Instagram influencers have taken over the game.
New to the ‘Gram? Let me break it down for you. Social influencers are people (such as celebs, sports stars or just regular people) who have amassed a large and interactive following. Quite literally they are people who, through their social media accounts, influence others. You probably follow a ton of them (even if you don’t think you do). Kylie Jenner, Jen Selter, Paige Hathaway, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Snooki… They’re all Instagram influencers.
Want to reach as many people as possible on Instagram without buying actual ads? Influencers are your best bet. You may be asking yourself, “Well why not just buy an ad?” Great question! You can. But I know that I tend to scroll on by without a second thought when I see that “sponsored” tag on top of the photo, so influencers are key to the mix.
Enlisting the help of an influencer puts your product in the hands of someone that hundreds of thousands of people strive to be just like. And what do you do when you idolize someone? You go ahead and forfeit your own identity to be as similar to them as humanly possible. (Kidding, obviously…but you see what I’m saying.)
Since the impact of Instagram influencers is continuing to rise, I’m going to talk about some of the Do’s and Don’ts for brands of all sizes.
- DO make sure that the influencers you reach out to/decide to work with are brand cohesive. Is your product something they would post about if they had come across it on their own? Yes? Great, perfect fit! No? Move on. Followers will sense the lack of authenticity, which can actually harm your brand.
- DO let them put their own flair on it! When working with influencers, remember that they are popular because of their personality and the content they already produce. They know their audiences better than any brand will, so sending a canned line for them to post can backfire. (Right, Scott?)
- DO make sure you’re following the FTC Guidelines for posting ads or sponsored posts. ‘Nuff said.
- DO be prepared to pay. For a lot of these influencers, social media is their job and their main source of income, so unless you’re promising them a lot of product or some other incentive, cash is king.
- Don’t be that brand. You know what I’m talking about, the brand that reaches out to anyone and everyone that will listen (AKA will take free product collateral) and has approximately 9,934,261 “affiliates” with their “special 10% off codes” floating all over. It’s not genuine and it leaves a sour taste in consumers’ mouths.
- In the same breath – don’t work with that influencer. The one that has every other post “sponsored” by a different company. I can’t sit here and believe (and your consumers won’t either) that this woman has used 12 different teeth whitening sticks, four different face masks, nine “fit” teas and two protein powders in the last two weeks and “omg looooooved” every single one.
- Don’t base your choice off followers alone. Buying fake Instagram followers is a thing that happens more often than you think. Though Instagram does an occasional sweep of fake accounts, it takes about five minutes to buy them back. (Hint: check engagement on posts.) Partnering with someone who has fake followers costs brands time and money they can’t get back – for little to no actual influence.
So there you have it, your 7-minute lesson on influencers and how to use them to your advantage. Do you have a favorite influencer on Instagram? Comment and let us know who it is and why!