Despite the social media impact of COVID-19, research has shown that the influencer marketing industry will continue to grow at breakneck speeds in 2020. This shows the vote of confidence marketers have towards influencer marketing as a key channel to spend marketing budgets to achieve business objectives, ranging from building brand awareness to sales conversions. For online businesses, Instagram continues to reign as the ultimate gateway to get discovered and eventually drive sales, even more so during recent months when Instagram continues to innovate with new social commerce-focused features. Here are a few tips on how to leverage influencer marketing and Instagram’s new features to boost sales:
1. Market Your Brand Through Channel with Higher Engagements
Influencers tend to receive higher engagement than brands do. The logic is simple, people prefer to engage with a human persona than a corporate profile. Research by Rival IQ found that influencers typically have a higher engagement rate when compared to brands’ Instagram profiles indirectly related categories such as fashion, beauty, home decor, and consumer retail.
As good as your Instagram content can be, Instagram users do not easily shake off your image as a business and this would be reflected in your Instagram business profile’s engagement rate or click-through rate. Influencer profiles give your brand a platform to conduct conversations between your products and target consumers in an authentic manner. Influencer marketing, if done correctly, could help build the human-side of your brand that would engage better with your target market to build durable trust and brand equity.
2. Build Deep Brand Awareness by Engaging in a Dialogue
Oftentimes, we allocate more of our Instagram airtime promoting our products or ad campaigns. This could increase consumer’s product awareness but it might come off as hard selling and might not necessarily build brand equity or loyalty. Influencers let you voice the values of your brand with better marketing precision. For example, it lets you show which group of the society your products are dedicated to. This can be done by partnering with influencers that represent the market that you target, be that parents, Gen Z, or fitness enthusiasts.
Additionally, influencer marketing campaigns give you a chance to communicate with your market in a natural way that lets you impart your message without looking like your brand is overselling. You can experiment on different angles with your influencer marketing campaign by talking about the issues and interests of consumers and work towards presenting your brand as a solution in an authentic way. This is most effectively done in the presence of influencers because they could act as both a representation of your market and a partner of your brand, thus opening a dialogue while building a community with your consumers.
3. Get more ROI by Focusing on Content and Audience Alignment instead of Total Followers
For the budget-conscious, it is a good thing that sales conversion is more heavily influenced by engagement instead of reach, which means selecting the right influencers that are aligned in terms of content and audience profiling to your brand is more crucial than maximizing total follower reach. Generally, micro-influencers generate better engagement and loyalty due to their localized niche, so make sure your brand hits the sweet spot when finding influencers that can really sway a dedicated set of audience to convert into customers for your brand. The key step to doing this would be to analyze influencers’ engagement rates using Instagram Profile analytics and then diving deeper into their follower demographics using follower analytics to determine whether their followers match your brand’s target market.
Furthermore, you can also optimize influencer campaigns by smoothening the online shopping process with call-to-actions, site links, or Instagram stickers that drive audiences from influencers’ profiles to your own Instagram business account. We believe given the endless creative avenues in influencer marketing, clever content strategizing, and recently launched Instagram shopping features, we are at a turning point in influencer-driven social commerce that every online brand should capitalize on to drive growth.