Instagram Influencer Marketing Crash Course

We’ve all heard of an Instagram influencer who make thousands of dollars off a single post. But what exactly can influencers offer your business?

In this article, we take an in-depth look at Instagram influencer marketing. Specifically, we look at what it can do for you and how to find influencers that align with your brand.

Plus, we’ll also shine a light on what it takes to become an Instagram influencer.

Why You Need An Instagram Influencer On Your Side

Instagram influencers are users with an established audience and credibility. That obviously makes them a really attractive tool for anyone trying to market their brand on Instagram.

Credibility and trust, after all, are like the Holy Grail of marketing. Unfortunately, building trust among your audience takes time, money, and usually, a ton of trial and error.

Using an influencer, however, allows you to fast-track this process by harnessing their established potential to promote your brand, rather than having to warm up your audience and build their trust.

This concept is nothing new. Brands have been using influential people to market their products for decades.

Companies often use influential individuals relevant to their niche (like athletes, celebrities, or artists) to push their brand by directly starring them in promotional material.

Remember that Nespresso ad featuring George Clooney? That was, in a sense, a kind of influencer marketing. But unlike celebrities like Clooney, influencers on Instagram have a very special way of connecting with their audience.


Instagram influencers are, in many ways, much more approachable than celebrities or athletes. In some ways, they seem more relatable, which means their message might land on more ears.

If an influencer reviews or promotes a product, their recommendation might come across more like a suggestion from a trustworthy friend than a hard sales pitch from a big-shot movie star.

How To Find An Instagram Influencer That Fits

Finding an influencer on Insta isn’t hard, and there are tools like Heepsy available that help you find the right one. And there are thousands of influencers out there. Finding the right person to represent your brand, however, is a little trickier.

Here a number of things you’ll want to consider when selecting influencers to work with:

Assess Instagram Influencer Reach And Engagement Stats

Reach is obviously really important for social media. There’s something very attractive about the idea of getting influencers with millions of followers to promote your brand.

But remember, reach isn’t everything. Another important metric when it comes to Instagram influencer marketing is engagement.

Keep in mind that just because someone reaches a ton of people doesn’t mean they necessarily have high engagement rates. In fact, engagement rates tend to drop as reach increases.

That’s exactly why “micro-influencers” can be such an effective marketing tactic; although they tend to reach fewer people, their followers are usually super active.

Whether you choose reach over engagement or vice versa should depend on what you’re trying to achieve with your marketing strategy.

Reach, for example, is a good metric if you’re trying to build brand awareness and get more followers. Just keep in mind that all those followers will mean nothing if they don’t engage with you.

We generally suggest working with several influencers at a time to benefit from both reach and engagement.

Ideally, you’ll want to work with influencers that have engagement rates of at least 3–6%.

Make Sure Your Instagram Influencer Marketing Aligns With Your Brand

Quality is everything when it comes to online marketing. And it’s no different regarding influencers. Always make sure you work with influencers who reach a “quality” audience.

What does that mean? It means that they reach and engage with people that align with your target audience.

If you’re a record label, for example, you’ll want to work with influencers that reach people who are actually interested in your brand, like musicians, producers, audio engineers, etc.

To figure this out, you’ll need to dive in deep and analyze the influencer’s audience. Assess their followers, the content they share, their interests, and whether they follow/engage with your competitors or other brands related to your niche.

💡 Related Post: Guide to becoming an Instagram baddie

Check How Much Each Instagram Influencer Costs

You’re probably wondering what an Instagram influencer costs. Well, the answers vary. A lot.

Influencers will usually charge between $250 and $1,000 for a single sponsored post. However, it’s not unheard of for big-time influencers to charge above $5,000 for a single post.

Some influencers may also offer free posts in exchange for gifts, like free products of vouchers to use a particular service. However, most influencers will charge a flat rate for their posts. Some may also offer package deals for a certain amount of posts per month.

Make sure to reach out to a variety of influencers and get a quote for what you need, then choose what works best given your budget. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate rates, especially if you’re able to offer regular work.

💡 Related Post: How long can Instagram videos be?

Make Sure Your Instagram Influencer Is Legit

Authenticity is a big deal when it comes to working with influencers.

After all, it’s not hard to buy followers on Instagram; so what’s to stop someone from giving you a brand shout out that only lands on the ears of a bunch of bots?

Well, apart from going with your gut, there are a few ways you can check to see if an influencer you’re about to pay is legit.

Start by checking their follower-to-following ratio. Most influencers will follow around 1–5% of their total following. Anything higher than that is a pretty good sign the person has worked with some kind of growth bot.

Next, check their posts to see how many engagements they’re getting. Again, you’ll want to see roughly 3% of their followers engaging with these posts.

Also, pay close attention to the comments on their posts and look for ones that seem legit. Bots are pretty savvy nowadays and can easily crank out things like “great post.”

Lastly, make sure to check how long an influencer has been active on the platform. Keep in mind that, although it’s possible for people to gain “instant fame,” most quality influencers have slaved away for a long time to get to where they are today.

How To Become An Instagram Influencer

So, we’ve covered what makes influencers such a powerful marketing tool. But how exactly did Instagram influencers like Rachel Brathen get to where they are?

Well, becoming an Instagram influencer is far from easy. In most cases, it takes years of dedication and hours of posting, editing, and sharing content online, as well as networking.

Most influencers start by defining their niche. This will usually be an industry they’re knowledgeable about. Or an influencer will take something that they’re extremely passionate about. Passion and knowledge are two things companies are really looking for in an influencer.

Then, they’ll spend countless hours tweaking their profile and content to reach and connect with as many people as possible. This includes everything from writing a snappy bio for their profile to crafting a content strategy that’ll (hopefully) attract a lot of quality traffic.

Instagram influencers are powerful. That’s because of their ability to connect and “influence” their followers. They do this by creating content that resonates with their audiences and, over time, builds loyalty and trust.

Instagram Influencer Marketing: The New Face of Social Media

We hope to have given you an introductory crash course to the world of Instagram influencer marketing. And if you think it’s a big topic now, just you wait!

It’s estimated that roughly 60% of brands use social media influencers, and we’re only expecting that number to grow as more companies and potential influencers learn about the industry’s potential.

Extra Reading

How Upleap Users are Becoming Instagram Influencers

By Galateia Karalouli

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