Using Instagram influencers for ecommerce marketing is often praised as a perfect way to start marketing your products online for beginners who may have a small starting budget.
It’s often said that it’s easy to get the money you pay for shoutouts back in sales.
Is that true? Or are you better of using a different marketing method like Facebook Ads? Should you use Instagram influencers for your ecommerce store at all?
Well, keep on reading, because that’s precisely what I will go over in this article!
Before discussing the pros and cons of using Instagram influencers, let’s first examine why people use Instagram influencers for their online store:
Why do people use Instagram influencers for their online store?
Instagram influencers are accounts on Instagram that have many followers and can, therefore, potentially “influence” other people’s behavior.
The main goal of using Instagram influencers is to get more traffic to your store, and ideally let as many of those people place an order.
I will quickly explain how you can use Instagram influencers to increase the sales of your online business:
- Search and approach influencer: First, you will have to find the right Instagram influencers. This is perhaps the most crucial step, as picking the right influencer can make or break your marketing campaign. In this article, you can learn more about how to choose the best Instagram influencers.
- Influencer posts your shoutout: After approaching the influencer, you will negotiate a price and send them your ad copy. The influencer will post your shoutout at the agreed-upon time, in which he/she tells about or reviews your product, intending to get as many of their followers to click on the link and check out your website. For detailed information about Instagram shoutouts, check out this post!
- Influencer’s followers buy products from you: If everything goes well, some of the influencer’s followers will like your products, check out your website, and hopefully place an order.
There are Instagram influencers of various sizes, ranging from smaller ones, the “micro-influencers” with 5k to 30k followers, to the biggest ones with over 100m followers.
Here’s an example of an Instagram influencer:
So, should you actually use Instagram influencers as a marketing method?
Should you use Instagram influencers for ecommerce?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t that simple.
Some people swear by Instagram influencers, while others call it overhyped and see it as a big gamble.
What is a fact, however, is that the Instagram influencer industry is growing and growing. The current global Instagram influencer marketing spend is already at $7 billion and is expected to reach a breath-taking $8.08 billion in 2020.
What’s more, the number of brand-sponsored Instagram posts is expected to reach 6.12 million in 2020.
To conclude, I can’t answer this question with a simple “yes” or “no”, as that would be subjective. So, I’m going to list some pros and cons of using Instagram influencers and tell you what I think about this question at the end.
Let’s start with the pros of using Instagram influencers!
Pros of using Instagram influencers
Here, I will discuss some of the pros of using Instagram influencers.
Let’s start with the first one; cheap impressions:
1. Cheap impressions
The impressions you will get using Instagram influencers can be cheaper compared to Google or Facebook Ads. It’s not exceptional to have a CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) of 2-5$ using Instagram influencers.
With Instagram influencers, you have full control over where your money goes to. You can fully determine which influencer you choose and what you pay for their shoutout.
If you search for long enough, do your research, and negotiate the shoutout rate, it’s possible to buy shoutouts for a really low price.
Due to the cheap impressions, the potential for ROI’s can be sky-high with Instagram influencers.
However, it requires a cheap shoutout rate and an ad that resonates with the influencer’s followers. Since people can tag each other on the shoutout, your ad can even go viral and get many more impressions than you had anticipated.
2. Can be used on a low budget
Generally, you will need a few hundred dollars to move past the testing phase with Facebook Ads before starting to be profitable. Some people who are just starting out with selling products online simply don’t have that financial room.
Instagram influencers can be a solution to this problem since you can negotiate a shoutout from a smaller influencer for a price of $10 or less. This shoutout could expose your ad to a couple of thousand people.
Often, you will only need 1 or 2 sales to break-even if you negotiate the shoutout to be as cheap as this. If only a small percentage of those thousands of people buy your product, you will probably make a (small) profit.
Then, you can just rinse and repeat this process and move your way up to more prominent influencers.
3. Followers “believe” an ad more if it comes from someone they know and like
Another pro of using Instagram influencers is that you can use the influencer’s built up “trust factor” to your advantage.
Whenever people see a paid ad on Facebook or Instagram, which they’ve never seen before, they might be a bit skeptical at the beginning.
However, when that same ad is posted by someone who they have been following for months in the form of a shoutout, they are much more likely to believe that it’s indeed a great product.
The last pro I would like to discuss is the possibility of increasing your social proof with Instagram influencer shoutouts.
Let’s say you are operating a business in a passionate niche, like golf.
In the golf niche, there are multiple smaller and bigger Instagram influencers. People who are passionate about golf (your potential customers) are likely to know these influencers.
Here’s an example of an Instagram influencer in the golf niche:
If you have a good product, you may be able to get a (paid) shoutout from one of these influencers. Not only will this shoutout likely give you some sales, but you can also take a screenshot and paste it on your store to create social proof!
This way, future store visitors might see the shoutout in your store and think:
Wow, that’s Garret Clark, and he’s saying that this product is great. If he is using it, I might as well try it too!
Here’s an example of what SkinnyMe Tea does with the extra social proof from Instagram Influencers:
Cons of using Instagram influencers
After reading the pros of using Instagram influencers, you might think that it’s a fantastic marketing method. However, nothing is perfect.
Here are some of the cons of using Instagram influencers:
1. No full control over the audience
Facebook Ads allow you to choose in great detail which audience you want to target. You can target specific interests, past behaviors, countries of residence, specify which interests you don’t want to target, and much more!
Instagram influencers won’t give you this level of control. While you can choose which influencer you are going to use and, therefore, which audience they roughly have, it’s likely that there will still be some people in that audience who you wouldn’t want to target normally.
To get a rough idea of what audience an Instagram influencer has, there are tools available such as Heepsy, which can generate an audience report like this:
2. Can’t be run on “autopilot”
If you’re using Instagram influencers, you constantly need to search for contact and talk with influencers who can potentially post your next shoutout.
This can cause stress and takes up a lot of your time.
It’s not as easily scalable as Facebook Ads, for example, where you can bump up your marketing budget in one click of a button and scale your marketing campaigns.
3. Difficult to find influencers with real engagement
Nowadays, many influencers buy fake followers, likes, or comments to make it look like their followers are really engaged with their posts.
By doing that, they are able to ask more for a shoutout and earn more money themselves. However, you (the advertiser) are in trouble since the fake followers won’t purchase any of your products.
So, you will first need to check for fake followers for every influencer you might want to work with. If you’re interested in learning more about checking an influencer for fake followers, then I suggest reading this article here.
Again, you can also use a tool like Heepsy, which can help you to check if an influencer has fake followers!
4. It’s more challenging to measure results
When running multiple campaigns on Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you are able to see the exact metrics for every ad you are running, like Reach, CTR, CPM, Conversions, ROAS, and many more.
With influencer shoutouts, finding these metrics is much more difficult. You will have to ask the influencer for metrics, set up analyzing tools, and maybe even create different links to your store so that you can see which people came from which shoutout.
If you’re struggling with this, then here are two tips to make it clear from which influencer the customer came from:
- You can assign a unique discount code to each Instagram influencer. This way, when someone uses a discount code, you know exactly from which influencer they came from.
- You can add UTM codes to the link that you give the Instagram influencer. This way, you can see inside, for example, Google Analytics, exactly where people came from. (This tool here will help you with this)
To conclude, Instagram influencers is a viable marketing method for your online store.
However, you will need to know exactly what you are doing to be profitable since it isn’t as easy as it seems. I can write many more articles about Instagram influencer marketing, explaining how to find them, how to work and negotiate with them, how to make the ads for them, how to check for real engagement, and much more.
Before choosing to use Instagram influencers, I suggest you read the following articles about Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Who knows, they might be a better marketing method for you:
By reading these articles, you will get to know each method’s pros and cons and can choose to start with the one where you have the most confidence in yourself.
In my opinion, a great marketing plan is comprised of a combination of all three of these marketing methods. This way, the pros of one method will balance out the cons of the other method, and you will be left with an overall amazing marketing plan.
If you are solely relying on Instagram influencers, you might leave money on the table and won’t have a reliable and scalable marketing strategy.
I hope that this article will help you decide on what marketing methods you are going to use.
In case you do decide to try using Instagram influencers, we have a few more articles that might help you:
If you have anything that you want to discuss, just place a comment below, and I will reply as soon as I can.
Good luck with everything, and have a great day!