2017 is the year of influence—Instagram is the hubBy Rachel Bell and Ross Johnson on July 14th, 2017 | Reading time: 4 minutes
Gone are the days of paying millions for a TV ad or billboard and hoping that your target audience is paying attention. Now, by leveraging Instagram, brands can simultaneously gain the trust of thousands—and put their product in front of people who would actually buy it—by using social media micro-celebrities, more commonly known as influencers. By 2019, influencer marketing is projected to become a two-billion-dollar industry—and Instagram is the best platform to capitalize on its growth.
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How to use Instagram influencers to drive cheap and fast traffic to your website or sales funnel
Instagram Influencers are the future of marketing. Considering over 40 percent of online consumers use ad blockers of some kind, it’s easy to tell that people are tired of being advertised to—but not tired of being influenced.
If brands are serious about being not only profitable, but also influential, they need to connect their products with someone who already has influence over their target demographic. How? By using Instagram influencers.
In a report from Hashoff, 99.3 percent of influencers said Instagram was the best place to connect with community and brands. On Instagram, it’s easy to select influencers based on audience size and engagement, and give them a free product in exchange for a shout out to their audience.
How major brands are using Instagram correctly
Daniel Wellington, SkinnyMeTea, Frank Body are all multi-million dollar brands that have leveraged Instagram to promote their products via influencers and get real-time feedback from millions of users per day. These brands do an amazing job of embodying the “lifestyle” of their product by rewarding quality user-generated content and allowing their customers to participate in fun campaigns, using hashtags, contests, and giveaways.
How brands and people are making money from Instagram
Instagram is essentially a traffic source. So if you have a brand that people want—or you are a person that brands want—you can leverage the platform to create not only income, but a legitimate lifelong career.
Money can be made from both sides of the table: if you are a public figure, brands can pay you to promote their product/service to your audience. If you are a brand, you can capitalize on their audience loyalty to gain the trust and social proof that makes sales skyrocket.
How to add the human touch to business with Instagram
Businesses can use Instagram to add a human touch by giving them a behind the scenes look at their culture or lifestyle using Instagram Stories. Stories are less formal content that give people/brands the opportunity to be candid and authentic.
A really cool way to connect with people in your area is to search your location and reach out to people for a one-on-one conversation in the direct messenger. It’s also a great way to get people in the door for your local business. Finally, people love to be acknowledged, so replying to comments can also bring a lot of value to people following your business.
How to monetize your social media following
There are so many ways to monetize your Instagram audience, it’s crazy! People often forget that your followers are actually real people that are paying attention to what you do. Attention is the first thing businesses need in order to succeed. Many people run campaigns for “brand awareness,” but they are really running the campaign for attention.
Social media is one of the best ways to get—and keep—your audience’s attention, and once you have it, you can monetize that attention. One way to monetize is to do promotions for other companies because those brands want to reach your audience, and you are the missing link for them. Companies pay upwards of $10,000 dollars for a single sponsored post like this, depending on your level of influence.
Another way to monetize is to create an ecommerce store that is relevant to your Instagram feed and direct people to buy your products through the link in your bio.
A third option businesses have for making money on Instagram is to connect their account to a marketing funnel. By presenting a valuable offer through the link in your bio, you are able to generate leads organically from social media, and then turn those leads into customers through nurturing sequences/campaigns.
The importance of building your network
Let’s not forget that all these social media platforms go by another name: social networks! That’s why they were built in the first place—to network! Networking on social media is very important, and the Instagram platform in particular rewards you for it.
It’s highly beneficial to create relationships with other accounts in your niche that have a large following because when you can get them to engage with your content regularly, Instagram will promote your content to their audience via the Explore page. Having these types of relationships and exchanges help you expand your reach on the platform, boost your brand awareness, and even increase your sales.
Key attributes of a top Instagram post
- High-quality content. The content has to be eye-catching, clear, and evoke some kind of emotion in the viewer, if possible. This is the most important part, because it is the content alone that converts a random viewer into a loyal follower.
- 25-30 relevant hashtags on every post. If you are not utilizing all 25-30 hashtags, you are likely missing out on reaching thousands (or millions) of other users who could be interested in your content.
- A high-converting caption that has a clever call to action or a question. You have to ask for participation, so give them a good reason to engage with your content!
- Timing. Look at the trends in your engagement and evaluate the best times and days to post your content.