By Alexandra Kazakova | 10 min read
How to Choose an Instagram Influencer Marketing Agency
By the end of 2020, brands will spend a whopping $8 on Instagram influencer marketing with the number of brand-sponsored posts reaching6.12 million.
Instagram is currently the 6th most popular social network worldwide after WeChat, so it is an indispensable platform for reaching your target customers:
Instagram influencer marketing is no longer a new trend. It became an integral part of many brands’ social media strategies. Even though many are familiar with Instagram influencer marketing, the realm of social media is continuously changing.
With more than 2 million influencers worldwide and the evolution of social media platforms, it became challenging to manage campaigns. To get the most out of the campaign, brands have to build an extensive in-house team of influencer marketers, invest time and resources to select and connect with the right influencers, and manage the campaign. If you are a small or medium business with limited resources, you can certainly benefit from outsourcing your influencer marketing needs to an agency, and here is why:
You get access to the agency’s expertise and know-how.
Influencer marketing agencies and experts in their field because they spend their entire time connecting to influencers and managing campaigns. Most people who work in influencer marketing agencies are experienced social media marketers and have many successful campaigns behind them. Some of them can be influencers themselves or have their own social media marketing consultancy agencies.
They keep up with the latest trends and know what makes an influencer marketing campaign successful for every niche. Influencer marketing agencies can spot the signs of influencer fraud, fake followers, and strange behavior.
Influencer marketing agencies will save you time and money.
If you decide to manage your campaign in-house, you will spend a considerable amount of time researching, selecting, and contacting influencers that are a good fit for your brand and are within your reach. This research can take days or weeks – you will have to find contact information, track the influencers you’ve contacted, and vet the influencers. Mind you, influencers are not like big brands with vanity phone numbers on their website – finding their contact info can take hours and days at a time.
Managing influencers, explaining to them details of the campaign, setting goals, and building relationships is an ongoing full-time job. The amount of resources you would have to deploy translates into the real cost that is usually higher than paying an agency.
The agency takes over research, communication, and relationship management.
An Influencer Marketing Agency vs. an Influencer Marketing Platform
An influencer marketing platform is designed to help marketers find and select influencers based on various criteria, including your target demographic, keywords, number of followers, etc. Platforms offer campaign analytics, tools to manage influencer relations, and measure ROI of your campaigns.
However, platforms have some limitations:
- The data about influencers is limited. So the metrics you see may not offer full information to qualify an influencer for a specific campaign.
- Platforms simplify the process of searching and contacting influencers. But brands have to take care of the entire communication process with selected influencers. So you still have to structure the campaign, build relationships, and tackle any pitfalls that happen along the way.
- When using an influencer marketing platform, you are at a higher risk of collaborating with influencers who use unethical practices. Agencies work only with reputed influencers and can spot those with fake followers easily.
Truth be told, influencer marketing platforms are best for small scale campaigns without a high level of engagement and strict guidelines for brand messaging.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Instagram Influencer Marketing Agency
When choosing an agency, make sure that it has a history of successful campaigns for clients in your industry. Micro-influencer marketing is such a specific niche area that the agency must have relationships with the right influencers and experience working in your domain. For example, suppose you are a direct-to-consumer brand that wants to launch an influencer marketing campaign to advertise a new clothing collection. In that case, you should avoid agencies that only worked with tech brands or automotive. Look for agencies that worked with a diverse portfolio of industries, specifically with yours. Ask about influencers that are the right fit for your brand. Not just by areas of interest, but by their values and personalities.
Best influencer marketing agencies have a straightforward and transparent pricing structure. They have nothing to hide and never refuse to share their pricing upfront with potential clients. They value their clients’ time and want to avoid wasting it on communication if they cannot afford their services.
A professional agency will have multiple testimonials from happy clients, including the results they delivered. Dig into their client history and review samples of work they’ve done to ensure that they are the right partner for you. Find out whether they have a client portal to ensure your communication with them will be efficient and productive enough. Doing due diligence on an influencer marketing agency is no different from any potential partner.
- Agency’s Own Content Strategy.
Unlike content agencies, influencer marketing agencies rely on influencers for content creation. However, they should still have a content strategy. Check out their website, blogs, social media channels. Do they demonstrate expertise? It is normal for an influencer marketing agency not to be present on every single social media channel. However, on those where they have a presence, they should post valuable content regularly.
- Channel Competency.
Best Instagram influencer marketing agencies have a rich history of Instagram influencer campaigns. Their portfolio must include all content formats present on the platform, including stories, IGTV, in-feed videos, and photos.
- A Data-driven Approach.
Besides Instagram analytics tools, multiple platforms offer data to track performance metrics and analyze the campaign’s success against goals. So if the agency states that they are unable to measure the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign, it is not the right agency for you!
- Guaranteed Results.
What results can the agency guarantee to you? They include deliverables, such as the number of pieces of content, the volume of traffic to your website, engagement, etc. What remedies does your brand have if the agency doesn’t deliver the results? For most agencies, it would be challenging to guarantee sales. However, a reputed influencer agency can guarantee specific outcomes such as engagement, web traffic, true views, etc.
Instagram influencer marketing is here to stay. So brands will need more and more skill sets to take advantage of it. To save resources, more brands start to rely on Instagram influencer marketing agencies to launch and manage their campaigns.
Choosing an agency can be challenging as one may look like the other. Consider the factors outlined above to help you filter your list and select the best Instagram influencer marketing agency that will deliver strong results.