Instagram is a complicated landscape. While it seems simple enough to use, achieving your marketing goals on the platform entails a significant amount of work and interacting with other people. Building an audience necessitates time and patience—but there is a shortcut that many brand owners employ: influencer marketing. Influencers are individuals who have amassed sizable followings with their own content, so if you were to pay them a fee in exchange for a shoutout, said individual could make their entire audience aware of you with only a post. Influencer marketing is an effective way of quickly tapping into pre-existing audiences you would otherwise be unable to reach.
However, marketing through influencers is not as simple as finding someone moderately popular and paying them to talk about you. Not every influencer—even if they talk about subjects related to your field—are advantageous for you. To make your social media campaign as effective as possible, here are a few influencer marketing hurdles you would be wise to prepare yourself for:
Defining your goals
Before you begin, determine what you want out of your campaign. Doing so will help you steer your decision-making processes. Are you hoping to drive sales? Are you pursuing general brand awareness, whether people buy from you immediately or not? Do you want to convert your existing audience into customers? What you want your campaign to accomplish will help you decide which influencers are best to partner with.
Knowing who to partner with
On that note, many business owners and marketers struggle deciding which influencers make the most sense for their campaigns. In an Econsultancy survey with fashion and beauty marketers, 73 percent noted that identifying the right influencers posed the biggest challenge in influencer marketing.
Influencers are individuals, after all—and even if they work for big brands, they still have different skills and patterns. Some personalities, for instance, are particularly good at encouraging their followers to buy products, while others excel at generating hype and getting their followers to engage with you. Take a look at whether they use the best Instagram tools and resources like hashtagsforlikes.co to stay on top of the latest trends. When comparing influencers, take a look at their past content and what skills they have to guide your decision.
There is also a difference between “macro” and “micro” influencers. Macro influencers are people with around 10,000 followers or more, while micro influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000. Werner Geyser from Influencer Marketing Hub says:
“Engagement and relevance of topics of conversation are far more important metrics when determining who would make a useful influencer for your brand. There is a common internet culture rule, known as the 1-9-90 Rule. This states that 90 percent of internet users simply consume content without contributing, nine percent of internet users edit, modify and amplify existing content, leaving only one percent to create new, original content.”
Geyser notes that most of your social media followers will be in the 90 percent group. Your macro influencers are the one percent, and your micro is the nine percent. When it comes to influencers, you need someone who knows your audience and can create content that appeals to both your followers and theirs.
Influencer marketing demands something a little different than other forms of advertising: surrendering control. Unless you partner with an agency, you most likely have complete control over what you post, when you do it, and how you respond to people’s reactions. If you are going to ask an influencer to talk about you, though, you cannot always dictate how it’s done—Crowdtap reports that 77 percent of influencers decide to partner with brands because they allow creative freedom (while 68 percent said competitive compensation is a factor). You will probably need to let go and allow influencers to give you a shoutout on their own terms (they are also trying to keep their content on-brand).
A difficult challenge brand owners run into is measuring influencer marketing ROI. Exactly how much money are influencers generating for you compared to how much you are paying them? If you want to do it this way, one option is providing influencers with discount codes to record how many customers use it (assuming, of course, that you are offering discounts).
You are not obligated to measure influencer ROI in terms of hard finances, though, especially if you are aiming for spreading overall brand awareness instead of converting followers into customers. You can look at referral traffic, cost per engagement proportionate to your total campaign budget, or something else. ROI is, ultimately, whatever it means to you.
Influencer marketing entails more strategy than you may realize, so it’s vital to put in sufficient thought into who you partner with and what your goals are. What obstacles have you encountered when marketing through influencers?