That sounds all well and good until it’s time to actually make your influencer marketing campaign come to life.
Where should you promote yourself? How do you connect with influencers, anyway?
First things first: you need expert content creators with a following on Instagram.
Why use Instagram for influencer marketing?
“But why should I focus on Instagram for my influencer marketing campaigns?” you might wonder. Aren’t other platforms, like YouTube or Facebook, more effective?
We’re all for promoting yourself on all of your branded social media, but when it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram should be your go-to.
The thing is, you can’t afford to overlook Instagram. We say that you should focus your influencer efforts almost entirely on this social media platform. The stats back us up:
79% of brands use Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns. If you aren’t promoting yourself on Instagram, chances are, your followers are already seeing posts from your competitors.
59% of influencers say Instagram is their platform of choice because engagement figures are much higher. So, if you aren’t on Instagram, you’ll have a harder time finding influencers with engaged followers who are ready to buy.
If it seems like a fit, send the influencer-to-be a DM through Instagram. Explain who you are, a little about your brand, and that you’re interested in a collab.
Here’s how it works in practice:
Your eCommerce business sells baking supplies.
You search for hashtags like #bakedgoods and #bakersofinstagram to find millions of accounts from people who are serious about baking.
From there, you browse through the images and check out accounts that catch your eye.
DM influencers who interest you and cross your fingers that they reply!
But keep in mind that a one-off DM isn’t a good way to start influencer relationships.
If you aren’t following each other, they won’t immediately see your DM in their inbox (it goes straight to their “Requests” section—ugh).
So, instead of sending cold DMs, you need to like and comment on a few of the influencer’s post first.
Basically, show them some love and let them know that you’ve taken the time to actually check out their profile.
They’ll receive notifications about your engagements, which will at least put you on their radar.
Finally, to be extra thorough, make sure you also look up their profile on Instagram’s mobile app. Most micro-influencers have a button on their profile where you can email them if a DM isn’t your thing.
2 - Search a database
We don’t love this option, but it’s a common one that brands use.
Some brands use influencer databases to quickly mine a large list of potential influencers to contact. Now, the database does allow you to narrow down your search, but you’re still manually looking through profiles to see if people are a fit.
In theory, this means that most of the results will be right on target.
They have no quality control, which means that a lot of junk ends up in the database as well—junk that you have to sort through.
Just like an old-fashioned gold mine, the trouble with mining a database is that you eventually run out of searches.
They’re not updated regularly, and only a small portion of the accounts will align with your brand.
Influencer databases are definitely a step up from just manually searching and DMing influencers yourself. But you’ll still have to sort through hundreds of accounts that aren’t a good fit, and you’ll likely pay for a ton of bad data, anyway.
3 - Set up an ambassador program
You can source more quality influencers by creating a formalized ambassador program for your company.
This sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple to set up:
Focus on what you have to offer. What do influencers want to receive in exchange for their work? What’s the benefit for them?
What do you need from your influencers? A post a month? A link in their bio? Make it super-clear what you need on your end of the relationship.
How will you compensate influencers? That might mean exclusive deals, priority access, or even a welcome kit to share with their Instagram followers. If you’re doing monetary compensation, is it per post, click, or some other metric?
The clearer and more attractive your program perks, the faster word will spread among influencers.
Before long, influencers will start flocking to you, significantly cutting down on manual searches.
One brand that’s had a lot of success with ambassadors is Diff Eyewear. They’ve invested the time and effort to create a robust and detailed program—and they’re crushing it on Instagram!
4 - Use a curated network like Trend
You’ve considered time-consuming manual searches, questionable and expensive databases, and formalized ambassador programs.
They’re all valid ways to source Instagram influencers, but they aren’t without their downsides. Fortunately, we’ve saved the best for last: Instagram influencer marketing platforms.
The Trend platform is a curated, invite-only network of content creators.
Frankly, it’s your best bet for quickly sourcing quality influencers without the hands-on management or questionable data you’d find in an influencer database.