see your brand build a strong community of influencers to increase trust and ratings and reviews? Request a demo to speak to our team today! 

Double-Check That Your Influencers Are Actually Influencers

The boom of Instagram influencer marketing has resulted in an influx of so-called “influencers” with fake followers and sub-par engagement. Followers mean very little without context.

That’s why brands should be looking at influencer engagement rates (followers divided by comments and likes) as a key metric.

Not that engagement rate and follower counts are two major factors in influencers justifying their price tags, it doesn’t hurt to double-check an account’s numbers. Tools such as Phlanx can help you do just that to give yourself some peace of mind.

phlanx influencer tool example

3. Pursue Everyday Influencers First

There’s no rule that says that Instagram influencer marketing needs to be expensive.

If you’re running your first campaign and want to be conservative with your budget, consider getting in touch with a smaller influencer community first. In fact, shoppers want to see your products on or in use from everyday influencers more than you think.

Data from the PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce report found 88% of consumers want to see user-generated photos and videos before making a purchase. That’s why so many brands are investing in micro-influencers (with follower counts of ~10,000+) or everyday influencers.

PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce visual content graph

This let’s brands test the water of influencer marketing and better understand how they can scale. A hidden bonus is these Instagram influencers typically have highly engaged audiences.

Promotions coming from smaller accounts seem more authentic to other consumers versus those with hundreds of thousands of followers.

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4. Encourage Creative Captions & Copy

Instagram influencer marketing works so well because influencer posts don’t feel like spammy sales pitches.

Well, they shouldn’t feel that way, anyhow.

When working with influencers, a bit of creativity can go a long way. Rather than hit followers over the head with offers and deals, top influencers craft creative captions to highlight what they’re selling. There are plenty of directions you can take with influencer content that isn’t simply “Hey, buy this!”

For example, some influencers go the inspirational route with storytelling and long-form captions.

Meanwhile, puns and humor are fair game for more light-hearted influencers.

Below is a straightforward example of how to highlight a product without being too salesy. The influencer in question is a perfect match for the brand as she manages to weave the product into a post naturally.

On that note, don’t be afraid to give your influencers some creative freedom when it comes to captions. They know their audiences better than anyone at the end of the day.

Make sure your influencers have the correct Instagram sizes down for each piece of content as well. It’s critical to still follow the best design outlines for better content.

5. Publish More Than Just Static Photos

Although visual content is obviously a must-do for Instagram, influencers are capable of much more than just product photos.

Just as you might look into different types of ads on the platform, brands should likewise integrate different types of content into their Instagram influencer marketing campaigns.

With hundreds of millions of Stories posted daily, there’s a non-zero chance your customers are checking them out, too. Featuring products as part of a story is fairly straightforward and can help funnel traffic directly to your product pages.

Similarly, video content provides a more compelling means of putting your products on display. Additional PowerReviews internal data discovered nearly 30% of consumers said visual content, such as videos, was very essential when making a purchasing decision.

With the influencer space growing increasingly competitive, anything you can do to make your products stand out is a plus. Also, Instagram is not a bad place to start (or focus the majority of your attention on influencer marketing).

Data from a PowerReviews recent health and beauty study found 18% of shoppers said Instagram is the preferred social platform to use when shopping and researching health and beauty products. If nearly a fifth of your shoppers are actively seeking and willing to buy on Instagram, it’s probably a smart idea to promote your products here.

6. Take Care of the Technical Stuff

Brands should view influencer campaigns akin to any other in terms of metrics.

From analytics to shopper insights, data should be able to both inform your content strategy and assess the performance of your campaigns once they’ve gone live. Some must do’s to keep in mind regarding the technical aspects of your campaign include:

  • Making sure that your influencer shares their engagement metrics beforehand
  • Having a specific link or landing pack to better track traffic and conversions (think: setting up a tracking link and Google Analytics with Bitly)
  • Monitoring social metrics including new followers and mentions via social listening

Also, consider time spent communicating creatives (captions, post types) with your influencer.

These data points will ultimately help you figure out the ROI of your campaigns. Whether you’re looking for more sales or simply more reach, having goals and a way to track them beforehand will determine whether or not your campaign was a success.

Oh, and after you’ve run your first campaign, nailing down what you need for your next becomes much, much easier.

Ready to Get on the Instagram Influencer Marketing Bandwagon?

Influencer marketing continues to evolve and grow and customers continue to embrace social selling in droves.

Such campaigns allow you to reach your target audience on your own terms, all the while saving some serious dough in the process.

Rather than scratch your head over organic reach and ads, maybe it’s time to look into a combination of influencers and UGC to maximize your ROI from Instagram. With the help of the tips above and the PowerReviews suite of review syndication tools, you can start seeing returns from social selling ASAP.

Interested in seeing how your brand can work with a massive community of influencers to get you more authentic reviews? Schedule a demo with our team today!

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a professional writer and content critic. When he’s not battling the latest buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar. Feel free to bug him on Twitter or check out his website brentwrites.com.