Instagram is a popular and ever growing social media platform where individuals share photos and videos from a smartphone. Instagram is consistently growing with over 800 million active monthly users as of September 2017 up from 600 million 9 months earlier in December 2016 (Statista, 2018).
Not only does Instagram have a substantial user-base, the users are also engaged. According to Hubspot (2016) more than half (51%) of users visit Instagram daily with 35% of users saying they use the platform multiple times a day. Brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter (Brandwatch, 2016) hence why Instagram should be a focused platform.
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market (Tapinfluence, 2015). This is usually performed via the use of social media. According to Long (2017) there is mounting evidence that done correctly, influencers can drive sales far more effectively than traditional advertising. Long states that influencer marketing allows brands to connect with their audience in a more organic way.
Social networks, according to Sproutsocial (2011) influences 74% of consumers’ buying decisions and with the popularity of social media platforms ever growing, that figure is expected to be higher to-date. This appears to support a 2015 case study by Tapinfluence’s and Nielsen Catalina Solutions that influencer content generates return on investment (ROI) that is 11 times greater that traditional campaigns. A 2015 study by AdWeek showed a return of $6.85 for every $1.00 of paid media, further stating “food and fashion are the best markets for influencers.” (AdWeek, 2015).
Social Media Influencers
Social media influencers can be any credible individual with a great following within a niche or platform (Izea, 2017) an example, and most frequent, are: YouTubers, Bloggers, Celebrities, and those considered ‘InstaFamous’.
Before reaching out to a social media influencer it’s important to consider the “Rs of influence” (Newberry, 2016). Relevance, the influencer is sharing content and developing a relationship with a particular target audience. Reach, the number of people the influencer can potentially reach through their promotion. Resonance, the potential level of engagement the influencer can create with their audience that is valuable to the brand.
Popular influencers within the fashion industry are able to make a living off of representing big-name brands. Chiara Ferragni is an Italian fashion businessperson, frequently collaborating with high-end fashion brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Michael Kors.
Brands partner with such influencers as it offers a wide amount of exposure, Chiara has an Instagram following of 11.4 million, an average advertising post receives 300,000+ likes with many more that would have seen the post. This exposure will not only represent the product/clothes which Chiara is wearing but also the brand itself.
Other luxury fashion brands such as Jimmy Choo partner with fashion bloggers such as Lizzyu that are known for being cutting edge in the industry, they hold a yearly #ChooTravels event where they allow their influencers to post related content as their own, further expanding brand reach.
How to successfully use social media influencers
Though there are many pros and cons with social media marketing, using influencers gets results quick as millennials are completed integrated into the tech world making social media platforms a prime opportunity for marketers to reach them (Rohampton, 2017). Rohampton suggest that there are a few key steps to take into consideration in order to excel results:
- Know your target market: You need to target small groups of people rather than aimlessly advertising your products, this will allow for clearer and sharper messages by targeting towards specific groups.
- Start with the end in mind: Before starting any campaign, having the end in mind is beneficial. What is it that you’re looking to achieve from the campaign? Is it audience reach, views, engagement, sales? Tracking the variable with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and having this is mind throughout will assist you with budget management and allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.
- Ensure the influencer is a good fit: Arguably one of the most important elements, failure to pick the correct influencer may do more harm than good to your brand. Before hiring an influencer start thinking about your campaign, make sure that he or she is perfect fit for your product and brand; platforms such as PromoAffilates connects brands with suitable influencers. It’s not always about the big names, not only do big name influencers tend to cost more, sometimes slightly smaller social influencers have a more engaged and proactive audience.
- Give influencers creative control: Social media influencers did not coincidentally build a large and engaged following, they know what their audience wants and are experts of their followers’ needs (Steinberg, 2016).
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