How to Sell on Instagram: 8 Steps to Launch a Killer Influencer Marketing Campaign

In this guide, we'll teach you everything you need to know about influencer marketing, from finding the right influencers to measuring your success.

How to sell on Instagram: 8 Steps to Launch a Killer Influencer Marketing Campaign
Portrait for David MorneauBy David Morneau  |  Updated September 11, 2023

With Instagram’s ever-growing user base, now is the perfect time to start an influencer marketing campaign. And with this guide, you can do it yourself – without breaking the bank. We’ll explore what influencer marketing is, the benefits of influencer marketing for businesses, and how to set up and execute a successful influencer marketing campaign, from setting goals to the analysis. Let’s go!

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on promoting products or services through people who are able to influence potential customers. It uses content creators to get your message across to your target audience.

There are a few different types of influencers, but the most common are celebrities, bloggers, and social media users with different-sized followings. Generally speaking, the more influence a content creator has, the more effective they’ll be at promoting your product or service.

The key to successful influencer marketing is to choose the right influencer for your brand. It’s essential to find someone who aligns with your values and whose audience would be interested in your product or service. For example, if you’re selling baby clothes, you wouldn’t necessarily want to partner with an influencer who only posts about fitness.

Once you’ve found the right influencer, the next step is to develop a creative and effective campaign.

What Are the Advantages of Influencer Marketing?

When it comes to marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it offers many advantages to different types of businesses:

  • Influencer marketing can be highly effective in targeting hard-to-reach markets. By its very nature, influencer marketing gives you access to an engaged and connected group of individuals who can help spread your message far and wide.
  • Since influencer marketing relies on personal relationships and recommendations, it can be an excellent way to build trust and credibility for your brand.
  • People are more likely to buy products recommended by relatable influencers and experts, so influencer marketing can be a great way to boost sales and ROI.

And the stats don’t lie:

  • 17-22% of people prefer celebrities over influencers
  • 38% of people trust branded content
  • 60-70% of people trust influencers
  • 82% of people have purchased following a loved one or influencer’s recommendation

Of course, there are different types of influencers, each with its success rate. No marketing strategy is perfect, and there are a few potential disadvantages to consider with influencer marketing.

First, it can be tough to identify the right influencers for your brand. Second, even when you’ve found the right content creators, you’ll need to spend time developing relationships with them. But, if you’re willing to put in the effort, influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for growing your business.

How to Create a Killer Influencer Marketing Campaign 

Now we’ve covered what influencer marketing is and its advantages it’s time to learn how to create a foolproof influencer marketing strategy

1. Set Your Budget

Any good marketing campaign starts with a budget. You need to know how much you’re willing to spend before you can start planning where to spend it – and that’s especially true when it comes to influencer marketing.

Working with influencers can be a great way to reach new audiences and build your brand, but it’s not free. You’ll need to factor in the cost of hiring influencers and any associated fees, like commissions or paid promotions.

How Much Do Influencers Cost?

The price per post depends the influencer’s:

  • Following size
  • Engagement rate
  • Expertise
  • Your campaign duration
  • Content-type
  • Platform
  • Copyright agreement

A celebrity’s post can reach the four or five-figure range, but chances are you’ll hire a micro or nano-influencer. The fee for a micro or nano-influencer varies from $20 to $500.

Statistics show that these smaller-scale content creators have higher engagement rates. For example, a short 15-second Instagram Reel with a 3% engagement rate can be more costly than a 20-minute YouTube video with a 0.5% engagement rate. However, a fin-tech sponsored post is likely more expensive than one about gym clothes.

But, if you don’t get copyright from your influencer, the end price can be lower. It’s all just a matter of variables. If your goal is increasing awareness or click-through rate, you’ll want to partner with multiple influencers that cover a larger audience.

Many influencers prefer moral rewards like recognition or feeling they support a specific cause. So, when you start negotiating with different content creators, use this as leverage. Once you’ve set a budget, you can start reaching out to influencers and negotiating deals. And that’s when the real fun begins.

2. Set Your Goals

Like most marketers, you’re probably looking to drive sales as well as increase brand awareness, and because influencer marketing is based on relationships and trust, it can often improve marketing ROI. Micro-influencers have 22.2 times more direct conversations about selling products. That’s why they’re so persuasive.

Before you establish your goals, first analyze your:

  • Company history
  • Previous campaigns
  • Competition
  • Current landscape
  • Available budget

Remember that influencer marketing is just a cog in the machinery that helps you achieve these goals; it’s not a magic wand or panacea. Here are some mistakes you can make in goal setting:

Wanting to grow your customer number directly

For example, you can assume that you simply tap into that content creator’s market once you partner with an influencer. Then, the audience has to listen to you. Wrong.

The number of customers you have is calculated by multiplying the number of leads with the conversion rate. To increase that number, you have to tweak these two elements:

  • Get more high-quality leads: First, ensure you partner with the right influencer.
  • Increase conversion rate: Offer these leads something valuable (e.g. a product, advice).

For example, Dr. Noc is a Ph.D. immunologist with 220k followers on Instagram – a number that puts him in the mid-tier range. His videos and memes are funny, relatable, and, at the same time, very informative.

Dr. Noc has a few videos sponsored by @yesprotectkids, which fights against candy-flavored tobacco. Its goal is to convince people to vote against this type of tobacco so that children are less tempted to start smoking.

Dr. Noc’s sponsored videos are successful because:

  • He’s addressing the right audience – mainly Millennials who are wary about the products their children are exposed to.
  • He’s built a reputation as an expert through his slew of previous posts that offer his followers value (aka knowledge).
  • He’s funny. Humor is a rhetorical tool that suspends argument scrutiny; you can notice it at work in stand-up or late-night political comedy. Using humor helps you prove a point because people who are amused are less likely to question the original statement. Even if his sponsored posts aren’t funny like the others, Dr. Noc has already achieved this stage of suspended argument scrutiny.
  • He starts with a hook. “Tobacco companies DO NOT want you to see this video…,” which attracts attention and raises curiosity.

Focusing on increasing sales directly

Studies show that getting new customers is riskier and more expensive than focusing on your loyal ones. That means your goal can be selling more to your existing customers or selling the same product at a higher value.

Remember that your ROI = number of customers x number of orders x price/order. Focusing on simply growing your sales is frustrating and tiresome because ROI is a result, not a variable. To get the result you want, you have to tweak the factors of the above multiplication.

If you want more sales, try to get your loyal customers to buy more, or sell them more expensive packages.

FaceYogaMonna is an excellent example because she represents her brand, but she’s also an influencer. As a certified face yoga coach & cosmetologist, she certainly has the right expertise.

But she’s also worked very hard to fill her Instagram account with valuable, informative posts.

Monna explains different face yoga poses and massages on a daily basis. She also talks about the importance of exercise and staying happy, using her personal experience. This free advice is used to upsell her programs and products.

So instead of targeting new markets and getting new customers, Monna diversifies her product range (6-week course, Gua Sha, ice rollers, etc.) and her price range.

3. Determine Your Audience

Who you target is just as important as what you say when it comes to influencer marketing. After all, there’s no point in trying to sell sandals to someone who lives in the Arctic. (Unless, of course, you’re selling snowshoes. But we digress.)

The point is that if you want your influencer marketing campaign to be successful, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. Not only will this ensure that your message is heard by interested people (aka high-quality leads), but it will also avoid any awkward situations (like getting called out by an influencer for trying to sell them the wrong product).

So before you launch your next campaign, take a moment to think about who your target audience is and make sure your influencers are reaching them. Sometimes, your influencers can help you (re)define your audience.

For example, a fitness influencer can help you sell baby clothes to parents who take their kids to baby-and-me workout groups. Look at this post, for example. It’s not a sponsored one, but it could be.

4. Find the Right Channels

One fundamental question must be answered when it comes to influencer marketing: which channels should you use to reach the target audience?

That might seem like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, many brands mistakenly use the wrong channels and waste a lot of time and money in the process.

So how can you avoid this mistake? The first step is to understand your audience.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they like?
  • What platforms do they use most?

Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can narrow down which channels will be most effective for reaching them.

For example, if you’re trying to reach teenagers, using Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram would be more effective than Facebook or Twitter. By taking the time to determine the proper channels for your campaign, you can ensure that your influencer marketing efforts are successful.

This article is about Instagram, but your Instagram audience can also be on TikTok, YouTube, or Twitter.

That said, Instagram is one of the best channels to be on because:

5. Find the Right Influencers

In the world of marketing, influencers are the new black. Everybody wants them, but not everybody knows how to use them effectively. Finding the right influencer is essential to a successful influencer marketing campaign – and it’s not always easy.

The first step is to identify your target audience for Instagram. Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you can narrow down your list of potential influencers. Look for people who have a genuine interest in your brand and an engaged following. It’s also essential to ensure that your values align with the influencers you work with.

After all, you don’t want to be associated with someone who doesn’t share your brand’s core principles. Once you’ve found the right influencers, it’s time to start building relationships. Do your research to ensure your chosen influencers are legit. Using an engagement rate calculator is an excellent idea because it will tell you if those content creators:

  • Have fake followings, and:
  • If they fit your requirements

Fitness Blender is an excellent example. The home-workout fitness company frequently uses its trainers as approachable, relatable influencers. Tasha is one of them.

This video, for example, shows:

  • Tasha wears no makeup in perfectly natural light and run-of-the-mill room.
  • A behind-the-scenes clip that makes Tasha even more approachable. The fitness instructor shares that drinking water from a mug during her workouts makes her feel like she has superpowers.
  • An engaging question, “Have any weird workout habits?” that keeps the conversation going.

Why does this strategy work? Because Fitness Blender has always aimed to create a family. Thus, people working out on this website aren’t just users; they’re part of a larger movement that promotes healthy living over strict beauty standards or rigid diets. The people inside this community are loyal to Fitness Blender, and the brand always makes them feel included and part of something bigger.

Fitness Blender also leveraged this community to upsell its services. As such, the company went from offering free workout videos to launching FitnessBlender Plus, a paid membership program offering exclusive workouts and privileges.

How to Find Influencers

Depending on your goals, business size, and budget, there are different types of influencers you can choose from:

  • If you’re looking to increase brand awareness or build a community around your product, you’ll want to focus on micro-influencers. These are everyday people with a modest following who can generate genuine engagement with their audience.
  • Nano-influencers are even smaller, with fewer followers, but they’re often more relatable and trustworthy than more prominent influencers.
  • If you’re aiming for high-impact, quick reach, then celebrities or macro-influencers are the way to go. However, keep in mind that they come with a hefty price tag and may not provide the same level of personal engagement as micro and nano-influencers.

Ultimately, the right type of influencer depends on your specific goals and objectives. Whatever you choose, remember to make sure these content creators are legit.

That said, here’s how to find influencers on Instagram:

  • Browse relevant hashtags such as those that:
    • Your audience searches for
    • Your ideal influencers use
    • Your competition is using
  • Browse by location using the Map Tool
  • Browse hashtag feeds to see different influencer profiles
  • Browse influencer marketplaces on Instagram because they list a slew of relevant profiles
  • You can also use custom Google searches or specialized search engines.

Define Your Relationship

Any successful relationship requires communication, mutual respect, and a clear understanding of expectations. These principles also apply when working with social media influencers.

Before beginning any partnership, it’s essential to sit down and define the terms of the relationship:

  • What is the purpose of working together?
  • What are your expectations for the influencer?
  • What kind of creative freedom do they have?
  • How will they be compensated?

By taking the time to establish a clear relationship from the start, you can avoid misunderstandings and set the stage for a productive partnership.

Cultivate Your Relationship

No one is an island, as the saying goes. In today’s social media-driven world, that could not be more true.

We are constantly connected to others, and our relationships can significantly impact our lives. That is why it is important to cultivate strong relationships with our influencers.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Be genuine in your interactions with them. People can see through false flattery and insincerity. If you genuinely admire and respect someone, let them know.
  • Make an effort to stay in touch. Send a text message, give them a call using a VoIP phone system, or drop by their office to say hello. Small gestures like this can make a big difference in maintaining a relationship.
  • Support them in their endeavors. Whether they are pursuing a new career goal or embarking on a personal project, show your support. This shows that you care about them as people, not as tools in your strategy.

To keep track of everything, you’ll need to use:

  • Google spreadsheets to monitor everything
  • A tool to create engaging pools (e.g. TypeForm)
  • A cold email automation system
  • A messaging software or platform (e.g., social media groups, Slack, etc.)

6. Find the Right Messages

Anyone who’s ever scrolled through Instagram knows that there’s no shortage of people happy to promote a product – but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally effective at influencer marketing.

The key to finding the right message for your campaign is to consider the product you’re promoting and the audience you’re trying to reach. After all, there’s no point in paying someone to post about your product if their followers aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Let your influencers help craft the message because they know your audience intimately. Leverage these insights to improve your creative efforts.

Also, remember that studies show:

  • People are three times more likely to follow an influencer on social media than your brand.
  • 74% of those people will tell their loved ones about the brands and products they saw an influencer promote.

Eddie is an excellent example. As an Asian man with some skin problems of his own, he’s more credible when discussing Korean beauty products.

His posts are convincing because:

  • He’s genuine. Eddie doesn’t use filters that make his skin look better or cleaner.
  • He’s informative. Eddie tests these products and then provides unique insights on how they work.
  • He’s fair. You won’t find just one paid partnership in Eddie’s feed, and that’s essential because people with skin issues don’t use just one product either. While usually, you need your influencers to stay loyal to your brand, sometimes it’s best to choose an unbiased, expert partner who recommends multiple products.

This sponsored video showing how the Hero Cosmetics patch works is an excellent example. Besides seeing up-close what they can expect, people also receive a 15% discount code.

7. Monitor Your Campaign

Many marketers don’t monitor their influencer marketing campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. So, set your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) first, according to your goals.

Next, use these tools:

  • The paid partnership Instagram hashtag to monitor each influencer’s performance
  • Trackable links to centralize posts
  • Promo discount codes to keep track of conversions for each influencer
  • Google Analytics to follow traffic increase to your website
  • UTM codes to assess the traffic that each post generates, particularly if you’re selling more expensive products that people don’t buy the first time they see them
  • Tracking software to automatically monitor influencers’ performances and get all the essential metrics in real-time reports

8. Campaign Analysis

Any good influencer marketing campaign is bound to have its share of successes and failures. The key is to learn from both to improve your campaigns going forward.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to analyze the results of your influencer marketing campaign:

1. Gauge input vs. output: Keep track of how much you’re spending on influencer marketing, and compare it to your results. Are you getting a good return on investment? If not, try to pinpoint where the problem lies. Is your targeting off? Are your influencers not delivering quality traffic?

2. Write a report: A good report should include an overview of the campaign, a summary of the results, and any lessons learned. Include metrics such as reach, engagement, and conversions so that you can show your clients exactly what they’re getting for their money.

With a thorough analysis, you can ensure that your next influencer marketing campaign is even more successful than the last.

To Wrap Up…

Running an effective influencer marketing campaign takes a lot of hard work, but the payoff can be huge. By monitoring your campaign closely and analyzing the results, you can improve your campaigns for even better results next time around.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your next influencer marketing campaign today!

Guest Author: David Morneau

David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.

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