As a Small Business Owner, If you’ve ever thought of paying a celebrity or an influencer to promote your products, Now is the right time to start!
Instagram is one of the most effective platforms to drive converting traffic to your eCommerce store. With nearly a billion active users every month and 70% of those users looking for brands and product recommendations on Instagram. Instagram Influencer Marketing is one of the most popular marketing tactics used by eCommerce entrepreneurs today.
In this ultimate Influencer Marketing guide, we are going to talk about how you can leverage Instagram influencers to both Test and Scale Your Products. We will cover everything from choosing a product and finding the right influencers to creating the post and launching your campaign.
This is the last Instagram Influencer Marketing guide you ever have to read. Make sure you stick till the end.
Does Instagram Influencer Marketing Work?
Short Answer. Yes, It does work.
According to a Survey in Mediakix, Instagram has overtaken youtube as the most important channel for Influencer marketing. The Survey further reveals, brands are expected to spend $2.3 Billion in 2020 to sponsor their post on Instagram and the number of sponsored posts will reach 6.1 Million.
While big brands are spending millions of dollars on Instagram influencers. As a small business owner, can you win a piece of this pie?
Short Answer. Again a Big Yes. You can still make a good profit using Instagram influencers as your marketing channel.
While Big Brands choose to work with Big Names (Celebrities). You can target small communities or specific niche themed Instagram Pages to sell your products. These niches themed Instagram pages charge you way less for posting your products, the conversion rate is somewhat similar to big celebrities’ posts.
Say that you sell lipsticks. A big brand in your industry selling lipsticks is L’Oreal. While L’Oreal pays millions of dollars for fashion influencers like Kardashians. You can promote your products in Women’s Fashion themed Instagram pages by paying much less. Like 0.001% compared to what L’Oreal Paid.
Choosing a Product or a Category
You start by selecting a Product or Category for your Instagram influencer marketing campaign. To get the most of your marketing campaigns, select a single product and start running ads to it.
If you have a collection of similar products or have multiple variations of a product. Start running ads directly to your collection page.
But avoid driving traffic to your homepage unless you have a one-product store or the goal of your campaign is to expose your homepage.
If you ask me. My best bet is choosing a single product and running ads to it. The second best is going with a category. Driving traffic directly to the homepage comes last or in other words, I never do it.
Reaching Out to Influencers
The first step is reaching out to influencers. At this stage, don’t even think about the quality or the engagement rate of the influencer’s page. The goal of this stage is to find as many pages as possible in your niche to promote your product. We will shortlist these pages later.
Step 01: Finding Influencers
Open Instagram and start by typing your niche keyword. For example in this post, let’s assume we are going after dog owners or dog lovers.
Start searching for pages in the dog niche. Be creative and use different variations of keywords to search. for example, consider these keywords to search for a page in dogs’ niche.
Dog Lovers | Dogs of Instagram | Puppies | Doggy, etc…
Even target a sub-niche like Husky Dog Lovers | Bulldogs | Pug Dogs | Rottweiler, etc..
Also, make use of the suggested page feature on Instagram. Visit a page and click on the “Dropdown Button” right next to the message or follow button. It will show all the similar pages on Instagram. These pages are a great addition to your list.
Step 02: Reaching Out
Now that we have found many pages to promote. The second step is reaching out to these pages.
In this stage, we will be reaching out to all those pages we found by sending them private messages.
Your message should be simple and straight forward. Ask them directly whether they are interested in posting (shouting out) your product for a fee. Your message can be as simple as
Do you do Shoutout posts on your page? if yes, what is your Rate?
If you don’t do shoutouts on your page. Please ignore this message.
These pages get many Private Messages every day. So go straight to the point if you want these pages to notice and respond to you.
Now that you have sent them a message. Understand that not everyone lives in your timezone. Wait 24 hours before you make a decision to work with a page. Sometimes the best pages which will bring you the most sales might take a little more time to respond.
You don’t want to work with a poor page just because they replied to you first. Remember, The Best Things in Life Takes Time 🙂
Shortlisting Influencers for Your Campaign
You have found the pages and sent them a private message. It’s been 24 hours since you did so.
By now, all the pages interested in working with you might have replied to your message. You’re not going to work with everyone to promote your product. You need the best, You deserve the best.
Now, let us shortlist the pages that responded to you and find the best ones to work with.
There are 4 things you need to consider before working with an Instagram influencer. They should have good engagement rates, No bots, followers demographics and a secured payment method to pay for these influencers.
Let’s see these in detail.
Checking the Engagement Rates
No matter how many followers they have. If they don’t have a good engagement rate. There is no reason you should pay them to promote.
I have seen pages with a million followers, with an average post reaching less than 2,000 people and have seen pages with few thousands of followers but getting 20x post reach of their audience size.
I have seen pages with hundred and thousands of followers, but only getting a few hundred likes on their posts.
No matter how much following a page has. If their followers are not active, it has no value.
So how do I check the engagement rate of a page?
A page should have a minimum of 2.5% engagement rate to be considered good enough. The higher, the better.
You can also check other metrics like followers’ growth over time and media uploads. If there is an upward trend, it means that the page is growing, which means the page is active and well managed.
I hope your list of pages to promote got even smaller. You can now move to the next test with the pages which showed a green flag in this engagement rate test.
Bot Followers Check
Everything you see isn’t real. A high engagement rate doesn’t term a page “Good. The admin of the page might be using bot programs to add likes and comments to their post, So they can charge more for promotional posts on their page by showing a high engagement rate.
Unfortunately, there is no tool that will help us find these bot engagements. Let’s go old school and find out the robots manually.
- Go to a page and click on a post to view.
- Now click on the likes and randomly check few accounts in there for profiles with no profile picture, no media uploads and 0 or low followers and followings. These are the signs of engagement bots.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 on a few of the most recent posts on that page.
And one last thing you can look for is the posts comments section. Check who is commenting on them. Does it look like an organic comment? Are people tagging their friends? If yes, that’s a sign of a page grown organically.
If you see people commenting about other businesses or tagging other businesses Instagram handle in their comments. Those are the signs of bots.
Do this until you’re satisfied with your research. Also, remember that you can’t find a page with 0 Bot/Dead followers. Our goal is to find the pages with low bot engagements.
Have pages with a green flag in this test? Move to the next step.
Checking Follower Demographics
Before we begin this test. Ask yourself a question. Who is my target audience and where are they from?
Most of the time your target audience would be from the United States if you don’t sell to a specific country.
Why? because people from the united states love to buy things online and you will have a high conversion rate selling in the US compared to other countries.
Now think about your target customer’s age and gender. You won’t have much luck selling a bikini on a page dominated by men. If your product is used by people over 40 or 50 years, There is no point in advertising on a page followed by a younger crowd.
Lock yourself in a room and answer these questions. Once you have the answer, you can start the check.
- This is simple and straightforward. Ask the page owner to send you the screenshots of their page analytics. The metrics you’re looking for are Countries, Age, Gender and Post reach (to confirm the page post reach we discussed in the engagement check phase).
- Compare and contrast the metrics you received with the answers you came up with for your target audience.
Remember that you won’t find a page only with your exact target audience. It’s a big internet and every page will have followers from all over the world, in every age group and gender. Our goal is to find the pages dominated by your target audience.
Say that you sell beard oils. Your target audience would be men aged between 25 to 55 and you sell only in the united states. In this case, you want to look for pages that have the most followers coming from the united states and a large majority of them are men aged between 25 to 55.
Did your pages list get even smaller? Continue to the final step with the pages which showed a green flag in our demographics check.
Making sure that you can pay the Instagram Influencer using a Secured Payment Method
Now you might have a handful of pages to work with after all these tests. The final check is making sure that the influencer accepts payment via a secured payment method.
The best way to pay them is via PayPal. If the influencer is not willing to accept payments via PayPal. Cut them off your list. You don’t want to work with them.
The Influencer is accepting payment via PayPal but wants you to send it as a transaction for ‘Friends or Family”. Don’t pay them. You should only send payments as it is for “Goods or Services”, even if you have to pay an additional dollar to do so.
You don’t want to learn all the lessons the hard way like I did when I was starting. 🙁
You should always have buyer protection when paying online. Even if the influencer takes your money and walks away without posting your ad. You can always contact PayPal and get your money back if you pay it as a payment for “Goods or Services”.
Shoutout Post Types
Now that you have decided who you should work with. It’s time to plan the post. There are 2 types of posts available on Instagram and each of them can be done in two different ways.
These are the standard posts you see when you scroll down your Instagram newsfeed. It can be a photo, video or an IGTV post. Page posts have a very high reach and engagement rate.
This is the best post type for your Instagram influencer marketing campaign. There are 2 ways to use this.
1.1 Page Post without Link in Bio
Here the influencer will just post your content with a caption and tag you in that post. People have to visit your page and click on the link in your page bio to visit your store and buy your products.
1.2 Page post with Link in Bio
Here the influencer will post your content with the caption and add the product/store link in their page bio. They will ask their followers to visit their profile and click the link in their bio to buy your product.
This method works very well compared to the former. Since the influencer is posting your product as it is their own and having your store link in their bio, there is a high chance of people clicking on that link and buying your product.
You know what this is. Instagram Stories lets Instagram accounts to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. Stories were launched in August 2016, and now more than 500 million Instagrammers use stories daily.
There are 2 ways to use story post for your marketing campaigns.
2.1 Story Post with the link in bio
In this method, Influencer will post a story with your product and add the store/product link in either your page bio or in theirs. Customers have to click on the tagged page in the story and visit the profile before they can buy the product.
2.2 Story post with Swipe Up feature
Same story with the swipe up feature. Here the customers can directly visit your store and buy the product by just swiping up in the story post. This feature is only available for pages with more than 10,000 followers.
Whenever you post a story on a page with more than 10,000 followers. Always make use of this feature.
Instagram Influencer Marketing Cost
By now you should have received the advertisement rates from the influencer. But of course, we don’t want to pay those. We want to negotiate and get the best deal possible.
There is no rule of thumb on how much you should pay an Instagram influencer. But here is what I’ll pay an influencer with a certain amount of followers and an engagement rate between 2.5% to 5%.
For better results, you might want to advertise with more than one post type for your product. In that case, keep this table in mind and get the best price possible.
For example, you might want a page post with the link in bio + a story post with the swipe up link. Say that the influencers page has less than 50K followers. Instead of paying $25 for both (According to our table you should pay $15 for page post with the link in bio and $10 for the story post with a swipe up link) negotiate and lower the price. The influencer might give you a discount since you’re doing a bundle deal.
Creating the Post and Caption
This is the most important part. No matter how good your products are or how active the followers are. if your ad creative sucks, no one ever wants to check out your store.
If you prefer outsourcing this time-consuming task, you can find an Ad Creator for Cheap Here.
Ad Creative Type
As you may already know there are 3 Ad Creative types you can use for your campaign. Video Ads, Image Ads, and Product Slideshow Ads.
All three works. But the Video Ads tend to outperform others. This is because Instagram algorithm favorites and promotes videos on their platform and also people love to watch videos
If you ask me to rate. I would give the first place to Videos Ads, followed by Image ads and product slideshows.
What to Have in Your Ad Creative
Now finally what to have in your ad creative. A straightforward ad that clearly shows your product and who is it for with a call to action button inviting them to visit your store and learn more about the product.
Remember, you don’t want to sell your product on Instagram itself. our goal is to drive them to your store or the product page where you convince them to buy.
Scheduling the Post
The best time to launch your influencer ad depends on the page and country you’re targeting. I always schedule my promotional posts to go live at 4 PM Est for better results.
But sometimes I ask the influencer for help. He is the one who runs the page and knows the best time to post on his page.
What I recommend you to do is, first ask the influencer about the best time to post on his page. If that didn’t give you an idea, schedule your post to go live at 4 PM your target customers’ time zone.
Send the post details with the caption to the influencer in advance. While you wait for the post to go live double check your link, landing page and your checkout funnel.
Measuring and Managing Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, in influencer marketing, it is hard to measure the results. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Here are some ways to judge whether your campaign was successful.
Monitor the Traffic Before and After the Campaign
Observe and take notes on your traffic from social media, especially Instagram. Check the spikes and dips. Once the campaign is over, compare the results with your previous record.
Use Link Tracking Tools
If you’re not tracking your site, stop right here and go install a tracking tool like Google Analytics or AWStats. At least you need to install Facebook pixels before driving any traffic to your site.
If you already have those, use a link tracker like Bitly to further enhance your analytics power. You always want to measure where your traffic is coming from and what converts the best.
Having these data will allow you to double down on the sources that work the best and stop wasting your time and money on the sources that don’t convert.
Use Promo Codes
Another way to both measure your results and also increase your conversion is by offering some discount/promo codes to the customers coming from the influencers page. This way when someone purchases an item from your store and uses the promo code to get a discount. You know where the sale came from.
You can do this by adding the promo code in your ad creative or adding it to the caption of your Instagram influencer post.
Ask the Influencer for Stats
The last thing you can ask for is the post stats from the influencer. Ask them to send screenshots of the post reach, impressions, profile visits, and website clicks. If you’re doing a Story post, ask for the story view numbers too.
Also check the number of likes, shares, and comments on the post. This will give you an idea of how well it performed in that specific influencers page compared to others.
What to Expect from your Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaign
The conversion rate should be similar to any other online marketing campaigns. It should have a minimum conversion rate of at least 2.6 % (the industry average conversion rate) to be considered good enough.
Other than sales, you can expect to grow your Instagram page (if you’re tagging your page in the post) by a small number of followers. Remember, our goal for this campaign is to sell. So don’t expect to grow your Instagram page with thousands of followers overnight.
This won’t be your first and last influencer marketing campaign. There is more to come. As a first-timer or newbie, you should expect to make some mistakes. But that doesn’t stop you using this highly converting marketing strategy.
You can become an Instagram influencer marketing ninja with just two or three campaigns if you’re learning from your previous mistakes.
Always measure your campaigns and don’t be afraid to try new things. In this rapidly changing industry, the only way you can survive is to keep learning and trying out different things.
Like Mark Cuban Said, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once. And then everybody calls you an overnight success, You just smile your way to the bank“
Let us know what do you think about promoting your products with an Instagram influencer. If you have some tips and tricks or like to share your Instagram influencer marketing success story. Share it with us in the comments section below.
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Happy Selling Everyone 🙂