It’s only natural that brands and marketers are looking to Instagram influencer campaigns to accomplish their marketing goals. More than a billion people use Instagram every month, and more than 500 million use it every day, notes Hootsuite. In addition to being one of the most popular social media channels, Instagram’s emphasis on eye-catching visuals makes it a go-to for influencer marketing campaigns.

By 2022, brands are forecast to spend as much as $15 billion on influencer marketing, according to Business Insider. With its quick growth, high ROI and impressive engagement rates, Instagram should account for a big chunk of that spending. An Instagram influencer campaign can help your brand stay competitive or put it ahead of the pack.

What Is an Instagram Influencer Campaign?

An Instagram influencer campaign involves a brand or marketer partnering with one or more influencers to promote a product or service on Instagram. When a brand identifies an Instagram influencer’s followers as a target market, the brand partners with the influencer to develop sponsored content to appeal to the influencer’s audience. Consumers today trust influencers more than they do traditional advertising. So, the brand benefits from the influencer’s reputation and exposure among followers on social media.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Instagram Influencer Campaign

Because influencer marketing is such a lucrative industry, you should do your social media homework before launching an Instagram influencer campaign. Before you kick off an Instagram influencer campaign, here are some of the main things to know:

Beware of Fake Followers

While plenty of influencers boast big numbers of followers, the industry is unfortunately rife with fraud. Some influencers buy followers that aren’t real — instead, they’re bots or people who are paid to follow the influencers. Some dead giveaways that point to fraud include followers who give generic responses to posts and/or whose profiles look incomplete. Also keep an eye out for followers that are heavily clustered in unlikely countries. Software tools are available to help you detect fake followers when vetting influencers.

Follow FTC Disclosure Requirements

Make sure everyone involved in the campaign is up to date on FTC disclosure requirements for sponsored posts. Be clear about the importance of compliance with the regulations and the potential consequences of not following the FTC guidelines.

The bottom line is that if you’re paying an influencer to post, they need to clearly disclose the sponsorship in the relevant content. And the disclosure needs to be easy to see, not hidden in a stream of hashtags or at the end of a video. Influencers also need to disclose relationships they might have with the brand, like if they’re an employee or owner or have family ties to it.

Be Patient

Although you’ll want to see some short-term results, embrace a long-term perspective too. Understand that you’re building a relationship with an influencer and their audience, and sometimes it takes time to build trust. It’s important that the influencer’s audience sees an ongoing collaboration.

Create a Contract

It’s important to create a contract so that all parties involved in the influencer marketing campaign are protected. This can help to prevent any misunderstandings about who owns the content and whether the influencer can work with your competitors during the campaign.

What Are the Different Components of an Instagram Influencer Campaign?

Although Instagram influencer campaigns might seem pretty easy to pull off, you need to know the basics involved in a successful one. An Instagram influencer campaign includes a number of different elements you shouldn’t overlook. Here are the components that make it work:

Setting Goals

Setting goals is a critical component of an Instagram influencer campaign. It’s a way of ensuring that everyone on the team knows what to aim for. It also makes it easier to assess the results of the campaign and see when changes are needed during it. Use social media campaign-management tools that make it easy for everyone to know what’s going on and to collaborate.

Finding Relevant Influencers

You’ve vetted an influencer’s followers, and they seem pretty genuine for the most part. But just because an influencer has a lot of real followers, that doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for your campaign. There are influencers for just about every type of industry and community you can think of. They range from beauty gurus and finance wizards to gardening buffs and expert gamers.

It’s a matter of narrowing the categories of influencers down to find those that are the best fit for your product and brand. In addition to confirming that their followers are real, you also need to vet the influencers. Make sure they have stellar reputations and be sure to thoroughly review their content history. You don’t want to work with an influencer who might post something offensive or misleading or that promotes risky or illegal behavior. Choose an influencer who reflects your brand’s image and values.

Don’t assume that you need to spend a lot of money on a celebrity influencer for your campaign. Sometimes partnering with a selection of influencers with fewer followers is the right choice, especially when you’re targeting niche markets.

Defining the Channels

Decide which social media channels the influencer is to create content for and what the format will be for each channel. Create a brief for the influencer that outlines what’s expected. Be sure you’re choosing platforms where your target market is likely to hang out.

Setting a Timeframe and Specifying Deliverables

In the influencer’s brief, be clear about when and how often they should post and when the campaign begins and ends. Give the influencer all the information they’ll need, like the campaign hashtags they should use so you can track your results. Making sure influencers are well informed ahead of the campaign can prevent misunderstandings down the line.

Tracking Results

You’ll want to measure results of your Instagram influencer campaign while it’s in progress and when it’s concluded. When you set up an Instagram Business account, you’ll be able to access Instagram Insights. Here you’ll find data that can tell you how many new followers you have as a result of the influencer campaign. Instagram Insights can also help you calculate your ROI from the influencer campaign, along with other metrics.

How Do You Run a Successful Campaign?

In order to run a successful campaign, it’s important for brands, marketers and influencers to communicate effectively with each other. It’s also important for the team to be nimble.

When an issue comes up that needs to be addressed, the response should be speedy. If you find that the content isn’t getting the results or engagement it should, quick communication about any changes you need is key.

Brands should give influencers creative freedom to develop content that resonates with their followers. They know what works best for their audience when it comes to voice, images, tone and format. That said, make sure influencers are clear on what the brand’s mission statement is and what the brand wants to accomplish with the campaign.

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