Did you know that Instagram influencer marketing is a $2 billion industry? The social media platform has evolved massively since its inception as a mere photo sharing app. Instagram influencers are now utilizing the platform to make a living through paid posts and brand collaborations.
Influencer marketing has existed since time immemorial. It even dates back to the times of Queen and the Pope who used to endorse medicine to convince the common people to use it. Celebrities have been endorsing products since years now. But with the internet and social media, this phenomenon has taken a turn with influencer marketing.
So, how has this phenomenon emerged? Why is Instagram influencer marketing ever more important in 2018? Read on to find out all about Influencer marketing on Instagram.
How Businesses Started Using Instagram?
Instagram was only being used as a personal photo sharing app earlier. However, things changed when Facebook acquired the company for $1 billion. Everyone thought it wasn’t a wise move as Instagram was not earning any revenue that time.
But Mark Zuckerberg saw it’s potential and by 2015, the app was generating a revenue of $276 million. It was only after Facebook’s acquisition that brands realized that there was a great marketing opportunity at their disposal.
Instagram also has a specialized website for business purposes now. However, simply having a business profile and hard selling won’t suffice on Instagram. Your followers will easily lose interest in you if you bombard them with advertisements. So, businesses had to find more innovative ways. This is how they turned to Instagram influencer marketing.
Why Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Influencers are people on Instagram who have built a large pool of followers who idolize them and value their opinion. Some of these influencers have a million followers and are known for either the stories they share or their work in general.
There’s been a surge of influencers on Instagram and brands have a number of options to choose from. It’s a brand new way to reach a target audience to authentically market your products. Since a large chunk of the audience is now present on social media, brands are utilizing opportunities there.
As brands recognized the exciting potential of Instagram, influencer marketing was the obvious choice. Even though high profile brands already have a significant influence with their aesthetic images and a huge following, influencer marketing opens up new avenues for them. They help brands tap a whole new set of audience in the form of the influencer’s fans and wide reach.
Pew Research Center suggests that Instagram is the second most popular social media platform after Facebook. Combine it with the fact that 75% of users take some action after coming across a sponsored post and 60% use the platform to explore new products, and you have a winner.
Not just users, it’s the influencers’ choice as well. In a survey, Bloglovin found out that Instagram is the most preferred choice for influencers as 59% said that they find it most effective when it comes to engaging with their followers.
Interestingly, Instagram was the first social channel which enabled brands and influencers to collaborate for promotions. This was probably possible because of the leverage that the platform got after the Facebook takeover.
How Has Instagram Influencer Marketing Changed In 2018?
Influencer marketing on Instagram has picked up pace as prices have come down as compared to the early days. Facebook and Instagram have emerged as the most preferred platforms for influencer marketing as they have undergone significant changes in the past few years.
Below are a few trends that you need to look out for –
The Shift To Micro Influencers
Brands would earlier work with high profile influencers for a mini-campaign or a single post and they would charge a high amount. However, that trend is changing. Now brands want to establish long-term partnerships with micro influencers who resonate with their brand’s voice.
Having a million followers does not always mean that all those millions are connected to the influencers. However, micro influencers having a following of under 100,000 have a deeper connection with their followers. As a result, if they recommend a brand, their fans trust them as they would trust a friend.
The return on investment is also higher when it comes to micro-influencers instead of spending more on multiple influencers for a single post. It has been seen that campaigns with micro influencers generate 60% higher engagement rates and 22 times higher weekly conversions.
Influencers Will Create Their Own Content
Brands are giving more freedom to influencers and allowing them to create their own content in sponsored posts. This retains the authenticity of the posts and they come across as more reliable by their followers. Brands are realizing the fact that they need to give control away in order to fully utilize the power of influencer marketing. An original post created by the influencer herself will give a higher engagement rate as fans will connect with their posts much more than that of a brand.
Key Performance Metrics Will Gain Importance
Earlier, the number of followers that an influencer had was a key factor in deciding whether a campaign would be successful or not. However, that’s not the end of the story anymore. After all, the number of followers can even be faked now.
Influencer campaigns are now driven by clearer goals laid down by brands. Influencers cannot compromise on engagement levels in the form of impressions, clicks, likes or comments if they want to keep the relationship with the brand going.
More Emphasis on Instagram Stories
The phenomenal rise of Instagram stories has made them the medium of choice for brands. The use of stories tripled within a year, from last year till October this year. There’s no doubt that the popularity of stories is only going to rise. Brands must combine the power of Instagram stories with that of influencer marketing and let them tell the brand’s story to their followers.
A few examples of brands and influencers
I really liked how Daniel Wellington, a watch company, made use of instagram influencer marketing. Their posts have quite an aesthetic appeal and the presence of influencers make them even more attractive. They do not just create brand awareness but make direct sales through influencer marketing.
The watch company gave away a free watch to their influencers along with a promotional code that they could share with their followers. Whoever used the code within a limited time period would get a 10-20% discount on their products. What an appealing way to give away discounts! This definitely wouldn’t have been a success if it were a normal discount. It also enabled the influencers to create some value for their followers.
Another great example is YouTuber and actress Lilly Singh a.k.a ||Superwoman||. Olay partnered with her for a campaign called “Face Anything” that encourages women to be their authentic selves. She shared the following post with her 8 Million subscribers after the campaign which resonated with her fans.
L’Oréal Men partnered with Jim Chapman, an influencer in the Men’s fashion industry who owns a YouTube channel and is also a blogger and model. Take note that he’s mentioned that it’s a ‘Paid Partnership’ with the brand within the post.
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Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.