Have you ever felt frustrated by the results of your pay per click campaign? Have you thought that your ad didn’t really reach the right customers and it didn’t bring sales? Or maybe you are already getting plenty of free traffic to your website, yet the conversion is still low?
One of the reasons is that visitors are not relevant to your niche - they are too random to convert into customers. But, there is a way to drive more relevant traffic, reach potential customers, and make them feel excited about your product.
Introducing social media influencer marketing. This is a campaign where you team up with an Influencer on social media, and promote your product or service on their profile. This kind of campaign can drive concentrated and relevant visitors to your website in a matter of hours, and deliver mind blowing ROI. In this article we are going to discuss how to setup your first Influencer campaign.
Influencer Marketing Definition
Instagram marketing campaign can be created on Instagram or Pinterest. It often involves sending sample of your product to the influencer for them to review it, photograph it and place on their profile.
Some top fashion influencers are also happy for you to create the artwork [take or source a photo] of your product, and submit the post - text, hashtags, call to action - for them to publish.
Why social influencer marketing is so effective?
Businesses using social media influencer campaigns notice higher engagement, more traffic and a better conversion. Why is that?
Well, Instagram Influencer Marketing is not your average influencer marketing strategy. It doesn’t involve posting the ads or paying for the clicks. People often ignore or miss ads, as they are bombarded with new offers and promotions everyday. Their email boxes are filled with junk, websites have annoying pop ups, even their YouTube videos are being subject to ad placements. That’s why less and less people act on or get influenced by an ad.
Influencer marketing is different. It involves reaching users on a different level - through a profile of a person they follow, they admire and are receptive to their message.
Examples of Influencer Marketing
If they follow Martha Stewart on Instagram, love her recipes, and trust her judgement, her recommendation is likely to make an impact. If Martha Stewart was to recommend a certain brand of egg whisker, then people following her profile would be eager to buy this particular product.
Why? Because they trust Martha Stewart and her knowledge of the kitchen tools, and therefore are very receptive to her suggestions.
Watch also: How to Find Instagram Influencers:
That goes to other niches - fashion, beauty, gardening, home improvement, fitness - you name it.
How Influencer Marketing agency can help your business?
If done right, a good social media campaign can drive thousands of relevant visitors to your website in a matter of hours. Why? Because your post and your website will be featured on an Influencer profile, with thousands of followers, interested in your product or service. It is one of the most powerful marketing campaigns you can create yourself at relatively small cost [often for free].
In order to make your influencer campaign successful, their followers have to be your target audience.
Well, that is the whole point of the campaign. You want to make sure that your target customer is the same as the Influencer followers. How can you establish that the Influencer has the same follower base as you?
You do it by creating a buyer’s persona
You define your target customer. Who is the person that you are targeting as?
Come up with a profile - age, gender, location, budget, family life, interests, how they spend their weekends, etc. Run a customer research [which, as being a different topic, won’t be covered in this article], or see who your previous customers were [if you have been operating for 1 year or longer], to decide who to target.
Knowing this will help you establish if the profile you want to approach is attracting the same people as you. If majority of their followers are genuine [they have active, non-private profiles], that’s ideal. This particular Influencer can be classified as perfect for your campaign.
So how do you begin searching for the Instagram Influencers?
You start by researching hashtags.
Hashtags are the keywords you use with Instagram posts to make it appear in the platform’s search results. So if you use #icecream within your post, this post will come up in the search results for people looking up this hashtag. Make sure that the hashtags are relevant to your post, ie. you are actually posting about ice cream [in the example].
Hashtags are perfect for finding top social media influencers.
How? If you want to find Influencer working in the dog sector, you would search for hashtags like: #dog, #doglife, #ilovemydog, #instadog - and so on.
Next, in the search results you'd see the best performing posts at the top - with the most likes and comments. These are created by the potential Influencers - candidates for your campaign. Simply click one of the images and visit the author’s profile to see if they can be a good match for your campaign.
Before we go any further, we need to know which hashtags to look for. It is vital that we target the tags relevant to our niche and the ones our target customer would use.
Instagram Influencer Tools
So how do we find the right hashtags?
The best places are: websta.me and hashtagify.me.
I love both of these equally, and let me tell you why.
With Hashtagify.me as you search for a phrase, you get a table mode layout with related hashtags, showing you how they compare in the popularity. I like this display, as it shows me which of the phrases perform the best [the visual display allows me to digest the information quicker].
You can perform few different searches and end up with 10-20 hashtags, that you wouldn’t discover yourself.
websta.meWebsta.me is similar - it gives you a selection of related hashtags with an estimated results in the posts using them. It also gives you a variety of profiles using this hashtag. You can hover over each featured profile you will see how many followers they have. Click to visit their Instagram profile to find out if they can be a good fit for you, and how engaged their audience is.
Best Instagram Practices
From your desktop Instagram, also check for similar profiles - I use it a lot to locate other related Influencers. This is how Insta brand suggests different profiles within the same niche and a location. So if you are targeting a foodie in San Francisco, you'll see other Instagram foodies in the SF area.
As you check the Influencer’s profile, see if they display their contact details [email address, website] in their bio. This is a sure sign they are open to offers of sponsored posts.
Sometimes you will find they only display their website address or a link to their blog. You'd still reach them this way, if they have contact page. While they might have never done the sponsored post before, they could be interested in this type of work.
These profiles are “golden nuggets” in my experience, as their fees are very low [sometimes there is no fee at all], or it is around $20 - $50. They are also more open to negotiation. As they are within your target niche and have a decent follower numbers, these are perfect for the Instagram Influencer Marketing campaign.
Watch also: How to find Instagram Influencers:
Now, once you found the Influencers you like [in this initial stage, I recommend collecting about 20 profiles], proceed to the next stage of classification, which is “followers analysis”.
Here, assess who follows the particular Influencer, check their profiles [not all, of course, but few profiles selected randomly]. This should give you indication if the profile is genuine [the settings are not ‘private’], if they are active [they post regularly and have followers], and most importantly, if they match your target customer persona.
While the first two points are essential to establish if the Influencer attracts genuine and active followers [and not follower bots - purchased fake profiles]. If they are, they'll be able to see your sponsored post. If a large number of followers are not active [they don’t post regularly], they might miss out on your offer. You want to reach the largest audience possible.
But, this audience has to be relevant to your brand. And here comes the third step - digging deeper to find if the followers are relevant to your brand.
Let’s say, if you are selling glow-in-the-dark dog leads and you want to work with an Influencer dog trainer, you want their followers to be the dog lovers, and dog owners as well.
Now, let’s talk about how many of the followers should the Influencer have.
Theoretically, any profile with more than 2,000 followers is classified as an Influencer and participate in the influencer program. But, in my opinion, the more, the better. Depending on the niche, you should easily find profiles with 10k+ followers, and certain niches, such as fitness, travel, or fashion, seeing millions of followers per profile.
I personally prefer working with smaller influencers [having between 2,000 and 10,000 followers], as their fees are lower. They are often just dipping their toes in the waters of the sponsored posts, so their expectations aren’t that high. Influencer with 50k+ followers is more accustomed to the sponsored posts and can ask for a higher fee.
I would say - start small, and once you can afford, reach out to more established profiles.
Now, check for the post engagement. See how many likes and comments each Influencer’s post has, and how this number is relative to the followers’ number. If a profile with 50k+ followers gets only 35 likes per post and little or no comments, we can almost be sure the followers are bought and not earned organically.
I normally expect to see 10% of the followers to engage with each post. So, if the profile has 50k followers, it would be expected to see at least 500 likes per post, sometimes more.
But, the likes and comments may be generated by bots. So, it’s worth checking if the comments are genuine or are they quite random and not really related to the content.
How do the bot-comments are generated?
Well, Instagram has a certain set of rules, and one of them is that the more you engage with other people’s content [like, comment, follow], the more you attract reciprocity [they will in return follow you, like and comment on your posts].
There are also platforms that will do the hard work for you [like and comment on the posts containing certain hashtags]. These comments will be totally random [such as: that’s hot!!! Or you totally rock!!] on the posts that hardly ignite this enthusiasm. When you see such comments, you can be almost sure they are generated by bots and don’t come from human users, ie. organic followers.
Why is it important?
It’s vital that we pick the Influencer with the most organic followers - we want to see their fans become our customers. It will be harder with robots, needless to say.
Once we pick the profiles, let's start sending emails.
Don’t be too salesy or tricky with the email content or subject. The more you try to get their attention, the smaller the chance of them opening your email.
Why? Well, Influencers are being bombarded with email offers and they don’t like gimmicky or tricks emails. Besides, their email would have sophisticated spam filters, reacting to certain trigger words. My advice? Be straight to the point.
Start with a direct subject line: “Instagram Sponsored Post”. It is simple and indicates 100% nature of an email - an offer of a collaboration on a sponsored post on Instagram. If they are open to offers and are looking for new brands to work with, they will be happy to open and read your email.
Keep the text simple - introduce yourself and state the purpose of this email. Let them know you want to work with them on a sponsored post campaign.
Next, tell about the brand / product you want to promote. Don’t go over two - three lines of the text here. Ideally, justify how this particular product / your brand will benefit the Influencer’s profile and their followers. This is a big one - you want them to WANT to work with you, so focus on THEIR benefits.
In a third paragraph, link to your website and Instagram profile. Also, ask about their fee. Then finish by adding a signature and mention that you look forward to working with them.
That’s it - no gimmicks, no salesy copy, just clearly stating your goals and the preferred outcome - a sponsored post.
Here's an example of an Influencer email that I use and it's working very well for me:
This formula worked for me in the past and I use this template whenever reaching out to Influencers on new campaigns. The details are different each time [with each new campaign], in order to make it relevant to a new brand or audience.
I recommend you prepare a similar email template and save it in your www.google.com/docs/about/Google Docs, and use it whenever you contact new Influencer.
Follow their profile on Instagram before reaching out to them; it’s a courtesy gesture - they are more likely to work with you if they see you're already following them.
Now, that you have sent a number of emails, wait until the Influencers get back to you. They will email you with their offer [fee, duration of the post being published]. They might also be open to the suggestions, if they are new to this type of campaign. Decide whether the fee is within your budget, or negotiate better terms.
What are the possible terms of the sponsored post?
Agree on the time your post is published beforehand. Some Influencers will publish the sponsored post for a defined length of time: 24 hours, 2 days, 7 days, 30 days, or infinitely. Make sure to check that.
Also, have they got a posting calendar? Can you pick any date for your post? Can you pick a weekend, or midweek dates? How about national holidays? Wouldn’t it be great to see your US Flag T-shirt being promoted on 4th July? Knowing these details will help you get the best ROI on your campaign.
Find also, whether you'll be creating the content [image promo, text, hashtags], or is the Influencer doing it? If they are established, they'd want to keep their profile the same style, and therefore keep control of the content. They might create the post themselves, and ask for a sample product.
They might also ask you to take a picture of your product in the same style as their posts. Make sure to discuss the details in advance.
If you agree on sending the product, give them a chance to pick an item from your store - they'd know which one to pick. Ask about the shipping address [ideally the Influencer will be based within your country, so you won’t need to pay for the international shipping].
How about the fees - what are the reasonable fees for the sponsored post?
In my experience, anything below $100 is a reasonable fee, and you'll be able to find a bunch of Influencers happy with this fee.
More established influencers, in profitable niches, might ask for more. Some can ask for thousands of dollars. Ensure that such Influencer has the credentials and proof the previous campaigns he worked on brought satisfying results.
Ideally you would like to see the screenshots of the other brands’ statistics showing their spike in traffic and sales directly following the campaign.
Each Influencer, who is working with brands professionally, should have sufficient data to show you how effective their previous campaigns were.
Influencer Marketing can be powerful if done right, and if you implement each of the steps the best you can, you will see the effects immediately. Remember, don’t rush when picking the profiles, it’s better to spend longer analyzing their followers than rushing into new campaigns. The more time you spend preparing from the campaign, the better your ROI.
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Freelance Content Strategist. Helping brands find a right voice, one story at a time. Passionate about animal onesies, meaningful conversations and well-spoken people
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