Influencer partnerships and video are two of the most powerful strategies for growing your business on Instagram. With 33% of millennials and 40% of Gen Z social media users spending more time watching video than anything else, video is the best way to get your users’ attention. Adding influencers to your Instagram strategy can boost revenue and increase post engagement for less than the cost of traditional advertising. In fact, ads featuring influencers bring in an average of $6.85 for every one dollar spent, which is a return of over 500%!
It’s a no-brainer. Video + influencers = more engagement and more conversions for your brand, for less cash.
But you still have to invest in a solid influencer video marketing strategy. Here are some ideas for getting started with influencers and video on Instagram.
Do a Demo
You’re probably used to doing product demos yourself. After all, you know your product best and can show off all its amazing features. But relinquishing control of demos to an influencer can be more rewarding – and more entertaining.
An influencer will be more spontaneous and honest when they try out your product, and their followers will trust their advice. Take a page out of FitFones‘ book by bringing in an excited social media influencer to demo your product in the real world.
View this post on Instagram
Attention anyone who has ever had headphones fall out of their ears while working out‼️🙋🏽 … You have to try out @FitFones! FitFones are bluetooth wireless headphones 🎶, encompassed in a comfortable, light-weight headband! No more worrying about your headphones falling out and ruining your workout. These are amazing!! They are also waterproof and sweat resistant 😅 … Try em out! You can use code BRIA10 to save 10% ➡️www.getfitfones.com #sponsored . . . . #Fitfones #bluetoothheadphones #headphones #fit #fitness #fitfam #crossfit #health #motivation #GirlsWhoLift #GymLife #Workout #gym #TrainHard #goals #train #headband #running #rungear #fitnessmotivation #burpees
FitFones could have easily produced a video ad of the same quality or better. But having Bria Lee film herself doing her favorite activities gives customers an idea of how FitFones’ headphones actually perform when things get real. They can see the product in action, not in a controlled studio. Bria’s demo is far more useful to someone who is considering purchasing them.
Since the influencer is not an employee of your company, their opinions are trustworthy to their audience – and yours. This trust is more valuable than any high-production video ad.
Partner with Fans of Your Product
When seeking out influencers to work with, try looking close to home. Your current followers may be the best brand ambassadors, especially if you’re just starting out with influencer marketing on Instagram.
Fabletics has a strong presence on Instagram, posting content nearly every day, including standard posts, Stories, and ads. The brand account has nearly 1 million followers. Yet, their brand ambassadors are not all celebrities like founder Kate Hudson.
Kara Leila Reis, aka @sunsmilestyle, is a Fabletics brand ambassador and thrilled about it. As she says in her post, she’s “pinching herself.”
While you may be tempted to maximize the exposure you’ll get from an influencer partnership, don’t pair up with an influencer just because of their follower count. True fans will be more enthusiastic in their endorsements when they post about your products.
Plus, the less “professional” influencers will resonate with the non-celebrity customers you’re trying to attract. Someone who has a day job, for instance, might be more relatable than someone who creates social media content for a living. Their lifestyle can be inspirational but also accessible.
Think of influencers as business partners, not one-off transactions. Make sure you’re investing in meaningful partnerships with people who love your products and will represent your brand well.
Show the Human Side of Your Brand
Influencers are people, too, but in the semi-anonymous world of social media, it’s easy to forget. Your brand faces the same issue. Your company is more than just the products you make and the website you have. It is made up of people.
In a video, you can bridge the gap between what the viewer thinks they know about you and what’s actually true.
Pantene demonstrated this with an Instagram video series. The company invited influencers with over 9 million followers, such as fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni), to read mean social media comments on-camera:
View this post on Instagram
When I opened TheBlondeSalad.com or my Instagram profile, I could have never imagined how exposed my life could become. I have always loved sharing with you guys my journey, my daily life and experiences. Yet I am also very exposed to hurtful comments and most of the times it’s hard to defend myself as it’s one against many. With this video that I made with @capellipantene pantene I want to share the message that no one should let strangers define who you are based on how your hair looks or even how you say "capelli”. #StopHairshaming and body shaming and start using this platform to spread love and inspire people around you, you’ll feel better, I promise 😉 Let me know if you liked this video and your thoughts ❤ #sponsoredByPantene #Pantene
This tongue-in-cheek approach is humorous and shareable – if not totally relatable. After all, not everyone gets thousands of comments on Instagram daily. But by peeling back the curtain, the influencers were able to expose the less-glamorous side of fame.
Pantene’s campaign sent a message that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You too can create a human-centric brand message. Getting influencers to open up on camera about issues they care about will start conversations beyond just the products they’re promoting.
Partner with Two Influencers at Once
One way to get the most out of your Instagram influencer partnership is to double up! Finding two influencers with unique followings and messages will maximize the number of people who see your videos.
During the Winter Olympics, Toyota created a video campaign with Instagram sensation Loki the Wolfdog and Paralympian Oksana Masters:
View this post on Instagram
Behind each of our partnerships, there are incredible people we love. Toyota is no exception. They’ve continued to believe in our journey and have sparked so many great fires in our heart. Not too long ago, they introduced us to @oksanamasters. She is a three-time Paralympian and a complete inspiration in every way. Filming this video was one of the best experiences, and we hope you all can feel that when you watch it. Please show @oksanamasters all the love and support you’ve got as she heads into the Olympic season! @toyotausa #sponsored
The two influencers have complementary, if not overlapping, audiences. Both are enthusiastic about snow sports and adventure and promote a message about going after your dreams. The timely, feel-good video brings together various interests while showcasing Toyota’s values. It gives Toyota more intimate access to each influencer’s followers, making the brand more influential in the process.
Collaborating with more than one influencer is not just a good idea from an exposure standpoint. It also does wonders for creativity. When you bring two creators together, they can spark new ideas that might not have been possible without the partnership.
Use Influencers to Inspire UGC
Hashtags are a wonderful tool for building community on Instagram. Influencers can speed up the process by promoting your Instagram hashtags in their Stories and posts.
Sweetgreen launched a new salad in collaboration with chef Dan Barber and Row 7 Seed Company. To promote the new menu item, they created a hashtag, #sgxrow7. The company and creators kickstarted the campaign with a series of videos:
View this post on Instagram
Oh hi, Koginut Squash bowl, starring a brand new squash bred for flavor and nutrition for @row7seeds by co-founders @chefdanbarber and @mazlabseeds. Paired with lemon-dill fennel, pears, basil, local goat cheese, raw walnuts, toasted almonds, toasted buckwheat, organic wild rice, organic spinach, lemon squeeze, and balsamic vinaigrette, find (and enjoy) it in every sweetgreen today. #sgxrow7
Almost immediately after launch, foodie influencers caught onto the trend, using the official hashtag along with a more playful one, #squashgoals.
Influencer marketing is perfect for creating buzz on Instagram. Influencers are trendsetters more than brands are, so let them take your branded hashtag and run with it. This will create a domino effect, encouraging other followers to check out your product and post about it.
Getting Started with Influencer Marketing on Instagram
Instagram is a huge community of creative people, and partnering with influencers will take your video marketing to the next level. Luckily, it’s easy to get started with your influencer marketing strategy.
As we mention above, start by reaching out to some of your existing followers and fans of your brand. They don’t need to have huge audiences — around 1K followers is a great place to start. People will likely respond to your direct messages on Instagram.
Once you’ve secured a few brand ambassadors, you can launch a low-key campaign, offering a supply of product samples in exchange for a post or mention in their Stories. You can even make it easy for them by sharing a video template that they can use to create content.
From there, you can experiment with content ideas and post types, such as video carousels or promoted (paid) posts. After you’ve found a formula that works, reach out to higher-volume influencers you admire and create more formal partnerships with designated budgets and project specs. This way you can ensure steady growth of your influencer marketing program.
By working with individual creators, you’re tapping into your customers’ styles and tastes, making an effort to make things they like, and discussing topics that interest them. This will lead to deeper investment and engagement with your products and help you grow your customer relationships over time.