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Influencer Marketing for Instagram [Complete Guide]

Instagram influencer marketing is a popular marketing method for eCommerce brands. But what is Instagram influencer marketing? Learn the basics right here.
Parker Dietz
March 21, 2023
April 11, 2024

Instagram has become a popular tool to connect with friends, share life updates, and find inspiration for anything from style to travel destinations. And the rise of Instagram has coincided with the rise of a new career path: the Instagram influencer.

An influencer is defined as a person who has the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting the items on social media via content.

Influencing has become a lucrative career in the digital age, and influencer marketing has been shown to benefit brands. So, what is influencer marketing all about? Let's explore the world of influencer marketing and what it can do for your brand.

Table of Contents

What Is Instagram Influencer Marketing?

With social media usership on the rise year after year, it's not surprising that new forms of marketing that reflect the digital age have begun to emerge.

Social media is an ever-growing and ever-evolving entity where users can keep up with their family and friends from far away, find inspiration for their next vacation, and try new recipes all in one scrolling session. Since social media is focused on building connections between users, influencers have become a bridge between brands and customers.

Influencer marketing is broadly defined as brand promotion by individuals that are leaders in an industry or niche. In many cases, an influencer is paid to promote a brand's products or services by creating photos or videos and posting them on social media.

Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

There are several different types of influencer marketing campaigns that brands can utilize. Here are some of the campaign types and why brands might use them.

  • Sponsored content: Sponsored content is content created by an influencer that incorporates a brand's product. It's also paid for by the brand. Sponsored content tends to be a more subtle form of marketing in which products are incorporated seamlessly into an influencer's regular output.
  • Reviews and unboxing content: Reviews and unboxing content involve an influencer being compensated for talking about their experience with a specific product. Unboxing content involves an influencer unboxing a specific product to show users what they can expect when purchasing the product for themselves.
  • Live events: Live events, such as launch parties or brand-sponsored trips, are often organized by brands. These events allow for a wider reach as it combines the audiences of several influencers in a specific niche.
  • Collaborations: Collaborations involve a direct partnership between a brand and an influencer in which an influencer helps to create a new product for the brand. This campaign drives a high volume of sales and buzz to a specific launch for a brand.
  • Platform takeovers and guest posts: Platform takeovers and guest posts allow influencers to post directly to a brand's social media channels rather than their own platform. This type of campaign drives traffic to a brand's social media page and allows for a high level of engagement.
  • Giveaways: Giveaways are put on by influencers and sponsored by brands. Influencers offer their audience an opportunity to win a product typically by performing specific actions such as replying to a post using a brand's hashtags or following a brand.
  • Ambassadorships: Ambassadorships are a more long-form campaign. An ambassadorship involves an influencer being hired to promote a brand with multiple pieces of content over an extended period of time. This approach can align an influencer more closely with a brand and create long-term interest.

The Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can be an incredibly beneficial addition to a brand's online content marketing strategy. Let's dive into a few of the most important benefits of influencer marketing.

#1. Results in a Solid ROI

Influencer marketing often results in a solid marketing ROI, or return on investment. In fact, according to a recent study by HubSpot, influencer marketing offers the second-highest ROI of all trends. This means that brands are more likely to see sales far and above what they paid for influencer-generated content.

#2. Builds Trust in Your Products

Trust is an important element that's required for a customer to make a purchase. It has been shown that customers often rely on the opinions of their friends, family, and even strangers online through reviews when making purchasing decisions.

Influencers build strong relationships with their audience, thus creating a sense of implicit trust when an influencer recommends a product.

#3. Helps You Reach a Wider Audience

Because the internet has a way of bringing people together, exposing your product to an online audience will widen your reach. Influencers are specialized in creating and growing large followings. In fact, it's not uncommon to see influencers with followers in the millions. Partnering with an influencer can increase your reach to their audiences.

#4. Establishes Long-Term Relationships

While it's important to establish a constant stream of first-time customers, your brand should also be paying attention to customer retention and building long-term relationships. Influencers can help you build those long-term relationships by repeatedly mentioning your brand to their audiences over time.

Why Should You Use Instagram for Influencer Marketing?

So, why the emphasis on Instagram? The platform is great for influencer marketing for a few reasons. Instagram is a largely visual platform, and photos and videos are often more effective as marketing tools than text.

The platform's hashtag system allows content to be sorted by common interests, making it easier to find the right audience for you. Instagram is also very user-friendly and easy to use.

How to Get Started With Instagram Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can often seem intimidating at the start of the process. Luckily, like many other types of content marketing, creating a strong strategy and a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish will make the whole process come together seamlessly. Let's dive in.

#1. Understand Your Goals

The first step to developing an influencer marketing game plan is to understand your goals. When you know where you want to end up, you can more clearly define the steps to get there.

Consider what you want to get out of influencer marketing. Do you want to drive brand awareness? Increase product sales? Remember to choose SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

After you have your goals set, it's important to track your progress so you can see what's working well and what needs to be adjusted.

Key performance indicators, otherwise known as KPIs, are various metrics you can use to measure the success of your marketing and content. Not every KPI will fit your project, so it's important to identify the KPIs that will work best for you.

#2. Get to Know Your Audience

A campaign targeting every possible social media user will never be successful. There are too many people online with a vast array of different goals and pain points. Instead, dive deeper into your target audience.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What do they want out of their content?
  • What is your target audience interested in?
  • What are their needs and desires?
  • What are their pain points?

As you get to know your audience, you can find influencers who speak their unique language. As a result, your audience is more likely to connect with them.

#3. Find Experienced Influencers

Now that you know a bit more about your audience, you can more easily find and connect to the influencers that will be the most beneficial to partner with. The ideal influencer will have experience creating high-quality content and an engaged following.

You can find influencers in several ways. For example, influencers often use hashtags, so searching hashtags related to your brand will help you find influencers that work within your niche. Or, if you want to take the easy route, Cohley can connect you with content creators when you book a consultation.

#4. Define How You'll Work Together

Once you've found the influencers you would like to work with, it's time to form a plan for the partnership. Remember that the working relationship should be defined by you.

You should decide what type of content the influencer will develop. For example, an influencer could create:

  • Videos or Instagram reels
  • A series of photos for posting on their Instagram grid or story
  • Product reviews

You should also work out the logistics of your partnership. For example, how will you pay your influencer? And who will be the key contact for your campaign?

#5. Launch Your Campaign

It's time to launch your campaign! Launching a campaign is a very exciting time as you can begin to see the results of all your hard work. As the campaign unfolds, you should be measuring the success of the campaign using the key performance indicators you chose in step one. This way, you'll be able to adjust your campaign as needed to yield the best possible results.

Want to get started showcasing your brand on Instagram Reels? Our creative brief template can help. Check it out!

3 Instagram Influencer Campaign Examples

Want to see Instagram influencer campaigns in action? We've got you covered. Here are a few examples.

Rare Beauty

Image shows a Rare Beauty post on Instagram

Source: Rare Beauty

This post on Rare Beauty's Instagram grid highlights several different influencers who have used Rare Beauty's hashtag #rareroutine. This post is a cross between a hashtag campaign and a takeover.

It highlights the influencers featured in the post as well as specific products from Rare Beauty's brand. Posts like this give Rare Beauty's audience a real-world example of what the products look like. Users can see themselves represented by the influencers, which may potentially influence a purchasing decision.

Hello Fresh

Image shows a post by Hello Fresh on Instagram

Source: mLLe.sisi

This photo post is a great example of a post that falls into the giveaway category. This influencer has a special discount code to offer their audience. Tools like discount offers, codes, and giveaways can incentivize users to take the first steps in making a purchasing decision.

Function of Beauty






View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Caelynn Miller-Keyes (@caelynnmillerkeyes)

Source: caelynnmillerkeyes

Function of Beauty is a haircare brand that specializes in creating individual formulas for each user's hair type. This Instagram video is a great example of a sponsored content post. The video acts as a haircare routine while blending in and featuring Function of Beauty's products naturally.

Is Influencer Marketing Right for Your Business?

Influencer marketing is an excellent tool to level up your brand awareness, so if that's your goal, influencer marketing could be a great option for you. However, influencer marketing isn't for every brand.

For example, if maximizing your investment is important to you, using influencer-generated content in your own ads, email marketing campaigns, and social media is a must. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to do as most influencers keep the rights to their work. If you choose to use influencers, make sure you're able to retain the rights to the content they create.

Another marketing method involves using vetted content creators instead of the traditional influencer. Content creators work to create content, such as photos and videos, specifically for your brand to use. As a result, you can use their high-quality content across your campaigns. Cohley's platform can connect you with content creators quickly.

Find Experienced Content Creators With Cohley

If you're looking for high-quality content you can use to build brand awareness and delight your audience, we can help! The Cohley platform helps your find vetted content creators who are ready to provide incredible photos, videos, and more to help you round out your campaigns. Learn more about Cohley by scheduling a consultation today.

Instagram Influencer Marketing FAQs

How Much Does Instagram Influencer Marketing Cost?

Costs can vary drastically in the influencer marketing world. Factors that affect cost include the size of the influencer's account, the type of content posted, and any associated costs and fees. It's best to discuss costs in depth with the influencers you plan to work with.

What Type of Influencer Should I Choose?

There's a wide range of influencers you can choose to partner with. Influencers exist on a spectrum starting with micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers) and ending with mega-influencers (1,000,000 or more) followers. It's important to choose influencers who are the best fit for your goals, brand, and budget.

What's the Difference Between Influencers & Content Creators?

Influencers focus on influencing their audience to make purchases, while content creators focus on creating content that brands can use widely throughout their marketing campaigns.

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.