What actually is an influencer?
Only just five years ago, an “influencer” was almost unheard of. Fast forward to 2019 and Instagram influencers are almost unescapable. Feeds are constantly infiltrated with photos of sponsored content, and with 800 million active monthly users worldwide, it is now much easier for brands to reach their target audience. Even though Facebook has more users, Instagram seems to be much more engaged, which makes it more efficient and effective for brands to be seen and heard. Nowadays, it’s fairly common for people to use Instagram as a sole job, making money through sponsored content and by being brand ambassadors. It’s crazy to think that there is now a degree to help Instagram users achieve their dream of being an influencer.
What does a sponsored post actually look like?
With influencers on the rise, it really can be hard to distinguish what is and what isn’t a sponsored post. To help you out, here are a few giveaways to help you pick a sponsored post:
- The influencer is seen holding and or using the product.
- A caption that describes how much the influencer loves and recommends the product.
- The brand mentioned is directly tagged in the post, and or is used in a hashtag (i.e. #GarnierAU)
- Hashtags such as #collab and or #spons are used in the caption.
The point of a promotional post is to prompt followers to go out and make purchases based on the influencers’ recommendations. Here are a few examples of Australian Instagram influencers posting sponsored content.
Instagram Username: brookehogan
Instagram Username: itsjoshmiller
Follower Count: 87.6k
But, how can they make money from this?
Okay, so next question you’re probably thinking – “how do these influencers get paid?” These influencers can often go unpaid, or are paid with products, or if they’re influential enough, they are paid in both product and money. Sponsored content can include just one post, two posts, or a series of posts shared with their followers. Brand ambassadors, however, are usually the more effective method of influencer marketing. Brands hire an ambassador (the influencer) for a long term-relationship, and the influencer must broadcast the partnership and products on social media. High-ends brands like Mercedes Benz have now started using influencers as brand ambassadors, meaning the influencer gets given a new model car to drive around – on the condition that the car is posted to their Instagram regularly.
Which influencer should your brand work with?
As a brand, it can often be challenging to select an influencer to fits in well with your image and who will get you the best results. I’ve compiled the main considerations your brand should take into account when selecting which influencer to work with:
- Reach: does the influencer have a high number of followers? Generally, the more followers an influencer has, the more reach the brand will have.
- Engagement rate: are the followers interacting with the influencer? Even the top-tier influencers can often have low levels of engagement.
- Image/niche: does the influencers brand image and niche fit in with your brand? It is important to use an influencer who would genuinely use your brand/product in real life, otherwise your brands’ authenticity will be tarnished. Confused still? Here’s an example – an activewear brand such as Lorna Jane should select an influencer who is known for fitness blogging to promote their new range.
- Reputation: does the influencer have a good reputation? This will either benefit or harm your own brands’ image/reputation.
Australian brand success story:
Have you heard of HiSmile? If you’re an active Instagram user, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Australian brand. HiSmile was founded by two entrepreneurs and friends Alex Tomic and Nik Mirkovic. For those who are still confused, HiSmile offer a range of oral cosmetics, particularly known for their dental teeth whitening kits worldwide. The brand rarely uses A-grade celebrities to endorse the brand, with two exceptions of Kylie Jenner and Connor McGregor previously posting sponsored content for the brand. The two millennials have relied more heavily on everyday Instagram influencers to promote the product, working in their favour as the two men have turned a $20,000 investment into a multi-million dollar empire.
Business Instagram Username: hismileteeth
Business Follower Count: 1m
Influencer Featured: skye.wheatley
Influencer Follower Count: 569k
The future of influencers:
Users are increasingly demanding influencers to be more credible, trustworthy, authentic and relatable.
It appears that the future of Instagram influencers is being driven by the remaining Instagram user population. These users are increasingly demanding influencers to be more credible, trustworthy, authentic and relatable. Repercussions on Influencers who are failing to do this are a decrease in likes on their posts, constantly being unfollowed by other users, or even receiving public backlash on their Instagram posts and in the media. Users no longer want to see the “highlights” anymore, they also want to see “behind-the-scenes” and an insight into the celebrity/influencers everyday life.
You may or may not remember a failed celebrity endorsement that went viral was posted by Scott Disick, who is highly associated with the well-known Kardashian/Jenner family. It appears Scott was paid to promote a protein shake on his Instagram feed, and failed to be authentic and credible by posting an incorrect caption. The star received a backlash and was labelled a “sell-out” after posting this. Check it out below!
Instagram Username: letthelordbewithyou
Follower Count: 21.2m
As you can imagine, this post would’ve done more harm than good to both Scott Disick and the brand being endorsed. Credibility, authenticity and trustworthiness would’ve been tarnished, and it can often be hard for personalities and brands to rebuild this. Other than conducting your own research into influencers and potential brands to collaborate with, influencers are now seeking representation with local talent and personality management companies to ensure their image and reputation is protected. It is important to have conversations with the influencer/or brand and find out if the partnership is a good fit, and can get good results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tahlor Thompson is an Instagram analyst at Digital Marketing Adelaide. She is also an international model working part of the year in Milan. Using her personal knowledge on the best practice when it comes to Instagram, she is able to help advise DMA’s clients to help them with their Instagram marketing.
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