So, you’ve gotten with the program and jumped on board with influencer marketing on Instagram. You’ve probably even done the hard work and vetted a great group of Instagram personalities. The problem is, unless you've splurged on an A-list celebrity, an artsy picture with your product and a hashtag probably won't be enough to make you stand out in a crowded Instagram sphere.
In order to rise above the clutter, your brand needs some creative ideas when partnering with influencers, which also don't hinder their creativity.
Aside from the obvious assets to give your insta-influencers - like hashtags and product from your brand - consider these four tactics to really power the quality of the content about your brand on Instagram.
Host Influencer Events
There’s no better way to educate and empower your Instagram stars about your brand than to host an event where you can interact with your influencers in-person, and provide cool backdrops and props to help inspire awesome photos.
Sure, you can send them a box of your gourmet donuts and ask them to feature the donuts in their next post, but consider the quality insight and visual content they could produce if you invited them to your bakery instead. Think of the value of an event where you show influencers how your donuts are made - put them in aprons and hairnets, walk them through the process, and maybe you even let them whip up and decorate a batch of their own.
You can even take your event a step further and feature an exciting speaker to inform and/or entertain. It would be a natural choice to have someone to speak about your brand, but here’s a thought: find an expert on influencer marketing or ramping up an Instagram presence to speak. You’ll likely get a larger and more enthusiastic audience to attend, and they’ll appreciate the effort you made to appeal to them in their field.
You might have to supply some travel expenses, depending on the location of your group, but this could produce brilliant interactive imagery that genuinely represents all that’s good about your brand.
Ask Your Influencers and Audience
First, ask your target influencers what they think their audience wants and plan a campaign accordingly.
Remember, these Instagrammers are, by necessity, very aware and in touch with what works and what doesn’t work with their fans. Offer them all the assets and resources they need and most will be able to come up with some great ideas.
Secondly, ask the audience - or rather, have your influencers do it.
Simple open-ended questions are a perfect way to encourage engagement and get fun conversations going, whether the question involves your brand or not.
You sell fair-trade coffee? How about “What time do you drink #ourcoffee?” or “Where is your favorite #ourcoffee spot?”? Both questions should motivate Instagrammers to post their gorgeous images and content, and should get a friendly contest going with the audience to show their stuff.
User-generated content is pure gold: genuine, evergreen and free. Even a random question with no mention of your brand (except the hashtag, of course) can get people involved.
For example, “Best rooftop bar in your city?” or “I get ____ hours of sleep a night. You?”. Anything to get things buzzing with your influencers is a good thing for you.
Nothing pushes top performers like some good healthy competition. It’s important to remember how to properly incentivize your influencers - be it with product or payment or both.
Influencers are a tight-knit group, and can sometimes resent competing against each other as the only means of payment, however, after a campaign gets going, let the games begin.
You could offer prizes for both the top sellers (providing Instagrammers with a unique code to track conversion rates) and the most creative/funny/beautiful posts. This works to emphasize both sales and creativity, which gives some of your smaller, yet talented, micro-influencers a chance to be in the running.
What’s the prize? It could be financial, a big box of your product, gift cards or a personalized subscription box that shows that you know what your influencer really likes. Or, maybe you weave in a trip to your office, or another destination into the mix.
E.L.F., a cosmetics company, ran an incredible event with their top performers, which increased reach and networks exponentially - all while making fun the focus.
Incorporate Cause Marketing
We're all seeking out the good in this world and ways in which we can contribute towards it. Brands are no different and it’s unusual to find one that doesn’t support various charities.
Using social media influencers to amplify your cause marketing campaign and spread your message just makes good sense both socially and financially.
Check this out: according to this study, a whopping 87% of consumers would defect from one brand to another if the alternate brand represented a charity or cause they believed in. Young consumers (who are the largest Instagram users by far) are especially devoted to social change.
There are so many creative ways to integrate a cause into your campaign. If your brand already has a favorite charity, make sure your influencers have all the information and hashtags available to include it. They could volunteer, join a fundraising walk/run, or meet/work directly with the recipients of the funds - all great opportunities for visual content that accelerates the donations.
If social reach is a priority, you could pledge additional funds per like or share, which again promotes the charity and your brand. Whichever method you use, this is a powerful and meaningful way to make a difference.
Working with influencers can be extremely powerful - but you need to understand how important it is to be creative and collaborative with them. If you can foster and invigorate these relationships, there are some pretty amazing things to come.