The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Influencer Marketing in 2021
In 2021 Instagram influencer marketing has emerged as one of the most authentic strategies for taking your business to the zenith. With stacks of proven results and plenty of giddy business and brand owners—Instagram Influencer Marketing hasn’t been a disappointment.
So, what’s all the hype?
Instagram influencer marketing allows you to leverage user-generated content (UGC) and effortlessly increase brand awareness, drive significant sales, and grow your follower base. With influencer marketing, you can “hijack” word-of-mouth advertising and use it to reach people in the most genuine way possible: through the recommendation of a highly esteemed friend.
So, how effective are Influencer marketing and user-generated content?
- According to DataBox, for every $1 a brand spends on influencer marketing they make an average of $5.78.
- According to Stackla, 79% of people say that UGC has had a heavy effect on their purchase decisions.
- Word-of-mouth advertising generates double the sales that paid advertising produces.
- 74% of people rely on social media when choosing what to purchase.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
So, how can you get in on the action and take advantage of this powerful marketing strategy for your brand? And what are the actual steps you need to take to work with these influencers?
This article will explain every need-to-know detail about influencer marketing.
- The basics of influencer marketing…
- Why Instagram influencer marketing is SO awesome…
- The three types of campaigns we can help you run (based on TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU goals)…
- How you can get started yourself (if you don’t want our help)…
- How to find the right influencers for your business…
- What to expect for cost…
- How to negotiate a fair price with influencers once you find them…
- How to properly disclose sponsored posts…
- Tips for how to track the success of your campaigns…
- …and much more…
So, let’s get started…
“What is influencer marketing and why does your business need it?”
*Note: Wondering how to get started? Try using our powerful network of influencers like Kevin Hart and Cardi B. to run a promotion for your brand! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
- Influencer Marketing: The Basics
- What is Influencer Marketing?
- What makes Influencer marketing so effective?
- Influencer Marketing Campaigns For Different Stages Of Your Funnel
- Authenticity and consistency are key
- How much does Instagram Influencer Marketing Cost?
- Why use Instagram for influencer marketing?
- How to find the right influencers
- How small businesses can leverage Instagram influencer marketing with micro-and nano-influencers
- What exactly are micro-influencers and nano-influencers?
- How to track the success of your Instagram Influencer marketing strategy
Influencer Marketing: The Basics
Instagram is full of fun and exciting content—but it also harbors the highest engagement rates among all the social media platforms. In fact, Instagram users typically engage at a ratio of 29.67 (per post, per 1,000 followers). In contrast, its sister (Facebook) comes in at only 16.54 engagements per 1000 followers.
If you’ve spent even a few minutes on Instagram, there’s an excellent chance you’ve come across an influencer post without even realizing it. That’s because sponsored influencer posts on Instagram often look and feel extremely natural and authentic.
Wait a minute… Did you just hear us correctly?
“An advertisement that feels completely natural and authentic.“
Sounds nuts, doesn’t it. But the answer is,
“Yes. That’s exactly what we said.”
Because that’s what you’re about to learn. So, keep reading.
*Note: Want to run an EXPLOSIVE Influencer Marketing Growth Campaign? We can get you thousands of followers organically in just 7-days! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is an advertising strategy that uses key thought leaders, famous people, and subject matter (niche) experts to drive an authentic message for your brand to a broader audience. Instead of marketing directly to a large group of consumers—you inspire, hire, or pay influencers to spread the word about you or your brand.
Effective campaigns can be created for any level of the funnel and based on whatever your goals are. Whether it’s exposure, credibility, new collaborations, growing a targeted following—or even generating sales—there’s an influencer and a campaign that’s just right for you.
Before we dive into how to do Instagram influencer marketing, what makes this strategy so effective?
What makes Influencer marketing so effective?
Instagram influencer marketing removes the barriers faced by traditional advertising by introducing your brand to people through a trusted source on an authentic and casual platform. When an influencer recommends a product or service on their channel, their suggestion feels a lot like helpful advice from a close friend.
This can be incredibly advantageous to your brand because it bypasses the automatic “IGNORE” response most people have to regular “interruption-based” (paid) ads. Plus, you can target the right kind of audience with Influencer marketing by partnering with influencers who have the most relevant following to your brand.
*Don’t know how to find the right influencers? Use our powerful network of famous influencers and A-list celebrities! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
Why use Instagram for influencer marketing?
Here are a few reasons you may want to market through Instagram influencers:
1. Massive reach
Instagram is the second most popular social media platform after Facebook. According to Adspresso, Instagram is home to over 1 Billion users in virtually every niche. That means, no matter what you’re all about or what products you’re selling—there’s likely to be an influencer with a similar worldview and lots of followers who are ecstatic to meet you!
2. High engagement rate
With all the fun photos, Instagram stories, IGTV series, and Reels—Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms. It keeps people scrolling and liking and scrolling and commenting for longer than any other platform—with an engagement ratio of 29.67 per post, per 1,000 Instagram followers.
3. It feels natural
Who likes to be sold to? You probably don’t—and you can’t expect other people to like it either. But with Instagram influencer marketing—it doesn’t feel like selling.
If you run your promotion with the RIGHT influencers—your campaign will come off as completely natural. You can achieve this by choosing influencers who are either already a fan of your brand—or who love similar brands and naturally value what you have to offer.
4. It builds trust
What happens when your best friend introduces you to someone new?
There’s an added layer of trust that wouldn’t exist if you’d randomly met the same person at the grocery store. Essentially, that’s what you’re doing with your influencer’s audience. You’re getting the “in’s” to your influencer’s crowd.
When you run a sponsored influencer campaign, you have a chance to become one of the pack. You have an opportunity to be accepted as “one of them.” And you’ll be seen as a truly authentic and genuine brand that views the world the same way they do. And that’s powerful advertising.
5. User-generated content (UGC)
According to a report by Smart Brief, 50% of millennials trust UGC more than any other type of marketing material. In fact, UGC overpowers pretty much every other kind of advertising. Just check out these statistics:
- 92% of consumers turn to referrals from people they know when making a purchasing decision.
- 90% of people say authenticity is important when deciding which brands to like and support.
- 79% of people say that UGC has highly impacted their purchasing decisions.
If you’re interested in running advertising campaigns that get real results—then, that’s more than enough evidence to start taking Instagram influencer marketing seriously.
6. Influencers’ choice
Influencers love Instagram! It’s become the best platform for executing your influencer marketing campaign. 89% of people who use the platform for their business claim that it’s the most effective venue to engage with their target audience.
Influencer Marketing Campaigns For Different Stages Of Your Funnel
The type of Influencer campaign you decide to run should be based on your goals. For instance:
- If your goal is Exposure and Brand Awareness—you may want to run a celebrity-endorsed campaign that hits a broader audience and gains your account a lot of credibility and exposure.
However, if you have middle or bottom-of-the-funnel goals like engagement or sales—you may want to choose a different approach.
At Social Sensei, we have a variety of campaigns and an enormous influencer network with accounts of virtually every size and in most niches.
Here are a few of the options we offer based on your goals.
1. Top-of-the-Funnel (Thousands of followers, Exposure + Credibility)
Using a General Instagram Loop Giveaway is great to:
- Gain thousands of followers in just days
- Become associated with famous A-list celebrities
- Build social proof
- Get tons of exposure
- Drive thousands and thousands of eyes to your account
- It’s not the most targeted option available
- You don’t have control over the creatives
- Less control over the campaign
Here’s how it works:
We run what’s called an Instagram Loop Giveaway to promote your account to millions of people at once. These promotions are run through some of the biggest names in social media like Kevin Hart, Nikki Minaj, Cardi B., Snoop Dogg, and many others.
The General Instagram Loop Giveaway strategy is extremely cost-effective because we pool your account together with a list of other accounts. This makes it possible for you to access promotions that could cost you over $50K if you were to run it yourself. But instead, you get access at just a tiny fraction of the cost.
If you want thousands of real followers for an affordable price, tons of brand exposure, and a boost in credibility—check out our General Instagram Loop Giveaways by clicking the link: Safely Gain Thousands Of Real Followers In Just Days!
However, if you need more targeted followers from a loop campaign, you might want to check out this next strategy:
2. Middle/Bottom-of-the-Funnel [Targeted Influencer Marketing]
When using a Targeted Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaign you can:
- Target by Age, Gender, Location, and even Interests
- Customize creatives as you work directly with relevant influencers in your niche
- Have more control over your campaign
- Create a more authentic connection with your audience
- This option may cost more
- Reach is not as broad
- You’ll gain fewer followers per campaign
Here’s how it works:
When you sign up, we get a brief from you with information about your brand and audience. We then use your brief to match you to influencers in your niche from our powerful network.
Your success manager will work with you and the influencer to get the campaign set up for success. You’ll approve the creatives before they’re ever posted!
Our Targeted Influencer Campaigns offer a nice balance between targeting and reach—making it a great option for middle to bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns.
To find out more about our Targeted Influencer Campaigns, just click here: Start Gaining Targeted Instagram Followers Now!
Need to hit those bottom-of-the-funnel goals—like sales?
Well, there’s one more option just for brands who are looking to close the deal on Instagram. Here’s a glimpse of our Micro-influencer/Creator Marketing campaigns:
3. Bottom-of-the-Funnel [Creator/Micro-influencer Marketing]
These are our most targeted campaigns. We work directly with micro-influencers who are hyper-targeted to your niche for the specific purpose of creating sales and ROI.
With our Micro-influencer campaigns, you can expect:
- A hyper-targeted approach
- Extremely authentic influencers to promote your brand
- To connect on a deep level with the audience
- Powerful promotional campaigns for your products
- Paid user-generated content that looks extremely natural and sells
- Reach is the MOST limited with these campaigns
- Getting thousands of followers is NOT the goal
- We cannot guarantee your results on these campaigns
If creating an authentic bond with a Hyper-Targeted approach is what you need, just click here to sign up: Create Sales With Creator Marketing Campaigns!
So, what about if you’re going to wing it and run your own campaign?
If you’re that person who wants to pull up their bootstraps and dive into this yourself—here are some things you should know, as well as some great advice and tools to help you get there.
Authenticity and consistency are key
When an influencer becomes well-known within a niche market (i.e., cruelty-free cosmetics or vegan workout supplements), their followers already respect the influencer as an authority figure on their chosen topic. They have grown to trust and accept their recommendations.
When this happens, it’s an opportunity for brands who match their niche and worldview to collaborate and break into those audiences in an effortless and natural way. The influencer’s voice, the clothes they wear, and the breakfast they eat can all become powerful advertisements—driving sales and creating new trust and relationships with a brand.
How much does Instagram Influencer Marketing Cost?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the industry. The answer comes down to the size of the project and who you want to partner with.
Gone are the days when rising social stars would take on brand partnerships in exchange for a few free products. And while there still may be a few micro-influencers willing to exchange space on their profile for free stuff—most influencers charge far more than a free ice cream cone to create a post.
*Dominate influencer marketing with the #1 Influencer Marketing Agency in the world—Social Sensei! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
In fact, for many influencers today—their accounts have become their primary source of income. Today’s influencers reportedly say they’re charging as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post. But it really depends on what the influencer will agree to.
How do you come up with a fair price for Influencer Marketing?
There are a few things you’ll want to take into account when trying to come up with a fair price for your campaign. You can use these as a benchmark when you’re negotiating the terms with your influencers.
Ask yourself these questions when deciding how much to pay an influencer:
1. How many followers do they currently have?
The biggest factor in deciding price is usually the number of followers an influencer has. Here are the typical prices for influencers based on follower count:
- Nano-influencer — 5K–10K. Cost per post: $300–$500
- Micro-influencer — 10K–50K. Cost per post: $500–$1,000
- Mid-influencer — 50K–100K. Cost per post: $1,000–$1,500
- Macro-influencer — 100K–300K. Cost per post: $1,500–$3,000
- Mega-influencer — 300K+. Cost per post: $3,000–$50,000+
After the 300K follower mark, it gets tougher to evaluate the average cost per post. According to the BBC, superstar Kylie Jenner, charges up to $1.2 Million dollars for a single sponsored post. That’s quite a range!
2. How many opportunities do they have to collaborate?
Make sure to do your research on the influencer you’re thinking of working with. Check to see if they’ve been getting a lot of great opportunities from other companies. You can do this by looking through their content feed and checking for potential sponsored posts.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Are they showcasing a lot of products in their posts?
- Are they wearing a lot of obvious apparel and brands in their posts?
- Have they been running contests on their profile?
If they’re engaging in a lot of these activities, they might be pretty busy collaborating with other companies. The busier they are, the more difficult it will be to negotiate a lower rate. If budget is an issue for you, try reaching for the low-hanging fruit.
Sometimes, the most lucrative influencers to work with are the nano-influencers that haven’t had a lot of opportunities to collaborate with brands. Not only will your advertisement feel MORE authentic when you work with these smaller Instagram influencers—but you’ll probably be able to get them for cheaper.
3. What kind of content do you want them to create?
Fortunately, Instagram is extremely flexible when it comes to content. You can run awesome promotions in a number of different formats and get really creative. But the type of content you want your influencer to create for your promotion will have an effect on the price.
You could have your influencer create (least cost to greatest):
- A regular post (single image + caption)
- A carousel post (multiple images + captions)
- An Instagram Story (high visibility and average engagement—but only for 24-hours)
- Or Video Content (most expensive)
Each type of content will require varying degrees of input and work from your influencer. For instance, for Instagram Stories and other Video Content—it may take multiple takes and edits before you get a final version.
Your influencer may also add overlay texts, emojis, and other artistic elements to the post. This all takes time and effort—and so it will cost more money. However, it’s often worth it to let them “just go crazy” on the post—because your influencer has a deep knowledge of their audience and what resonates with them.
How to find the right influencers
Finding the right influencers is one of the most challenging steps in influencer marketing. You need to be clear about what you are looking for in an influencer if you wish to overcome this challenge.
*Don’t know how to find the right influencers? Use our powerful network of famous influencers and A-list celebrities! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
The influencers you choose should be relevant to your brand and campaign. They should have a reach that’s significant enough to accomplish your campaign goals. Once you define your ideal influencer, it will be easier to narrow down the best influencers for your brand from a list of potential influencers.
Here are a few tips for finding potential influencers:
1. Search for branded hashtags
If you already have some influence with your brand, you may be able to find potential brand advocates from within your current fans. So, make sure to look for influencers who are already creating content and mentioning your brand.
Conduct a search using your branded hashtags so you can find relevant content created about your products. Then, check out the users who have created these posts to look for potential influencers. Even if you don’t find a match—you can take note of that user’s likes and interests, keeping them in mind for future searches.
2. Search for relevant hashtags
If you’re not an established brand yet, search for relevant hashtags. Those are the hashtags that are followed by your ideal audience (they’re also the hashtags you’re probably posting content in). Examine the results and the accounts of users who have created content you think will appeal to your audience.
For instance, if you’re a brand that wants to promote a new line of ingredients, you’ll probably want to work with an influencer in the “foodie” niche (like an aspiring chef) to use your ingredients in their delicious recipes.
3. Use the right tools
Using the right influencer marketing tools to simplify your search is one of the best ways to find the right influencer. These tools will enable you to get a list of potential influencers based on a relevant keyword or category.
How To Run An Influencer Marketing Campaign
When it comes to Influencer marketing campaigns, you should be as creative as you can be! The point of Instagram is to have fun. So, it’s important to keep things exciting for your audience.
Plus, your influencer may be able to help you come up with creative ideas for promotions—since they usually know their audience very well already and exactly what gets (and keeps) their attention. But just so you have some great ideas to start with…
Here are 5 ways to run an Instagram influencer marketing campaign:
1. A Sponsored Post
A sponsored post gives you a lot of flexibility with content and campaign goals. Basically, you’re paying an influencer to create a post that promotes you or your products. You can work with the influencer and give them ideas—or you can ask them to pitch you their ideas—whichever works best for your collaboration. It can be a ton of fun!
2. Run a Contest Through An Influencer
Instead of running a contest through your own profile—why not run it through a powerful influencer? You can send out products or offer a prize and have the influencer run the contest from their own profile. This can be exciting for you, the influencer, and all their followers. Everybody wins!
3. Branded Content Influencer Campaigns
Have an influencer create user-generated content (UGC) for your brand. Then, either run it from your own account or from theirs. In 2021, Instagram has a new feature that allows you to give a “paid boost” to your influencer’s native post while it’s still on their profile! All you need is their permission, and you can skyrocket the results of your UGC.
4. Create A Review Campaign
Have your Instagram influencer create an honest review of your product. Reviews are one of the most powerful forms of UGC. Once they’ve created the review, make sure they add a link to the product in the post. Then, get permission to “boost” their post to more people—and watch the sales pour in!
5. Influencer Brand Representative Programs
What about starting your own “brand rep” program? It’s basically an affiliate program for Instagram influencers. Essentially, it allows your influencers to promote your products and get paid for every sale they generate.
This approach gives the influencers lots of incentive to create content that SELLS—because they get a piece of the pie as well! However, it’s important you find the right influencers who are already true to your brand so they don’t abuse their followers or damage your public reputation.
How small businesses can leverage Instagram influencer marketing with micro-and nano-influencers
Influencer marketing may have grown in popularity but you don’t necessarily need tens of thousands of dollars to cash in. Almost one-third of Instagram channels are micro-influencers with fewer than 100,000 followers. Mega-influencers, with over 5 million followers, make up less than 1% of all influencers.
Small businesses can seek out the more affordable micro-influencers (especially, the influencers who are newer to the industry) and leverage them for success. If you are a small business, you may even find small influencers that are based in your local area.
These “close to home” influencers just might throw you a great price—or even agree to free products or coupons they can give to their family and friends! How fun a contest would be if it was run by an influencer right where you live?
Probably pretty fun for everyone.
*Get massive growth, credibility, and exposure with the #1 Influencer Marketing Agency in the world—Social Sensei! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
How to track the success of your Instagram Influencer marketing strategy
According to DataBox, for every $1 a brand spends on influencer marketing they make an average of $5.78. That’s difficult to ignore—but how do you track these goals yourself?
Here are a few ways to track your success with Instagram influencer marketing:
1. Make sure to set solid goals
You can’t meet your goals if you don’t have any. So, make sure to set goals based on your business objectives.
Top-of-the-funnel (awareness) goals might be:
- Brand awareness.
Middle-of-the-funnel goals (engagement) might be:
- Direct Messages.
Bottom-of-the-funnel goals (conversions) might be:
- Downloads (leads).
- Forms filled out (leads).
- Conversions (sales).
Once you have your goals set—you can start building a method for tracking if you’re meeting them.
2. Watch Your Website Analytics For Referral Traffic
Make sure your website is set up with analytics so you can track how much traffic is coming to certain pages from referral sources (like Instagram). Take note of the days the campaign will run—and watch to see the difference in your data with a tool like Google Analytics.
This won’t provide you highly accurate data because there are still too many variables at play. But it will give you a fairly good estimate of your overall success.
3. Create unique coupon codes (that you can track)
This is a great trick if you have a conversion goal like sales. Just create dedicated discount codes for your promotion and add them as part of the campaign. When you look at how often the promo code was used for a purchase, you’ll know exactly how effective your campaign was.
Also, if you’re using multiple Instagram influencers for your campaign, you can switch up the coupon codes, one-to-an-influencer. This will allow you to see which campaigns, creatives, and audiences produced the best result.
4. Give an affiliate link to your influencers
Give a “painted” affiliate link to each of your influencers! This will allow you to track exactly what people did when they clicked on each influencers link. If you’re running a campaign with more than one influencer, this can be a great way to get hard data showing which campaigns and creatives worked the best.
5. Create dedicated landing pages for each influencer
This is a bit messier—but it can work. Just create different pages, each with a different URL, for each influencer you’re using in your campaign. This way, you’ll be able to track all the website traffic (and their subsequent actions) after reaching the page.
*What if your campaign isn’t successful? Get guaranteed results from the #1 Influencer Marketing Agency in the world—Social Sensei! Find out more here: Grow My Following!
Wrapping it up
Both small and big brands are sure to harness the power of Instagram influencer marketing in 2021. We’ll surely see them use the strategy to get their products in front of new audiences and make more sales. Will you be one of them?
If the answer is a big, hands-shaking, “YES!” Then, we can help you get where you’re going. At Social Sensei, we’re the #1 Instagram Influencer Marketing Agency on the planet. We have solutions for every part of your funnel—and we’ll give you a dedicated success manager for every step of the journey.
Interested in learning more?
Click Here to set up a call with us: Let’s Talk About It!
Here’s an infographic to illustrate this year’s Instagram Influencer Marketing Trends.
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More About Social Sensei
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