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How to Increase Sales With Instagram Micro-Influencers

Updated on March 30, 2017

Last year, we saw a rise in the use of influencer marketing by brands around the globe. This year, influencer marketing will evolve to suit the needs, preferences, and expectations of consumers.

One of the biggest changes will be the need for authenticity. Consumers have seen plenty of influencers promoting products. And they’re probably starting to wonder if those promotions are even the least bit genuine.

Because of this, Instagram micro-influencers with a smaller reach but higher authenticity will be a favorite among brands this year.

Instagram micro-influencers may not have massive reach like their macro counterparts. But what they do have is the trust of their followers. Although influential, they’re still basically everyday consumers, which makes it easier for their audiences to relate to them.

So their recommendations and reviews come off as more authentic. This authenticity helps drive significant conversions. In fact, Polaroid [1] has experienced a 180% increase in sales after working with micro-influencers on Instagram.

So if you want to increase sales, Instagram micro-influencers could be your best asset right now. Here are some tips to get you get started:

#1: Work With Micro-Influencers in a Relevant Niche

This is the first and most important tip you should follow when working with Instagram micro-influencers or any other influencers for that matter. You may use influencer marketing to achieve different goals – whether it’s to drive engagement, sales, or brand awareness. But to successfully achieve all of these goals, you need to reach a relevant audience.

If you want people to buy your products, you need to get them to engage with your promotional content first. And if they’re going to engage with your content, they need to be interested in the subject.

That makes it crucial that you choose to work with influencers who have made a name for themselves in a niche relevant to yours. Ideally, you should work with micro-influencers on Instagram who are considered experts in a certain subject that’s related to your industry.

For example, Michelle April Carigma (@_modernfit) is an Instagram micro-influencer with about 25,400 followers. Her specialties are in fitness and style. Most of her Instagram posts showcase fitness clothing, which makes her ideal for brands that sell active wear or accessories. As you can see below, the influencer has even posted a photo promoting Adidas Ultra Boost.

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This is a perfectly relevant influencer marketing campaign. Based on her posts, it’s clear to see that her audience is comprised of people who are interested in fitness and style.

On the other hand, if the same influencer were to promote high fashion clothing, a new car, or fast food, it wouldn’t be as relevant. Not many of her followers would be likely to be interested in those categories, which could result in a failed campaign.

#2: Showcase Micro-Influencer Experiences to Instill Desire

Seeing an inviting picture of a product may entice some consumers to try the product. But for your campaign to have a significant impact, you need to showcase experiences. This can help instill a desire in the audience to enjoy those experiences for themselves.

In the case of physical products, you could showcase the influencer unboxing it, and using it for the first time. Or the influencer could demonstrate the product being used in some way.

Whatever you do, the goal is to show how well the product enhances an influencer’s experience. This can help entice the audience into trying the product themselves.

In the case of services, you have no choice but to promote experiences as there are no physical products to promote. But make sure you let the influencer take control of how they voice their opinions to maintain authenticity.

An excellent example is the promotion of the DockATot by mommy lifestyle blogger, Fatima Dedrickson (@stylefitfatty). The micro-influencer has just over 13,000 Instagram followers, and regularly posts images that will appeal to an audience of young moms.

In the following post for DockATot, she doesn’t just post an image of the product. Instead, she showcases the product in use, with her baby sleeping in it.

In the caption, Fatima talks about how the DockATot has helped her baby sleep properly, even on vacation. She also adds a relatable comment about how she wishes the other kids would follow suit. She clearly showcases her family’s experience with the product, and engages her audience with a funny and relatable caption.

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Other ways to showcase experiences through micro-influencers:

  • Have them create an Instagram video in which they unbox your product

  • Get them to document their experience with your product in their Instagram Stories

  • Invite them to an event and encourage them to post a live feed of their experience

  • Have them upload multiple photos in one post, in which they showcase their experience with your product or service

#3: Provide Influencers with Creative Freedom to Win Trust

Many micro-influencers have won the trust of their audiences because they share their honest opinions in their own unique voices. They know what their followers like, so they know how to create content that will engage and appeal to their audience.

For this reason, you should avoid trying to control what an influencer says about your product. Encourage them to be honest about what they think, and promote your product in their own voice.

You probably heard about Scott Disick’s Instagram promotion fail, when he copy-pasted instructions for a sponsored post into the photo caption [2].

The micro-influencers you work with may not necessarily make the same mistake. But you still run the risk of losing the audience’s trust if you’re too controlling about how the influencer promotes your product.

An influencer’s followers are already familiar with the influencer’s voice. So they can easily tell the difference between the influencer’s real voice and a copy-pasted promotion. Provide influencers with a few basic points you need covered, and then allow and encourage them to talk about your product in their own unique voice.

Take a look at how beauty influencer, Adri (@sortofobsessed), talks about the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial in the post below. She talks about her experience using the product, and honestly states that her experience varies from week to week. She also talks about how she experienced a tingling sensation the first few times she used the product, but that it later became more manageable.

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The Instagram influencer then talks about the results she experienced from the product, and continues to express how impressed she was. The fact that she mentions the tingling sensation gives off the feeling that this is an honest review. This mention of a negative experience makes the positive experiences and impressions more believable.

Providing influencers with creative freedom isn’t just important for winning your audience’s trust. It also helps you build a strong, and lasting relationship with the influencers. Yet too many brands still make the mistake of being too restrictive with their content guidelines. A study by TapInfluence and Altimeter [3] found that this is the second biggest mistake brands make when working with influencers.

#4: Use Promo Codes/Links to Encourage Action

You’ve reached a relevant audience by partnering with a relevant micro-influencer. You’ve enticed them by showcasing experiences. And you’ve also won their trust through honest reviews from micro-influencers. You’re off to a great start!

In spite of all of this, some consumers may still not be ready to make a purchase. To encourage more people to take action, you can have Instagram micro-influencers promote discount codes and promo links.

People may desire your product or service when they see the promotional content from micro-influencers. But to ensure that they take the desired action, you can offer them a little something extra in return. Perhaps a discount, free shipping, or free gift with their first purchase.

You can assign a unique discount code or URL to each influencer, so their followers can grab the deal. And you can then use these codes and links to track which influencers drive the most sales.

This is important because you wouldn’t want to continue investing in a marketing channel that doesn’t work. Similarly, if some of the influencers aren’t generating enough sales, you can adjust your campaign, and focus more on the high-converting influencers. So these discount codes and links won’t just help you encourage action, but also measure your performance effectively.

Glossier wanted to promote their line of cream blushes through influencers. They worked with micro-influencers like Ryan (@cinnamonryan), who has a little over 5,000 followers. As you can see in the screenshot below, the influencer talked about her favorite shade of Glossier cream blush. She then encouraged fans to check her bio for the promo link.

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As the following screenshot shows, Glossier assigned a unique link to the influencer. Her fans can follow this link to a landing page dedicated to the influencer. Notice that the link includes the influencer’s name, “ryan,” which makes it easy for her, and her followers to remember.

Including all or part of the influencer’s name or username in the promo code or link can also be easier for you to track than a generic code.

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If you check out the page dedicated to Ryan, you can see that her followers can get a 20% discount on their first order. And if they order $30 or more, they also get free shipping.

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#5: Promote Hashtags to Boost User-Generated Content

The more people who learn about your product or service, the better your chances of driving sales. And to drive more brand awareness, you can encourage users to share their own content. In order to do this, you can have micro-influencers promote a unique, branded hashtag for your campaign. They will encourage their followers to buy the product, and share their own photos using the hashtag.

As more and more people start using the hashtag, it will stir the curiosity of users who aren’t even following the influencer, or your brand. Which can help you reach a much larger audience.

Some users may not want to participate unless there’s something in it for them. To encourage them, you can combine this hashtag campaign with a giveaway contest.

The micro-influencer will post a sponsored image with your product, or featuring your service. In the description, they’ll talk about the product, or their experience using your service. Then they can mention the contest, including any rules, and encourage people to participate.

The influencer will also use the hashtag in their post, and mention that, in order to participate, users should use the hashtag in their posts as well.

For example, Banza wanted to promote their range of instant mac and cheese through influencer marketing and a contest. They worked with Instagram micro-influencer, Alex Aldeborgh (@daisybeet), who has about 26,600 followers. Alex specializes in healthy eating and regularly posts high quality images of healthy dishes.

In her promotion, Alex didn’t just show a picture of the Banza mac and cheese packaging. Instead, she used it to create an entirely new dish that included some fresh veggies. In the caption, the influencer mentioned the contest, in which participants could win a $100 Whole Foods gift card.

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For the contest, Banza came up with the hashtag, “#DressUpYourMac,” which isn’t necessarily branded, but is still unique to the brand. The micro-influencer used the hashtag in her post, and talked about how she, “dressed up,” her mac. Instead of simply telling people how to enter, she encouraged her followers to visit the brand’s Instagram profile to check out the terms and conditions of participating.

Conclusion

Now you know five of the best ways to work with Instagram micro-influencers to increase sales. You’ve learned the importance of finding relevant micro-influencers to work with in order to reach the right audience. You’ve also learned how to give influencers creative freedom so you can win your audience’s trust.

Don’t forget to showcase experiences to make your promotions even more enticing. And promote promo codes, branded hashtags, and contents to further improve your conversions.

Also make sure that you work on building genuine relationships with micro-influencers, to enhance the quality of the content they produce, and maximize your influencer marketing ROI.

If you have any questions, or other tips for working with influencers that you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.

Resources:

[1] http://www.adweek.com/digital/how-polaroid-utilizing-affordable-social-creators-boost-sales-175295/

[2] http://www.gq.com/story/scott-disick-instagram-fail

[3] http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160726005961/en/

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