Instagram is one of the most powerful hubs for influence in 2018. And its growing with every new feature that Instagram begins to expand into. Instagram has stolen some of the attention away from Snapchat as well as potentially YouTube coming into Q2 2018.
Think of Instagram as one giant party, with some of the coolest people attending. You could be pretty cool but when you show up to this party, you find out in comparison to the rest of the attendee’s, you might not be. Its because influencers are spending all their available time crafting visceral experiences on Instagram. They uncovering metrics, tactics, strategies and new software to drive response and reactions. Ways of ensuring they get their audience’s engagement from comments. It’s highly competitive.
We’ve spoken with some creators on Instagram about what tools they use to create their photography and some wouldn’t even share the formula. They’ve found a special set of filter settings across multiple software tools that ultimately add their perfect level of style which helps them stand out. To the untrained eye, this is hard to notice. But for their audience, its captivating and it adds that ‘watermark’ in the feed which lets users know their favorite personality is talking to them.
Brands don’t have the power to influence. Celebrities can endorse but still don’t have the power to influence. So what exactly is influence? It’s the ability to change a consumers mind about a predetermined notion they may have had about a product, brand or service. And this is why the ‘cool kid at the party’ analogy is so important here. Its the attraction to a particular thing in the right setting.
Approaching sales on Instagram or through an Instagram marketing agency has to have some finesse. It’s important to match the brand with the audience. The audience isn’t simply people who want to consume, they want to get behind a topic. They want to be involved in the conversation. Or using our analogy, they want to be circled around the coolest kid at the party. So your goal as a brand is to win over the coolest kid at the party so then all of the people who want to be like him/her follow along.
Measuring this behavior is really hard. But historically some brands know their perception is the key. For example, Coca-Cola is probably the best-known candidate. Their attention has always been on how Coca-Cola helps to celebrate life’s moments. Either through Christmas or the feeling of Americana at the 4th of July. They’re investing in sharing moments with you. Versus investing in selling you how great Coca-Cola is compared to its competitors. And that’s worked extremely well for them since the beginning. If you are working with an agency its key they understand how to present a brand message in scenario through their influencers that allow for a seamless path for the consumer to relate with the product. Ideally its unique as well.
What do you measure? Engagement or influence? How do you measure influence? Engagement is great measurement because it gives you insight into what could become influence. It’s not the end-all answer but it gives you some degree over how well influence could be working. Engagement also isn’t eyeballs. Someone viewing or seeing your message on Instagram isn’t the right metric. Instagram has made it incredibly easy for users to channel surf their platform. What you’re looking for in engagement is for that user to stop what they’re doing and leave a message. Or to screenshot it, share it with their friends. Or to copy the link and paste it into an SMS message to their friends. That’s real engagement. Something where they go outside of the platform to share the message. That’s when you know you really have something.
Can Instagram agencies and Instagram marketing agencies really deliver on this? Yes and no. Firstly it depends on the product. Then it depends on the fit. There’s a term coined by Andy Rachleff of Benchmark Capital called “Product/Market Fit” it simply means is there an audience with a problem that the product you are selling answers to. And is that audience naturally inclined to get behind it? That’s the key. Finding the cool kids at the party who need the product or brand we’re looking for them to get behind. The matching scenario is really important. Some agencies understand this and many don’t. Lastly, conversions can be difficult to quantify on Instagram but in our experience we’ve found Instagram to be a more influential platform which leads to conversions, so using Instagram influencers over YouTube influencers. You can also check out our own influencer network called Collective.World right here. This is own influencer marketing platform and social media influencer agency where you can purchase turnkey yet white glove tactics which have worked for our own commerce and social influence needs.
Let’s take for example if we were looking for an automotive company to get behind an influencer. What’s the easiest path for matching here? The easiest path is to find the influencers who already own that automobile. And who has a high fan base of people who also do. That’s the easy path. They’re more inclined to listen to the message and interact with it. But what if you’re looking to change the mind of people who aren’t predisposed to the brand? You have a more difficult challenge. You first should show that influencer what’s beyond their current realm of thinking, let them experience that, then let them be creative with how they speak to their micro-community (their followers). This is a talent. A talent that has a high premium. The surest sign someone can do this is by asking them who their audience is and seeing if they know. Can they describe what that person wears on the weekend? Can they describe what that person listens to? What they eat? What time they wake up? What they smell like? They need to be able to answer that.
Instagram is locked in. And even though YouTube has a great opportunity for influence, its quickly becoming a place where production quality is going down. Instagram has held its standard for the party. Saying if you want to be near the cool kids, you must meet the criteria. And that’s made production quality sustain itself. Brands should be paying attention to this, getting in now and figuring out where the cool kids at the party are hanging out so they can speak to them on a regular basis.