Fueled by millennials and Gen Z-ers all around the world, influencer marketing has become a top priority in 69% of marketers’ strategies. Especially on Instagram, where the global influencer market has already hit 1.3 billion, and is expected to double by 2020.
At the same time, with the increasing affinity of online audiences towards visual content, marketing through branded video content has emerged as a powerful marketing strategy, for brands and influencers alike. Back in 2017, 51% of marketers named video as the type of content with the best ROI. But at that time, only 63% of businesses were using video for marketing – in 2019, that number has jumped to 87%, with 83% of marketers claiming that video gives them a good ROI.
In this article, I’ll look at how you can fuse both influencer marketing and branded video content into your Instagram strategy, in order to build an authentic connection with your target audience.
Hyper-growth in influencer marketing
As you can see in this graph by Influencer Marketing Hub, the global market size of influencer marketing has grown by a whopping 282% over the last four years.
Clearly, as people are moving away from traditional methods of advertising, like television commercials and online display ads, they’ve become more receptive to a new medium – social influencers, on a very large scale.
So why is it that today’s consumers are so consumed with influencers? It all comes down to authenticity.
Whether they’re looking at the product, the brand or even the people associated with it, today’s generation of consumers is “woke” enough to look for authentic values in a brand that they can either relate to or want to be a part of. In fact, an overwhelming 90% of young audiences say that while deciding which brands to use and support, the most important factor for them was authenticity.
With millions of followers, influencers have established their rapport as specialists. And they use their social media handles to actively engage with their audience and build their authenticity.
Differentiating micro-influencers from mega-influencers
Whether an influencer is considered ‘micro’ technically depends on the number of followers or subscribers they have on their social channels. The ideal number of followers for micro influencers is anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000. But they also typically have another thing in common – they’re thought leaders for a specific type of audience.
Most marketers have actually found that micro-influencers are better for their businesses, with studies pointing out that 82% of consumers are more likely to follow the recommendations made by micro-influencers.
Here are some more advantages the micros have over larger influencers:
1. They’re more relatable and trustworthy for niche audiences
Having a close-knit group allows micro-influencers to have deeper and more meaningful relationships with their audience. And as a result, their engagement, loyalty and conversion rates are much higher than bigger celebrities and macro-influencers.
They share their everyday lives, values, vulnerabilities and thoughts with their followers in the form of vlogs and videos. This helps build more genuine connections. So when they give their stamp of approval on a product or service, people want to try it too.
For instance, fashion blogger Urvashi K Bali uses Instagram questions to connect to her audience and answers their questions. This helps her in building a loyal bond with her followers.
2. They help smaller brands compete with the big dogs
Micro influencer marketing is a great way for small or new brands looking to get a headstart on their business. With the help of free giveaways and small contests, micro influencers can help promote your product and increase your follower count across social media channels at the same time.
While the big brands follow their long-established practices, new brands can easily one-up them by presenting new and unique ideas to a hyper-targeted and concentrated niche of the population.
This video posted by Indian dog treats brand @doggiedabbas is a re-shared post from influential pet account @life_of_sirius showing how much the pet loves his treats. This creates a buzz and gives a direct boost of followers to the relatively new brand @doggiedabbas.
View this post on Instagram
“Playing with my favourite treats is not funny, dad. It's chicken jerky, for Hachi's sake” 😣 @sirius_the_rottweiler . . . #doggiedabbas #dog #puppy #pup #cute #eyes #dogs_of_instagram #pet #petstagram #dogsitting #dogsofinstagram #instagramdogs #dogstagram #dogoftheday #lovedogs #rottweiler
3. They’re much more budget-friendly
There is a basic (quite popular) formula for calculating the cost of hiring one influencer on Instagram:
$100 x 10,000 followers + extras = total rate
So, paying $100 per 10,000 followers implies that the more followers, the more the rate and, by extension, the greater the impact. But we have already established the fact that micro-influencers do not have that big of a following, and still they provide better results than the bigger influencers.
Evidently enough, the cost of hiring a micro-influencer is extremely budget-friendly for marketers. Of course, the only concrete way to select one for your campaign is with thorough research about their impact.
Best practices for a winning influencer marketing campaigns
Whether you take a look at Apple reaching out to Lewis Hilsenteger for their product reviews or Mercedes teaming up with Loki the wolfdog for their ad campaign, there is more than enough evidence available scattered around the internet that proves how well influencers marketing works with video content.
1. Tease longer-form YouTube videos through micro-video Instagram teasers
Even as the oldest player in the social video arena, YouTube has set the stage for itself with over 1 billion active monthly users. And while Instagram was founded in 2010, its camaraderie with YouTube (in terms of influencer marketing) truly began in March 2016 when its 15 seconds video limit was raised to 60 seconds. Since then, Instagram’s global influencer market size has seen a growth of over 100%.
While posting videos directly on YouTube might send the subscribers a quick notification (if they have that option enabled), it is not typically a channel for “casual browsing”. On the other hand, that’s exactly what Instagram was made for – casually scrolling through pictures and short-form videos.
Many smart marketers, brands, and influencers have taken great advantage of this opportunity – by posting teasers of their campaigns on Instagram, directing traffic to the full video on their YouTube channels, where video SEO is a huge winner.
In this post, pro jump roper and upcoming fitness influencer, Nate, uses his Instagram handle to announce the release of his new video on YouTube.
View this post on Instagram
I met up with @jimmysaysrelax three-ish months ago, and we filmed a whole bunch of awesome stuff over two days. I then proceeded to take my sweet time editing 😅😂 BUT the video is now live! The link is in my bio 😁🤙 • My favorite part was when we sat down and talked about the jump rope community—you all contribute to such an amazingly positive and support virtual (sometimes physical!) group of humans 🙌🙌 There are a handful of folks out there workin their butts off to continue to bring all styles and corners of this community together, and we’re super pumped where jump rope is heading 🙂 • Oh and by the way…. you can bet I have a sh*t ton more awesome YouTube video content in the pipeline 😎👌 It’s very different, I’m having an amazingly fun time experimenting, and I’m pumped to deliver for you guys over the coming years 😁
2. Get instant feedback & increase engagement through polls
The question/answer and polling features within Instagram Stories makes it extremely easy for influencers to connect with “their tribe”. It’s also a great way to get to know your audience more, i.e. what kind of content they find interesting.
So before you work on your next influencer campaign, try asking your audience what (or who) they want to see more of in the first place. Here’s a great example of Airbnb leveraging polls in their Travel Tuesday IG Stories series, to get their followers to engage with shots that they’ve reshared from their travel influencer partners:
3. Show what you know about your audience
From working moms to tech nerds, knowing your demographic is the most important part of brand marketing. While this may seem obvious, many marketers fail to ensure that the following of the influencers they’re hiring align with their own target audience.
The solution to this plight is to conduct thorough research on your audience. What are their interests? What are their biggest challenges? What types of accounts do they follow on social media? Who do they look up to? Then, search for influencers that meet those requirements.
For example, the Swedish watch brand Daniel Wellington is known for its classic and minimalistic designs. And this was the strategy that was adopted to promote their watches. But instead of choosing all the fashion-centric influencers, Daniel Wellington chose many influencers of different niches and used specific discount codes for each account. They even included famous Instagram pet Shadow_Scuba!
By aiming to reach a diverse demographic and partnering with influencers other than fashion and lifestyle, they made their brand more relatable and even sentimental.