How to Find And Work With Instagram Influencers

April 3, 2018

Hi everybody and welcome to this week’s episode. In the last one, we were talking about Facebook chatbots with Arri Bagah from Bamf Media; it was awesome, make sure you check it out or you’ll be missing some of the hottest information in all the internet.  

This week, we will talk about influencer marketing and Instagram influencers with Eduardo Morales, AKA Pinlord on Instagram. He wants his friends to call him Edmo; so we’ll just call him Edmo.

Let’s give a warm welcome to Edmo

*drum roll*

Edmo, thank you for joining me.

What's This Episode All About

Who’s Edmo?

Edmo was one of the early members of exciting startup Depop and its Head of Growth in the US. He’s now making a living out of his various Instagram profiles and projects he’s working on.

To Edmo, his journey in the influencer marketing business started even before Depop.

In fact, 8 years ago, when Edmo moved to New York, he wanted to work in fashion and started to apply to a bunch of roles. He nailed one at a small PR company that was focused on hiring indie fashion designers and helping them grow.

During that time the fashion industry was going through a change and traditional media was declining, being substituted by bloggers and Instagram influencers.

That’s when Eduardo saw an opportunity and started to invite influencers and bloggers to fashion shows, building strong relationships with some of today’s biggest Instagram influencers and fashion bloggers.

This is what Edmo says.

“Because not many other fashion brands were paying attention to them (Instagram influencers) at the time as they were just starting, I was able to develop some great relationships with influencers. Many of them are now really big in the influencer world.”

It’s all about the relationships.

Then a friend of his told him about Depop, who was at the time building their presence in Europe by using influencer marketing techniques. They hired Edmo to try and replicate that strategy in the US.

The Power of Influencer Marketing

When he started working at Depop the app had around 500 daily downloads but after a year doing influencer marketing, they got that number to 2,000 daily downloads. Most of them coming through Instagram influencers.

The same with the number of daily active users. When the app started, they had 5-10,000 but at the end of their campaign, they were getting around 15-20,000

Now, Depop has millions of downloads and over 100,000 daily users. They have continued doing influencer marketing and it’s really paid off.   

To Edmo, making an influencer campaign work is less trying to push your content to the influencer audiences and more about creating relationships. According to him, for an influencer marketing campaign to work,

“You want to find the most influential, valuable people no matter what they do, and try to figure out how to fit your product into their lives in a way that gives value to their audience.”

What Really Influences People on Social Media?

One of the things Eduardo noticed is that many successful Instagrammers did similar things to grow their accounts.

During his last few months at Depop, he started an enamel pin focussed Instagram account, Pìnlord, and he curated a small community of creators around the world who make the weirdest, random enamels pins, replicating what he had seen from other successful Instagram influencers.

It worked, and Pinlord grew at an unexpected rate. The secret, if there is one is not only finding a niche for your content but also finding a passionate audience whose passion can reach others and carry the word of what you’re trying to sell.

In the end, a person who only talks about the same topic over and over again is bound to tire their audience, and people will stop engaging with them.

See it as the equivalent of a person who’s at a party and has been talking for hours about the same topic. It might be interesting but, after a while, you’ll probably leave or tune out.  

The Two Things That Make a Good Instagram influencer

To Edmo, a good influencer is not necessarily the one with the most reach. This means that the people everyone knows might not be the best influencers, even though they are often the ones getting the most contracts and exposure.

  • Engagement Rates

Engagement, to Edmo, is the best indicator of value because “it shows how passionate somebody’s audience is about their content.” Engagement rates also show how strong the audience’s emotional connection with their brand is.

Edmo marks February 2015 as the moment that changed his vision of influencer marketing.

Back then, two of the biggest fashion bloggers in the US --who had around 2 million followers between the both of them-- were working with Depop, and it was all going just okay.

But one day, Depop saw a spike in the app downloads, all thanks to a girl, who had 100 thousand followers.

That was Edmo’s WTF moment.

He was like:

“Who’s this person?” “Are there more like her?” “Where can I find them?”

It turns out it wasn’t the number of followers that marked the weight and influence of an account, but the real engagement of those followers.

To Edmo, the people with the most valuable Instagram accounts are those who make a connection with their audience. The reason for the connection doesn’t really matter; it can be their content or the way they communicate it.

The level of the audience’s passion is one of the best indicators of success for an influencer.

He also found that video creates a super strong connection with the followers, especially if you compare it to photos. And that YouTube is also a great tool to engage the audience.

  • Connection with the Audience

To Edmo the most successful influencers are also those who create their own passionate communities. For instance, music and sports are two niches that people are passionate about and engagement rates tend to be higher.

Also, Edmo found that video plays an important role in connecting with the audience.

Since the video is closer to real life interactions, it can help influencers connect with their audience and generate more engagement.

The same happens with communities. When an Instagram or YouTube influencer creates a community that previously didn’t have a voice or engages with one and talks about their issues, it builds a super strong personal connection with the audience and provokes emotion.  

How To Work With Instagram Influencers

If you are a business owner, you need to know how to use influencers to grow and engage your audience and reach your prospects. But since there’s so much automation and even fake profiles on Instagram the main question is how to find and work with real, quality influencers.

  • Find The Most Engaged Instagram Accounts

To Edmo, this is the key to know if an account is really good. He even has the formula to determine engagement. it is:

        “The average number of likes per post divided by the number of followers.”

If you’re doing this by hand, go to the first 6 posts and get an average of their likes and divide it so you can get a percentage. The higher that number is, the higher the likelihood of that account getting likes and engagement when trying to promote something.

However, make sure these influencers have organic engagement and are not trying to artificially inflate their rates by using a lot of hashtags to reach more people. Check if these followers are coming only because of the hashtags and not because they’re truly passionate about this person’s content.

The fewer hashtags, the better, because it means the Instagrammer has often been building their audience authentically.

  • Look At Their Comments

Comments are a great way to see if the audience really engages with the content an Instagrammer posts.

If people are only commenting things like “great photo” and “cool profile,” instead of comments that suggest a long-term relationship such as “I love what you did last week,” you know that this Instagrammer doesn’t have a long-term engagement, and might not work well as an influencer despite the number of followers.

How To Start an Instagram Influencer Campaign

Now, let’s say you’re looking for people to start your campaign, how would you find these highly-engaged influencers.

  • Use The Instagram Explorer Page 

Edmo came across this problem earlier in his career and found that hashtags are a great way to find influencers and be found by potential followers, but that means that if someone doesn’t use hashtags, it becomes harder to see.

Since a lot of the most influential Instagrammers don’t really use hashtags, when you use hashtags to find people, you can get valuable accounts but you might be losing some potentially great accounts.

That’s when Instagram Explorer comes into play.

Instagram tends to surface highly engaged people in their Explorer page, and not all of them use hashtags. So go to the Instagram Explore Page, find an account, measure its engagement. If you find someone with good engagement rates, see who are they following and tagging.  

The golden rule here is that highly engaged accounts tend to follow other highly engaged accounts.

Sadly, finding these accounts by hand is a highly time-consuming effort, and it requires some of your time.

  • Create Partnerships

A ártnership of this kind means paying an Instagram influencer to say something or talk about your product to their audience. Also, gifting people items, discounts, or other things can get people talking about your products or your brand.

You can use stories too, to engage with the audiences but don’t make the mistake of making the influencers say exactly what you want to say and in the way you want it. This will probably result in unsuccessful partnerships because it comes off as staged and people can tell. This, Edmo says, is going to bring your engagement down.

Let these Instagram influencers do whatever they want with your product. Let them talk about whatever they want and the way they want because they know their audience.

If you have a product, make it good enough so people want to talk about it. Give it to influential people and they will do the rest. Make the outreach process personal and give them a cool product they’d want to talk about.

Be genuine, don’t be a pushy marketing robot.

Key Takeaways

  • Engagement rate is everything
  • Influencer marketing is all about building relationships with your audience
  • Don't talk only about your topics, be relevant and informative
  • Not sure if an influencer is good? Look at the comments it gets
  • Don't try to force Instagram influencers to do what you want, let them do it their way or it will sound fishy to the audience. 

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