3 Tips on How Instagram Influencers Are Changing and What You Can Do As a Result

Owen Lee, Global Digital Innovation Director

After an experiment to better understand Instagram ‘Influencers’ got slightly out of hand, 2 years later I found myself sitting down at my first seminar as a ‘Content Creator’.  [head volcano emoji indeed].

Below are 3 key take outs you may benefit from, arising from consistency in opinions of the 80-something 20-somethings in attendance on the evening 

Influencers Are Less ‘Specialist’ Now

As Influencer marketing has grown alongside social media, there are now both more brands and influencers to work with.  The growing ‘gig’ economy equates to more competition for these creators.  This has caused many creators to broaden their content range to cover multiple topics, to widen both their audience and brand relevance.  

Within reason, Influencers are more likely now to make a fit, than just work with the perfectly aligned brands.  This means your brand may reach fewer relevant or engaged audiences than previously.  Though increased investment in the sector is helping grow the measurement and analytics to better select influencers and positively impact efficiencies, this broadening of audience may result in lower ROIs.  Ensure you’re careful in who your brand works with.

Split Personality

Content creators are great at understanding the role of different areas of Instagram, and adapting their communication style accordingly.  Feed content = Premium. Stories = fun, behind the scenes, interactive, less polished.  IGTV…well we’re all still figuring out IGTV.  Moreover these people are willing to test and adapt their brand to stay relevant to their audience and how they want to be spoken to. One creator had even run Polls to understand ‘single shot or edited shots’ in IGTV, and consequently reshot her next post before uploading!!

So make sure you’re communicating in the right way in different environments, and let Influencers do the same when speaking on behalf of your brand.  Experimentation is crucial for a brand maintaining relevance, and whilst the 70/20/10 rule is often discussed it’s rarely adhered to.  Yes you need to clarify the purpose and intended outputs of an exploration – don’t just innovate for the sake of it – but if you don’t test, you won’t progress.  And when you do, commit and do it right (please don’t just use your TVC), or you’ll end up with a list of caveats longer than learnings to implement next time.

Products v Payment

More and more people are wanting to leverage their social clout to jump on the brandwagon.  However what they expect in return for services can vary quite a lot.

The lower end of the influencer scale or more casual creators are more willing to do things for free/little money in exchange for products or services - particularly where unique/different/cool.  I get it.  A brand saying ‘hey we like what you do, do you want some free stuff?’ is exciting.  You’ve finally made it.  You’re seen as ‘influential’.  

As you climb up the Influencer ranks though it starts to get more serious.  The shine wears off a little, and even if you’re not full time or paying all your bills, audience management alone now takes up a significant portion of your life, let alone spending time on your briefs and creating content for you.  So as lovely as your shampoo may be, serious influencers want paying a fair amount for the effort they’re putting in to promote it. 

Whilst your cost per reach may be higher than other channels, each image/story/video has effectively come from a one-person creative agency.  As it’s not a hard cost it can be easy to forget, but be mindful of these ‘production’ costs and all of a sudden, the far more authentic assets your campaign has aren’t as pricey as they appear.  Approach Influencer Marketing more like content partnerships than a simple reach/push platform, and you’ll understand and appreciate why the channel can generate such strong ROIs.


I’ll keep this simple;

  • Influencer audiences are getting diversified, so pick the right people to work with for your brand

  • Be prepared to pay well for what’s produced.  Just like with your TV ad, there’s been a lot of work that’s gone into the image/video you see at the end

  • Learn from Influencers and be brave enough to test in new spaces.  However make sure you’re geared up to really learn from them.

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