How to use Instagram influencers to drive sales

Posted by Brandon Leibowitz on 15 Nov, 2016
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As one of the biggest social networking platforms, Instagram draws in brands who wish to promote themselves to a bigger audience. And for this, influencer marketing is considered an effective tool.

However, many marketers still face an issue with influencer marketing on Instagram, resulting in ineffective campaigns. In this post, we’ll look at why Instagram is so effective for marketing and examine some useful tactics to drive sales through influencers.

Why Instagram for influencer marketing?

While Facebook is still the biggest social media channel, Instagram comes close with 500 million active users each month. Additionally, 55% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 are on Instagram. If you’re targeting millennials in particular, Instagram offers ahuge chance to reach your target audience. But this isn’t the only reason why it’s a viable channel for influencer marketing (or any kind of marketing for that matter).

While Snapchat has overtaken Instagram as the most important social network among teens, Instagram continues to be one of the most favored social media platforms among this demographic.

Source: Piper Jaffray teen survey

Over and above the demographic of users, another compelling reason to use Instagram for influencer marketing is because influencers themselves favor the platform over many other social networks. According to eMarketer, influencers in the US believe Instagram is the second best social media platform to execute an influencer marketing campaign next to Facebook. Connecting with influencers on Instagram means communicating with them in a platform they are comfortable on – a relationship which, once established, can be extrapolated elsewhere.

How to drive sales through Instagram influencers

Now let’s get to the main point of this post – how can you drive sales through Instagram influencers? There are several factors which determine the success of your influencer marketing campaign. And there are a few tactics to leverage to further your campaign efforts. The following tips will cover both these factors and tactics, so you can successfully drive sales through influencers on Instagram:

1.   Prioritize on relevance – This is the first and most important rule of influencer marketing. This is an area some brands fall down on, meaning they then end up working with influencers who don’t really have the desired influence on their target audience. When looking for influencers, you should determine whether or not they’re relevant for your brand first and foremost. This is crucial because you want to work with people who will be able to effectively convince your target audience to purchase from you.

Let’s say you want to promote a line of organic products through Instagram influencers. Promoting your products through nature-focused and eco-conscious influencers will be much more effective than partnering with a style specific Instagrammer.

An excellent example is how 88 Acres chooses to work with influencers in the fitness, health and nutrition industries to promote its products. The company produces healthy snacks using organic, GMO-free ingredients and partners with influencers like Abigail Kinnear, a dietician.

Even when you work with relevant influencers, other platforms may not yield the desired level of engagement. The same influencer in the above example also creates sponsored posts on Twitter but those posts do not even generate double digit likes while the Instagram posts generate several hundred likes each. This suggests that Instagram could be a more viable platform.

2.   Promote discount codes – Influencers instill a sense of desire to try something, join in on a trend and buy a product. They may be able to convince their followers about how effective something is or how beautiful something looks. However, some consumers will still hesitate to make the actual purchase. Discount codes can solve this issue.

When you promote discount codes through Instagram influencers, you give shoppers a better and more compelling reason to check out your products. These discount codes give consumers the final push towards making a purchase by suggesting that they’re getting a great deal on an amazing product.

Luxury watch brand, Lord Time Pieces promotes its products through influencers on Instagram. To seal the deal, each influencer provides a special discount code giving fans 10% off their purchase. Influencers like Tommy DiDario post images of themselves wearing a watch from the brand and encourage fans to buy their own watches at a discount of 10%.

This post alone generated more than 2,000 likes, but on Facebook and Twitter, the same influencer hardly promotes any discount codes. With the ability to include links to posts, this influencer has chosen to use the other two platforms to promote his own content and interact with fans. Additionally, his posts on Facebook hardly manage to surpass 1,000 likes while his Instagram posts perform much better.

3.   Showcase products in use – Carefully positioning products in a relevant setting may be great for sponsored posts. But what’s even more effective is when you put the use of the product into perspective. Encourage influencers to showcase your products as they actually use them in their daily life. In some cases, they can provide fans with tips on how they too can use the product.

You could get influencers to create something using your product. For example, a fashion Instagrammer could put together an outfit with your product if you’re selling clothing. If you’re selling food products, they could create a unique recipe. This can inspire followers to try out the products as well and may encourage them to make a purchase.

Here’s an example of how influencer Nancy @southerncoffeelover created a sponsored post for Svelte by turning one of their products into an ingredient for a recipe. The influencer doesn’t only post an image of the product, but includes a bite-sized tip on how to create something delicious using one of their shakes.

These influencers can provide similar tips and guides through YouTube or through their own blogs. But these posts are usually more detailed, which means it may be difficult to reach a larger audience. The posts on Instagram can be bite-sized to suit the short attention span of Instagram users, considering the fact that the average attention span in 2015 was just 8.25 seconds.

Although these tips are highly effective in driving sales, there are a few more things you’ll need to keep in mind if your goal is to drive conversions. These influencers have helped you in convincing consumers to try your product. But what’s the next step in the process? Where can people take the desired action? In all your sponsored posts, influencers should provide followers with a clear sense of direction using a call to action.

For example, they could tell them to check out the link in their bio. Or they could encourage people to visit your profile for more information. Make sure your Instagram bio includes a link to your product page. Regardless of your influencer’s call to action, make sure the process isn’t too complicated so that you can easily convert leads when they land on your site.


You should now have a few new tactics up your sleeve to drive sales through Instagram influencers. What works for one brand may not necessarily work for another, but the tips given above are actionable regardless of what you sell – the key thing as always is to measure impact and refine your approach as you go.

Which of these tips will you be implementing first? What tactics do you use to increase return from your influencer marketing on social media? Let us know in the comments.

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