2018 Instagram and Influencer Trends That Can Help Your Business Drive Engagement

Instagram has changed from a way to post artistic photos to a legitimate vehicle for small businesses looking to drive engagement. The rise of influencers and influencer marketing for small businesses has played a huge part in this evolution.

31280508 - businessman drawing roi (return on investment) with graphsNew features and toolsets, like Instagram Stories, have also expanded what the platform can do for small business owners. Thanks to Instagram’s powerful advertising tools, evolving features, and highly active audiences, small businesses can use the platform to make big gains. To help your business prepare its digital marketing strategy for the year ahead, take note of the following Instagram and influencer marketing trends that have nearly every small business owner saying, “Oh, that’s Insta-worthy!”

More Small Businesses Using Instagram Marketing

Why are small businesses drawn to Instagram? Because huge audiences login every day, often several times a day. There were over 500 million monthly Instagram users and 300 million daily active users around this time last year. Now, with the advent of features like Instagram Stories, that number has likely soared even higher. Businesses can therefore use Instagram to get huge reach for their campaigns or fulfill brand awareness goals with just a little bit of effort.

Influencer Marketing Benefits for Small Businesses Stack Up

According to a recent study, 94% of marketers from a range of company sizes found that influencer marketing programs are successful. Because influencers can pique their audience’s interests and motivate action, campaign goals like conversions or product awareness become much easier to achieve. Twitter claims that just under half of social media users trust recommendations and product reviews posted by influencers. That power likely explains why some business owners found that influencer marketing generates 11 times greater ROI than other digital marketing channels.

Micro-Influencers Take on Huge Importance with Small Audiences

As these average people become megastars, a clear distinction emerges between them and other influencers. Marketing experts have begun to split influencer types into multiple categories as a result. Small businesses have realized that micro-influencers are not only cheaper to work with, but they also drive campaign goals more effectively. Micro-influencers have this power because their audience feels stronger connections and finds the content posted more directly relevant to their interests.

Instagram Stories and Live Video Make Engagement a Daily Affair

Most brands generally avoid posting on Instagram more than twice a day, except for on special occasions. Their reasons include diminishing returns and a fear of oversaturating their audience. But, two new Instagram capabilities have begun to change that: stories and live video.

Live video can encourage people to watch content for eight times longer compared to pre-recorded video. Instagram stories displaying content that gets deleted after 24 hours similarly sparks our love of authentic experiences and our FOMO (fear of missing out).

Both approaches drive huge engagement levels for businesses of all sizes.

Businesses interested in driving attention towards certain campaigns or maintaining more active engagement with audiences can turn to Stories and Live video to accomplish these goals.

Increasing Demand for Brand Safety and Proof of ROI

Since influencers are not brand employees, business owners invite a bit of risk when they collaborate with them. Tie any relationships you have with influencers to concrete KPIs, including ROI. It’s always better to start small with a relationship and establish proof of ROI before committing marketing dollars to a true collaboration.

For instance, try sending an influencer a free gift or just a kind request to highlight your latest campaign. If you like what they do with the information, you can work toward more collaborative content or even an endorsement-type relationship.

Trends in Instagram and Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses Can Help Your Brand Take Off Next Year!

All of the above trends point toward growing use of both Instagram and influencer marketing in small business circles. Businesses that enter these fields have the luxury of choosing as much or as little involvement as they want. For brands that want to go all-in and invest heavily, they can often reap measurable returns for their efforts. But, these returns must be measured! Only by setting goals and tracking performance can Instagram and influencers become a viable component of your small business digital marketing strategy.

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