If you are already using Instagram ... so are you an influencer yet?
The influencer marketing world may seem mysterious and intimidating. Break it down! Remember that learning about Instagram use and influencer marketing gives you skills that make you more successful on and offline.
Here are eight influencer strategies to take you to the next level.
Hashtag Wisely and @ Your Network
Adding descriptive text to images boosts your SEO, makes you easier to find in “discovery,” and connects you with users who are following specific hashtags. The hashtag is a powerful little crisscross. Use it to your advantage.
Embrace a “Three Little Bears” approach for hashtagging in the text of your posts. Not too little, not too much. You want hashtags to be like your bio—concise, effective, specific.
Let your hashtags be helpful, not distracting. Hashtags like #encaustic and #socialartpractice go much further than a flurry of general variations at the bottom of a post like #art, #artist, #artwork.
Use hashtags and @’s to interact with your network.
Make sure that you are hashtagging and @-ing the other artists and venues you are working with. Always respond to comments @-ing users back. Direct engagement shows your appreciation for your followers’ questions, comments, and support.
Get Creative with Your Content
Post so that your viewers want more. Use your analytics to help you understand what type of content gets the most responses. Then double down on what is working and experiment with new posts.
Viewers want to feel like insiders. Show your process. Explain your path as an artist. Feature yourself within your work and remember to mix up your content.
Engage Authentically with Your Viewers
What makes influencer marketing effective is its authenticity. Pair engaging authenticity with creative content to develop relationships with your followers
De-mystify art and make it relatable to your viewers. Think about what you would want to engage with as a viewer. This could be a timelapse of your process, a look inside your studio, or a behind-the-scenes view of an opening night.
Not sure what they want to see? Ask your viewers directly what questions they have and what they want to see on your stories.
Building rapport with your viewers will make your feed more appealing and will make your art approachable. People buy art because of relationships. If a person is making a few hundred dollar investment in a piece, they want an experience that comes with it, or to feel like they have positively interacted with the artist.
While your social media presence is public and for the masses, know that making it personal and being yourself will make your presence feel natural.
Become a "Yes, And" Person When it Comes to Sponsorship
Influencers know that their time is worth money. Even when they are drinking their coffee and lounging in their sponsored joggers—it’s their work and they are being compensated!
As an artist, you are up against a constant battle of people undervaluing art. When opportunities arise, it is tempting to be a “yes” person even when the offer isn’t great.
Be a “yes, and” person instead. Add stipulations. Know your value.
When you are approached with an offer, weigh the pros and cons and see if there is a way that you can make the situation work to your advantage. If an initial ask for work low balls your price point, are there other ways that you could be additionally compensated? Can you flex your professionalism and set up a payment installment plan and be persistent on your price point?
Know When to Say, "No, Thanks"
If you are approached with an offer that does not make sense. Or one that you don’t feel good about taking on, walk away.
Influencers have some choice in the products and companies that they represent. Know that your work is associated with you as a person just like influencers are attached to their products.
If you don’t feel good about a commission, or who or what you would be representing—say no.
Part of keeping your integrity and authenticity à la the influencer way is to make sure you stay “on brand” with your work and values.
Remember that Organic Followers are Better than Bought Followers
Just like knowing when to say “no” as a means of authenticity, know that being authentic online is just as important as it is offline.
At the end of the day, your online presence should be about quality over quantity. Remember the Three Bears motto for hashtagging. Don’t get caught up in the number of followers you have. Certainly, don’t buy bot-followers (yes, this is a real thing!).
An iffy Instagram strategy is to mass follow users in the hopes that they will follow you back. While this might be tempting, be careful. Instagram doesn’t like this behavior. Instagram flags your account if you start to act like a robot or third party app by mass following. You might have a hold put on your account or be “shadow banned,” when your ability to post, comment, add followers, and “like” are compromised without you knowing it.
When you mass follow users, who are you following in the first place? Think about your end goal about connecting with potential, real buyers.
Invest in Quality Posts Over Quantity of Posts
Quality over quantity?! Isn’t quantity key for influencer success?
Yes and no.
This may be counterintuitive, but your follower base is more about who your audience is and how they interact with you versus pure follower numbers.
Think back to why fudging your follower numbers is a bad idea. If you widely follow without any audience strategy, you will be followed back by users who are not interested in your work. Those users will never engage with your posts and will likely fill your inbox with spam.
Use your analytics and work for engagement rates rather than purely follower numbers. Engagement translates into viewership, relationship building, and sales.
Influencers are only effective when they have influence. It doesn’t matter if someone has tens of thousands of followers. If a would-be-influencer has low engagement rates, they are not able to effectively market products or themselves.
Stay Up to Date on Changing Technology
Is influencer marketing here for the long run? Probably!
But influencer marketing—both on Instagram and online—is constantly changing.
In mid-November, Instagram started experimenting with removing the visible number of “likes” from posts. Instagram says that this experimentation is a way to combat the negative effects on mental health that online validation and competition might create.
The jury is out. While this experiment might improve users’ mental health, it could be detrimental for influencers who depend on numbers of likes to show their success and gain more viewers, followers, and sponsors.
Undoubtedly, there will be other changes to Instagram and social media. Don’t be phased by these changes.
Adapt to and overcome change.
Approach tech changes with a growth mindset. Work to be the best business you can be when changes create challenges. Try new strategies. Adopt a flexible and positive mindset, “different,” rather than better or worse.
Taking Influencer Ideas Offline
Online features may be constantly changing, but real-life interactions will always be the same.
You can use influencer marketing strategy successfully without being a full-time influencer. Improve both your online and offline business by adopting influencer strategies and trying on the influencer mentality.
Use smart personal branding and presentation. Create and support networks by engaging, collaborating, and maintaining connections. Design and show interesting content to your base. Look for opportunities for partnerships. Remember authenticity and flexibility.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid of or shy away from smart self-promotion.