Whether it be identified as a “public relations” or “influencer marketing” campaign, what’s required is still the same—meaningful connections. Unfortunately, while a great idea for any brand looking to push a specific product or service, the strategy isn’t the easiest to implement. More than anything, making matters most difficult, the same connections you hope to initiate, develop and tap for future lead generation projects are the same that each of your competitors secretly covet. There’s a great deal of noise. Cutting through it can be difficult.
With that in mind, however, all is not lost. Fortunately, thanks to the modern-day advent of social media, there’s an outlet that can be tapped for this exact kind of PR work—Instagram. With upwards of 800 million active monthly users on the image- and video-sharing network, there are thousands of industry-specific audiences for your brand to access.
When first getting started, though, it’s likely that you’re company’s reputation isn’t as high-profile as those of your niche’s most prominent industry influencers. So, instead of giving up and looking elsewhere for digital PR and marketing savvy, connect with the biggest and brightest that your area of excellence has to offer on Instagram. In the process, not only will you tap into the power of your chosen influencer’s audience, but you’ll grow your own following, as well. In need of some help? Luckily, the following four steps will have you seeing success in no time at all:
1) Pinpoint the influencers you hope to work with
First and foremost, it’s important that you reach out to the right influencers. If a successful working relationship is accomplished, there will be a great deal of back-and-forth between you and your influencer, so doing this correctly right from the get-go is of the utmost importance. To start the process, simply navigate to the Explore tab on Instagram and begin running keyword searches that most closely match the type of influencer your company is looking to work with.
Next, create a list of anywhere between 10 and 15 influencer Instagram accounts that seem to closely align with what you’re looking for. From said list, toss out the accounts that have fewer than 100,000 followers. Remember, the more robust your influencer’s follower total, the more likely yours is to grow, too. That said, you’re not only looking at follower totals, you’re also searching for top-notch post engagement—likes, comments, etc. Needless to say, the more user engagement you see, the closer you’re getting to an ideal target.
2) Reaching out for meaningful collaboration
Once you’ve whittled down your list to a more manageable size, it’s time to get started with the heavier PR side of the process—reaching out for meaningful collaboration. How is this to be done, exactly? Usually, when an Instagram account is open to working with brands like yours for advertorial purposes, the owner will post his or her email address on an account’s Instagram profile page.
When crafting your initial pitch, explain as simply and succinctly as possible that you’re looking to work with a reputable Instagram account to promote a product or service, and that you’d like to team up for a promotional campaign. If a positive response is given, you’ll soon be talking about rates, seeing as how anything of this nature is rarely free of charge. In large part, prices will depend on the number of followers an account has, its level of engagement and whether or not it’s a personal or corporate account. Needless to say, keeping in mind that many Instagram accounts earn over $10,000 a month in promotional work, be prepared to negotiate for a fair price.
If you run a smaller business or are low on cash, all is not lost. With no money on the table, the process is substantially lengthier, but you and your social media marketing team can still produce some great PR-driven results. The key is simple—account engagement.
Advises Kickstagram, an industry leader in Instagram marketing, “When you engage in authentic, meaningful ways, influencers are much more likely to notice you and respond. And when they notice you in a positive way, you greatly improve your chances of having them follow your account and engage with your posts, thus drawing their followers to you and your booming account.”
3) Creating a brand-specific landing page
Having finalized the details of your work with a few Instagram influencers, it’s time to create a campaign landing page. A landing page is a simple Web page that’s sole intent is to get people to enter a sales funnel by registering for a free opt-in of some kind. Whether it be a report, e-book, white paper, case study, template, formula, checklist or video series, now that you have a list of email addresses, your opt-in will carry clout with the very people you will sell additional products and services to in the not-so-distant future.
Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of a landing page isn’t to sell products, but to build an email list, provide incredible value for next to nothing and generate new leads for your brand. Yes, this can be accomplished through your own social media marketing endeavors, but when linked to an Instagram influencer, results are greatly quickened.
4) Initiate your campaign
Planning is great, but eventually the day will come when it’s time for your campaign to finally launch. With the reputation of your brand on the line, it will primarily be your responsibility to provide your influencer or group of influencers with any promotional materials you’ve created. While there’s certainly plenty of room for creativity, these will often include the following:
- Creative direction – If a post’s design is left up to the influencer, you might want to provide a rough outline of how you’d like your product to appear in both the featured image and post description.
- Landing page link – This is key—in addition to providing the link, edit it with a link tracker so you can accurately follow the clicks your landing page link receives. That way, for any future campaigns, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, adjusting your approach to Instagram PR and marketing as effectively as you know how.
- Action-oriented copy – Depending upon the number of posts an influencer has promised you, provide the creative copy, instructing viewers to visit the landing page link your Instagram celebrity will have shortened and temporarily placed in his or her bio.
- Product/Service image or video demonstration – These days, Instagram isn’t only about images; it’s also a great platform for sharing short videos. Because of this, provide plenty of product- or service-specific materials for your influencer.
You might be new to Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you need to take weeks, months or years to build an account before generating any new leads from the innovative platform. There’s something to be said for patience, but more to be said of real, measurable results in a timely manner. Intrigued? Take to Instagram to practice a bit of PR savvy through the channel’s incredible number of influencers. Simply put, as far as social media is concerned, there are few things better for your brand’s image.