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Influencer marketing 101: driving results for your brand or business

Following last month's look into #byeinstagramlikes, this month we're diving into influencer marketing on Instagram. In the relatively short time its been around, the influencer marketing space has grown into a billion-dollar industry. But for businesses and brands new to this form of marketing, understanding how it works and focusing on the right areas can be confusing to say the least. 

In this article, we're going to go over a few ways that your business could work with Instagram influencers. But before that, here's a little insight into how it all works. 

What is influencer marketing? 
When you leverage someone's social media following to promote your product or service. It's becoming a popular form of advertising because it gives marketers the opportunity to align themselves with people who fit their target audience. And the results companies are getting can range from impressions and engagement to awareness and measurable sales. 

One reason brands are choosing influencer marketing is because, especially on Instagram, they're able to get in front of younger, more receptive audiences. Recently, brands such as Motueka Creamery were able to launch their product in front of over 170,000 people, while Swarovski was seen on Instagram stories over 60,000 times during the buildup to the opening of their Christchurch store.  

Are there different kinds of influencers? 
Absolutely. Currently, influencers can be grouped into four types that correlate to the number of followers they have:

- Mega-influencers (+1mn followers) 
- Macro-influencers (10k-100k)
- Micro-influencers (1k-10k)
- Nano-influencers (<1k)

On the upper end of the scale, we’re talking globally-recognised celebrities. But on the smaller end, a nano-influencer could be someone you know personally.

How much does it cost?
This one varies depending on the kind of influencer you want to work with and the partnership you want to create. On the smaller end, influencers may be happy with free products. However, it’s more common for influencers to charge between $250-$1000 depending on their following and the level of engagement they receive.

 How can influencers market product and services?

- Increasing brand awareness. This one is key for any business, but it can be especially difficult to create brand awareness when you’re just starting out. But by partnering with influencers, it’s possible to increase your following when your social channels are getting off the ground by getting your brand in front of established audiences. 

- Driving sales. Similar to creating brand awareness, if you sell a product that can be easily captured on camera it’s possible to drive sales by having influencers promote it with unique discount codes. Using unique discount codes for different influencers also lets you track the success of your campaigns and discover where you’re getting the most ROI.

- Building hype around product launches. By giving influencers access to your product or service before its launch, it’s possible to build excitement with a far larger audience than if you’d posted on your social channels alone. Another advantage that comes with this is that engaged audiences consider influencer posts as genuine recommendations as opposed to branded posts; something that can create a deeper connection because it comes from a person rather than a company.

What should you look out for 

- Followers vs. engagement. It's important to consider the outcome you want from your campaign; because while influencers with lots of followers can place your brand in front of more people, it’s the smaller influencers (micro and nano) that see the most engagement.

Since Instagram has removed the number of likes, getting a true understanding of stats and engagement rates is much harder.  Here at Plato, we're able to compare audience sizes and statistics to help you find the most suitable influencers to amplify your brand messaging. 

-Fake accounts. Vetting any influencer is essential before signing up for a partnership. Checking their number of followers, the rate at which they’ve gained their followers and the content they’ve posted in the past can give you an idea of their values and their influence.If you’re unsure at all, we can run audits and liaise with specialists to provide a selection of recommended, reliable influencers.

- Proper disclosure. Since influencer marketing has taken off, advertising standards have had to catch up. They are especially important on a platform like Instagram because its greatest levels of engagement come from its youngest audiences; so, with any paid partnership, influencers have to let people know about the relationship. It can be as simple as a tagging #promoted, #sponsored or #ad, and research has shown that this can actually improve the legitimacy of campaigns. 

- Getting the audience right. Influencers will amplify your brand messaging and, to an extent, they need to be able to represent your brand’s values and mission. Choosing a suitable option isn't an easy task, but here at Plato we’re experts in using customer data to drive results. We can help you understand their tone of voice, most engaged followers and which buyer personas you can target to get a great ROI.

Is influencer marketing something that Plato offers? 

To put it simply, yes! We’re currently working with influencers for a number of our clients so watch this space.

If partnering with the right influencer to promote your brand is something you’re considering, feel free to get in touch. We're more than happy to chat about ways you can increase your following on social, lift sales and raise awareness. 

Published: 30 Sep 2019