When used properly, Instagram can be a fantastic way for retail brands to engage with their target audiences. In fact, a report from RhythmOne found that Instagram outperforms all other social media channels when it comes to direct interaction. The average Instagram post has an engagement of 3.21 percent, compared to 1.5 percent across all other networks.
Advertising directly on the photo sharing app can be an effective way to reach new customers, but brands have found other interesting ways to spread awareness on the network. Unconventional marketing campaigns that leverage influential Instagram accounts are just one way to do so:
Find your target audience
As with any marketing campaign, your work on Instagram should begin with an analysis of your target audience. Depending on your retail brand, you may have one single buyer profile in mind, or several. Market research should guide your strategy for developing and interacting with targeted personas.
Check out our guide on how to conduct market research for tips on building useful customer personas.
Look for relevant influencers
Once you've developed buyer profiles and identified your target audience, you can find the Instagram accounts that are most relevant. Search for keywords on the Instagram app to find accounts that post content that might interest your audience. Depending on your budget, you'll want to narrow down your list of potential partners by their number of followers. Accounts with millions of followers are likely to cost more to work with than accounts with a few thousand followers.
To optimize your ability to work with Instagram influencers, social media strategist Melissa Hebbe recommended partnering with accounts that have a follower count roughly within 10,000 users of your own account.
As you narrow down your list, pay close attention to tone and aesthetic. If your brand is cheerful and urban-chic, you probably don't want to partner with an account that is gritty and rustic. If a user tends to leverage keywords similar to those utilized by your own brand, there's a good chance a partnership could work.
Understand disclosure regulations
The Federal Trade Commission closely regulates how brands market to consumers online. Before you partner with an Instagram influencer, become familiar with the FTC's guidelines on product endorsement. In general, regulations require that digital influencers disclose when they accept money or gifts in exchange for sponsorship.
Compliance with sponsorship disclosure regulations isn't just a smart legal practice – it can also build trust with your audience. In fact, a recent study from Label Insight found that 94 percent of consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that are completely transparent.
Start a conversation
Once you've identified a handful of potential influencer partners, it's time to start a conversation! Most Instagram influencers who are open to sponsorship opportunities will have contact information listed on their account or on a related website. As you contact influencers, introduce yourself, explain why you're reaching out and why you believe you'd make a great partner. Have specific details prepared, including how you'd like to collaborate, such as hosting a giveaway contest or featuring a product in a lifestyle post.
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