How Instagram Influencers are changing marketing

I’m not ashamed to admit that I check Instagram first thing in the morning. Call it procrastination or phone addiction. But one thing is for sure: I’m not alone.

With about 500 million daily active users, Instagram is where everyone wants to be online.

One morning, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post from Emma Hill, a high profile Instagrammer. Her post featured a sunny photo of her in Greece in a straw hat with a stellar tan.

Her caption jokingly says, “When your tan is straight out of a bottle” and tags the company Isle of Paradise, who created the product.

To me, this is the ultimate form of modern marketing. I trust Emma, and she just recommended a product that helps me achieve that ultimate vacation lifestyle. Now I have vacation envy, and I want to buy Isle of Paradise tanning lotion.  

This isn’t an accident. Emma Hill has also done the same types of collaboration with Official Find, Urban Outfitters, Kirk Geiger, and Casacook Hotels. And that’s just this month.

Through their collaboration, Emma Hill gets to keep her 400,000 followers engaged, and the company gets exposure to her audience.

I call that major brand winning.

Instagram Influencers, like Emma Hill, are not just social-media obsessed millennials. They are an entire industry, and businesses are thriving by having people like Emma feature their brands via Instagram.

Here is a breakdown of why Influencers are a powerful force in the marketing game and why it may be time your business includes them in your campaigns.

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Instagram Influencers are individuals with a large sphere of influence and a large following (i.e., subscribers) on their Instagram profiles. Because of their following, they have status, are trusted, and can sway the opinions of those who connect with them.

They often are individuals with brands of their own: beauty or fashion bloggers, experts in their industry, designers or artists. They build an incredibly loyal following online through their original content and honest reviews.

During the past few years, companies have begun to pay for these influencers to feature a product or their brand in a post. This helps brands gain exposure to thousands of subscribers, who already trust the influencer.

According to marketing research, influencers can provide a substantial return for businesses by generating up to 11 times ROI than traditional advertising.

Two Types of Instagram Influencers

The Micro-Influencer usually has a following of 1,000 or more with low-medium reach. Their followers have high engagement and tend to be more active with their posts. Their followers feel a personal connection and often have interactions with them via the comments and direct messages.

The Macro-Influencer tends to have over one million followers. This would likely be a celebrity like a Kardashian or famous Athlete. These influencers have a high reach, but lower engagement as users tend to be more passive. Their followers know that the person isn’t likely to respond to them personally, but they enjoy following them.

When planning your campaigns, it’s good to know how to find the right influencer for your business and your budget, to give you the best return and value.

The Value of an Influencer on Instagram

With 60% of people consulting social media content to make their purchase making a decision, it’s clear that Instagram Influencers are highly valuable to companies looking to reach a target market.

So how much does it cost to hire an influencer? Well, it can get pricey. Anywhere from $150 up to several thousand dollars. (Here is a brief overview of follower-to-price ratio courtesy of influence.co)

The good news for smaller budgets is that the Micro-Influencer, with the smaller amount of followers, actually has a lower cost rate compared to Macro Influencers. 
But since Micro-Influencers have more active followers and higher engagement rates, you really are getting the most bang for your buck.

To find the influencers in your industry or market, consult online tools and research hashtags in your industry to seek out the best fit. Make sure the influencer aligns with your industry and company values as closely as possible for more authentic campaigns. Their followers will know if there is a disconnect between your brand and the person they are following.

How Influencers are Changing Marketing

A traditional, static advertisement online isn’t engaging like it used to be. Today, there needs to be a story, authenticity, and genuine reactions by a person to promote a product or brand well.

Instagram Influencers encompass all these factors by building a brand of their own that followers trust. When sponsored content is peppered in, it works together to grow exposure and engagement.

It is also a far less disruptive (and irritating) approach to a user, and in fact, makes it more enjoyable to discover new products and companies. The vast majority of Instagram users will follow Instagrammers for their lifestyle or similar taste. They trust their reviews and recommendations.

Some brands do this so well, such as Glossier, who treat all their customers as potential influencers.

The key takeaway here is to remember who your market is and reach them where they are online. Invite them into your brand story through Instagram Influencers, who can help build you a stronger following of your own. This is modern marketing done right.

Brandastic is a digital marketing agency located in Orange County California. We work with companies in Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and all the surrounding cities to enhance their branding and customer reach. Talk to us today about stepping up your online marketing game.

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