In an Instagram marketing environment that often takes on the trappings of sameness, where do influencers fit in? How is their value evolving? And how should marketing investments for Instagram be planned to maximize ROI?
I recently asked Justin Kline, CEO of Markerly, an influencer marketing software platform, to share his perspectives on Instagram marketing.
What’s taken place this year on Instagram that you feel is significant for marketers and not widely recognized?
With a heavy focus in the media on TikTok’s explosive growth over the past year, marketers are beginning to lose value in Instagram and their TikTok rival feature, Reels.
What should marketers know before making an investment in Instagram?
Marketers should take the time to conduct research and understand industry trends occurring on Instagram. Before jumping the gun, marketers should test multiple hypotheses they might have and do their homework on influencers they are scoping out.
By comparing how well an influencer’s content performs on Instagram vs. other social media platforms, they can strategically plan campaigns that cater to the creators’ audience to ensure they are targeting the right demographics.
What Instagram marketing mistakes do you see made most often?
Oftentimes, marketers lack originality in their campaigns and content. Influencer fatigue is a legitimate problem on social media platforms. And users are tired of seeing the same generic advertisements.
To combat content and campaigns from going stale, brands and marketers need to create materials that stand out from other posts and make a personal connection with targeted audiences.
Brands don’t need to strain themselves too hard to create original content.
Opportunities for originality are everywhere: look at what’s currently trending and put your brand’s unique spin on it. One of the best examples is the Empire State Building’s TikTok account which promotes the building’s brand by putting its own spin on trending videos by anthropomorphizing the building, having it react to all kinds of trends, from Couch Guy to Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well.’ The same goes for Duolingo which has also found massive success by putting its own, clever spin on trends.
How is the role of the influencer evolving?
Influencers were once viewed as people users would follow to get discount codes for products. But since the rise of influencer fatigue, designating a budget to hire authentic influencers who genuinely care about a brand or product has become a standard practice in advertising spending.
Brands are starting to realize how important it is to have meaningful relationships with influencers and users can easily see through shallow collaborations or partnerships.
What capabilities would you like to see Instagram provide for marketers that aren’t available now?
Data is a valuable tool Instagram should be more transparent about with marketers. Over the past several months, Instagram updated its Insights element for business and creator profiles on post engagement. However, this update reflects data for all users that engage with content whether they follow a brand/creator or not.
Any other insights on marketing on Instagram you’d like to share?
It’s important for brands to remember that not everything on social media needs to be a competition.
Collaborating with your marketing team to identify brands you admire and studying industry trends to curate content that resonates better with targeted audiences is a great way to establish deeper, more meaningful relationships with your brand’s targeted audiences.
Paul Talbot is a contributing writer for Forbes. A version of this article can be found on Forbes.com.