It is possible to reach thousands of new faces with a small social media budget (or no budget at all). The answer is through utilizing Instagram Influencers. Yes, there are Instagram Influencers making thousands for a single post, but chances are, those aren’t the right influencer for your brand anyways. With over 500 million active Instagram accounts, it can seem like a daunting process to find the right influencers for your brand. By asking yourself the following questions, you can begin to build accurate Instagram Influencer lists:
Are You Targeting The Right Size Following?
Following is just a number, and bigger doesn’t always mean better. An influencer with 1 million+ followers might be a great (and more expensive) brand introduction but not believable. We recommend a target following of 15k – 50k when choosing your influencer. Many influencers in this category charge less than $200 a post, and often times, will do a sponsored post for only a free product.
Related: Using Instagram for Business
This value of followers can be pretty easy to come across, but it is easiest to start in one specific vertical when building your influencer lists. Influencers often build networks of other similar influencers. Leverage who your top influencers follow to find new accounts.
What Are Their Post Engagement Levels?
Engagement is extremely important when picking influencers. With all the tools easily accessible to Instagram accounts to “buy” their following, you need to make sure you’re getting involved with a genuine account. Accounts with over a million followers can have the same engagement level as accounts with 20k followers. A strong engagement level is around 3-5%, which means is an account has 15k followers they should get around 1k likes per post.
Are The Values Of Their Audience Relative To Your Brand?
Carefully read the bio and a few captions of the accounts you’re looking at. Make sure they have a voice that matches your brand message. This account is about to be a representation of your brand so make sure the right message will be voiced. Review the other types of products they’ve completed sponsored posts for. If you notice a lot of competitive products, walk away.
An account that regularly positively reviews a lot of competitors, they will lose their audience’s trust by having contradicting posts. On the other side, make sure the other products they feature have a similar target audience as you do. Even as a “person behind an account” every Instagram has a brand image. Be sure it compliments your brand.
Do Their Followers Trust Them?
Not even just trust them, but do they view them as a friend? Someone who they want to follow the life story of, someone who they wouldn’t question the motives of when they make a suggestion. You want to find influencers that build genuine relationships. When an influencer suggests a product, it should feel the same to their followers, as a good friend suggesting “you should use Product A because it really helped with xyz”. Look at the comments under product-based influencer posts. Are people wanting to try the product, or thanking them for the recommendation? If so, you have yourself a trusted influencer.
Are Their Posts Promotional Or Personal?
Millennials can see through posts that are strictly promotion. They want to believe the account they’re following actually uses and loves the product, and isn’t just looking for a sale. Make sure their posts are genuine with believable testimonials in the caption. Influencer accounts should also have a healthy balance of sponsored and unsponsored content, in fact, the less sponsored content, the better.
However, you can still encourage sales through Instagram Influencers! Make a coupon code specifically for each influencer. The influencer can then use this code when someone comments with interest to try the product, and it gives you a trackable way to know what influencers drove what sales!
As you begin finding your brand influencer, remember that Instagram Influencers are meant for branding. You’re developing the trust in your brand, awareness, and hopefully sales down the road, but don’t look for an immediate ROI. Think of the other ways you can leverage these sponsored posts.
Our suggestion? Ask for the original photo files and rights to use the photo in your own promotional material. Many accounts will allow you to do this as a part of their sponsored post fee but, even for a small added cost, it’s much cheaper (and more unique) than hiring a lifestyle-photographer for your products.
With 500 million accounts, there are nearly endless options when it comes to influencers. Find the right ones, and you’ll be able to easily and cost-effectively grow your brand awareness.