The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Guide for 2021: How to Work with Influencers on Instagram


December 22, 2020

Two decades ago, the idea of having a fast reach to an audience and the possibility to initiate conversations with customers around the world, seemed inconceivable. With the rise of social media and its influence on our everyday lives, everything changed.
 
The lack of interaction, along with the high cost, caused the marketing through billboards, television, radio, and print ads to decline dramatically. Today, the best way to share your message is by using the marketing channels created through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or the so-called social media influencer marketing.
 

What Is Influencer Marketing?

 

Have you ever bought something because someone you admire used that exact same product?

Well, I certainly have. A week ago, I bought this dress, which I probably won’t wear in the foreseeable future, since my wardrobe has now transitioned to the COVID Fashion - sweatpants and PJs.

However, I’ve been following this influencer Alexandra for quite some time now and I really like her style. When I saw the dress on her, I knew I had to have it, hoping it would still fit after the pandemic has ended.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘That’s not the wisest approach Jasmina’, and you might be right. 

But did Alexandra’s post make me buy the dress? She sure did!

This is just one example of what is now called influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing asks content creators to increase traffic and take their message to their target audience. It works because it uses word-of-mouth marketing. Customers trust their friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.

 

What Is A Social Media Influencer?

 

Simply put, an influencer is someone who has a certain effect on others. In this case, someone who wields that influence through social media. They are the ones who have developed certain credibility among their followers and have a significant amount of engagement on social media.

 

Celebrities’ Downfall

 

Now we all love celebrities and we’d love to have them promote our brand. Imagine, having a bikini line and someone like Kendal Jenner raving about it. That would be a game-changer! However, the likelihood of that happening is equal to you living on Jupiter (I’d say Mars but we might see that happening in our lifetime). Anyway, luckily for us mortals things have changed in the last few years, and especially in the last few months. Situations such as Gal Gadot singing ‘Imagine’ and asking us to ‘imagine a world with no possessions’ was not well received by people who were facing unemployment, or when Sam Smith joked about having a meltdown over being quarantined, and when  David Geffen wished us well from his yacht.

But as I said, even before the coronavirus crisis, fatigue with the celebrities was showing. People started to feel scammed by celebrity influencers. The celebrity influence has gone down in favor of more relatable influencers. Based on some statistics, today we have 10 micro-influencers for every celebrity, compared to 3 micro-influencers per celebrity in 2016. Micro-influencers are considered experts on a subject and have followers who take interest in their views. 

Some of the top social media influencers who are not celebrities in 2021 include: 

Amanda Cerny (25.7m followers)

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Zach King (23.5m followers)

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Liza Koshy (17.7m followers) 

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Finding 'The Right One'

 

The trick is knowing how to find social media influencers and being able to connect with the ones who are the right fit for your brand image. So, it’s crucial to work only with social media influencers whose vision aligns with your own. You can conduct your search in several different ways. For starters, you can include Google searches by setting alerts for keywords and look for social media posts related to your brand. 

You can also go directly to social media platforms and search through a specific hashtag or keyword in the search field, and see what posts populate.

Using tools in your search is one of the best approaches.

Buzzsumo is a powerful search engine that helps you find influencers based on topics and locations. It’s a great tool that allows you to discover, follow, reach out, and analyze influencer data. 

Another completely free tool is Followerwonk which is mainly used to find influencers on Twitter by searching for Twitter profiles or Twitter bios with keywords.

My personal favorite is Hootsuite and it’s free! Hurray! What’s cool about this one is that it discovers social media influencers by monitoring relevant conversations.

However, if Instagram is the place you want to be, then TrendSpottr is the right one for you. It helps you detect the trends and the trending influencers. Photos, videos, and influencers for any tag or topic can be found through this app, and you can also see which hashtags are trending right now.

There are many more. Also, check Upfluence, HypeAuditor, AspireIQ, Post for Rent, or Discover.ly.

Extra tip: During your research, keep in mind that you should always verify the profiles of the influencers. Check if they are legit and if they worked with similar brands such as yours. Plus, make sure that the number of followers is higher than the number of people they are following. If someone is only getting followers by following other people, they are faking it.

 

Plan Your Approach

 

Influencers usually get lots of offers. When you first approach an influencer, you’ll need to show that you’ve put in the time to learn what they do. It basically feels like dating. You have to be smooth about it. Get to know them and start slowly. Like their content. Comment when appropriate. Be appreciative and not salesy. You can always join some online chats they are participating in. They must be on some platforms such as Reddit or some LinkedIn groups.

Then make your move. Try with a direct message. If you can find an email address, try that too. Whatever you do, don’t send a generic message. 

Give influencers as much information as you can about your brand. Tell them what you hope to accomplish. 

 

Set Them Free

 

Try not to micromanage the entire process. The influencer will not accept a deal that makes their brand inconsistent. After all, influencers are content creation experts. So, let them be their own creative director. The brand has needs - yes, but you still need to allow the storytelling to happen following their own process. It’s a good idea to provide some guidelines about what you’re looking for, of course. But don’t expect to stage-manage the entire campaign.

 

Track the Results 

 

There are ways in which you can measure the success of your branding. One of the key ways of doing this is by creating your own hashtag. A good one can drive more traffic and create awareness for your campaign. Some of my personal favorites are Coca-Cola's #ShareACoke, RedBull’s #PutACanOnIt, Amazon’s #PrimeDay, Gap’s #MeetMeInTheGap, or Nike’s #JustDoIt. They are easy to remember, fun, and unique for their brands. 

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Another way of generating traffic is by giving out promo codes as an easy way to track sales. When you create a promo code, make it as specific as possible and easy to remember, but still relevant for your influencer. When you give promo codes, make sure that you are sending them at the right moment. Holidays or peak seasons are always the right way to go. Also, customers are afraid of missing out on a great deal. By using the concept of time, you can push customers to act on impulse. Use phrases such as “Today Only!” to create urgency to act fast and buy now. You can even put a countdown next to your promo code. So timing is everything. 

 

Money, Money, Money…

 

Let’s get serious now. This whole thing might be pricey. Influencer costs can vary widely based on your business goals, industry, platforms, posting frequency, and more. While there isn’t a clear answer to how much you should pay influencers, there are still some guidelines you can use. There are even tools to help you calculate how much specific influencers are paid. So here is what you need to know to plan everything out.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can pay the influencers. Some of them would be happy to negotiate directly with you. However, most of them are represented by professionals who handle their business relationships. 

There are also agencies that work with influencers. Agencies have relationships and negotiated rates with influencers that may be hard to reach. 

Next, we have the multi-channel networks that work with influencers within their network and may want media fees in addition to their service fees. 

Finally, we have platforms that charge monthly subscription fees just for access and/or take a percentage of each campaign executed via the platform.

The next stop is the pricing model we need to choose. 

One of the most popular ways to pay an influencer is through a pay per post model. PPP agreements pay influencers a flat fee for a single post or a series of posts. 

Another way to pay for an influencer is through a flat campaign fee. Agencies typically work through pay per campaign models, while the multi-channel networks sometimes adopt the pricing method as well. 

Pay per click models is when an influencer is paid each time a follower “clicks” on a link specified by the brand. 

Cost-per-acquisition is when you pay influencers because their efforts resulted in a new customer — usually by using an affiliate link. 

And finally, influencers are sometimes compensated with products, services, or travel.

Now, all of this is great, but how much will it cost you really? 

Well, based on HYPR, an influencer marketing platform, if we are reaching an influencer with 500,000 to one million followers, we’ll need to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for a post. 

However, it all depends on the platform they are using and what type of influencer they are. 

You must be aware that there are several types of influencers based on the number of followers they have. We have nano-influencers (1,000–10,000 followers), micro-influencers (10,000–50,000 followers), mid-tier influencers (50,000–500,000 followers), macro-influencers (500,000–1,000,000 followers), and mega-influencers (1,000,000+ followers).

Another thing is the platform they are using. Based on the 2020 Influencer Marketing Outlook report, the top social media platforms for influencer marketing are Instagram (82%), YouTube (41%), TikTok (23%), Twitter (23%), and Facebook (5%).

According to Digiday’s findings, if they are using Instagram, the price is $1,000 for every 100,000 followers. A tool you can use to help you is the Instagram Money Calculator or the Instagram Influencer Earnings Calculator. Just enter the username of the influencer that you’re interested in and the calculator will estimate the earnings per post.

YouTube is a bit more expensive since we are talking about generating videos. YouTube influencers usually charge $2,000 for every 100,000 subscribers they have. However, not every subscriber would watch every video by the influencer so each video view would generally cost more than each subscriber. If you don’t want to price your campaign, you could use FameBit to set a budget and have YouTube influencers reach out to you with their proposal.

TikTok is quite fresh to the influencer game, so there’s no real way to determine how much influencers earn. TikTok has many influencers who have tens of millions of followers. These influencers can earn upwards of $10,000 per post. Here you can use the TikTok Money Calculator to see how much they average per post.

Twitter - $2–$20 per post

Facebook - $25–$250 per post.

Now, the different types of influencer partnerships that you can build.

A shoutout happens when you pay a user to promote your brand or product on social media.

Giveaways are short-term and provide value to both you as a brand and the influencer.

Takeovers are when brands give the influencer access to their social media channel. The influencer can then curate content for the brand.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, an influencer promotes a brand’s product and gets a commission based on sales through the influencer’s platform.

Product sending happens when brands send prominent influencers products and hope that the influencer will share something positive about it.

Brand Ambassador can be used for both short and long-term influencer partnerships. As a brand ambassador, influencers will share videos, posts, images, and more about your brand and products for a lengthy period of time.

These earnings here will give you an idea of how much influencer marketing will cost you. Just keep in mind that costs vary depending on your industry, content needs, social media platform, reach, engagement, and more.

 

The World of Influencer Marketing in 2021

 

There are several things that you should think about regarding influencer marketing in 2021.

Micro-influencers may seem like the smallest players in the influencer marketing game, but boy they do have a great effect! Think about it, would you listen to a celebrity who is paid millions, or your next-door neighbor? Well, I know my pick! They might have the smallest group of followers, but this leads to greater trust. Because of this, micro-influencers will likely have more influence than celebrities in 2021.

Instagram is considered the most important channel for influencer marketing, so we won't be seeing the channel fading away into the background anytime soon. Instead, in 2021, it will be joined by a few up-and-coming influencer channels. In 2021, keep an eye out for YouTube, Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Pinterest, especially if your audience leans more towards Generation Z.

It can be expensive to connect with the right influencer. In 2021, however, we can see brands building long-term relationships. This allows the influencer to build trust and make a greater impact on the brand's audience.

 

Some Final Thoughts

 

The fact is influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere. By identifying the type of influencer, you want for your business, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers. While influencer marketing may not be right for every single brand or company, the best way to know is to test it out. It is always best if real professionals do this job for you. So don’t waste any more time, contact us, and let’s start right away!


Let’s work together!

Author: Jasmina Stankovska

Jasmina Stankovska

Jasmina is a technical author and content writer. She enjoys movies and music, and when she is trying to give her eyes a break, you’ll find her up on a mountain, exploring nature.