The success story of Instagram reads like a tech fairy tale with a Silicon Valley drama. Since October 6, 2010, this tale is unfolding success while sometimes folding criticism. But, instead of taking you deep down the dramatic ocean, we’ll take you on a tour to the tip of the iceberg: Instagram influencer marketing.
Mark Zuckerberg played the villain’s role in the Social Media Silicon Valley saga. Instagram got swallowed by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. No one is ignorant of Mark Zukerberg’s intentions of showing all users a way back to Facebook. His long-running feuds with Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat unveil his desperation to consume Twitter and Snapchat.
Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger on October 6, 2010. Started as a photo-sharing app, it grew to become one of the world’s most influential social media platforms. To the initial app was added a video-focused functionality in 2013 and then a feature of short series of photos aka Instagram stories in 2016.
Instagram saw its success unfolded as it moved from strength to strength. Covering Instagram’s overwhelming triumphs are these Instagram stats:
#1 Instagram’s advertising audience grew by 76 million between July and September 2020. As of October 2020, the advertising audience stood at 1.16 billion. (Hootsuite/ We Are Social)
#2 With 300 million followers, Cristiano Ronaldo wears the “most-followed person on Instagram” badge. The most followed brand on Instagram is Instagram itself (397 million followers). National Geographic takes the second spot with 167 million followers.
#3 In 2019, Instagram brought in ad revenue of $20 billion, against $70 billion by Facebook. (Bloomberg)
At the core of 21st-century popular culture sits Instagram Influencer Marketing, with most-followed users dubbed influencers.
#5 Influencer marketing has received a big nod from bigger brands, including Fashion Nova. The fashion industry giant spent $40 million on influencer marketing in 2019 alone. A total of $1.35 billion was spent on influencer marketing by brands in the US and Canada in 2019. (Instascreener)
What is Influencer Marketing?
As we all know, word-of-mouth marketing works magic when it comes to recommending products. Often, this marketing trick falls short of magic to fully remove the frowns on the faces of consumers. The questions like “what the product looks like?” and “where to shop for it?” keep popping up in their minds. No doubt, word-of-mouth marketing weaves wonders. Filling this empty hole in the word-of-mouth marketing world are Instagram influencers.
Influencer marketing is the new Word of Mouth marketing.
Today, we know Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) marketing by its fancier name: Influencer marketing. The fine line between the two is formed by only one factor, capacity. Influencer marketing is capable of impacting more people than WOM marketing.
Influencers hold the rein of their followers’ purchasing behavior. Well, the blame is on our senses, the more the product interaction, the higher are our chances of buying the product. Interaction injects clarity, confidence, and comfort into our minds.
Brand interaction ∝ our chances of buying the products
Harvard Business Review favors these facts. It says brands use sensory marketing as a weapon to understand consumers’ emotions, explore new markets, and grow brand loyalty. Let’s look at the impact of influencer marketing in numbers.
#6 From a mere $1.7 billion in 2016 to date, the market size of the influencer market has grown considerably. The worth of Influencer marketing is expected to be $13.8 billion this year.
#7 Gone are the days when only celebrities walked down the influencer marketing aisle. Now, the arena is owned by Instagram influencers aka micro-celebrities. Upfluence data revealed that the engagement rate is better for small influencers than for the Superstars of social media.
What’s more shocking is that the pattern stays the same across all the social media platforms. That said, one doesn’t need a large following to become an influencer.
#8 90% of 5000+ marketing agencies, brands, and professionals surveyed are positive about influencer marketing. The influencer marketing practice seems to be a win-win situation for both parties involved. (influencer marketing hub)
Influencer marketing is here to stay for long. It will continue to be the way consumers interact with brands.
What Is An Influencer?
Isn’t the name “influencers” apt, with followers certainly being well-influenced? Often given the micro-celebrities, these Instagram influencers use strategic intimacy to weave a big network of followers. No wonder why fans flock to follow them.
An influencer is a person who holds the power to influence the purchasing behavior of potential buyers by sharing genuine information and opinions on products and services.
With Instagram’s popularity was born a new breed of influencers. Some found fame on Insta. Others found a way to complement their content, sitting on their websites. With common personalities turning into social celebrities and thus becoming #instafamous, more and more people are consuming the Internet today. The influencing culture is changing people’s consuming habits more than ever. Let’s take a peek through the Instagram window.
Miquela Sousa is a 19 years old robot. Well, that’s what she claims to be on her Instagram channel. Virtual influencers like her and Shudu Gram live on Instagram alone. The next phase of Instagram influencing seems to be virtual-only.
The screenshot below is of @delia.maite where she can be seen flaunting the Swedish fashion and lifestyle brand – Ideal Of Sweden. This influencer is based in Germany and has weaved a network of 45.7K followers.
Instagram’s popularity is a product of visual storytelling and influencing.
Around 70% of shopping enthusiasts search for products on Instagram. No wonder why brands love Instagram as much as users do.
How Can You Find Influencers?
- When the task of narrowing down the best influencers feels like nailing jelly to the wall, that’s when hashtags come to your rescue. Say hello to hashtags! For instance, #homechef can put an end to your search for a food blogger who can fuel the growth of your new line of ingredients.
The first post we came across by searching #homechef was of @iamdatingfood. This Instagram handle is owned by food blogger Nikita Varma who has over 300K followers, disqualifying her as a nano-influencer. In addition, all of her posts are of high quality and dedicated only to food.
- The search for influencers can further be simplified by using the right tools. Some of which are BuzzWeb, BuzzSumo, Ninja Outreach, and Influence.co. Influence.co is highly recommended as it is free to use and helps you find the influencers based on location and number of followers.
- Search for the leading influencer marketing monetization platform, and you’ll stumble across rewardStyle. The platform weaves together brands and influencers. Built on influencer innovation, rewardStyle drives more than $2.5 billion in annual retail sales.
- Proud of powering the largest influencer programs in the world, Traackr takes you on a tour to the “brand transformation world.” The platform helps brands bend their influencer marketing strategies to make a bold impact.
- Carving the curves of influencer marketing strategies is another influencer marketing agency, Collectively. A comprehensive strategy, program management, and measurement and analysis are a few services Collectively covers.
The Value Of Influencer Marketing
Instagrammers can follow and unfollow whomever they want. It’s one’s own choice to follow a person. Sometimes, Instagrammers see a part of their identity in influencers, and this shared identity becomes the reason followers love influencers’ sponsored products. Here are a few points that prove the power of influencer marketing.
Skip The Clutter
The sound of brands is obvious to be lost in the clutter. Instagram is a content machine. With a glut of content being created every day, it’s hard for small brands to stand out. Influencer marketing is a bridge for brands to skip the clutter, spread faster, and set the stage.
Dominant Source Of Traffic
Give your Instagram ads a sigh of relief as they aren’t relevant enough. Consumers follow people they resonate with. So, does it make sense to engage consumers with one advertisement than with one person they resonate with? Relevancy matters.
The referral traffic from Instagram to e-commerce websites has sky-rocketed, and the credit goes to influencer marketing.
It Is Niche. It Is Personal
Different Instagram influencers work under different niches, injecting creative, quality, and relevant posts to weave a web of relevant followers. Every influencer runs the race for making it to the Instagrammers’ explore page. How people make it to this page is still a mystery. However, it’s a big win for anyone who can.
What powers influencer marketing is the personal connection between the followers and the influencer. The more authentic the relationship between the two, the excited and engaged are the followers.
It Is Economical
The ROI of influencer marketing > The ROI of traditional advertising
The conversions and revenue influencer marketing can generate will leave you in awe of it. Execute it with consistency.
Let your goals lay the foundation for your Instagram marketing campaign. You can check the success of your campaign in real-time. No doubt, Instagram marketing scales success, but only the results will speak up how much. The results offer a window into better planning and more possibilities.
Find how many visitors come to your site after the campaign. Fix your eyes on the conversion rate. Do you see any significant increase in follower count? The first campaign can turn out to be a failure, but there is nothing to worry about. Once you get the rhythm down, you’ll find yourself clinging to countless creative campaigns.
Modernism has morphed the way we measure the impact of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept. It has been around for centuries. The idea of using someone else’s credibility to boost awareness has been a part of every marketing toolkit since at least 1760. Even Facebook understands the bleak future of influencer marketing and keeps flooding the platform with new features. The launch of IGTV and reels is a bold way to help brands break and shine through the clutter, giving Instagrammers a competitive advantage over other platform users.