5 tips for engaging with social media influencers on Instagram

19th January, 2017

You’ve probably heard a lot about social media ‘influencers’. Maybe you’ve even thought about engaging with them? Perhaps you’ve even taken a stab at dabbling in the Insta-arts.

Businesses might engage social media influencers to promote products and services, usually in exchange for a benefit or some form of remuneration.

To get the most out of the arrangement, it’s important to know exactly what you’re signing up for, what results you’re after, and what to expect.

Perhaps you’re looking to kick start your business, or launch something new. Either way, social media is a great, cost effective way to get the word out and position your brand.

Depending on whether you want to drive sales or brand awareness, engaging influencers can do just that.

Here are six tips to keep front of mind when engaging with social media influencers.

1. Engage with existing customers

Odds are, if you’re an existing business you probably already have a handful of influencers within your current customer base. Start by looking for those who regularly like or engage with your posts, who tag you in their own posts, or who regularly point or link to your content.

Try seeking them out directly. It’s always easier to engage with people who truly love your brand and are advocates already.

2. Pick your audience via your influencer

When looking at your influencers, it’s quite simple to work out what category they fall into.

Just because someone has a large audience, it doesn’t mean it’s the right audience for your business.

Think about who would follow this Instagram account and why. For example, the demographic who would follow an influential car or burger blogger is unlikely to be interested in your customisable bikini brand.

3. Do your homework

Once you’ve found some influencers you’d like to engage, do your homework.

When considering paying ambassadors, do your due diligence as if you were investing in a TV placement.

Influencers will often sell you on their engagement levels (post likes/views divided by number of followers) and this is your first point to check.

A large follower count and low engagement is an immediate red flag. However, at the same time be aware that every single metric (likes / video views / followers) can be ‘purchased’ in bulk.

If someone is faking it, then it’s likely they will be purchasing all the above consistently to maintain a steady engagement rate percentage.

It’s worth keeping an eye out, to see if they’ve slipped up.

Although there will always be some variations between individual engagement on posts, if you see someone consistently getting 1,500 likes on a post and one snuck through at 400, it could be a red flag.

4. Encourage content creation

The last thing you want to do to a creative person is restrict them too much.

Instead, provide clear guidelines and let your influencers apply their personal brand to their posts. There’s nothing worse than asking them to share a stock image or to repost something which doesn’t fit in with their carefully curated feed.

Giving them some creative flexibility also gives you further value for money as it provides original content for you to share as well.

5. Nothing is free

Influencers know their value (as do you, which is why you’re approaching them), and are unlikely to work for free. When there is something in the deal for both of you, influencers will work much harder to create something great, and it lays the foundation for a long-term relationship.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen full-time influencers making a living from social media platforms, whether it be sponsored content or creation of new content. An influencer will view their audience in terms of reach – just like traditional media, such as TV, radio and online.

While some influencers will do work for other incentives, in many cases they will want remuneration.