Instagram Influencers: 3 Tips For Success


Instagram influencers are all the rage.

I get it.  It’s simple to use and easy to find other people who share your interests.  The introduction of Instagram stories makes it even more powerful.

There’s a lot of potential for brands and content marketers.

But a lot of digital marketers are still not finding success with Instagram influencers.

I hear complaints that they’re not driving enough click throughs or sales.

One marketer of women’s wear in Asia told me she was frustrated because the influencers she enlisted didn’t get their audiences motivated enough in the products to click through to the product pages.

Sales were flat.

I asked her to query her influencers about what they thought.  Their response was that the product line was not great and their audiences didn’t like it.

To back that up, she told me focus groups came back with similar responses.

There you have it.

The harsh reality is that if your product sucks and people don’t want it, your Instagram influencers can’t change that fact.  This is why every marketer putting together an influencer campaign around a product needs to be honest with themselves and their clients.

Is the product a loser?  Is it lackluster?

Your customers don’t lie.  If they don’t buy, they don’t like it.  Its up to YOU to figure out why.

That’s right.

Influencer marketing is NOT a cure all for crappy marketing or crappy products.


Here are 3 down and dirty steps to working with Instagram influencers so you have success and don’t get ripped off.

#1: Look for high interaction on posts rather than the amount of followers.

Yes, I get it, you want reach.  Fine, but don’t sacrifice quality for an easily gamed number like reach.


Yes, Instagram followers can be bought cheaply and quickly.  Don’t be fooled by big “reach” numbers.  Instead, look at the level of engagement the influencer gets with his or her posts.

Instagram Influencers Tip #1: Look for high interaction on posts rather than # of followers. Click To Tweet

Do the posts get a lot of likes and comments?  Which posts seem to get the most reaction?

How many people are tagged on comments?  This shows the audience is spreading the word about the posts to others.

And one last thing … look to see how engaged the influencer is in the comments. Is he or she answering questions and interacting with the audience?

Remember, you want an engaged and interested audience.

#2: How do the Instagram influencers market sponsored content? Discreetly or overtly?

I don’t enjoy being sold overtly.  It’s a turn off.  I bet many other people are the same way.

Look to see how the influencer talks about the product or service in the description of a sponsored post.

When an influencer says “I really enjoy using the product when I …”, this is discrete.

Its a suggestion rather than a direction “you should buy this product because of XYZ.”

See what I mean?

The discrete method comes across as a bit more “honest” to me as it suggests the influencer really uses the product and enjoys it.

This doesn’t just to products either.

For example, the same idea applies to a restaurant or a chiropractic service.

#3: Look at the ratio of sponsored posts to organic posts.

Greed is obvious to spot.

Is the influencer more interested in selling stuff or creating engaging content for the audience?

One way to tell is to look at the number of sponsored posts versus organic posts. If there are more sponsored posts (meant to sell something) to organic (meant to inform and entertain), you should look elsewhere.

No one likes to be taken for granted and influencers like this are in it simply for the money.

At its core, you’re looking for authenticity and authority.

These two qualities you are looking for in your influencers.  Sacrifice one or the other and its down hill from there.

Also, remember that at its heart, to make sure working with influencers is a win-win … it’s all about the value exchange.

Never lose sight of that.

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