Now that the rumor about Instagram removing public likes has been confirmed by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, marketers are preparing for a social media world where they can’t see the number of tallies that their influencers’ posts receive.
Influencer marketing is in for a major shift, and it’s only a matter of time before the removal of likes from the public eye demands the use of marketing metrics that don’t involve how many times viewers “heart” a post.
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Despite this change, the Influencer Marketing Report 2020 indicates that the influencer marketing industry remains on track to be worth as much as $15 billion by 2022, up from about $8 billion in 2019.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can successfully modify your influencer marketing strategy, prepare your influencers to produce engaging content, and measure success in a like-less world.
If you’re ready to better measure influencers’ effectiveness and maximize your influencer marketing strategy, read on.
1. High-Quality Content Is King
Although followers will still be a visible metric, influencers will be unable to point to the number of likes their posts have garnered to persuade a brand to team up with them. As a result, influencers will have to rely on higher quality content as proof of their worth to a brand.
Marketers will benefit from viewing influencers as a digital billboard with the potential to attract viewers and create brand awareness. For a traditional billboard to have the most views, it needs to be in the position to be seen by a high volume of people and be visible to the right demographic. The same is true for influencers.
An influencer’s content certainly needs to be dynamic enough that viewers will remember it when they put down their phones. The content should accomplish more, however, driving an influencer’s audience to click on a post when it first appears in their feed.
Quality content will look different from brand to brand, but it will always compliment the brand’s voice and style, convey that thought has been put into the post, and communicate that the influencers are real people who their followers can look up to.
2. Meaningful Data Means Everything
To measure how content is performing without likes as your gauge, ask influencers that you partner with for sticker taps, swipe-up engagements, and story completion rates as key performance indicators (KPIs). Other meaningful indicators that you should obtain from influencers include age, gender, location, and additional follower demographic data, as well as the number of accounts reached and impressions on a weekly basis.
Be careful not to confuse meaningful data with impressive numbers and dismiss prospective influencers in the process. An influencer may have what could be regarded as a low follower count, but those followers might be the exact individuals that your brand needs to get in front of. Pay attention to who follows an influencer, not just the blue check on their Instagram.
3. In-House Content Creation Has Its Place
Fuel the enthusiasm of your influencers by enabling them to collaborate on content development that they feel will engage their followers while meeting your brand’s quality standards. Occasionally, you can even create content that is high quality and brand consistent in house, and then give it to your influencers to share.
Content created in-house should be used sparingly so as not to compromise authenticity. The best time to utilize this approach is when working with new influencers.
Offer some creative help by providing your new influencers with the same photo or video so they can easily share it. There is a good chance that your potential customers are following more than one of your influencers, which means that they are seeing that exact same content in multiple posts or stories.
While you don’t want to force a script on them, providing an image or video for new influencers to share can help them get a sense of the style of content that aligns with your brand. When you do provide in-house created content, maximize its value by including your brand’s logo.
Your company’s own team members can also be part of promoting your products if they aren’t already. Although they may not have the largest followings, your employees’ passion and knowledge about your brand’s products can make up for the smaller reach.
To include your employees in your influencer marketing strategy, provide them with the same clear guidelines about creating high-quality content that you give your influencers. Keep employees excited about the internal influencer marketing campaign by inviting suggestions for aspects such as hashtags or Instagram contests, and acknowledging the content they share on their personal Instagram accounts.
4. Specific Requests Get The Job Done
Influencer marketing strategy modifications should include giving your influencers specific instructions about tags and hashtags. If you want an influencer to share a photo to Instagram stories, say so. Ask them to tag your brand’s account, as well as use your branded evergreen hashtag in the story.
Remind influencers of what that hashtag is while you’re at it. And don’t be afraid to spell it out! For example, you could say “Please share this photo to your Instagram story with the tag @tentree and use #enivironmentalish.”
Influencer marketing strategy modifications should also harness the power of influencers’ bios. This can be as simple as asking an influencer to copy a link you provide and put it in their personal Instagram bio.
Encourage them to include wording that indicates their role as an influencer as well. TenTree makes this feel less like a business transaction and more like a community, with its influencers using “TenTree Ambassador” in their bios.
5. Building Community Develops Trust
Speaking of community, take a cue from YouTube, which is all about building on personal connections. Your influencers should follow suit by creating deeper engagement with their own followers.
Online, community is not built on cheap engagement, so marketers should expect more from their influencers than aesthetically-pleasing content. You should also be looking at the following, which will be valuable in measuring reach in the absence of likes:
- The questions an influencer posts to their viewers
- Suggestions they make for followers to tag a friend who would enjoy a post
- The conversations influencers start via a post’s comments
When it comes to followers commenting on your influencer’s posts, encourage influencers to respond to content comments and follow the users who left them. It will go a long way in presenting your brand as trustworthy to their fan base.
As likes fade away, followers will continue to engage with content from sources they trust. And a few genuine comments are always more trustworthy than numerous comments generated by bots or posted in another language.
6. Copy Isn't Just For Stories
The average individual only has an 8-second attention-span, which means influencers have around 8 seconds to take viewers on a journey with the content they share.
Without likes, it’s not enough for influencer content to just tell a story. To capture their short-lived attention, influencers need to offer content that sells the story and moves users to take action. By integrating copy into their posted photos and videos, your influencers can get their followers’ attention in a matter of seconds.
When influencers do use copy when creating content, it should function like a captivating headline with a few words or a sentence at most. The name of the game is bold, simple fonts that invite your audience along for a journey that is original and hard to resist. To reinforce visual consistency, make your influencers aware of the brand colors that should be used in copy that accompanies photos or videos.
7. Video Is Key To Evolving Within Instagram's Limitations
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen 15 seconds of a preview for a new show that seemed entertaining, and proceeded to click “play” to watch more? Influencers can sell a brand’s story by using similar video teasers to improve view-through rates, which you can then measure.
Build a marketing strategy centered around influencer content that stands out in a busy feed, as opposed to building a strategy around content created to generate likes. Rather than posting photos that users scroll through and forget 5 minutes later, savvy influencers can use videos to keep their audience engaged for up to 10 minutes (and keep your brand in front of them longer).
Your influencers don’t need to be telling viewers the features of your product, what percent cotton it is, its battery life, or other details. Have them focus on content that demonstrates how your product or service will make audiences feel instead.
Effective user-generated content is much more than the professional photographs with good lighting and the trendy filters of 2019. In 2020, videos that capture a user’s attention will need to be included in your influencer marketing strategy for it to evolve within Instagram's new limitations.
8. Measuring Influencer Success Is Still Possible
To evaluate influencers’ value, it is to your brand’s benefit that you measure performance by comparing influencer spend to retail sales growth. If you compensate your influencers with free product rather than a paycheck, take into account the total monetary value of that product when making comparisons to sales lift. Providing influencers with unique promo codes that they can share with their followers will also help in measuring the connection between influencer content and brand conversion.
Apart from likes, you can measure influencer success based on metrics related to growing audience awareness of your product or service, such as content impressions, comments, mentions, and reach. Additionally, use metrics linked to clicks, reshares, and the number of users who swiped up on a story to follow the corresponding call to action.
Influencer Marketing Strategy Modifications: Conclusion
Despite the removal of public likes from Instagram, influencer marketing remains a powerful tool for connecting brands with their ideal customers. With some modifications to your influencer marketing strategy, you can ensure that your influencers are creating revenue-generating content and can continue to measure success in a like-less world.
About the Author
Joshua Buxbaum is the Co-Founder and Sales Director at WebPurify and oversees client relations, ensuring the best moderation solution based on each individual client’s needs.