Influencer Marketing in 2020

By Stephanie Molano, Account Supervisor 

Remember the days when we would watch an ad on TV and call the 1-800 number listed to order whatever item was on the screen? Yeah, I can barely remember those days either. 

The advertisement and marketing industries have taken a large turn in the past five years – and there’s been a dramatic shift in how we consume ads – we’ve gone from your typical radio, print and TV, advertisements, to Instagram ambassadors (or ‘brand advocates’ as I like to call them) and ‘influencer’ marketing, where other people tell us what we should buy, based on their suggestion. 


What is influencer marketing?

A social media influencer is anyone who has built a following, or a group of users who choose to consume the influencer’s media, and uses their content (such as stories and posts) to engage with their followers, build brand awareness and generate exposure for certain products and/or companies.

In the last few years, influencers have completely saturated the Instagram platform, currently ranked as the #2 most important social media channel behind Facebook, posting content with products from paying companies.


Does influencer marketing really work?

Although many people see influencers on social platforms, many don’t understand just how effective these campaigns can actually be. Many large companies such as Fashionnova, Curology, and Glossier are notorious for their investments in Instagram influencers. 

By endorsing several people all over the globe, their brand, product or service, has become widely recognized, building brand awareness (and ultimately loyalty) among their target audience, boosting the opportunity for higher revenue.  Therefore, more and more companies choose to invest their marketing budgets on influencers. 

In fact, more than 89% of companies say that ROI (return on investment) from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.

In 2020, it’s predicted that 17% of companies will be spending over half of their marketing budgets on influencers.


Understand your Market 

Should you be part of that 17%?

 Instagram is constantly growing, and with it, so is the opportunity for you to market your company. 

If you’re considering building an influencer campaign for your start-up company, or even your multi-million-dollar corporation, it’s good to outline the different factors that play into a successful influencer campaign on the platform.


Do your research

Instagram’s demographic is helpful to understand who we’d be marketing to and is essential for understanding whether or not you should invest in the channel. 

While Instagram continues to rise in popularity, we know that it’s userbase is still second to Facebook. Nonetheless, Instagram’s channel continues to be the #1 platform for influencers and 35% of teens in the US and drives the most number of users to company websites and check out baskets.

The breakdown of demographics of age is as follows: 

  • 75% of 18–24-year-olds use Instagram
  • 57% of 25–30-year-olds use Instagram
  • 47% of 30–49-year-olds use Instagram
  • 23% of 50–64-year-olds use Instagram
  • 8% of 65+-year-olds use Instagram


From this data, we understand that there is no doubt that Instagram caters to a younger audience. 

If you know what age or geographic location you want to market to, you should be prepared to do your research on what influencers to pitch to – as each influencer caters to a totally different audience, in totally different ways.


Tailor your content 

With 116 million users, it’s important to produce content that’s going to attract new customers (especially the younger audience that seems to be so prevalent on the app).

The key to a successful influencer marketing campaign is just that, marketing. 

While many have seen success through the use of collaborations and influencing, many companies have also failed at executing an effective campaign.

Making sure that you and your influencers are producing content that is both original and authentic, increases the chance of building a userbase that will invest in your company’s products or services.

One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll retain customers is to make sure that your page, and the influencers that you’re working with post content that is subliminal and yet identifiable. No one wants to read anything that seems inorganic, so it should flow and align with both your brand’s voice as well as the influencer’s.


Make sure it’s a mutually beneficial relationship

If you choose to invest in an influencer’s partnership, you want to make sure that what you intend to offer the ambassador benefits them – this will increase your possibility of being able to work with them, and utilize their userbase, or followers. 

By offering the influencers a wage for their posts, discounts for your products, or even the possibility for a PR kit every month or so (products for them to use and show off), you ensure that the influencers will want to work with you.


Reaching out to an influencer 

You’ve done your research on both your audience and the influencers who can help reach that crowd – so now what?

Reaching out to an influencer can seem like a pretty simple task, and yet, sometimes it may just be the opposite. 

Influencers receive hundreds of messages daily about partnership opportunities and collaborations with other companies, so you want to make sure that once you reach out, you catch their attention. Sometimes engaging with their photos, such as likes and comments, help you pave your way to a conversation with a highly-sought-out Instagram influencer.


Be responsive, tailor your message, and be clear about guidelines

The best way to communicate with an influencer is the same way that a PR practitioner would communicate with a reporter.

You want to make sure that you are as timely and responsive as possible once they respond, and if you’re a smaller company that isn’t as recognized, make sure to tell them exactly what’s in it for them – which could help you land the opportunity.

Lastly, you want to make sure that once you solidify a partnership or collaboration, that you are as transparent and cohesive as possible; discuss wage, guidelines and posting expectations immediately so that you avoid any problems or conflicts down the line.


Influencers are here to stay 

Influencer marketing on Instagram is expected to increase in the coming years, with more than 65% of influencer marketing budgets increasing in this year alone.

If you’re looking to build or increase your customer base, increase brand awareness, and/or boost sales, you might have to start to look to influencers for help.

Look at your competitors to see how they’re partnering with influencers or brand ambassadors, analyze their content strategy and take the time to understand what these companies are doing right, and what they aren’t.

Once you’ve decided to build a marketing campaign based on Instagram alone, consider mapping out a campaign on your own, or hire an influencer agency that can help establish opportunities for you.