by Liesha Petrovich | Featured Contributor
You see other women killing it on Instagram and other social media platforms. They make it look effortless. But somehow you never quite achieve their success.
It’s time to up your Instagram game and find an influencer.
In mid 2015, Madewell, a women’s clothing company partnered with lifestyle vlogger Stephanie Sterjovski and fashion blogger Bethany Marie to spread the word about their signature tote. Bethany posted this short blurb on her Instagram feed:
Stephanie and Bethany’s followers include lots of young women passionate about the latest fashion trends. Their posts got viral with thousands of likes and comments. In all, Madewell was able to reach over one million targeted users through this influencer marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing is emerging to be one of the most effective ways to build visibility and following for your business. Like celebrity endorsements, this strategy makes use of social media influencers to market to your customers. The difference is that influencer marketing does not have to be expensive and can be customized to fit your budget.
How to Find an Influencer
The right influencer needs to align with the brand on the following three factors:
- Their followers are prospective buyers of your product
- The influencer’s brand values align with your own
- The influencer’s social media feed should see active engagement from their followers
In Bethany’s case, her followers were of the exact demographic that Madewell was after. A significant chunk of her submissions are related to the latest fashion gear and this is the sort of brand value that the business was after. Lastly, each of her posts receives thousands of likes and comments which indicate high engagement rate.
Finding the right influencer is perhaps the most challenging aspect of influencer marketing. There are a number of third-party tools like Ninja Outreach and Snapfluence that can help you discover influencers who cater to your demographic.
Negotiating a Deal
It is fair to say that unless an influencer is a complete fan of your products, they may expect to be monetarily compensated for helping you with promotions. According to some estimates, it can cost anywhere between $500 to $50,000 for an Instagram post depending on the audience size. This makes influencer marketing attractive to businesses of all sizes. As a small business entrepreneur, it is easy to find influencers who fit your specific budget range.
Influencer marketing does not always have to involve money changing hands. Barters are an extremely common and equally effective alternative. If you are a woman selling fashion handbags, you could tie up with a company that sells dresses for women to cross-promote your products. This is of course only possible if you enjoy a great following for your brand on Instagram.
Establishing a Successful Strategy
There are two ways to execute an influencer marketing campaign. You may either choose to execute dozens of influencer marketing campaigns at the same time. The idea behind this is to make sure that your target group is exposed to your marketing message multiple times within a short duration of time. This is an extremely effective strategy for promotional offers.
The alternate strategy is to space out your campaigns over the duration of a month or two. This is handy for brand building since your target group is exposed to your brand several times over a month.
Upping Your Instagram Game
Both these strategies have their own pros and cons. One distinct advantage of spacing out your campaign is it allows your business to measure campaign performance after every round. This way, you could tweak future campaigns based on the lessons learned. Also, executing dozens of campaigns at once does not help with brand recall and usually invites an audience who are more interested in the promotional offer rather than the brand value.
Instagram is among the top three social networks in the United States and many other countries in the world. Tying up with influencers on this platform is one of the most effective strategies to build a brand and reach your target users.
Liesha’s a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night. Liesha’s the author of Killing Rapunzel: Learning How to Save Yourself Through Determination, Grit, and Self-Employment (her mother hates the title – but it’s a metaphor mom!). She talks freelancing adventures at Microbusiness Essentials and grassroots movements at Kat Tales.