Influencer Marketing: What Is It and Why Your Business Needs It

If you’ve spent even a few minutes on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ve come across an influencer post. Once a small space with just a few key players, influencer marketing on is on pace to become an $8 billion dollar industry in 2020.

And when it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram is by far the best performing platform for brands to reach new audiences quickly. 

It’s also the best channel for social action — with an average 3.21% engagement rate compared to 1.5% across all social networks, Instagram users are more likely to comment, like, and share the content they consume.

 Instagram Influencer Marketing

People who have built a large and engaged following on Instagram are known as ‘influencers’, due to the fact that their followers idolise them and respect their opinions. They may have acquired a loyal following due to their lifestyle, their job or hobby, the clothes they wear or the stories they tell.

The pool of influencers is vast and diverse, meaning almost any brand has the potential to utilise Instagram influencer marketing for their industry and target demographic. 

The emergence of Instagram influencers opened up huge opportunities for businesses looking to authentically market their products to their target audience, and thus the ‘paid post’ phenomenon was born.

In the early days, it might have been enough for a brand to send an influencer one of their products as a gift, in return for them posting about it on their profile. But this changed with the rapid growth of the space, as influencers realised they could not only gain free products, but actually charge brands for grid real estate on their profile.

 Why Instagram Influencer Marketing Works

Influencer marketing allows brands to reach their target audience in a way that feels far more genuine than traditional advertising.

Rather than businesses selling directly to consumers, they are building relationships with influencers who can sell for them. Instagram influencers have a strong and loyal relationship with their followers, as they share many aspects of their lives with them. This leads us to feel like we know them personally, so when an influencer we like recommends something, we listen as we would if it were a friend.

For example, if you follow a travel blogger for their beautiful photos or funny captions, and they post about an airplane pillow that gave them the best night’s sleep on a long haul flight, you’re more inclined to remember the brand and buy it for your next holiday because you like and trust them. Makes sense, right?

With 800 million active users, Instagram has become the platform of choice for influencer marketing. 72% of users said they have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on the app, proving its power in the digital marketing landscape of 2020.

How Much Does Instagram Influencer Marketing Actually Cost?

It’s one of the biggest questions in the industry and it all comes down to who you want to partner with and the size of the project.

In the earliest days of influencer marketing, rising social stars would take on brand partnerships in exchange for free product.

While there are many micro-influencers still willing to exchange free products for promotion space on their profile, today’s biggest Instagram influencers are charging major bucks to create posts for brands as their accounts have become their main source of income.

In fact, some influencers report charging as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post!

There’s no question social media influencers have become an indispensable asset for brand campaigns, especially on Instagram.

But how do you come up with a fair price when there are so many factors to consider, like the scale and scope of the partnership or the number of sponsored posts and stories you require?

If you want to work with influencers in the 100k+ range, you may have to pay a pretty penny for your posts. In fact, we spoke with several large influencers and a rate of $1,000 seemed to be the average price per single Instagram post, while rates for additional services varied.

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, tend to charge closer to $300 per Instagram post, and nano-influencers charge even less.

And while cash is the most desired form of payment, in-kind campaigns can still be a meaningful exchange.

Collectively reported that “54% of influencers say they would be more likely to post in-kind, or in exchange for free product, if they’re a true fan of the product or brand.”

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much Instagram influencer marketing costs, and there are a variety of factors involved that go well beyond an Instagram influencer’s number of followers.

How To Work With Influencers On Instagram

If you decide that Instagram influencer marketing is the right step for your business, the first thing to do is set your budget. It’s an expensive game, and with influencers charging per post and for Stories, a whole campaign can set you back a long way.

With a smaller budget, you will be looking for micro influencers to promote your brand. These are influencers with a relatively smaller following (1,000 – 10,000) but who have a high engagement rate on their posts.

It is a far more cost effective option for smaller businesses, and micro influencers can have a great deal of influence over a specific audience. On a larger budget, you can think about bigger influencers, but try not to be fooled by vanity metrics such as number of followers and focus predominantly on engagement rate.

Successful Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, you can start looking for campaigns executed by other brands for some inspiration.

Here are a few perfectly-executed campaigns that you can model yours after:

Alpro and Kate Spiers

Alpro wanted to promote their yogurt alternative products and partnered with model Kate Spiers. The influencer regularly creates content related to fashion, style, food, and lifestyle. She has created a lot of sponsored posts for other brands to match her fresh and delicate Instagram aesthetic.

Alpro adds elements such as pink flowers and table linen to maintain consistency with her usual Instagram timeline. She also took care to mention a quick recipe of the breakfast she’s having, which implements the Alpro product.

Glossier and GlamOnGlam

Glossier is known for partnering with micro-influencers, and turning everyday consumers into loyal brand ambassadors. One of the micro-influencers they’ve partnered with is Instagram user GlamOnGlam, who has close to 5,500 followers. She regularly creates posts in which she showcases Glossier products and talks about them.

In the following post, she talked about the latest sunscreen produced by the brand. She gave a brief one-line review of the product, and talked about how it’s lightweight and serum-like. She also invited her followers to use the link in her bio to get 20% off on the product.

Read also: