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The Rise of Instagram Influencer Marketing & What to Watch For

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the largest social media platforms, with brands, influencers, and everyone else, joining the photo-sharing fun. This makes Instagram too important to be ignored as a marketing platform for companies and brands.  

In particular, influencer marketing is trending these days. What is influencer marketing? It is when brands pay popular Instagram users for sponsored content. These will usually be marked as an #ad by the influencer:

Klear analysed sponsored content on Instagram with the #ad hashtag that was posted between January 1 to December 31, 2018. It came up with 2,113,307 unique posts! Influencer marketing increased by 39% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Micro-influencers and Instagram stories

Take note: 84% of the sponsored content is by micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are Instagram users with 2,000 to 50,000 followers. These numbers are a lot smaller than celebrity influencers, whose followers range from hundreds of thousands (if not millions).

The data shows that the majority of brands prefer micro-influencers over celebrities. Why? Micro-influencers usually have more engaged followers, and brands want such high-quality followers rather than the huge, non-participating followers of celebrities.

Whether brands partner with micro-influencers or celebrities, the growth of Instagram influencer marketing shows how big it has become. It’s going to get bigger, especially with new tools by Instagram.

Taking the lead is the Instagram Stories feature which is used in one in three sponsored posts. With 400 million people viewing Stories every day in 2018, this is definitely the way to go. Stories attract people since these short posts show the real life of influencers; with Stories, there is this authenticity which people crave for. That’s why Instagram Stories generate more engagement and allow influencers to connect with their followers.

Instagram influencers taking shortcuts on the rise too

Unfortunately, the rise of Instagram influencer marketing has also given way to some shortcuts. Brands should be aware of these shortcuts if they are planning to partner with influencers. Otherwise, their marketing programs won’t prosper.

First, brands must be wary of influencers with low-quality followers. Some influencers buy followers. This practice doesn’t impact them negatively unless they buy from low-quality providers, or those that use bots and scripts instead of authentic promotional strategies. When looking at an influencer’s follower count and engagement rates, brands should go for quality over quantity all the time.

Also, some influencers inflate their figures and give wrong information to brands. Some do this to qualify for a partnership program. Thus, brands must validate and cross-check provided details and not rely on those details supplied by the influencer alone.

This influencer issue is just another hurdle that brands and marketers should face, but such schemes shouldn’t cause them to stay away from Instagram. The platform offers so many benefits when it comes to marketing and establishing brands.

Overall, the growth of influencer marketing on Instagram is too impressive to ignore. That’s why this strategy should be part of every brand’s marketing plan.

Date: May 14, 2019 / Categories: Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees


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