Influencer Marketing 101: A Beginners Guide

According to eMarketer, 84% of marketers expect to launch at least one campaign involving an influencer in the next 12 months.

With our guide, you’ll learn how to grow your business by adding Instagram influencer marketing into your digital strategy. Ready to get on the influencer bandwagon?

Influencer Marketing: What Is It & Why Is It Important

There’s a good chance we all have an Instagram influencer that we follow. An influencer is someone with the collective ear of a large audience that is a group of potential buyers in the market. Typically, this person has cultivated a large following on social media.

A large reason why influencer marketing is so effective is because it builds trust. Unlike traditional advertising, customers are introduced to a product or service by an influencer who endorsers it through their channel. By coming from a trusted source (the influencer), consumers are more likely to perceive it as like a recommendation from a friend. 

By partnering with relevant influencers who have an engaging and authentic account, your business can gain direct access to target markets for just a fraction of what you’d pay for a traditional ad. It’s important when choosing an influencer that you ensure authenticity. For example, an eco-friendly activewear brand would suit an influencer with a passion for veganism, health and fitness.

Influencer Marketing: How Much Does It Cost?

It comes down to different factors including who the influencer is and the size of the project.

In the early days, many rising social media stars would take on brand collaborations in exchange for a free product. But these are becoming increasingly popular. However, it is still considered a meaningful exchange for most influencers. Reports have found that over 50% of influencers said they were likely to post in-kind, or in exchange for a free product, if they genuinely like the product or brand.

While there are many micro-influencers who are still willing to exchange free gifts for a brand partnership, today’s biggest ‘Insta-famous’ influencers are charging big bucks for promotion space on their account. In fact, some influencers reportedly charge as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post!

For big influencers (100K+) you may have to pay a pretty hefty rate for your posts. In fact, several large influencers have said they ask for an average price per single Instagram post of $1,000. On the other hand, micro-influencers typically charge around $300 per Instagram post.

How Can Small Businesses Utilise Instagram Influencer Marketing with Micro-and Nano-Influencers?

There is a growing trend in businesses’ seeking smaller but highly-engaged accounts. In fact, according to HubSpot, almost one-third of all Instagram channels are micro-influencers with less than 100K followers. Mega-Influencers (over 5million) only amount to 1% of all influencers.

So what are Micro- and Nano-Influencers?

 Micro-influencers are those who have a significant, but not huge, social media following. This generally means they have around 10,000 to 100,000 followers. As for Nano-influencers, they usually have less than 1,000 followers.

What makes micro-and nano-influencers valuable to businesses is that they tend to be perceived as relatable and trustworthy. This makes sense as most people can’t really relate to the mega influencers who are often seen leading lives that aren’t exactly “normal”; such as going on luxury getaways to the Maldives or owning several Hermes bags.

When a smaller influencer features a product on their account, it can come across as a trusted recommendation from a friend rather than a celebrity endorsement. This is greatly beneficial to a small brand trying to get their name out there and reach new audiences.

Another benefit micro-and nano-influencers is they usually retain higher levels of engagement than top-tier influencers. This has been confirmed by studies from HelloSociety and Markerly, which both found a negative correlation between engagement rate and number of followers. However, this isn’t the case for everyone! There are still many mega-influencers who are able to maintain high engagement on their posts as well.

As for nano-influencers, they too enjoy a high engagement rate on Instagram. In fact, a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, found nano-influencers had an average 7.2% engagement rate on Instagram, which is significantly higher than that of accounts over 100K who received a 1.1 engagement rate.

As it can be pricey to work with major players, brands can partner with micro- and nano-influencers who charge less. This way, brands can afford to invest in long-term partnerships with accounts and effectively establish themselves with their influencers’ audience. 

How to Find the Right Accounts for Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns

There are so many influencers on Instagram that it can be a challenge to find the right one. Therefore, it’s important your business to invest time in researching and setting clear goals for your campaign.

Here are six things to consider when deciding whether to partner with an influencer:

#1. Check their Instagram engagement

Businesses and Instagram agencies use engagement rate to evaluate who is an ideal influencer. When the engagement rate is high, this indicates their followers are interested and acting on their content. In general, an engagement rate of 2-3% is good, 4-6% is excellent, and posts in the high tens to twenties are considered “viral”.

So how do you calculate engagement rate?

Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100

#2 Check who follows them

Your business must partner with influencers who have “pull” with your audience. Therefore, you have to evaluate whether an influencer’s audience matches your own by looking at things like geographic distribution, age breakdown, gender, language, approximate income, and more.

#3 Look at their feed

 Checking what content they post will give a better understanding of their niche. If you partner with an influencer that doesn’t have the same niche market as your brand, you could risk spending time, money, and effort on a marketing strategy that your influencer’s audience doesn’t care about.

#4 Check their follower count

As we’ve discussed, the number of followers isn’t as important as it used to be. Especially as engagement rates tend to decrease as follower count increases. However, its not a bad idea to partner with an influencer with a large following! Just make sure they’re an appropriate choice for your business.

#5 Check their reach

Reach is calculated as the number of unique users who see your content. It’s an important metric for determining an influencer’s value. Unfortunately, there’s no calculation for this. So you’ll have to either use a third-party tool like SocialBlade or Fohr Card or directly ask the influencer for their social stats.

#6 Budget requirements

It’s always important to keep in mind how much influencers will charge.  Every influencer is different. Some may accept free products, others may only accept flat rates, and some may charge based on the numbers of sales or leads they create for the business.

If you’re new to influencer marketing, it might be smart to work with micro-influencers to begin with (of course, this depends on the businesses marketing budget).

How to Properly Disclose Your Instagram Influencer Marketing Sponsored Posts

It’s the businesses responsibility to ensure that Instagram partnerships are FTC compliant. From the start, your business should provide clear directions for your influencers on how to disclose partnerships. The FTC requires influencers to disclose endorsement relationships whenever a “material connection” exists. Basically, this means influencers have to be transparent by ensuring their followers are aware when they’re being paid or given something to promote a product.

How to Track Your Influencer Marketing Strategy’s Progress

Your business should begin by setting clear goals and metrics. While engagement is a top priority in tracking the success of Instagram influencer marketing, more businesses are beginning to focus on bottom-funnel goals including sales, traffic, and conversions. Here are some commonly used metrics for tracking Instagram influencer marketing performance:

  • Engagement rate – likes, comments, shares, etc.
  • Brand sentiment – how people are talking about your brand
  • Website traffic – customers visiting your website
  • Sales – conversations and revenues generated

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