Influencer marketing can certainly help, but it’s not the silver bullet
When running an influencer campaign, many brands expect their Instagram followers will dramatically (and immediately) increase as a result and without them having to lift a finger. The influencers have got this, right?
Influencer marketing can be a really effective way to drive brand awareness, increase product sales and grow followers, however, it doesn’t happen overnight, and you have to put in the hard yards too. And here’s a #SpoilerAlert, influencer marketing alone will not grow your followers.
Here are our top tips for brands who want to grow their Instagram following…
Create high-quality content
Putting high quality, eye catching content out there is essential on social media, and in particular for brands accounts. It will help your business look like the ‘real deal’ and make people want to follow you. The saying ‘people eat with their eyes’ really applies here. Whether you’re a women’s clothing store or a fitness brand, when people land on your account they will judge your brand by those first 9 squares of content they see - so make sure they’re the best 9 squares they’ve ever seen (which means they need to be perfect, at all times)! When creating your content, think about who your audience is and what they like and go from there.
Regram influencer content
One of the best parts about running an influencer campaign is that you have an array of high quality content ready for posting. If you’re following the influencer marketing industry best practices, you can share influencer content on your owned channels, always with credit to the influencer via an @tag on the image and in the caption.
Your followers may already be following the influencers you’ve worked with, and will be excited to see the collaboration. Or, they may love being introduced to similar, like-minded accounts (who doesn’t love to discover new accounts that inspire them). If the influencer is on brand, then your audience will enjoy their content when it’s shared across your Instagram account.
Here are our top tips on finding the right influencers for your campaign.
Post relevant content, regularly
In order to get noticed, you need to be putting your high-quality content out there regularly, but there’s a catch. You need to make sure that the content you’re putting out there is relevant to your business. If you’re posting just for the sake of posting, you will lose the interest of your followers and new potential followers - they will know when a post is not genuine and when it doesn't align with the message or theme of the account as a whole.
Share your user generated content (UGC)
Making the most of your user generated content is a must for businesses. Not only do you have content at the ready (for free) but your followers feel appreciated when their content featuring your brand is shared. If the content you receive doesn’t suit your feed then post it to your story and make someone’s day - just make sure you always tag them and follow general regram etiquette!
Engage with your followers
Listen closely because this one is an important one - don’t ignore your followers. It is more important than ever to build and maintain a great relationship with the community of people who choose to follow you on Instagram. Put ten minutes aside every couple of hours to go through your feed and like and comment on some of your followers post, as well as answer all comments on your posts and DMs. This will make your followers feel like they’re a valued part of your business - everyone wins!
Use Instagram Stories and go live
More and more brands are turning to Instagram Stories to engage with their audience, and increasingly, the Instagram Live feature is getting a workout from brands too. Instagram Stories and Instagram live broadcasts are a great way to build a better relationship with your followers, learn more about them, answer any FAQs, show behind-the-scenes action, showcase new products and so much more.
Plus, there are rumours that using Instagram Stories and Instagram Live will help your content rank higher in the newsfeed, so it’s a win-win.
Share user-generated Stories to your Stories
Instagram has recently released an update which allows users to share the stories that they’re tagged in to their own story. This is great for brands as it allows them to share user generated content directly to their own story to showcase how their customers love and use your products. When running your influencer campaign, ask influencers for an Instagram Story as one of the required tasks as content that you can then easily share to your own channel.
Create highlights for your Stories
Having a few highlight Instagram Story categories on your profile is great for business, growing your followers and engaging with your community because it keeps your Instagram Story content categorised and saved on your profile. You should create a highlight for the following categories if you are just getting started: influencer content, behind the scenes, new products, events and user generated content.
More and more people are turning to Instagram to ask questions rather than your website’s FAQ section. It’s important to spend some time everyday answering the questions you receive - it could be the difference between making a sale (or gaining a follower) or not. Your followers want to feel like their voices are being heard and that their questions are important to you, so dedicate time each day to answering DM’s and comments on your posts.
Answer questions on influencer’s posts
A good thing to keep in mind when running an influencer campaign is that they will probably get a lot of questions about your brand and/or product on their posts, and they may not know the best answer to give consumers. If you can quickly jump in with an answer or comment, you have a good chance of capturing that consumer and driving them to your Instagram page, and ultimately your sales funnel. This helps the ROI of your campaign too, so this could be the deciding factor as to whether a purchase is made or not.
Encourage customers to engage with your Instagram page
A lot of businesses are now running offers or deals on Instagram that encourage their followers to engage on the social media channel. For example, a clothing brand might do a giveaway to customers that post a photo of themselves wearing the brand’s clothes and using a specific hashtag in their post. Others might run a competition asking their followers to tag a friend and help spread the word about a new product launch. This is a good way to gain new followers, but it is important to keep those new followers engaged so they stick around long-term.
Use all of Instagram’s features
Instagram’s algorithm is known to reward users who actively use all of Instagram’s features - Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, IGTV… the lot. So, make sure to keep up with the latest updates and make the most of Instagram’s present and future features as they roll out.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that running an influencer campaign alone is not going to automatically grow your Instagram followers, but you can if you have an established and strong Instagram strategy to start with. Be sure to regularly go through your analytics to assess what works for your brand and what doesn’t, it’s all about testing, monitoring and optimizing.