Instagram Influencer Marketing on a Smart Budget

So you hear that influencer marketing is a must but you don’t have $50,000 to pay a celebrity to post on Instagram. Lucky for you, there are many options out there for a company to integrate Instagram influencer marketing without blowing your entire year’s budget.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why Instagram influencer marketing is so popular
How to set up a budget
How to create your marketing campaign

Why is Instagram Influencer Marketing So Popular?

For some companies like Wendy’s, NewsWhip says engagement on influencer paid posts run up to 100 times the engagement of a brand’s own post.

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In terms of ROI, TapInfluence’s study found influencer marketing is 11 times more effective than traditional marketing efforts.

I've partnered with @cleanly to try their service and they showed me that my laundry is cared for and smells amazing. The best part is that I save time each week to do the things I love to do like travel and explore. Use the code DIOGRAFIC and get $10 off your first 3 orders, link in my bio #laundrydaydone

A post shared by New York City (@diografic) on Jul 27, 2017 at 7:34am PDT

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When used effectively, influencer marketing can play a big role in your campaign. For example, Cleanly targeted a person who is often on the go and could use a laundry service. Ideally, the audience is also comprised of travel enthusiasts and could take advantage of Cleanly’s services.

How to Set Up an Influencer Marketing Budget

Approach your Instagram influencer marketing budget like you would for any marketing opportunity. It can be included in your annual marketing budget, monthly social media spend or even part of a campaign budget. Once you have a cash amount in mind, decide how to best put it to use.

For companies that have a low or non-existent cash budget, you do have other options:

Offer a product or services exchange
Run a collaborative contest
Offer discounts to their audience

Back home in LA, where the temps are feeling good and I'm looking forward to autumn. 🍂🍁🍃 | Shot #sponsored by @lifewtr—thank-you for supporting my creativity over the summer. #lifewtr

A post shared by Matt Allard (@lifeserial) on Sep 15, 2017 at 11:08am PDT

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LIFEWTR partners with creatives and its influencers match that segment. Matt Allard’s account is filled with mostly personal explorations, so a sponsored post has an even higher impact on LIFEWTR’s followers.

How to Create Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

We’re using the term “campaign” a bit loosely here. Instagram influencer marketing can be ongoing and/or it can be specific to one marketing campaign. In either case, creating your campaign is similar.

Goals

The objectives of most influencer campaigns are:

Raise brand awareness of the company, product or services
Increase sales
Bring in new customers
Improve current customer sentiment about brand

In a recent survey from eMarketer, 88% of marketing professionals found influencer marketing to be effective or extremely effective at raising brand awareness. The study makes sense. We tend to trust our peers’ opinions on brands more than word straight from the brands’ mouths.

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With this in mind, you should determine what your own goals are for setting up influencer marketing.

Metrics

To go hand-in-hand with the goals, you need to have matching metrics to help you measure success. Depending on how the campaign will be structured, you have several metrics that you can use:

Influencer-specific discount codes: The number of times each code is used.
Referral links: The total number of clicks and successful conversions for each link.
Engagement: If it’s a public post, you can track the number of engagements. If it’s an Instagram Story post, you can request analytics from the influencer.
New followers: If there are campaign dates, then this metric could be used.
New customers or purchases: If the campaign or program is about a specific product or service, you can track sales to see if they increase.

Today is the final recipe for this 4 part series!  Hope you all had fun with the protein powder recipes. My last labor of love is a welcome mat to Autumn (seriously one of my favorite seasons). Muffins! 🍂🍁🐿🍂 . How about some Spiced Sweet Potato Chai muffins?  Y’all are not ready.  And P.S. – this recipe might be one of my best EVER.  Let me know what you think.  Recipe below! • • • Part IV is “Bake it!” Spiced Sweet Potato Chai muffins made with w/ the addition of @kuranutrition Chai Plant Based Vegan Protein. You can feel full and totally satisfied.  Get 20% off @kuranutrition ‘s products by using CK20 at checkout.#ad — Sweet Potato Chai Muffins 35g ( ⅓ cup or 1 ¼ packets) Kura Chai Plant Based Vegan Protein 220g (1 ⅔ cups ) Gluten free 1 to 1 flour 200g (1 ¼ cups) coconut sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 222g (1 cup) sweet potato puree 171g (¾ cup) ghee (or butter), room temp 75g (¼ cup) coconut yogurt 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla TOPPING: 143g (3/4 cup) brown sugar 34g (1/2 cup) walnuts 1 ½  teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour 70g (1/3 cup) butter 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the muffin tins with coconut spray. 2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. 3. Add the wet to the dry, being careful not to overmix. 4. For topping, combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir. Using a fork, cut in butter. 5. Add the batter to the tins and cover each muffin with the topping. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

A post shared by Christiann Koepke (@christiannkoepke) on Sep 20, 2017 at 8:44am PDT

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In the above example, Christiann includes a discount code in the caption, making this an easy metric to track for Kura Nutrition.

Create Ideal Influencer Profiles

Just like your usual customer profiles, influencer profiles consist of demographics that you want to target.

These profiles should include important statistics like:

Follower count
Engagement rates
Post aesthetics
Any history of working with brands
Expertise, interests or specializations
Locality (if your company is location-specific)

If your budget is small, you’ll want to aim for micro-influencers. These are accounts with usually less than 1,000 followers but have a highly engaged audience.

In fact, Influence.co released some statistics on average costs per influencer by number of followers and their respective engagement rates.

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Follower count is still a high determiner of influencer value. However, it’s a better investment to use micro-influencers than celebrities. Posts that cost $49 each had the highest engagement rate at 9.0% when compared to other post costs.

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Based on the budget you determined earlier, you can now estimate how many influencers you’re able to account for.

As we had mentioned before, cash is not the only thing you can offer an influencer. Sometimes a service or product exchange is enough if the interests match.

about last night // got to host some wonderful friends and colleagues for a @greygoose dinner at chez @away. thank you for the memories! #greygoose #ad

A post shared by ALICE GAO (@alice_gao) on Oct 2, 2017 at 3:13am PDT

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Influencer marketing can include special events like this Grey Goose dinner Instagram post example. Events can be run on a budget as long as you’re offering something exclusive or enticing enough for people to want to join in. If you’re struggling with figuring out the financial end, take a look at this post: How Much Should You Pay Social Media Influencers?

Research the Influencers

This is a key part of Instagram influencer marketing. After you’ve created your ideal influencer profile, you need to make a big list of all the accounts that match the profile. Make sure you include contact information in your list. Some influencers list contact information in their profile while others state their preferences in their website.

Hopefully, you already have some people in mind who would be a good fit. If not, you can do further research through tools like Klear and InfluencerDB. There are many free tools out there and most have paid tiers too. Don’t only trust the tools. Be sure to do your own research on each profile as well.

Sprout Social’s own Instagram Profiles report includes information on influencers who have engaged with profile. This would be a good starting point if you have an account with us.

instagram top influencers engaged report

You can click on any of these accounts to get details on their audience size as well as your conversation history with them. Plus, you can add in details like contact information and internal notes about the influencer for your team such as “open to working together on a campaign.”

instagram conversation history

Here’s one more “hack” you can use to get insights into influencers you’re interested in working in. Use our Instagram Competitor’s Report. Add potential influencers you want to work with to the report. Once Sprout has been able to gather some data, you’ll be able to get great insights like how often they post, engagement numbers an more.

instagram competitor report

 

Agencies also exist to do the legwork for you. But if you’re on a budget, doing your own research will be a big money saver.

Sometimes you wake up super early in the morning(reluctantly, of course) to go a cliff in bad conditions just to check it out and have some fun with the homies. And sometimes, despite your poor attitude going into it, you have a really good time and discover some of the sickest routes you’ve ever seen. And in these moments you realize that getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new has its rewards. Maybe it’s not something you do all the time, maybe it’s just something you do sometimes. #FindYourGnarly @gnarlynutrition 📸: @bdunkles

A post shared by Chris Healy (@c_healy) on Jul 16, 2017 at 7:28pm PDT

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Gnarly Nutrition’s customer base is all about healthy eating. Naturally, athletes and people interested in exercise are a great fit for the brand. Products don’t have to be in a photo for a sponsored post to be effective. An influencer’s honest captions and lifestyle photo is a more subtle form of advertising.

As an artist, I have to fight for what I believe in, whether within my work or within this ever changing world we live in. I often like to think back on inspiring individuals in our past, like Thurgood Marshall, who began with fighting for the rights of few but ended up fighting for the rights of many. @MarshallMovie @OpenRoadFilms #MarshallMovie #InTheatersOctober13 #StandUpForSomething #Sponsored

A post shared by Jade Sheldon (@jade_melissa) on Oct 2, 2017 at 8:58am PDT

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Don’t be afraid to branch out. Marshall Movie could’ve easily found film enthusiasts to talk about their film. Instead of only going the obvious route, they connected with artists like Jade to talk about why the movie was important to them. The caption and photo is all in the creator’s style and offers a unique perspective on the film.

Contact the Influencers

During the research phase, you should’ve written down how to contact them. Now is the time to draft up your email or Instagram Direct Message.

While you can have a template for your message, it’s best to include some points of personalization. For example, if you’re a coffee roaster, you could say something like “Hi Brandy, we happen to have the same coffee as this one that you’re drinking! Would you be interested in trying our version out to taste compare?”

If you’re running a campaign, you’ll want to note what you’re asking of them. Do you want them to test a product? Do you want them to post a discount code? Remember, if you have a small budget, you probably won’t be able to ask for too much. You can have guidelines in what you’re looking for but you should give the creators creative control over the posts. Too much oversight leads to a post that reads like an ad.

It’s that time of year again… Time for Petco’s Halloween Costume Contest🎃 This Candy Corn Witch couldn’t be more excited at the chance of winning $10,000, and that’s dollars not bones! Here is how to enter: 1. Follow Petco on Instagram @petco 2. Share a picture of you and your pet in a Halloween costume and Halloween scene and tag the photos with #HalloweenSceneContest and @petco for official entry 3. Official contest entry dates are 10/1 – 10/26 #PetcoHalloween #Sponsored #Ad

A post shared by 🐾Oreo Double Stuff🐾 (@oreothedoublestuffbulldog) on Oct 2, 2017 at 2:02pm PDT

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Clearly, this post is part of a larger Petco campaign. Some of the words were given to them by Petco, but the imagery is in line with the rest of the account.

One note to mention here is that if you have an ongoing Instagram influencer marketing campaign, you should begin conversations with targeted influencers before you start asking them for posts. Once you’ve built up a relationship, it’ll be easier to ask and even easier for them to say yes.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Tools

Newly announced, Instagram is rolling out Branded Content features in both posts and Stories. The feature announces paid partnerships to disclose when a creator or publisher had an exchange.

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While #ad and #sponsored may still be used in posts, the Branded Content feature also allows publishers access to the creators’ analytics. For publishers that include influencers frequently, this tool could be a very useful tracker for your ROI.

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Outside of using Branded Content tools, you could use low-budget analytics like:

Turning on notifications for when the influencer posts
Asking the influencer for their Story or post analytics (if they have a business account)
Manually recording engagement on a post after a certain period of time

So many changes going on in this house. I think every room is turned upside down in some way or another. . This black wall is no more. It has some lovely fresh Sheetrock and patching happening. & the grey sofa is back! Pink couch just wasn't doing it for me. So if anyone is in the market for a pink couch☺️ . . PS. Click the link in my bio to figure out how to score up to $500 in @worldmarket gift cards and see how to throw a fall girls night this weekend!🍂👭#ad #worldmarkettribe . . . . . #apartmenttherapy #theeverygirl #howyouhome #mymodern #mywestelm #mybhghome #housebeauiful #homegoodshappy #currentdesignsituation #currenthomeview #colourmyhome #mystylishspace #styleithappy #workspacie #myhautehome interiorandhome #dshome #bloglovinhome #mydomaine #lonnymag #atmine #mycovetedhome

A post shared by Cara Irwin // Goldalamode (@goldalamode) on Sep 28, 2017 at 6:30am PDT

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World Market’s Ambassador Program is clearly laid out on their site and has a corresponding hashtag. If your influencer marketing is part of an ambassador program, you can easily monitor hashtags to respond quickly to their posts. Sprout’s Smart Inbox makes monitoring seamless and part of your daily social media manager routine.

The Ultimate Social Monitoring Tools

You can use Instagram influencer marketing effectively and with a small budget if you plan carefully. Instead of the usual free product and cash in exchange for a post, consider other options like special events and giveaways. With a little creativity, you’ll find that your brand can reach new audiences without Selena Gomez posting about it.

This post Instagram Influencer Marketing on a Smart Budget originally appeared on Sprout Social.