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How to Extend The Life of Your Instagram Partnership

April 2, 2018
Table of Contents

Longer Life = Better Results

Why do we care so much about making sure your influencer partnership has more than one leg to lean on? It’s plain and simple, you aren’t going to see a return on investment when working with micro-influencers on Instagram with one touch-point. Even when you’re working with larger influencers, you won’t see a return but may see a small spike in traffic and conversion due to the sheer number of their followers. It takes more than one visual, message, and post to drive someone to make a purchase decision while on Instagram.

With YouTube, this lifetime is a little different. We have seen YouTube convert very well for our clients for a few reasons:

  1. YouTube already has a longer lifespan than Instagram. Influencers may post once on Instagram per day or even twice, while YouTubers typically post anywhere from every other week to a few times a week. Typically YouTubers are posting once a week, which means that video has a better chance at maximum visibility and not getting missed, plus if it gets traction and a solid amount of views, it will show up as a top video on the YouTuber’s page and can get visibility months and even years later.
  2. YouTube is basically an infomercial about your product. A YouTube video has the opportunity to showcase the product or service and include all the key messaging you are looking for, rather than cramming the most important information into an Instagram post.
  3. YouTube contains a link right in the video description, which makes it easier and more convenient for someone to visit your site and convert.

The problem with YouTube is that it is significantly more expensive than Instagram. As a minimum baseline, YouTube videos cost a few hundred dollars plus product, and then go up from there and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is because there is a considerable amount of time spent shooting and editing the video, and it takes up more real estate on their profile, making it more competitive for brands to lock in that feature.

That’s why Instagram can be a more affordable option, as many influencers will accept product gifting campaigns or gifting campaigns with smaller sponsored fees than YouTube. This is where we as marketers have to find the best opportunity to get the most out of the campaign.

Related: Breaking Down the Different Social Channels for Influencer Marketing 

The real puzzle comes to Instagram and how to increase that longevity. That’s where we come to the influencer marketing funnel…

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The Influencer Marketing Funnel

At Power Digital, we look at influencer marketing as its own marketing funnel: you have cold traffic at the top, warm traffic at the middle, and hot traffic at the bottom. Cold traffic is someone who doesn’t know your brand, product, service and hasn’t been to your site, or in this case, might have never visited your Instagram page and hasn’t been to the site either.

We want to hit those who are cold traffic with an Instagram post or an Instagram Stories unboxing to introduce them to the brand. This can include an image or video with a tag back to your brand’s Instagram page, or in the case of Instagram Stories can even direct them with a link back to your site.

At this point, that cold traffic becomes warm traffic now that they are familiar with the brand but in that first touch-point, they may not have taken any action. It’s really hard to be a “thumb-stopper” on Instagram when people are following so many of their friends, family members, and influencers/bloggers. The second post in your campaign-based partnership might even be the first touch for some of their followers who missed the first post.

Once you’ve hit this audience with another post, whether it be a second Instagram post or a second Instagram Story, this warm traffic is more likely to convert. As this warm traffic continues to get touchpoints from the same influencer, they are then converted to hot traffic when they actually visit your website or follow the brand on Instagram. If at any point someone on Instagram leaves the app and goes to the brand website and you are running Facebook or Instagram ads with a retargeting pool, they will be added to this pool and can then be hit with ads from your brand that continue to push them down the funnel to ultimately convert.

The point of the influencer marketing funnel is that it doesn’t typically take one touch-point or one ad or one post to convert someone. When brands don’t know why their influencer campaigns aren’t converting, it’s probably because they are not going deep enough in the partnership to drive repetition.

Related: How to Measure the Success of Your Influencer Campaigns 

Here are a few easy ways to incorporate that repetition into your influencer marketing campaigns to drive revenue.

Go for a Campaign

The best way to extend the life of your Instagram partnership is to work on a campaign basis, where you have a series of posts with the influencer. A one-off post is not going to drive revenue as we’ve discussed since you need to be driving your brand offering home with multiple touchpoints.  

We recommend a 3-touch campaign as a minimum. This involves a first Instagram Stories intro, an Instagram post, and a second Instagram post. This can also be augmented with things like a Facebook post, blog post, or a YouTube video if they have a social presence on other channels. The only issue with reaching out for other channels is that this can compound the price and make it more expensive. There is value, however, in spending more on a partnership basis and going for quality and repetition over quantity of the number of influencers you are working with.

If you are working with an influencer you have not worked with before, we also recommend starting with a smaller campaign to see what the performance looks like, how the relationship goes, and the quality of their posts. From there you can always increase the timeframe of your campaign and discuss further posts that are more longterm if they end up producing amazing content that is moving the needle.

Related: How To Perfect Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Utilize Instagram Stories

If you’re working with influencers on Instagram, you should also be working with them on a series of Instagram Stories. This can include:

  1. Touchpoint 1: An unboxing video where they essentially unwrap the product. Note that this only works if what you are sending them is a tangible product.  
  2. Touchpoint 2: A link where their followers can directly access your site. This can be a UTM that is easily tracked in Google Analytics so you have full visibility into the performance of this influencer and how well they can convert their followers from Instagram Stories. Note that this only works if the influencer has a business account where a Facebook page is linked and has at least 10,000 followers.
  3. Touchpoint 3: A testimonial update on how they are looking the product or service. For example, if it’s a skincare product and they share an unboxing, a few weeks later they can share an update on their progress and how it is helping their skin.
  4. Touchpoint 3 or 4: A tutorial of them using the product if it’s beauty, skincare, food, clothing or something else that can involve a tutorial.

Instagram Stories are great because they provide that additional touchpoint, are less time-consuming than creating an Instagram post, often times come across as more casual and authentic because they involve more of a behind-the-scenes look at the influencer’s opinion,  and they are typically not as edited as an Instagram post.

Additionally, Stories are less expensive because they are less of an ask from the influencer. They’re easier to post and they don’t disrupt the aesthetic of an influencer’s feed, something that many influencers and bloggers spend a significant amount of time planning out.  

This leads us into another way that Instagram Stories can make an impact and increase the longevity: Highlights.

Taking Advantage of Instagram Stories “Highlights”

The latest update to Instagram Stories is the Highlights option. This is where anyone on Instagram can save a Story or series of Stories on their main profile. It is a highlight reel from their Stories and extends the lifetime of a 24-hour post on Stories. This is a BIG game changer for Stories.

The reason brands flock to an Instagram post or series of posts is because it has a longer lifetime value and doesn’t just disappear after 24 hours. The reason brands are now so interested in Instagram Stories is that if provides an easy linking opportunity, which is more measurable and drives people back to the website.

While the use of Instagram Highlights does mean that influencers can charge more to save a story to their Highlights, it also means you can get more out of your partnership and more out of that link. The battle we fight on Instagram is lack of linking and this makes a major improvement to this arena.

While not every Instagram user gets significant traffic to their profile page, influencers can get a good amount of traffic as they continue to grow their following, get reposted by brands and other influencers, and when they show up on the popular feed.

These are all reasons why you should be taking advantage of highlights because you may be missing out on valuable real-estate.
You can now look at Instagram Stories Highlights as a mini YouTube video, because people can go back and access it later on when viewing an Influencer’s profile, it includes a link that is accessible and convenient, and it gives more depth to the product or service than a photo.

More Posts, More $

Whether you’re working on an influencer marketing campaign with influencers on Instagram, YouTube or both, we have continued to see revenue climb while working on more campaign-based partnerships. While Instagram can be much more difficult to track as it also fuels brand awareness and has limited linking abilities, there is a big opportunity to leverage Instagram Story Highlights to increase the longevity of posts that include links that will drive traffic and revenue.

Building repetition will build credibility with social influencer communities and drive more purchases that will actually move the needle for your brand.

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