Your Instagram Influencer Marketing Questions Answered

Anytime you open the app on your phone nowadays, it seems like everybody who’s anybody is trying to be an Instagram influencer. The influencer epidemic is so bad, some Instagrammers are faking partnerships to give themselves more credibility. That’s right, people are pretending to be paid by brands to post internet pictures about products so other internet people will like and follow them. Instagram influencers are so big, Netflix even has a show about them.

The benefits of achieving Instagram influencer status is easy to see for the Instagrammer: money, free stuff, lots of fake internet points. However, what does Instagram influencer marketing bring to the table for the other side of the partnership, the brands? To figure that out, check out our guide to understanding the basics of Instagram Influencer marketing:

Where did this come from?

Brands have been using influencers for decades as a way to gain traction with their target audience. From paying musicians to mention them in their songs to using the rock hard abs of Isaiah Mustafa to sell Old Spice, companies have been swaying our opinions with influencer marketing for ages. However, simply having a celebrity in your tv commercial isn’t cutting it anymore when people are spending an average of nearly 3 hours a day on social media. It was only natural that advertisers would shift their marketing tactics to one of the most popular platforms their audiences were spending time on: Instagram. However, despite the fact that over half of Instagrammers follow brands on the platform, brands needed a way to expand their reach, and influencers were the perfect medium to do so.

Who is an Instagram influencer?

Just like you learned in Economics 101 in college, there are two primary types of Instagram influencers: Micro and Macro.

Micro influencers typically have anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers and are often highly active at engaging with their fans. These types of Instagram influencers will typically build up a following around certain niches, such as fashion, beauty, travel, health and wellness, and even animals. These are the “normal” people you might unknowingly encounter in your day to day life.

In contrast, macro influencers are those big-name celebrities, artists, models, etc who have over 100,000 but likely millions of Instagram followers. These are the people who even your somewhat out-of-touch Aunt Mildred has probably heard of.

There are pros and cons to both types. Micro influencers provide a more authentic feel and the people who see the partnership post are more likely to be in your target audience. However, you have less control over what micro influencers post and it can be difficult to measure ROI. Macro influencers are significantly more expensive (think the cost of a new car or even new, large house) and many users inherently trust these brands promotions less than those of micro influencers. On the other hand, though, macro influencer partnerships offer brands much more control over what is posted and just what you’ll get out it. For many businesses and brands just starting out in the Instagram influencer sphere, micro is likely the best option with which to start.

How much does it cost?

If you’re trying to determine whether or not you want to delve into the world of Instagram influencer marketing, you’re most likely wondering what it’ll cost you. As we mentioned above, the two types of Instagram influencers vary in follower count and, therefore, price per post.

On average, if you’re looking to partner with a micro influencer, you can expect to pay around $75 to $1000 per post or story. Where the price falls depends primarily on who the influencer is, how many followers they have, and if they have a lot of experience doing paid partnerships with brands. On average, you’ll likely be paying about $250 per post for someone with around 10k followers.

For those big-name macro influencers, you’ll be forking out a big chunk of change per post. The price varies from $3,000 a post on the cheap side to a whopping reported $250,000 for annoyingly famous people like Kim Kardashian. While this is somewhat inexpensive compared to, say, a $5 million 30 second commercial spot during the Super Bowl, you do have to ask yourself, “Do my consumers really give $%@ what products the Kim Kardashians of the world use?” If the answer is yes, then it very well might be worth it.

What are the rules?

Big brother is always watching you, even on Instagram. The FTC has cracked down in recent years on ensuring consumers aren’t getting lied to or misled by Instagram influencer marketing partnerships. Celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Ellen DeGeneres got into hot water with warning letters from the FTC in 2018.

However, it’s not just the influencer who can be at risk when it comes to disclosing paid partnerships and endorsements on Instagram. The brands themselves can face potential legal repercussions if the influencer they’re partnering with doesn’t disclose that their being paid in some way.

While the rules are still a little murky, here are a few guidelines from the FTC on how to keep your Instagram influencer partnerships above the board:

  • Influencers should give an honest review of the product they’re being paid to endorse. If they absolutely hated it, they can’t fake being obsessed with it on Instagram to get their followers to buy it

  • If possible, influencers should use Instagram’s Branded Content tool on any posts.

  • If this feature is not available, the post or story should include a word or two stating that the post is #sponsored or part of a #paidpartnership or #ad. These disclaimers should be easy for the consumer to see, not buried deep down in the comments.

With these in mind, it’s wise for any brand to go over these guidelines from the get-go with any influencers before anything gets posted. Or, better yet, work with an agency (like us!) who has experience setting up these partnerships and is familiar with the rules.

Does it work?

With the influencer marketing industry expected to hit $10 billion by 2020, it’s clear to see more and more brands and business are jumping the on the bandwagon. However, the real question everyone is asking is, “Does it work?”

While the look, feel and price of Instagram influencer marketing is always changing, at its core, it is a modern example of the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing. A customer might not trust a message coming directly from a brand, but they’re more likely to connect with their favorite Instagrammer and be willing to try something out if they recommend it (even if they know it’s an ad). This is especially true when it comes to the impact of a micro influencer campaign.

Instagram partner posts unquestionably do well at generating engagement, but are they bringing home the bacon? While tracking exact ROI from an influencer campaign isn’t always clear cut, the numbers definitely back up that most brands are walking away from Instagram influencer partnerships with positive results. According to a 2017 study, 72% of Instagram users say they have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases as a result of seeing something on Instagram. Some studies even report brands can make an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.  

Long story short, Instagram influencer marketing works, but you might not always have hard numbers to show your exact ROI from a partnership.

Are they right for my brand?

So, by this point, you understand the basics of Instagram influencer marketing, but you’re likely wondering how to know if it’s right for your business or brand. Even if your a smaller, local business, you can benefit from partnering with a local “celebrity” or influencer who channels that ideal vibe your customers look for. Whether you own a cupcake shop downtown and want to get more people stopping by your shop or a nationwide shoe brand wanting to increase sales, there’s an Instagram influencer out there who has a direct line to your target audience.

Now that you’ve got the low-down on Instagram influencer marketing, it’s time to get in on the action. If you don’t have the time to find and coordinate influencer campaigns yourself, we’re here to help! Contact Matchstick Social today to learn how we can help you with all your brand’s social media needs.

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Matchstick Social is a social marketing + advertising firm headquartered in Charleston, SC with a satellite office in Oklahoma City, OK. Matchstick specializes in social media marketing, optimized social advertising, effective measurement of social initiatives and helping start-ups gain social currency by establishing their digital brands.