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Supercharge your influencer marketing with these Instagram updates

It's been a big year for Instagram announcements. Vamp's Karl Mapstone asks: Has your social strategy kept pace?

By Karl Mapstone, business director, Vamp



2018 was the year that Instagram reached the golden 1 billion active monthly users mark. It was also the year of thick and fast update announcements. Offering stronger engagement, interactivity and shopping functions, Instagram has cemented itself as an unmissable marketing opportunity for brands.

Many are investing in influencer marketing in a bid to capitalise on this opportunity. Partnerships between social content creators and brands can help increase awareness and discoverability, and form deep connections with customers. To really maximise your return on investment, there are a few key updates to incorporate into your influencer marketing strategy in 2019.

Ads in Stories

With 400 million daily users, Instagram Stories has become one of the app’s most popular updates. Now with Stories ads, businesses are able to insert full-screen ads, sandwiched between the Stories of the people a user follows.

The biggest challenge brands face is capturing the users’ attention in the millisecond before they realise it’s an ad and tap past it. Story ads need to work hard in terms of quality and instant engagement. This makes it the perfect place to repurpose influencer content. It will feel less jarring and ‘ad like’ for the user because it’s likely to be much more in keeping with the look and feel of the other content being consumed.

@mention Sharing for Stories

This handy Stories update gave a neat solution to an existing problem. Previously if someone mentioned you in their Stories – and you wanted to share that update with your followers – you would have needed to take a screenshot. In June, we were given an “add this to your story” option at the same time Instagram notified you of a mention.

This gives businesses a clean way to repost mentions from influencers. Perfect fuel for the always-on approach social media marketing demands. It also maximises ROI, especially if you choose to save the Story in your highlights, extending its life past the usual 24 hours.

Engagement tools

Before May, likes, comments and Story views were the only measures of engagement. Then Instagram introduced interactive stickers to Stories. These included the emoji slider and polls, offering users a new way to communicate with their followers. In July, the ‘ask me a question’ sticker appeared.

Influencers were quick to make use of their hyper-engaged audiences to trial these functions, but brands can get in on the action too by including these add-ons in their influencer briefs. In the same way their posts will often attract more likes and comments, asking your questions through an influencer could achieve higher levels of engagement and insight into your potential customer base.

Add Hashtags for your profile

In March, Instagram gave us the option to add functioning, clickable hashtags and mentions to bios. They explained this gave users a chance to express the things we ‘care about’, but it also opened up new opportunities for businesses.

This gives brands an easy way to promote their influencer campaign hashtag to their bio, so followers can click on it and see what all of their collaborators have been posting. You could also ask your brand ambassadors to include your Instagram handle in their bios. It will provide an immediate link back to your brand page, making you more discoverable for their followers.

Shoppable tags

Instagram answered the prayers of marketers the world over when it rolled out shoppable tags in March. Brands were able to tag individual products in an image and link to their e-commerce page, ensuring a smooth transition to convert prospects into customers. The function has since been added to Stories too.

The shopping bag tags give consumers a clear gateway to shop at the moment of engagement, minimising barriers and boosting sales. The snag, of course, is the engagement.

While influencers can’t yet add these shoppable tags to their images, brands repurposing influencer assets in their own channels can. You might find that these authentic images, often more relatable than super polished brand shots, could attract more shopping clicks.