Instagram influencer marketing has become a true game-changer for ecommerce brands. By the end of 2022, this industry is predicted to hit $15 billion — no sign of slowing down.
That’s why if you’ve ever considered using Instagram influencers for your digital marketing strategy to grow your online store, now is the time to take action!
Not sure how to start?
Don’t worry. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Instagram influencer marketing, including the what, why, and how.
What is Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Instagram influencers are Instagram users who have a certain number of followers and regularly share genuine thoughts with their fans. These influencers are considered trusted sources and have the power to sway their followers into taking actions like buying an online course or making a purchase.
Instagram influencer marketing is a marketing strategy that involves endorsements and recommendations from Instagram influencers. It’s about how you can identify influencers on Instagram that align with your business and collaborate with them to accomplish your goals.
Understand Four Tiers of Instagram Influencers
Gone are the days when an Instagram user needed to have a large audience to be called an influencer.
Today, you can become a social media influencer and earn a solid income by creating sponsored content even when you have a few thousand followers. Likewise, brands no longer have to work with a mega-influencer (having over a million followers) like Kylie Jenner to achieve optimal success.
There are up to five common Instagram influencer tiers you can choose to partner with, as described below:
- Nano-influencers (from 1k to 10k followers) know their fans personally. They’re open to posting in exchange for free products or nominal amounts of money. That makes them a highly accessible group for low-budget campaigns.
- Micro-influencers (10k to 50k followers) have higher engagement rates (averaging at 7%) on their feed posts than macro- and mega-influencers.
- Mid-tier influencers (50k to 500k followers) offer strong reach than nano- and micro-influencers but still accessible. According to Mediakix, mid-tier influencers represent “a happy balance between intimate fan communities and scalable audience reach.
- Macro-influencers (500k – 1m followers) are often actors, models, athletes, or musicians. They typically charge thousands of dollars per sponsored post.
- Mega-influencers (over 1m followers) share popular culture, drive trends, create sell-out demand for products, and more. They can generate the largest impact, highest brand lift, and greatest possible reach from a single sponsored post.
Instagram Influencer Statistics
Here are the latest facts about Instagram influencer marketing you don’t want to miss out on:
- Instagram reaches 1.22 billion users in 2021.
- 72% of Gen Z and millennials follow at least some influencers.
- 88% of people say influencers should be authentic and genuinely care about their interests.
- 56% of women follow beauty influencers, while 54% of men follow gaming influencers.
- Instagram profiles with less than 25K followers reaped the most benefit by adding hashtags to their posts, with more engagement and more followers as a result.
- In the wake of Covid-19, the number of brands looking to hire influencers to create photo and video assets increased 33%.
- Nearly 80% of influencers reported higher engagement from their followers during the pandemic.
- 97% of influencers would post about brands and causes they care about.
- 80% of influencers would participate in a charitable campaign without compensation.
- 61% of shoppers interact with an influencer at least once a day, and 35% interact with influencers multiple times a day.
- 41% of consumers say they find at least one new brand or product from an influencer weekly.
Benefits of Instagram Influencer Marketing for Ecommerce
Spend even a few minutes on Instagram, and there’s a good chance you’ve come across an influencer post.
According to Business Insider, Instagram has become the gold standard for influencers. Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%).
Instagram influencer partnerships are also by far ther best-performing platform for brands to reach new audiences quickly. Later’s report shows that Instagram influencers can drive an average of 3.21% engagement rate, compared to 1.5% across all other social networks.
How is Instagram influencer marketing so effective? Well, part of it has to do with trust.
As said earlier, influencers are reliable sources for product reviews, recommendations, and other types of information. They share relevant content with fans and engage with them in an authentic, personalized, and casual way, which brands can’t do themselves.
By partnering with relevant Instagram influencers, you can get more new customers, build brand awareness, drive sales, and increase brand loyalty.
Sounds exciting, right?
How Much Does Instagram Influencer Marketing Cost?
The answer to this question comes down to who you want to collaborate with and the size of your Instagram campaign.
For an ecommerce store looking to grow on Instagram, it can be challenging for them to figure out how much budget to allocate to influencer partnership. There are so many varying factors to consider, for example, follower count, engagement rate, project size, and more.
Instagram influencers come in all shapes and sizes. So do their pricing. For example, mega-influencers may charge thousands of dollars for a sponsored post. But you may not need to spend such much money to establish a partnership with nano- or micro-influencers.
According to Later, 66% of marketers say they pay under $250 per post, while 27% pay between $250 and $1,000. Some nano-influencers are willing to promote your products in exchange for only free products or free gifts.
What about engagement? Nano-influencers just have a few thousand followers.
Well, according to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, nano-influencers usually enjoy an engagement rate of 7.2% on Instagram, which is huge when compared to the 1.1% engagement rate that accounts with over 100K followers tend to receive.
Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy for Your Ecommerce Store
To get started with Instagram influencer marketing, follow these tips:
1. Determine your objective
Working with Instagram influencers is beneficial to online retailers in many ways. For example, they can help you promote new products, create brand awareness, increase sales, collect email addresses, drive traffic to your Shopify store, and more.
That’s why it’s important to clarify your objective of using Instagram influencer marketing from the get-go.
Understanding the “why” of your campaign is also a crucial first step in crafting a partnership strategy.
For example, if your goal is to create content, you’ll want to work with bloggers or content creators who can produce high-quality content and have photography skills rather than those who have average content.
2. How to find the right Instagram influencers
To ensure your Instagram influencer marketing campaign succeeds, you should collaborate with influencers whose audiences and content are relevant to your business. But it’s a bit challenging to identify them.
That said, you can use the following metrics to choose your ideal partners:
- Engagement: When an influencer has a high engagement rate, it means their followers love their content and actively engage with it. You can use a third-party Instagram tool like Hootsuite to analyze this metric.
- Number of followers: The number of followers an influencer has isn’t too important. But it’s worth checking because, as you already know, influencers with large audiences have a broader reach than those with fewer fans.
- Quality of followers: The right influencer means the right content and the right target audience. Let’s say you’re selling plant-based milk. Then, it makes sense for you to partner with food and lifestyle influencers who prefer vegan diets.
- Quality of content: It tells a lot when you analyze the content an influencer publishes on their Instagram account. You may “read” their personality, voice, interest, creativity, opinions, niche, and more.
Also, keep your budget in mind when deciding which influencers to partner with. Make it clear about how much you’re willing to pay, and from that, narrow down your influencer tiers. For example, if you have a tight budget, then it’s not a good idea to reach out to macro- and mega-influencers.
Searching for your perfect Instagram influencers matches will take a bit of work. So, it’s better to start your outreach and negotiations as early as possible before you plan your campaign.
3. Create a Set of Guidelines for Your Influencers
You need to be on your A-game when pitching your partnerships. By setting clear guidelines, you can get the highest return on your Instagram influencer investment.
Ensure you detail your expectations, campaign goals, concept, type of content, references, hashtags, brand voice, and the like to help influencers create content that will align with your brand. The clearer your guidelines, the more likely influencers will respond and the higher chance you choose the right partners.
There are multiple ways to work with Instagram influencers, for example:
- Instagram stories: Ask influencers to create an Instagram story and add a link to your landing page.
- Sponsored posts: Ask influencers to mention your brand in their post or create an in-depth review of your products. It’s also good to offer a discount code to encourage influencers’ followers to shop on your website. Note that both brands and influencers have to disclose their partnership (using hashtag #sponsored or #ad) according to the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines.
- Instagram Live takeovers: Invite your influencers to engage with your existing audience in real-time using Instagram Live. It’s a great way to create exclusivity and share personal experiences with your audiences.
- Giveaways or contests: Ask your influencers to run a giveaway on their account. The winner will receive a free gift provided by you or a promo code to shop in your store.
When working with Instagram influencers, keep in mind the following:
- Keep it short and to the point about why you’re reaching out to them. Talk about your brand and explain why their audience is an ideal match.
- It’s okay to reach out via Instagram direct message, but it’s better to email them your project details.
- Give your influencers feedback after the campaign is over so they can strategize for future campaigns.
4. Monitor Your Instagram Content and Interaction
Your Instagram influencers can help generate a ton of new content for your ecommerce business, especially during a holiday season!
They’re pros at shooting products, having many ideas, and master the art of creating viral content. Take advantage of influencer-generated content to grow your business.
But saying that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to your influencers. Because your influencers will share content with your branded hashtags, ensure you keep tabs on all of their new posts. Do this by using social media marketing tools like Hootsuite or Later.
Another thing to keep in mind is managing Instagram interaction. Your influencers may bring a lot of engagement (i.e., likes, comments, shares, mentions) to your business. “How much does it cost?” “Is this item still available?” “Do you ship to Australia?” “Does this dress fit me? I weigh 47kg,” — You may receive a flood of followers’ comments and questions that you never imagine.
In this case, you can use Gorgias to manage Instagram comments, mentions, and messages created by an influencer’s followers. Gorgias allows you to connect with your ecommerce website and Instagram account so you can provide a seamless omnichannel customer service experience.
Once you complete the integration process, you can use Gorgias to respond to comments on your Instagram posts and track Instagram mentions and messages without logging in to your Instagram account. Everything can be done within a single centralized dashboard, meaning you can increase your concentration, work more effectively, and have more time to actually talk with customers.
5. Measure Instagram Influencer Marketing Success
“How to track and measure performance” is a common question among online merchants who are new to Instagram influencer marketing.
I know. It’s not an easy question, right?
But there is a solution: you can use your objectives and metrics to measure success. Some typical metrics include:
- Engagement rate (likes, comments, shares, etc.).
- Brand sentiment (how people are talking about your brand).
- Website traffic (customers visiting your website).
- Sales (conversions and revenues generated).
Another way to evaluate performance is using UTM parameters which are tags you add to a URL. When your link is clicked, the tag is sent back to Google Analytics and tracked.
Once you’ve collected your campaign results, put together a report to refer back to next year.
Top Instagram Influencers By Niche
In the last section of this post, I share 17 impactful Instagram influencers to follow, learn from, support, and work with:
- Lindsay Radcliffe (@lindsayfeast): 21.6k followers
- Cherie Denham Cooks (@cheriedenhamcooks): 9,113 followers
- Bea Lubas (@bealubas): 158k followers
- Renee Hannel (@reneeroaming): 537k followers
- Hello Emilie (@helloemilie): 1.3m followers
- Bree (@eyeofshe): 309k followers
- Alieen Xu (@lavendaire): 171k followers
- Jasmine Lipska Campbell (@jasminelipska): 46.8k followers
- Leeor Alexandra (@leeoralexandra): 107k followers
- Lana Dmitruks (@lanadmitruks): 51.1k followers
- Geneva (@cosmic.american): 42.1k followers
- Aenny Chung (@aenny04): 80.4k followers
- Andrea Palacio (@andreapalacio): 14.4k followers
- Tiffany Ima (@tiffanyima): 96k followers
- Kanoa (@kanoagreene): 16.7k followers
- Adam Gonon (@adamgonon): 49.9k followers
- Sashagai JMCA (@flawsofcouture): 152k followers
- Lauren O’Leary (@laurenolearybeauty): 24.7k followers
Start Instagram Influencer Marketing Right Now!
Whether you’re selling apparel or skincare products or smartphone accessories, you can harness the power of Instagram influencer marketing to drive more awareness, more sales, and more loyal customers.
Use this guide to develop your Instagram influencer marketing and start implementing it. And if you have a Shopify store, check out our list of the best Shopify social media apps.
Looking for a social media customer service tool to manage comments and mentions brought by your Instagram influencers? Try Gorgias. With many powerful ticket management and social media features, Gorgias will help you create an incredible customer experience and strengthen your relationships with your customers—in no time.