We are all inundated with ads everywhere. I don’t even have to state examples. Everywhere you look, you see an ad. These ads do make a point but they also annoy you. Advertisements does influence you to make purchase decisions but what is the recommendations from our peers is the ultimate decision maker. Think about the last time you made a valuable purchase. A smart TV, an expensive gadget, a car or the last time you tried out an e-commerce portal or a new service. Think about the last time you were skeptical about a movie. To finally consider a purchase, you may have asked for recommendations or suggestions from the most trusted peers. Your purchase decision is a combination of your likes and the expert opinion that you relied on.
Online influence works the same way. The people who have the ability to influence others’ decisions are influencers. They are followed and valued for their expert opinion and who they really are. They connect with their audiences because they share the same opinion, thoughts and ideas.
When brands associate with influencers, they indirectly reach out to a captive audience who pays attention to what their influencer shares. In my previous post about Influence Marketing, I busted some myths. In this post, I talk about how influencers can be used to propagate a brand on Instagram
Influencers on Instagram help brands steer conversations to desired outcomes and they inspire, motivate and amaze their crowd – which is exactly what the brands hope to achieve on Instagram.
How Instagram Influencers Can Help Brands
- Influencers bring in their audience and their audience network
- They can help brands understand & grow their audience
- They can help brands plan, prepare or test content
- They can proactively steer positive conversations to desired outcomes
Finding the Right Influencers
- Authentic Reach: Verify authentic reach. Many instagrammers have a huge number of followers. But when you compare them to the interactions that they receive, it’s negligible. Number of followers may be deceptive. Also check for consistency in the likes that a profile gets. If an instagrammer has 50,000 followers and gets an average of 1K-2K likes per picture it’s a healthy mix depending on the content shared. However if an instagrammer has 30,000 followers and gets only about 100 likes in some images and 5000 likes in some other pictures, it’s definitely doubious and you should double check their reach numbers
- Engaged Reach: It is important to define the influencer’s ability to speak to the audience a brand wishes to target. Reach is of no use if there’s no engagement. Imagine a fashion blogger who has no inclination towards cooking talking about a home appliance; or a food blogger giving out fashion advice. A fashion blogger is followed by individuals looking for fashion advice and not information about a home appliance. Similarly the food blogger’s followers will appreaciate content about food and not fashion
- Measurement of Reach: Compare the reach with the impact created. An influencer with lesser number of followers might generate more engagement due to the quality of his/her pictures. Great numbers don’t signify good reach
- Content: Content created by influencer should be relevant to the audience that follow them and also the brand
- Authority: Since they have expertise in their field, their word is authority. Their audience take their word – whether positive or negative
- Relationship: Influencers develop their relationship with the brand through their long term association with the brand
The content created by influencers should be relevant only then will it resonate with the audience and that will lead to more engagement along with branded cconversation.
The proven ability of an influencer to convert their followers on a brand’s objectives delivers measurable return-on-investment. It is often quantified by cost-per-acquisition, app installs and e-commerce purchases . The ROI can be changed as per the brand’s objectives
How to Reach out to Influencers:
- Get to know the influencer: Before reaching out to the influencer, study their profiles and get a feel of their personality. It is important to understand if the influencer will be keen on using the product. A teetotaler cannot be asked to market a liquor brand.
- Interact: Leave a comment on their pictures and ask for their email ids. Often instagrammers share their email ids on their bios
- Reach & Exposure: Calculate the reach that the campaign has achieved and what kind of exposure did it receive over all. How did influencer fare against each other? Who gave the brand maximum traction and who gave the best content? What was the audiences’ response? These all need to be factored in. Reach is not just a number in the excel sheet but qualitative reach is what needs to be focused on
- Sentiment: Check if there’s a positive change in sentiment of the users towards the brand
- Engagement Rate: Evaluate if the engagement rate has changed for brand
A lot can be done on Instagram with the help of right influencers. The key is to evaluate the activity make amends mid-way if needed and continue to work with same or more influencers. Transactional approach will never reap benefits in the long term. To build a long lasting relationship, the brand must sustain activities through constant engagement.