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Instagram Influencer Marketing

Instagram Influencer Marketing: How to Get It Right in 2023

Here’s everything you need to know to create successful influencer campaigns on Instagram this year.
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Cristiano Ronaldo banks $2.4 million for a single Instagram post. Kylie Jenner isn’t far off, bagging $1.84 million per post. The fact that brands are willing to spend millions of dollars for a slice of real estate on a celebrity’s grid is testimony to the power of Instagram influencer marketing. 

But you don’t have to break the bank to reach pre-built audiences. Brands of all sizes are teaming up with industry influencers — some with 1,000 followers, some with 100,000 followers — to promote their products and build brand awareness.  

Here’s everything you need to know to create successful influencer campaigns on Instagram this year.  

Why Instagram influencer marketing? 

The real beauty of Instagram lies in its ability to make users feel connected to people they admire. We devour Stories from our favorite bloggers about what they ate for lunch or how they get ready in the morning — so much so that we feel like we know them. When they share a product or recommend a brand, we listen to them like they’re a friend we know IRL. 

But this is just a small part of what makes Instagram influencers so influential. There are plenty of other reasons brands are leaning into influencer marketing on Instagram: 

  • To create authentic content: Influencer marketing doesn’t feel salesy if you’ve found a well-aligned creator to partner with. It’s essentially a trusted source sharing their genuine opinions and recommendations with their loyal following. It feels far more real and authentic than more traditional forms of marketing, such as direct mail, billboards or TV commercials. 
  • To drive more sales: Not only are consumers using Instagram over Google for discovery purposes, they’re also using Instagram to make purchasing decisions. 72% of Instagram users have made a fashion, beauty, or style-related purchase after seeing a post on Instagram. In fact, 70% of shoppers actively use Instagram to seek out their next purchase. 
 Influencer shares skincare review
Beauty influencer doeneseya has 6,000 followers but gets hundreds of likes and comments on her posts.

Getting started with Instagram influencer marketing

Now you know how powerful Instagram influencer marketing can be, it’s time to put it into practice. It can feel overwhelming if you’ve never run a campaign before, especially with the sheer number of influencers and content options available today. 

But fear not! We’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide that will get you set up your first Instagram influencer marketing strategy in no time at all. 

1. Set clear goals 

First things first, it’s crucial to determine the goals for your campaign. What’s its purpose? What do you hope to achieve? The answers to these questions will help shape the direction of your Instagram influencer campaign. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness of your upcoming product launch, you might choose to partner with influencers who have a large reach in your niche

It’s important to be specific, realistic, and actionable with your goals. For instance, it’s better to set a goal of getting 1,000 impressions on your new launch page than simply saying you want to “promote your new product.”

Here are some example goals to inspire you: 

  • Raise brand awareness:
  • Increase follower count by 10% month-over-month 
  • Increase brand mentions by 40% 
  • Get 2,000 impressions on your Stories series 
  • Drive more traffic: 
  • Get 1,000 extra visits a month to your website
  • Increase unique visitor count by 30%
  • Get 1,000 people to visit your product launch page
  • Encourage a specific action: 
  • Grow your email list by 500 subscribers
  • Add 200 people to your loyalty program 
  • Increase sales by 10% on your bestsellers

2. Find the right Instagram influencers

Next up, you need influencers to run influencer campaigns. While it can be tempting to go for the person with the largest following, there are two problems with this: 

  1. Budget: Remember how much Ronaldo charges? If you want to partner with big-name celebs, you need to have a deep pocket. For smaller brands with tighter purse strings, it can be more effective (and realistic) to choose smaller, niche accounts. The good news is that nano- and micro-influencers consistently achieve the highest engagement rate across all social platforms, making them great partners for brands with smaller budgets.
  2. Audience: Sure, Ronaldo has a huge following, but do all of his followers match your ideal customer profile? Probably not. Maybe 10% will be a good fit, in which case, you might as well partner with a smaller influencer whose audience is 80-90% a good fit. 

When choosing the right Instagram influencers, it’s important to consider every aspect of your brand, from its values and mission to your products and the people you want to reach. This will help you hone in on influencers that are a good match and not just people who “might” be a good fit. 

Our guide to finding Instagram influencers in 6 simple ways will you give you all the advice you need to get started, but in the meantime, here are some points to consider: 

1. Niche

What topics does the influencer post about? 

The more aligned their content is to your brand, the easier it will be to create a seamless campaign. 

For example, you’re not going to get the results you want if you partner with a fitness expert to promote your new line of kid's toys. You’ll also have better luck pitching influencers in your niche because they’ll be mindful that the content they’re promoting is relevant to their audience. 

Lydia Millen exclusively posts about quintessential British design and countryside glamor, making her the perfect partner for classic European brands like Serge Lutens

2. Reach 

If your goal is to spread brand awareness far and wide, you might want to partner with Instagram influencers who have a large reach. But this doesn't always entail working with a celebrity-level influencer with a huge following. 

Today, social media platforms have smart algorithms that promote engaging content, rather than content from just famous influencers. Through a medium like Instagram Reels, even smaller creators can help you go viral. So, rather than getting tripped up on follower count, focus on working with creators who create engaging content for an audience that matches your ideal customer profile — then, let the algorithm do its thing to reach those relevant audiences. 

3. Voice and values 

The ideal influencer is one who meshes well with your brand identity and mission. If you’re a sustainable brand promoting products that reduce carbon footprints, it’s probably not a good move to partner with an influencer who flies around in their private jet every weekend. 

Then, think about voice. What kind of tone do you want people to associate with your brand? Do you want to appear serious and professional, or casual and humorous? Choose influencers that match this tone of voice so your campaigns don’t feel stilted or inauthentic. 

4. Engagement rate

Today, an influencer’s engagement rate is more important than their follower count. Typically, engagement rate is a great indicator of  their level of influence on their peers’ purchasing decisions — if they have a high engagement rate, it means their followers consistently interact with and are influenced by their content. 

You can figure out an account’s engagement rate by dividing the total number of likes and comments on a post by the number of followers and multiplying the answer by 100 to get a percentage. 

Look out for vanity comments such as a vague “Love this!” or a comment filled with just heart emojis. These might be written by bots and shouldn’t count toward the overall engagement rate. The average Instagram engagement rate is around 4%, so look for something similar. 

3. Reach out to influencers

Once you’ve found the people you want to work with, it’s time to reach out and promote a partnership. 

For smaller accounts, the easiest way to connect is to slide into your influencer’s Instagram DMs. However, for larger accounts, brand partnerships are often managed by a manager or influencer marketing agency. In this case, brands are typically encouraged to reach out via email, which they can find in their chosen influencer’s Insta bio. 

However, we know that messaging influencers one-by-one and manually keeping track of each email or DM can be a time-consuming task. The best way to scale your influencer outreach is by using an influencer marketing platform like Aspire that provides all of the tools to streamline your influencer communications and more. 

Aspire email integrations
Aspire’s email integrations make it easy to contact and build relationships with influencers at scale.

4. Iron out the details

You’ve got a “yes” from your chosen influencers—what’s next? It’s time to iron out the finer details of your campaigns.

While this will ultimately depend on the purpose and vision of your campaign, here are some things to consider: 

  • Campaign timeline: When is the campaign due to go live? Do you need influencers to share content on a specific day? When do you need to get all the info they might need to them? Let influencers know the deadlines and your campaign timeline as soon as possible. (See how you can streamline this process with Aspire’s custom workflows).
  • Content output: What are you expecting your influencers to post? Will they create the content themselves or will you work together? Collaborate with influencers to decide exactly what content (and how much) they’ll create for the campaign and what your expectations for what that will look like. 
  • Usage rights: What happens to the content after the campaign? Does your brand have the right to repurpose it across different channels? Make sure you can use the content in future campaigns and other marketing collateral. 
  • Payment: How much will you pay influencers? Most influencers will have their own rates, but it’s important that you agree on what and how you’ll compensate them before you start talking about content and results. Check out our guide to paying influencers in 2023

5. Decide on your content plan 

There are multiple content directions you can go in on Instagram, including Stories, carousels, Instagram Lives, regular feed posts, and more. Where do you start? The type of content you and your influencers choose to share ultimately depends on three factors: 

  1. The purpose of your campaign 
  2. The influencer’s audience
  3. The influencer’s top-performing content type

If an influencer is renowned for posting voice-over Reels, stick to what they know. These obviously perform well and it’ll feel more authentic and seamless if you integrate your campaign with these posts. 

Here are the most common types of Instagram influencer posts:

  • Sponsored posts: You pay the influencer and give them free rein to create content they know will resonate with their audience. The posts should be tagged as sponsored and meet legal requirements
  • Branded content and branded content ads: Create content through your own Instagram account and tag influencers. You can also run branded content ads to increase the reach of your posts. 
  • Reviews: Ask influencers to honestly review your products in a post. Their genuine opinions and reactions are important here if you want to maintain credibility. 
  • Contests and giveaways: Send influencers a product or two to give away to their followers. This is a win-win for everyone: You’ll get more eyeballs on your product and the influencer can give something back to their audience. Learn more about executing winning product seeding campaigns.

6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

Now all the finer details are out of the way, you can get to the fun part: seeing your campaign content go live. This is your chance to track the success of your campaign, as well as finding opportunities to give it that extra push. 

Of course, defining the success of a campaign rests on the return on your objectives. Did you achieve that 10% follower growth target? How are your impressions looking? Initial sales for the newly-launched product? 

If you see part of your campaign performing particularly well, this is also your chance to extend the results even further. This could be as simple as broadening your partnership with the influencer who is driving the most sales, or harnessing your top-performing content for Instagram branded content ads

Performance dashboard
With Aspire’s central dashboard, you can track all of your most important campaign metrics in one place.

Importantly, this is also your chance to give yourself and your team some kudos! Running a successful Instagram influencer marketing campaign is no walk in the park, but done right it can be a gamechanger for brands of all industries. Celebrate the wins and don’t forget to shout about them to your top team

Instagram influencer marketing top tips for successful campaigns

We hope you’re now feeling armed and ready to ace your first campaign. Here we’ve collated some of our top tips to keep on hand while you get started. 

  • Form long-term relationships: Research shows that people need to see or hear about a product at least seven times before they buy. Work with influencers long-term rather than on one-off posts. 
  • Choose your influencers carefully: A handful of smaller, more relevant influencers can have a much bigger impact for your brand than one well-known creator with a broader reach. Make sure you’re choosing influencers with a clear goal in mind. 
  • Focus on engagement rates: Choose influencers that have a high engagement rate, not just those with tons of followers. 
  • Partner with an assortment of influencers: Collaborating with multiple different creators gives you a chance to reach a wider audience.
  • Streamline the process: Speed up the process and reduce bottlenecks by leaning on an established workflow. Aspire’s flexible workflow feature is the perfect solution to automate your campaigns. 
  • Run branded content ads: Increase the reach of your influencer campaigns by turning branded content into ads (you can set up, run, and monitor these directly through Aspire). 

Nail your Instagram influencer marketing in 2023

Now you have everything you need to get started on your Instagram influencer marketing this year, all that’s left to do is… start. Figure out what you want to achieve with your campaigns, choose the right influencers, and track and measure the results. 

Aspire’s suite of influencer marketing tools makes it easy to streamline your efforts and ensure your campaigns perform as best as possible.

Book a demo to find out how you can benefit from Aspire’s influencer marketing tools today.

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