Social media platforms enable online marketing in a highly personal, uniquely powerful way.

When used correctly, they can be a steady source of customers to your website.

In fact, 72% of the US population is using some form of social media, making social platforms the premier online location to find new customers.

Social media stats

Instagram is a particularly popular social platform and is estimated to reach roughly one billion monthly active users.

However, it isn’t the kind of site that you can simply treat as just another social media site. Just because you know how to use Facebook or you understand hashtags from Twitter doesn’t mean you’ll naturally dominate Instagram. Its image-heavy focus and one-of-a-kind design require a carefully crafted strategy in order to benefit from the legions of potential customers checking their Instagram feeds on a daily basis.

With that said, here are some of the best tips and tricks that you can use to help foster healthy organic brand engagement on your business’ Instagram profile.

More specifically, here is how to use Instagram influencer marketing to drive sales and leads from your social media channels.

Make Sure Your Audience is on Instagram

The most important step in a successful Instagram campaign actually takes place before you ever post or even set up an account. It revolves around the question: are your customers on Instagram in the first place?

A key element to any effective social media marketing is finding where your audience congregates. With so many options available (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, the list goes on), it’s important that you take the time to identify your audience and then research what platforms your customers use the most.

When it comes to Instagram, youth is the name of the game. The 18-29-year-old demographic tends to use Instagram the most while those over 65 years old typically use it the least. In addition, urban populations use Instagram more than rural ones and women use it more than men.

As you research your target market, consider if they would be on Instagram in numbers significant enough to warrant your attention. If that isn’t the case, you may want to consider directing your marketing resources towards a different platform. If it is the case, read on.

Reflect Your Values

With a bent towards youth, Instagram also tends to be a platform where expressing company-endorsed values is rewarded. Generation Z is particularly focused on the ethical standards of the companies that they patronize.

As you prepare your influencer marketing campaign, consider what ethical elements of your company’s operations are worth highlighting. Are you a textile company with high fair trade standards? A coffee shop committed to direct trade with coffee farms? An education company looking to champion social justice?

Airbnb did a good job reflecting its values when it launched its #WeAccept campaign in direct opposition to the U.S. government closing its borders to refugees.

It’s also important to use inclusive language in your text. Being aware of and sensitive to things like age, gender, class, race, and disabilities are essential if you want to foster a universally positive brand image on social media.

Start Reaching Out to Influencers

What is it that makes influencer marketing so effective for driving traffic to ecommerce and SaaS platforms today?

The answer is that consumers are becoming more efficient at tuning out typical marketing solutions, and advertisers are scrambling for new ways to reach their audience. At the same time, millennials and other big consumers are becoming increasingly engaged with people who they can develop relationships with.

Brands and online businesses that have social media presences, and companies that use storytelling in their background.

With 80% of marketers considering influencer marketing to be effective, that means there are a lot of opportunities for the small influencers out there.

The key here is to use an effective marketplace that allows you to find the right influencers and manage relationships with them. Having recently joined forces with content creation app developer Lightricks, the Popular Pays platform is a great way to streamline your influencer and content creation strategies:

  • Prospect for relevant influencers and creators using powerful search parameters to surface rich profiles
  • Connect and collaborate at scale, commissioning custom creative assets and sponsored posts
  • Track your performance in one place
Popular Pays platform

One example of how influencer marketing can give your brand more authenticity can be seen in the efforts used by La Croix spring water — a social-media powered brand. The company finds influencers on Instagram and asks them to get involved with their marketing campaign by using branded hashtags.

Instagram influencers are also a great source of social proof you can use on your product page.

Influencers Are All About Engagement

Influencers are great at engaging your target audience.

For instance, Stitch Fix linked out to an article on Instagram which features a Q&A with a fashion-blogger and social media influencer talking about dressing for her size.

The influencer in question then kept the conversation going by sharing the image, linking back to Stitch Fix, and sharing the blog post link on her own Instagram profile too. This helped to boost awareness for the company, and cross-promoted content across a range of platforms to generate more engagement from a host of followers.

Interviews are generally very useful for influencer outreach because few influencers will reject an opportunity to get interviewed. Text Optimizer is a great tool to inspire ideas for interesting discussions to use in influencer marketing:

Text Optimizer

Since influencers have highly-engaged audiences, your goal should be focused on getting your message weaved in the conversation the influencer has with their audience.

Influencers Combine Quantity and Quality

Influencer marketing generally requires a lot of hard work — and for most people, it’s much easier said than done.

Some marketing experts recommend that you look for ways to spread your budget across a range of influencers, who can reach out to targeted audiences, rather than attempting to achieve the same level of customer by reaching out through a broader network.

Your smaller reach will lead to more exposure and downloads, and because you’re paying less money, you can combine quality and quantity.

For instance, Hawaii’s Department of Tourism used the targeted influencer technique when it created the Instagram “#LetHawaiiHappen” campaign. By partnering with a range of Instagram users who were both Hawaii natives, and travel bloggers, they could promote and share events that encouraged more interest in visiting Hawaii.

#LetHawaiiHappen

The campaign would eventually drive more than 100K posts in a year, generating a lot of interest in Hawaii’s tourism.

Influencer marketing is also very effectively combined with affiliate marketing because influencers tend to appreciate being paid for their referrals.

Getting the Most Out of Instagram Marketing in 2022

If you want to get the most out of one of the largest social media platforms in existence this year, it’s important that you go about creating an Instagram strategy in the right way. This includes:

  • Making sure that your customers use Instagram.
  • Reflecting your brand’s ethics and values in your posts.
  • Inspiring creativity with yours and your follower’s content.
  • Working with niche influencers.
  • When creating your Instagram strategy, mind Instagram privacy settings.
  • Tracking brand conversions to encourage independent conversations about your business and find new potential followers.