How to Get Started with Instagram Influencer Marketing

Every day there is an article about the death of influencer marketing. This is because most people assume that influencer marketing began when Instagram came about. What they don’t realize is that influencer marketing has always existed. Before Instagram came about influencer marketing existed on blogs, newspapers, and social networks like Facebook. 

Instagram helped it reach its highest potential because people love using the network. I assure you that influencer marketing is here to stay for a long time, especially on Instagram. 

If you aren’t using it because you are afraid that it won’t work anymore, I urge you to put that fear aside and get started with it. As it is a billion-dollar industry and every minute you don’t invest in it you are missing out on revenue. 

Here’s a simple guide to help you get started with Instagram influencer marketing. 

Decide on who you want to reach:

One of the keys to finding success with influencer marketing is to work with influencers who have an audience that will purchase your products. So, before you take any other steps, figure out who your audience is. You can easily do this by analyzing the people who purchased your products in the past. If you haven’t sold any products before or you don’t have any products yet, you can analyze the products of your competitors and see who is purchasing them. After that, you should figure out if they are active on Instagram. 

Research influencers:

If your audience is on Instagram, you can begin researching influencers to see who reaches your audience. These are the influencers you should be working with. But be careful and do some extra research while picking these influencers as there is a fake followers pandemic on Instagram. Many influencers buy followers to bloat up their followings and charge more. You need to only work with influencers who have high levels of real followers. 

You can check if an influencer has fake followers by using a fake follower checker or by analyzing their engagement levels. If their engagement level is low and their following is high, it is a sign of fake followers. 

Some influencers will even buy fake engagement and generate abnormally high levels of engagement too. Pay attention to this too. High engagement isn’t always a sign of real followers. 

Reach out to influencers:

Once you find some relevant followers with engaging followings, you can reach out to them. Don’t do this with Instagram DM as most of your competitors reach out to them this way. Their Instagram inboxes are inundated with messages. You can stand out by emailing them. Fewer people do this. Most influencers have a website where they display their email address or they list their email address on their Instagram bio. 

In the email let the influencer know that you are interested in partnering with them and that you will give your product to them for free in exchange for a shoutout. Using persuasive email templates here will allow you to scale this up while keeping consistency to your outreach efforts. 

Most will agree and will give you a shoutout for a free gift while some will ask for payment. You can decide on whether to pay them depending on your budget and their followings and engagement levels. 

If you go with the paid action you should enquire about their metrics and prices as they will charge different prices for different posts such as in-feed posts, stories, reels, and IGTV videos. If the influencer can provide details on the number of sales they usually generate that will be extremely helpful too. 

Another option is to do a shoutout exchange. This is where they give you a shoutout and you give one in return from your account. If you don’t want to return the shoutout from your own account, you can buy one from an Instagram account from a site like Fameswap and offer shoutouts in exchange. 

Give them a test run:

After you pick influencers, you should go for a test run to see what it is like to work with them. You not only need to generate a positive ROI from your investment, but you should also have a pleasant experience. If things go well, you can offer other partnership options. 

Team up for influencer ads:

Instagram lets influencers and brands team up together to create influencer ads. This is where the influencers give the brand access to the post and they can run it as an ad and even view the metrics. The main benefit of this is that you can reach a lot of people beyond the influencer’s following. Also, the ad will look more credible as it won’t be on your account, but on an influencer’s. You can generate more sales from it

Some influencers will offer this but will charge you more so enquire about prices for this option before you choose it. The pricing will differ for both in-feed and story ads

If the test run goes well, I recommend that you get the influencer to turn the organic post into an influencer ad and work with them to see how it goes. 

You can combine this ad with retargeting ads from your own Instagram account or ads from another influencer’s account to generate extra sales. They can help a lot. 

Give them a long-term contract:

If the organic post and influencer ad do well, you can give them a long term contract. This will make things easier for you as you won’t need to constantly look for influencers to promote your products. You can work with the same influencer and get your product to reach more people. Many influencers also prefer partnerships like this as they won’t need to look for new people to work with. If they repeatedly promote your products you will look more credible. 


This is how you get started with Instagram influencer marketing. It takes a lot more effort than organic marketing methods and ads, but it’s worth it as you generate a much higher ROI.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.