In this article, I will show you the different Instagram influencer marketing strategies we have employed, from macro-influencer to micro-influencer. I will also share the ROI of each strategy as well as my recommendations for any brand or agency.
About ColorMeHappy Cosmetics
Working with Macro Influencers
- A Different Me, Every time – Rachel Wong
- Color Me Happy Cosmetics: Review + Update
- Color Me Happy Cosmetics – Bun Bun Makeup Tips and Product Review
Pivoting to Micro Influencers via Iconosquare
We used Iconosquare to search for any user in Singapore that had “blogger” or “makeup artist” in their bio, or anyone who’s hashtagged #lipstick or #MUA in their post.
We also searched for users that had an affiliate link in heir bio (e.g. ezbuy.com) as this meant they may be keen to help us promote via referral. Iconosquare has plans that allow you to download search results with email addresses (100 at a time).
(Note: Deep Social has since been shut down)
Why it was better
Deep Social showed you an estimated a breakdown of any influencer’s accounts by gender, age, what percentage of their followers are in your target location – which is incredibly helpful for us as we only sell in Singapore. Based on the 800 female accounts I analysed, I was surprised that the average share of followers in Singapore was only 22%. These results are not 100% accurate, but I checked it against 5 actual results of accounts I manage, and it was close enough.
Creating our Ambassador Offer
Once we had a list of potential microinfluencers to work with, we would then reviewed each of their Instagram accounts, so as to identify which ones we want to approach to be our ambassadors. Our criteria is simple, we look for accounts with between 2-10K followers and a good fit with our brand values. What this means:
- They must be happy and smiling in their Instagram feed
- There must be a good mix of head shots
- They cannot be scantily dressed or post overly sexual photographs
Our initial offer comprises of 4 free lipsticks and 1 Lip Night Repair Oil ($100 in retail value), but no cash. In exchange, we ask for 5 photos, which we have the right to modify and use on our own platforms as well as use to run ads.
We also offer up to 50% profit share for any products that they helped us to sell. Each ambassador is given a personalised promo code to share so that we can track referral sales. (We experimented with different variants: we tried Referral Candy at first but that didn’t work so well because their system is based on tracking clicks to a unique link, and links don’t work well on Instagram. So we manually generated promo codes ourselves. Some were “Give $10 Earn $10″ promo codes, some were ‘Give 20% earn 20%” promo codes.)
We work with our ambassadors to run giveaways and contests, and for those that generated good posts, we would send them a second or third round of lipsticks. Many end up receiving our entire set of 22 SKUs (worth $450). For the best ones, we offer $20 per post thereafter, but there are only about 5 ambassadors in this category.
Beyond our branded Instagram account @colormehappycosmetics, we set up a 2nd account @colormehappyambassadors which we launched in October 2017. This account was set up to showcase our customers, fans and our ambassadors. This account has since amassed >400 posts, which are 100% crowdsourced.
We are immensely grateful to them for all their incredible support.
a) have the most followers,
b) get the most likes,
c) are the “prettiest” in the conventional sense.
Should we start compensating microinfluencers?
This is a rather interesting question. I fundamentally believe that incentives are misaligned when influencers get paid to post nice things about products they may or may not truly endorse.
However, there can be amazing content created when there is authenticity. I agree that this takes time and effort and this does create an immense amount of value for us. For the ambassadors who prove that they can create great content for us, we are happy to move to a model where we compensate them.
But this trust has to be earned. Especially if you are an unknown microinfluencer.
Because not all of influencers are trustworthy. (And it’s impossible to tell from the start.)
Advise to Influencers
Recommendations for Agencies
- Don’t choose influencers based on superficial vanity metrics: followers, likes and good looks do not necessarily equate to a positive ROI on your influencer marketing strategy.
- Microinfluencers can bring a lot more value than macroinfluencers (not only because they are cheaper to work with, but because they will post more (in quantity and in frequency).
- Diversify your influencer base. It’s impossible to tell which ones will be effective in promote your brand or driving sales. You therefore have a higher chance of success if you work with a lot of microinfluencers than a handful of macroinfluencers.
- It takes a campaign, not a post to generate ROI. We ask for 5 photos to be posted. Many of our ambassadors have posted over 20 photos. It is with this repeated exposure that their followers become converted to try and buy our products. Not through one #sp post.
- Agencies that tells you they compensate based on followers or likes should be told to talk a long walk off a short cliff.
- The average Instagram account gets about 10% reach in 2018 so discount the number of followers by 90% because that’s the likely number of their followers who actually even SEE their post. For those based in Singapore, multiply that 10% number by 22% (which is the average share of local audience). This means that about 2% of the total follower count that are people in Singapore who will actually see your post.
- Anyone in Singapore that wants a reference on any girls pictured on my ambassador account, feel free to ping me!