Perhaps a quick scroll through your Instagram feed will uncover the growing number of sponsored advertisements and brand endorsements that companies are now using to advertise their products, particularly involving ‘influencers’ such as YouTubers.
According to Brandwatch (2016), consumer engagement with brands through Instagram is 10x higher than Facebook. It’s not surprising that the amount of brands found on Instagram is expected to rise to as high as 71% in 2017! Click here for more Instagram stats
Influencers have become a platform for companies to increase their Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) to potential new consumers, increasing their customer acquisition in arguably the most effective way. The reason it is so successful is due to people’s tendencies to really value a company or product referral, from what they deem a reliable source (Lee & Youn, 2009).
How do businesses find an appropriate influencer?
Endorsement marketing is all about finding the right person that links your product to your desired target market (Li, Lee & Lien, 2012). Without this, eWOM will not spread as effectively as it has the potential to and maybe even to the wrong audience. Research is a key element to success in order to find the right influencer for you and your brand.
Influencers are being bombarded with offers to endorse products. It is increasingly important for a relationship to be built with the influencer first (Cramer, 2015), so that they are more likely to accept your offer and also be convincing to their audience when reviewing it!
The main advantage of using influencers to spread eWOM is the fact that the ‘online community’ that companies often strive to achieve, has already been created by the influencer (Morton et al. 2015). Building a community through social media is in itself quite a tricky task and takes time, so it is easy to see why companies benefit so much from this shortcut strategy.
Perhaps the main thing to be aware of however, is the power and effect an influencer can have on your business if a negative review is posted. According to Balaji, Khong & Chong (2015) the spread of negative word of mouth can severely affect a brands image and could escalate to brand dilution.
There are many online resources which help companies to find appropriate influencers for their brand. Read the Top 15 Instagram Influencer Marketing Platforms to help with your search.
Creating the Instagram post – 3 top tips!
Once you have found an appropriate influencer to work with, here are three top tips that will help make your instagram post stand out.
- Use an engaging photo
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, it is essential that yours gives the right message. In the example below, the product is clear for the audience to see and shows the influencers (Sacconejoly’s) connecting with the product. This will encourage consumers to like/comment on the post, helping to spread the image further through the social network site (Carah & Shaul, 2016) having a positive effect on engagement and brand awareness.
For more tips on selecting the right photo click here
2. Linking back to your brands Instagram account
This is important as it encourages consumers to click onto your Instagram account, increasing traffic to your profile and can be incorporated with a call-to-action e.g. with Maybelline’s example below. It encourages the response of the consumer to find out more about the product by clicking on the brand name. CTA’s are seen as successful if they cause conversion from the consumer (Smith, 2015).
3. Offering special discounts
A popular option for brands is to offer a discount that you can receive from quoting the influencers code when purchasing the product from the company’s website. This really helps to boost sales of a particular product and is a great opportunity to spread eWOM, by offering incentives to the consumer through a reliable source (Barker, 2016). See the example below where Mapiful took advantage of Valentine’s Day, by creating a discount to promote through Anna Saccone’s Instagram.
Paine (2011) emphasises the importance of measuring ROI in a social context, not just the volume of items sold. This therefore offers a huge advantage to the business, as it allows direct measurement of how many people used this unique code to purchase from, a really easy way to measure ROI.
- Instagram is a great platform for businesses to use influencers to market their products.
- With the exception that negative eWOM can have a lasting effect on your business.
- Make sure you do your research beforehand!
- The Instagram post itself needs to be engaging and really capture people’s attention to achieve ROI.
Balaji, M.S., Khong, K.W. & Chong, A.Y.L. (2016) Determinants of negative word-of-mouth communication using social networking sites, Information & Management, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 528-540.
Barker, S (2016) 4 Successful Influencer Campaigns You Can Model. Social Media Examiner. 25 July 2016. [online] <http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-successful-influencer-campaigns-you-can-model/> [accessed 18 February 2017]
Brandwatch (2016) 37 Instagram Statistics for 2016. [online] <https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/37-instagram-stats-2016/> [accessed 21 February 2017]
Carah, N. & Shaul, M., (2016) Brands and Instagram: Point, tap, swipe, glance. Mobile Media & Communication, Vol. 4, no. 1, pp.69-84.
Cramer, T. (2015) Online Influencers: The New Word-of-Mouth, ONLINE INC, WILTON.
Lee, M. and Youn, S., (2009) Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) How eWOM platforms influence consumer product judgement. International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp.473-499.
Li, Y., Lee, Y. & Lien, N. (2012) Online Social Advertising via Influential Endorsers, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 119-154.
Morton, F., Treviño, T. & Sepúlveda, C. (2015) Let’s make them talk: An exploratory study on word of mouth and social media, Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 80-94.
Paine, K.D. (2011) Measuring the real ROI of social media, Communication World, [Online], vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 20.
Smith, J. (2015) The power of the Call to Action & how its strength boosts conversions. Marketing Land. 15 October 2015. [online] <http://marketingland.com/power-call-action-strength-boosts-conversions-145845> [accessed 18 February 2017]