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A Comprehensive Guide To Instagram Influencer Marketing

Carolina Lorenzzetti
Carolina Lorenzzetti Author

Just like on every social networking site, there are influencers on Instagram. Many celebrities have Instagram accounts with millions of followers. There are also some very popular accounts that belong to people you don’t necessarily know beyond Instagram.

Instagram influencer, what a fantastic beast you are and where to find you?

What Is An Instagram Influencer?

We refer to any person as an Instagram Influencer as long as:

  • The account has 1K+ followers (yeah, you thought that only those who have millions of users on Instagram, like Cristiano Ronaldo, can be influencers?)
  • A good Instagram influencer wields certain power over the audience.
  • According to the research, Influencer’s screen time is shockingly high — around 9 hours a day. (Of course, it doesn’t mean that all the geeks spending half of their day on social media platforms are influencers, hah!)
  • Instagram influencers try regularly update their profiles with new photos and videos. As a result, they get a sustainable number of likes and comments. (Note: Generic comments like ‘Awesome picture!’ means that the conteте creator uses some engagement bot, do not believe them.)
  • The account owner agrees to a sponsored post where he or she will advertise your brand or your product

They have their community, which trusts them. That’s why if they post a pic or video where they’re wearing or using your product and giving you a shout-out, you may immediately make a fortune by selling more than ever. Even during the busiest Christmas season.

Resist the temptation to have your brand advertised by a celebrity. It will be easy as soon as you see the astronomic sums they ask for a post ?

How Much Do Instagram Influencers Cost?

According to Mediakix, the top celebrity endorsement rates on Instagram look as follows:

  1. @Beyonce with over 107 million followers – $1M per post
  2. @Selenagomez with over 128 million followers – $550K per post
  3. @kendalljenner with over 84 million followers – $125K-$300K per post
  4. @caradelevingne with over 40 million followers – $125K-$300K per post
  5. @gigihadid with over 36 million followers – $125K-$300K per post


Spend billions for a single post?

No, we will leave this extravagant path to those rolling in money, generously pumped into their businesses by investors.

We will spend money smartly.

And you know what? Take a look at the figures below and tell me what conclusions you can make.

Right you are, what the above figures prove is that so-called micro-influencers with a smaller audience (around 1-5 K followers) will be the smartest investment from the point of view of ROI.

Find people who share the views of your target audience and whose number of subscribers does not exceed 5,000. Advertising your brand in their Instagram accounts, you’ll reach a wider audience at a lower cost-per-engagement.

Why Is a Micro-Influencer Better Than a Celebrity for Your Brand?

  • The endorsement they want is affordable even for an SMB or a sole entrepreneur who decided to start an online store a couple of months ago.
  • The audience reach (that is “engagement rate”) is almost 4x more than the one in the account of a celebrity.
  • You may choose an influencer whose audience is small but “concentrated”, i.e., it consists of the real followers and is the closest to your target audience in terms of interests, gender, age and location.

And as long as you understand who to search for, let’s discuss how to do that. The result really depends on numerous factors, such as your needs as an Instagram content creator and your communication skills

How to Find Influencer Accounts on Instagram?

  • Leverage popular hashtags to manually find influencers within your niche.
  • Stalk your competitors to see who has tagged their profiles recently. The one who created a post about your competitor may as well be a perfect influencer for your brand.
  • Google for something like ‘top 10 knitting Instagram accounts’ or ‘best Instagram art account.’ You’ll likely stumble upon influencers charging an arm and a leg for their publication, but anyway.
  • You may use external services like Snapfluence or InstaBrand or Iconosquare, or even perform the search via numerous influencer marketing platforms like iFluenz, Hypetap, Tribe or alike.

When the research is over, try to reach these Instagram influencers out using DM or contact info they list. You may also try to connect with them on Twitter or Facebook if they do not read direct messages on Instagram.

Below is the description of 2 marketing campaign types in iFluenz. They start from $15 and from $1000, accordingly, and the differences are clearly outlined on the screenshot from the campaign creation page of their dashboard.

Iconosquare is a potent tool, and one of its most robust features is the advanced search of influencers and media.

First of all, you can search for media (i.e., posts and accounts) based on hashtags and filtered by any of the below: number of likes and comments, number of followers/followings, date and even exact phrases in the caption.

Second, it supports influencers accounts search by category and country.

Third, you have a tool to estimate the Influencer’s advertising power: follower growth, user engagement rate, recent activity.

Altogether, this makes Iconosquare a popular choice for Instagram marketers who place their stakes on Influencers.

There are also alternative Influencer marketing platforms that beat Iconosquare in some aspects. You will be able to find the review in the very last chapter of the Instagram Guide.

How To Work With Influencers On Instagram?

High five if you decided to dive into the world influencer marketing and boost your brand awareness! A successful influencer marketing campaign may bring you international stardom, but at the same time, it may cost you a fortune.

  • So what you need to do first is set your budget. Even a quick mention in influencer’s Instagram stories can cost you thousands of dollars. That’s the reason why you should choose your influencers wisely. Or better focus your attention on micro-influencers.
  • Once the research is over, make sure they have a genuine following and established credibility status.
  • Analize the format your influencers prefer to communicate with their audience, how often they create content, how many likes they receive, and so on.
  • Time to reach out! Micro-influencers prefer to manage advertising on their own through direct messages or email. Instagram accounts with more than 100K subscribers usually tend to hire digital marketing agencies to handle all the advertising stuff for them.
  • Go into as much detail as possible explaining your influencer the capmaign ideas you have in mind.
  • Treat Instagram influencers as partners. Do not try to impose your ‘the-only-true’ opinion that is not always the best one. They likely know how to leverage your content better than you do.

Understanding FTC Influencer Marketing Guidelines

TL;DR: If an influencer is paid, it must be disclosed.

Back in April 2017, after reviewing numerous Instagram posts by celebrities, athletes, and other influencers, the Federal Trade Commission sent more than 90 educational letters to social influencers and brands.

Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen. “This action, the FTC’s first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.

On September 7, 2017, FTC sent warning letters to 21 prominent social media influencers, contacted previously, regarding their Instagram promoted posts again. The FTC has also updated the guidance on promoted posts for social network influencers and endorsers.

See below.

What Does It Mean for You as an Advertiser on Instagram?

Well, you should be ready to see that the sponsored post in the Influencer’s account will clearly disclose that it’s an ad. In the very beginning of the post. And not in the ambiguous form like using #ambassador or #collaboration hashtags. Just like this.

Will it be a stop-factor for their followers?

It can be.

But, on the other hand, done right, an influencer marketing campaign allows you to target the right audience, and it has high chances to be a success.

The researches predict the further growth of Influencer marketing on Instagram from $1.1B 2017 to $1.6B in 2018 and $2.3B in 2019.

Also, all the other types of advertising, like sponsored posts on Instagram or an ad on TV and radio, still do work well, even though it is obvious OBVIOUS that they are ads.

By the way, the next chapter is all about advertising on Instagram, another proven way to drive traffic to your online store from Instagram and sell online more than ever.

What about you? Do you follow any influencers on Instagram?

Go to Chapter 3
Go to Chapter 5


Carolina Lorenzzetti
Carolina Lorenzzetti Sr Marketing Manager, X-Cart & Seller Labs

Carolina is the Senior Marketing Manager at X-Cart. Results and data-driven, she has spent her career navigating through multiple disciplines within Marketing, and lately focusing on her passion: Content and Organic growth. She is fluent in 3 languages, with 14 years of experience leading B2B marketing strategies domestic & internationally. In her tenure, she has had the opportunity to navigate in multiple industries: Technology, Telecommunications, Construction, eCommerce and SaaS. An avid traveler, she's now halfway through visiting all of US' 50 States.

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