Influencers more valuable with Instagram changes

Toronto's #Paid says the end of the chronological feed shifts the proposition

Instagram has announced that posts to the social media platform would no longer appear in reverse chronological order, a change that will have far-reaching implications for social media marketers.

For brands with smaller social media followings, this means posts will likely be seen by fewer users, unless those users are highly engaged with the account.

“It’s more important now than ever for small- and medium-sized brands to leverage the massive reach and engagement of influencers in order to become successful in this space,” said Bryan Gold, the co-founder of #Paid, a Toronto-based marketing platform that connects brands with Instagram influencers. “Now they actually need the reach of influencers to hit their target audience, because if they only had a couple hundred followers before they were hoping to sell to, only a fraction of them will actually see the posts.”

While the effects of the recent changes to the social media platform remain minimal, Gold believes that as posts become more curated in the future, the value of influencers on Instagram will increase.

“As of right now, it’s very minimally effective. You’re still seeing a majority of your posts. Over time, though, I think they’re going to really turn the dials up on curating which posts you see,” he said. “When it gets to that point, influencer marketing is going to be possibly even more cost effective.”

Gold said that if the cost per engagement (CPE) goes down as a result of these changes, then running individual campaigns should become less expensive.

“Marketers will still get the same high quality content,” he said. “This is especially cost effective when marketers repurpose the content across multiple channels such as their own website or social channels which gives them increased credibility.”

Since launching in 2013, #Paid has helped major brands — including Microsoft xBox, Adidas and AXE — connect with Instagram influencers through its software platform. The thousands of verified influencers scattered around the world are easily searchable by category or location, and set their own price per posts.

“We’ve built out an algorithm that takes into account their followers, their average likes and their average comments and actually suggests how much they should be charging per posts, but they set their own price,” said Gold. “When brands find influencers to collaborate with it just sends them a message saying the brand is interested, and if the influencer accepts than the brand and influencer then collaborate to create compelling content together.”

The company provides both parties a platform to communicate, the ability to collaborate on and review each post before publishing and a dashboard to track campaign analytics. Each influencer must have a minimum of 5,000 followers and average levels of engagement for their category.

Gold’s main advice to marketers working with social media influencers is to focus on collaboration as opposed to dictation.

“Instead of telling the influencer what to post to meet your marketing objectives, make it more of a conversation where you let them know your marketing objectives, but take their feedback on how to reach those objectives most effectively,” he said. “The influencer sometimes knows how to reach that brand’s target audience better than the brand does, so taking the feedback of the influencer is really important.”

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