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Instagram Influencer Marketing: The Nuts and Bolts Of It

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@michielmuldersMichiel Mulders

Technical & marketing writer | Blockchain & backend developer

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The rise of the internet and social media created a significant impact on our purchasing behavior. A Nielsen survey found that there has been a shift in the effectiveness of advertisements in the favor of peer recommendations.

The survey shows that the trust customers place in conventional ads has been on a steady decline. At the time the study was published, only 33 percent of people trusted general advertisements while 90 percent have faith in ‘earned’ advertisements such as peer recommendations, such as influencer marketing.

Keeping in mind the study was published in 2011, those numbers may be even more inflated at this point. The initial release of Instagram for iOS happened in 2010, with the Android release following two years later. Seeing how Instagram changed the way online marketing has evolved, it’s currently a no-brainer for companies to use this effective and targeted marketing strategy.

Instagram influencers offer access to a huge pool of potential customers. Because every influencer has a certain audience, it makes it cheaper to advertise effectively to your target group. In this article, we’ll discuss tips to find reliable and good influencers that will give you the highest return of investment. Now, how can you start getting a piece of the action?

Types of Influencers

  1. Celebrities
  2. Macro influencers
  3. Micro influencers

We will mainly focus on the second and third categories. The choice between them depends mostly on the budget. The first category, celebrities, are not a good choice as an effective marketing strategy. A 2016 Collective Bias survey concluded that celebrities are not a good choice as only 3 percent of buyers are influenced by celebrity endorsements.

Further, you may be wondering where the difference between macro and micro influencers lies. The difference is based on the following they have:

  • A ‘Macro’ influencer is someone who has managed to build up a following of more than 10,000 followers
  • A ‘Micro’ influencer is someone who has built up a more modest, but still significant number of followers (1000 - 10,000)

(Source: Screenshot from SocialBakers about types of influencers)

The reason why your business should focus on micro influencers and macro influencers is because the 2016 study we mentioned above demonstrates that 30 percent of customers were more likely to purchase a product by a non-celebrity influencer.

A survey by Markerley brings forth another important aspect to keep in mind. We are talking about the balance of engagement and reach. Macro influencers may have a greater reach, but micro influencers have much greater engagement from their nice audience. 

Macro influencers may have a greater reach, but micro influencers have much greater engagement.

If you are selling a specialized product, it may prove to be more effective to opt for a greater number of different micro influencers instead of one single macro influencer. On the other hand, it takes more time to find the different micro influencers in the required niche. But the engagement of the audience of micro influencers means more people will actively come into contact with your product.

Another factor that adds to the advantages micro influencers have over celebrities or even macro influencers is their authenticity. Often micro influencers have a narrow scope, but you can be sure they are effectively involved in their niche. This brings authenticity to the table, which is arguably one of the most important aspects of marketing. However, many companies face a challenge when trying to find authentic influencers with an engaged audience.

How to Identify the Right Influencers?

Picking the wrong influencers can be a costly mistake. Determining whether an influencer is a fit choice for your campaign takes time. There are several metrics to keep in mind when you are targeting influencers.

  • The engagement of their audience: This is probably the most important metric for a business trying to sell a product. Try to aim for influencers who have an engagement rate of at least 2-4% for their posts. By engaging we mean, liking, commenting and sharing.
  • Another important metric is the niche of the influencer. The overlap between their niche and the niche of your business should be as big as possible.
  • The follower quality is also an important metric. Does the part of the audience that actively engages with the posts reflect the target audience you are going for?
  • Post costs. This is also a metric that shouldn’t be overlooked. If the cost is too high in relation to the possible reach it’ll get, you should probably look further.

To make your search easier it’s a good idea to use different tools to find suitable influencers. You could use tools like an Instagram influencer platform to quickly search through lists of influencers. A lot of platforms display useful information about the influencers and often offer the possibility to directly reach out to them.

Next read? 14 Advanced Techniques for Getting More Instagram Followers

Pro Tip: Use an Instagram Audit Tool to Avoid Fake Influencers

(Source: Unsplash by Carlos Muza)

Another tool to ease your search for a fitting influencer is an Instagram Audit tool. Using such a tool allows for quickly scanning accounts, discovering the hashtags they focus on, quickly calculating engagement rates across multiple posts. This saves you a lot of time reviewing each account manually. An audit tool can quickly give you a list of the most promising influencers you should further investigate and perhaps contact.

An audit tool can quickly give you a list of the most promising influencers you should further investigate.

Furthermore, fake Instagram influencers are on the rise. An audit tool can quickly tell you if the engagement rate is normal or whether it is subpar. An account with a lot of fake followers will often have very low engagement. Real Instagram users tend to be able to evaluate accurately which accounts seem not genuine or have a lot of fake followers. Real users will unfollow, leaving the account behind with a majority of fake followers.

Another way an Instagram Audit tool can detect fake influencers is by looking at the followers liking and commenting on the posts. If the influencer has an engagement rate of 2-4%, but has a low variety in the followers who comment and like posts, it may be a fake influencer. If it’s always the same people commenting, chances are they’re actually bots.

Which Type of Influencer Campaign Should You Choose?

There are several types of influencer campaigns you could choose from. Your type of campaign depends on your goals: brand awareness, promote a product, or gain more Instagram followers? Below we’ll discuss several campaigns you could choose from and which benefits they offer.

Sponsored Posts

This one is probably the most widespread due to its simplicity. The influencer creates a post highlighting your product and you pay them for it.


A contest is also a really good idea because it immediately ensures followers are engaged with the post because they can win a product.

Branded Content

Branded content means the influencer uses your product in an informative way that is engaging to their followers. Branded content is great because it allows the influencer the freedom to be authentic while displaying your product.


Reviews are an optimal choice if you’re bringing a new product to the market. The influencer can then do an in-depth review demonstrating the advantages your product has.

Brand Representative Program

Sending your product to an influencer is also a great idea because it shows you are confident about your product. It may also be a relatively cheap option because you can use your own product.

Influencer Takeover

This is when an influencer takes over your Instagram page for a day. This is great when there is a significant overlap between your niche and the niche of the influencer. It can result in a mutual increase in followers.

Track the Success of Your Instagram Influencer Campaign

Depending on your campaign type, you can monitor different metrics to keep track of the performance of your campaign. For example, when you want to increase your follower count, you can simply track your daily follower growth starting on the day of your campaign. However, if you want to track more advanced metrics such as engagement levels or branded hashtag usage, you should consider using an Instagram analytics tool.

Many Instagram analytics tools allow you to track your engagement levels. This correlates directly with the Instagram algorithm and is therefore important to track. If you’ve used branded content, you can also track your brand awareness. Has there been an increase in the number of times your branded hashtags have been used on Instagram since the start of the campaign?

The key takeaways of this post include using influencers to do the heavy lifting of your marketing campaign. Finding the best influencers for your business or product can be made easier by using an Instagram influencer platform. And, an Instagram audit tool can help you predict the success of your campaign because it helps you weed out fake influencers. Good luck with your Instagram influencer journey!


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