Collaborating with Instagram influencers: What your brand needs to know

Social media influencers have power like nothing else on the internet. Just last week, reality TV star and celebrity influencer Kylie Jenner tweeted to her 24.7 million Twitter followers that she no longer used Snapchat. Such is the star’s influence that Snapchat’s share values tumbled by £1 billion within a mere matter of hours, demonstrating the sheer power of today’s influencers.

Of course, in this example, influencer power led to a negative outcome, but when brands position their relationships with them carefully, the results can be hugely beneficial.

Instagram in particular is a popular platform for collaborations between brands and influencers, although it must now be made completely clear when a user’s content is sponsored or if they have received an item for free to promote.

But what kind of reach can Instagram influencer collaborations have, and how can brands identify who would be a good influencer for them to work with?

The power of Instagram collaborations

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of the best-performing posts on Instagram are influencer posts that feature products from brands, according to research carried out by L2.

Influencers are likely to have thousands of followers to promote your brand’s products or services to, with likes and comments from their audience expanding the reach of these posts even further.

That’s basically how Instagram influencing works – a source who is trusted or respected in a particular area, whether it’s in recruitment or fashion and beauty, will put products in front of their followers that they are likely to spread the word about themselves; it’s essentially the 21st century version of word-of-mouth advertising.

Brands can interact with influencers via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn too, but a Zine survey found that 80 per cent of influencers believe Instagram to be the best platform for collaborative posts with brands. This put Instagram significantly ahead of the next most popular medium, blogging, which earnt 16 per cent of the vote.

But Instagram is a big place – some 500 million people around the world use it every single day – so how can your brand identify suitable influencers to work with?

How to identify influencers

Using influencer posts as part of your marketing strategy can only be successful if you are working with the right people. If there are big names in your sector or speakers you’ve spotted at industry events who you know have a large following, approaching them to discuss working together could be a good place to start.

Take note of how many Instagram followers each potential influencer has. You need them to have as many relevant followers as possible to ensure your content is seen far and wide across the social platform, but you also need to make sure your products will fit with the kind of content they usually post.

Check out the hashtags users are including in their posts too. By searching for a particular hashtag on Instagram, you can see which people are using it, sharing it and talking about it, which is another good way to spot prospective influencers.

When approaching a user you’d like to work with, make sure you’re clear about what you expect from them and what they’ll get in return; for example, how much you will pay them in return for a certain number of posts that feature a hashtag of your choice.

Source: Think Creative Collective, Sprout Social, BBC

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