Building buzz in the Instagram world takes some effort, but thanks in part to Instagram influencers, a subset of users, it’s now easier than ever to achieve product placement success and nearly immediate brand recognition.
But not so fast…
In a sea full of influencers (700 million monthly active users, to be exact), how do you pick which one will work best for you, your brand and your business?
As it becomes easier and easier for influencers to inflate their follower-to-following ratio with spam accounts and bots, brands need to pay close attention to engagement levels. An influencer with a genuine 50K following should have an engagement rate and community to match.
If you’re seeing inconsistent comments and likes, you are viewing an influencer that has potentially purchased their power, negating any true influence they may be perceived to have. Now, if you stumble upon a user with fewer followers, but consistent engagement from a community that trusts the influencer – you’ve struck gold! Join forces with that influencer to leverage your product or brand to their community and prepare to see growth.
Take a peek at their profile and dig a little. Has this person worked with a competing brand or business? Have they promoted a similar product recently and claimed loyalty to that specific brand? You’ll want to target influencers in your niche, but steer clear of ones who will promote anything that comes their way just to make buck. Conversely, it’s important to work with influencers who have previously done brand partnerships and know how to properly navigate the world of FTC disclosure.
While you’re browsing their account – do you notice a theme? Is every single post they share something that has been sponsored? While it’s not always the case, influencers with sponsor heavy content are likely to be snatching up any opportunity that comes their direction and the user may seem inauthentic to their following. Look for users that have a healthy mix of both sponsored and organic content – specifically posts that come across as real and genuine – as potential influencers for your next campaign.
Influencer marketing can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The FTC makes it very simple with their guidelines, but some influencers try to be sneaky in disclosure or avoid it altogether. This hurts the brand in a big way – take it from Lord & Taylor who spearheaded a native social advertising campaign utilizing that didn’t implicitly require them to disclose. Though the campaign reached 11.4 million individual users, resulting in 328,000 brand engagements and a sold out dress, Lord & Taylor was slapped with a hefty regulation from the FTC that forever changed the way advertisers worked with influencers — Lord & Taylor and otherwise. The bottom line? Make disclosure a priority in your campaign.
Whether you are in the early stages of planning an Instagram launch or knee-deep in the sea of influencers, utilizing these tips will make your next campaign a success!
About the Author: Kait Hanson is a Hawaii-based writer who focuses on food, travel and lifestyle topics. She is a bar columnist for Metro Honolulu and contributing writer for Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, People Magazine and more. When she’s not writing, she can be found trying a new restaurant with her husband or playing with her two chocolate Labs, Judy and Bill, at the beach.