With around 300 million active daily users, Instagram is a marketing haven for connecting with influencers both big and small. Estimates place the current Instagram influencer market at around $1 billion and at its current growth rate, could reach $2 billion by 2019.
July 2016 research found that 24 percent of US influencers cite Instagram as being the best platform for influencer marketing (second only to Facebook at 32 percent). Brands agree, with 25 percent naming Instagram as best for these types of campaigns.
A major reason creators love to use Instagram is what their name implies—the ability to be creative. Newly-added features such as Boomerang images, “see more” options and the ability to mention other accounts add to the appeal for creators to have fun posting on behalf of brand partners.
Like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours and allow users to draw directly onto the image. Unlike Snapchat, however, Instagram offers attractive features like more privacy options, searches, pausing and the ability to view a Story without following the poster. The biggest draw for influencers seems to be Instagram’s search and Discover features, a common complaint among those who use Snapchat.
Studies show that young consumers—especially millennials—trust peers and online celebrities for purchasing advice over traditional advertising. In fact, a reported 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations compared to 33 percent who trust ads. Online celebrities have changed the game when it comes to audience engagement, making followers feel like friends rather than admirers. Not all online celebrities are created equal, however, and marketers are now realizing the effectiveness of “micro influencers”—those smaller followings of less than 100,000 people.
“Find micro-influencers in groups of five to 10 that are very specific in exactly what you’re doing,” advises Ryan Williams, author of The Influencer Economy. “If you’re a chocolate cake maker and you’re making cakes for grandparents, you need to find the influencer in the cake category that reaches the category for grandparents and likes the chocolate variety. Go very, very specific to your niche and find three different ways to validate why they’re niche and right for you.”