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Do you know that the right Instagram influencers have the ability to increase brand awareness and drive action among target audiences?  In fact, 61% of consumers trust an influencer’s recommendation compared to only 31% of consumers who trust branded content. However, poorly-executed influencer strategies can alienate followers, and even foster negative brand associations.

When it comes to an influencer marketing strategy, Instagram is a top-performing social media platform for brands. Thanks to over one billion monthly active users and countless opportunities for engagement, Instagram is a great way for marketers to connect with audiences.

The best Instagram influencer marketing campaigns are the result of careful planning. From finding target Instagram influencers to crafting the perfect messaging, this best-practice advice will set you up for success.

How To Target Instagram Influencers: The Ultimate Guide

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Let’s start with the basics: an Instagram influencer is a content creator who has established credibility and an audience on the Instagram platform.

Influencers have highly engaged audiences who look to them for advice, recommendations, and inspiration. As a brand, it’s your job to target Instagram influencers who have a platform that is relevant for your audience and a strong following.

When talking about an Instagram content creator, there are several different tiers. Here’s a basic rundown of the tiers, broken down by their follower counts:


Influencer marketing


Some Instagram influencer marketing campaigns can be built around content creators who have a large following to meet a brand’s KPIs (key performance indicators). Others are best served by engaging a smaller, niche-focused influencer, or a mixture of influencers from each tier.

Instagram influencers often create content around a specific vertical or niche, which can be as broad as fashion, travel, or food — but can also be very specific, like an account aimed at vegan knitters.

Brands who choose their Instagram influencer partnerships wisely can reach the perfect audience for their content.

why use instagram influencers?

Why Create an Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Aside from the ability to target by audience interest, Instagram influencer marketing has a built-in level of trust with influencers’ followers. Instagram influencers often have strong and loyal audience relationships; they become part of their audience’s online community. This trust and authenticity are better established because influencers can leverage some of the following strategies:

  • When an influencer recommends or reviews a product, audiences pay attention as though it were coming from a friend. 
  • Through feed posts,  Stories, Instagram Reels, Instagram Video, and Guides, Instagram influencer marketing outperforms traditional brand messaging because content creators connect with their audiences in a more personal way.
  • While many brands have their own presence on the platform to leverage, influencers bring the authenticity that audiences respond to.
  • Successful Instagram influencer marketing weaves sponsored content into images and videos in a seamless, believable way.
  • Influencers strive to make their sponsored posts feel as organic as possible, even though they are promoting a brand’s messaging.

Consumers are more receptive to these messages because they don’t feel like ads — instead they seem like a natural extension of the influencer’s everyday content.

how to find the right instagram influencers

How to Connect with Influencer-Engaged Audiences

Before you start looking for an influencer to partner with, make sure you thoroughly research your target customer and ensure that those customers will respond well to influencers.

Some factors to consider for your target audience include:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Beliefs
  • Interests and hobbies

To really hone in on your target customer audience (and also your target influencer audience), some of the best steps to take include:

  • Creating personas. Who is your product or service designed for? What does their day-to-day look like?
  • Look at your competitors. What are your immediate competitors doing and who are they using as target influencers on Instagram? You can look at what those competitors are doing and posting to connect with the right audience.

Using Instagram analytics and other data. You can get a much better idea of your actual demographics by using Instagram analytics directly and seeing who is interacting with your content and ads.

Once you understand who you’re trying to reach, it will be easier to find a social media influencer who is a good fit for your target audience. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to pair up with an influencer who has a following made up almost entirely of Gen-Z women when your target consumer is middle-aged women that fall into the Gen-X category.

With the best audience identified, you can not only run more accurate and relevant ads for your target audience but for your target influencers, too.

How to Find Target Instagram Influencers

Some tips for searching out Instagram influencers:

  • Identify a few hashtags that fit with the vertical you want to reach. Looking through hashtags gives you quick access to a multitude of influencers, and you may be able to find someone who is perfect for your campaign.
  • Once you find an account you like, look at who they follow. A quality influencer will follow other quality influencers. Also, you can find your target Instagram influencers by checking out who your fans follow on your own social media platforms—there may be a common thread that your marketing team is otherwise missing!
  • Reach out to top Instagram influencers you’ve worked with in the past. If you know somebody who is in, or close to, the vertical you are looking for, ask them for recommendations. They will likely be able to point you in a good direction to start your search.
  • Be direct and follow up with the influencers you want to work with. You are offering someone work, so make your offer with confidence, be upfront about your expectations and compensation, and make sure they follow through on their end.
  • Use A/B testing when possible, like A/B testing your outreach emails to see what kind of messaging attracts the right influencers and reaches the right audiences.

You can also partner with an influencer marketing agency. At Sway Group, we can handle everything from influencer recruitment to campaign management and reporting.

Our diverse influencer network includes a wide range of influencers across all verticals, and our services mean our clients can stay focused on the big picture.

How to Develop a Successful Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaign

develop a successful instagram campaign

A high-performing Instagram influencer marketing campaign isn’t just luck of the draw, it’s based on strategic research and planning.

Here’s our 5-point plan for getting it right:

1) Make sure the audience is a good fit: It’s not enough to make sure an influencer is a good match for your brand, you also need to look at their audience. Who are they, and what are they interested in?

If you are hiring influencers directly, you can ask them to provide screenshots of simple audience demographics that are available via Instagram’s insights.

At Sway Group, we use a proprietary dashboard enhanced by CreatorIQ that allows us to access deep-dive analytics and audience demographics that aren’t available to the general public.

2) Don’t be fooled by followers: Look carefully into your chosen influencer, as follower counts can be deceiving. An influencer may have a large number of followers but still have sub-par engagement rates. As we mentioned above, checking for authentic active followers is key to getting good results for your campaign.

3) Know how many influencers to hire: In many cases, hiring one or two people won’t bring you much success, even if they have huge follower counts. Instagram influencer marketing is at its most powerful when executed at scale. Before hiring influencers for a campaign, you need to figure out the best number for your desired results.

4) Have a budget in mind: The cost per influencer can fluctuate based on a lot of different variables. The range can be as low as $200 and as high as $100,000 or more. Don’t worry if you can’t afford the high end of that range. There are amazing influencers to work with at every level, and often times a micro influencer may have more engaged followers.

5) Set clear goals: When you are developing a campaign, you need to know what you want the influencer to accomplish. Whether your goal is the general promotion of your company or a review of a specific product, you need a clear idea of the key performance indicators that you can share with influencers. This will help to set your campaign up for success, as the influencers can craft their content with specific calls to action that will help you reach your goals.

Instagram influencers are a valuable component of your marketing strategy. If you want to learn more about how Sway can help you execute a successful Instagram influencer marketing campaign, reach out today to learn more about our services and receive a custom recommendation.

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