By: Raghav Haran July 21, 2017 Topic: Influencer Marketing

There are new marketing tactics popping up every single day. Ebooks. Whitepapers. Facebook ads. Twitter. Blogging. When you’re first getting started in the dropshipping game, it can be tough to figure out which ones you should be focusing on. Instagram influencer marketing has helped some stores skyrocket their sales overnight. Marketing on Instagram is one channel you should definitely explore. Instagram influencers have grown large audiences who, when shown the right product (that’s where you come in), will convert.

Instagram has over 300 million monthly users. According to KISSmetrics, 70% of Instagram users have already looked up various brands on the platform and actually want to consume their content. This is exactly why marketing on Instagram can be so effective for your ecommerce business.

Just as new marketing channels are cropping up all the time, so are the strategies and approaches for using them. As people are exposed to more advertising content than ever, it’s important to get creative in order to stand out from your competitors. Advertising experiences must be appealing and not overly ‘salesy’. This is why Instagram influencer marketing can be such a winner for your brand. With Influencer marketing, messages will get through to your target customers, all without coming off as too “salesy”– a marketer’s dream.

In this article, you’ll learn crucial Instagram influencer marketing strategies. These strategies can be used to generate store sales while dropshipping on Instagram. We’ll also give you an overview of Instagram influencer marketing and all the tools which you’ll need to grow your store’s audience with the platform.

Instagram Marketing – Building Your Own Audience

There are two different ways to approach marketing on Instagram.

The first option for marketing on Instagram is building a large following of your own, and the second is through Instagram Influencer Marketing.

Building a Following on Your Own – Tools for Building Your Instagram Audience

There are a few ways to do build a following organically on Instagram. For example, using a tool like Webstagram or IconoSquare, you could uncover the top hashtags for your particular niche. Then, use them selectively in your posts so that you can reach the right people who are interested in your niche.

Conducting a Webstagram search is an excellent way to find popular relevant hashtags for your business in a fraction of the time it would take to do so if you were searching them out yourself directly from Instagram. You can tailor your search simply by entering relevant keywords to your business into the search bar at the top of the page. The platform is free and easy to use, so it is totally worth doing a quick Webstagram search as you try to identify key information relevant to your Instagram marketing strategy. When you do a Webstagram search, the site generates a list of the most popular related hashtags and users on Instagram, and from there, you can both find the best tags to include on your photos as well as potential influencers.

Another tactic for marketing on Instagram is making sure that you’re posting on the right days and at the opitmal times. Using IconoSquare, you can uncover the exact times during which you get the most engagement and figure out what are the most ideal times to post. It’s a great tool for getting started with marketing on Instagram.

The image below represents some sample data you might get from IconoSquare. According to Shopify, the dark circles indicate when you usually post, and the light gray circles show the times when you get the most / least engagement. The ideal times to post are represented by the largest light gray circles.

Instagram Influencer Marketing

Building a Following on Your Own: Marketing on Instagram by Siphoning Followers

An effective Instagram marketing strategy you can use to build your own following is siphoning followers from your competition.

People that follow a competitor’s account have already expressed interest in the type of product that you’re trying to sell — so by siphoning their audience, you’re almost guaranteed to build a targeted following.

To do this, go to a competitor’s account, click “followers” to see the list of people who follow that competitor, and then engage with their followers by either 1) following them, 2) liking their photos, or 3) commenting on their photos. This is an effective technique for marketing on Instagram and growing your store’s reach.

According to an informal test run by Shopify, here’s some data on the follower count you might be able to build through this type of engagement:

  • Follow: 14% followback
  • Like + Follow: 22% followback
  • Comment + Like + Follow: 34% followback

But no matter what tactics you’re using to build your following from scratch, it can be pretty tough when you’re first starting out.

Instagram Influencer Marketing: What is an Instagram Influencer?

When you’re posting images on your account without an existing follower base, you might be wondering if anyone is even seeing your posts or if it’s just a huge waste of time. It’s hard to tell what’s working and what’s not, and it takes a while to see results.

That’s where Instagram influencer marketing comes in. For starters, you’ve likely heard this term thrown around in the world of Instagram marketing. Yet, you might still be asking yourself, what is an Instagram influencer?

Instagram influencers are users with substantial followings of people who might be interested in your brand. Instagram influencers can help you build a massive audience from scratch in a relatively short period of time — while potentially generating a lot of sales just by featuring your products on their profiles.

Through Instagram influencer marketing, you can get Instagram influencers in your niche with a large following to share one of your posts — this way, you can potentially get tens of thousands of targeted people to view your post overnight. This is why Instagram influencer marketing excels– you’ll have thousands of potential customers viewing your products, and they’ll be likely to convert as they trust the influencer enough already to follow them. Imagine what this can do for your ecommerce store’s growth!

Boxed Water used Instagram influencer marketing to market their philanthropic initiative — The ReTree Project. They asked users to post a photo with the hashtag #ReTree, and for every post with that hashtag, Boxed Water would plant two trees.

Instagram Influencer Marketing

Just one month after launch, they generated more than 2,600 posts with the #ReTree hashtag (According to Social Media Examiner).

As an another example — Madewell leveraged Instagram influencer marketing to promote the anniversary of one of their tote bags with a hashtag. They were able to reach over 1 million targeted users who were interested in fashion.

dropshipping instagram

For products that have a visual appeal, Instagram influencer marketing can be a great way to build a large following in a short period of time. That way, when you post sales promotions or new product offerings, you’ll have a larger number of targeted users viewing your posts — which would translate to more sales.

Now that we’ve covered an overview of Instagram marketing, here is an exact step-by-step approach you can take to use Instagram influencers to build your own following.

Instagram Influencer Marketing: How to Leverage Instagram Influencers

For entrepreneurs that are just starting out, using Instagram influencers to build out a following can seem super intimidating.

How do you even know who the right influencers are? Do you reach out to them in a way that actually makes a good impression? Does it translate to sales? The whole process can seem confusing, especially when you’re just getting started with Instagram influencer marketing.

But in reality, all it takes is the right step by step approach and you’ll be nailing Instagram influencer marketing in no time.

Influencer Marketing on Instagram – Step 1: Find the Right Instagram Influencers

The first step, when marketing on Instagram, is to find the right influencers who are popular within your specific sub-niche. Using Instagram influencers who are already popular within your niche will increase the likelihood that you’ll make sales, as their followers are already engaged.

One way to increase your chances of getting good ROI through Instagram marketing is by being as targeted as possible in the people you’re going after. For example, if you have an online store that sells formal shoes, you might want to target influencers that specialize in “professional footwear for men” as opposed to influencers that are in “men’s fashion.”

A quick way to find top Instagram influencers in your niche is by using a tool like Ninja Outreach or Snapfluence.

Instagram influencers

In addition to using these analytics tools to find the right influencers, you could just search relevant keywords within Instagram as part of your Instagram marketing strategy.

Choose specific hashtags and keywords that your audience would be interested in, and find posts that have a lot of likes and comments.

This aspect of Instagram marketing may take quite a while to complete. You might have to go through many posts and hashtags to find influencers that are a good fit to tell your brand’s story. But it’s worth investing time into this step to do it right– if you nail down the perfect Instagram influencers who cater to your specific target audience, you could enjoy a pretty good ROI on your marketing spend.

And if you pick the wrong influencers, it could be at a pretty expensive cost.

Influencer Marketing on Instagram – Step 2: Form a Partnership

Once you find the right person for your Instagram campaign, it’s time to reach out and form a partnership with them. This is an integral part of your long term Instagram marketing strategy. If an influencer’s followers see that they’re promoting the same product over and over they’ll be more likely to trust the product.

Typically, Instagram influencers will have an email listed in their bio that you can reach out to. Because there’s usually monetary compensation involved, they’ll generally be willing to work with entrepreneurs whose products align with the type of content they post on their feed. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

There are a few things to keep in mind when forming a partnership.

The first is to send them a “brief” of the type of content that you’d like for them to post. Ideally, influencers like to have their own creative freedom when creating content for their feed, but to give a general idea of the type of images you want associated with your brand, it’s a good idea to prepare a Mood Board ahead of time.  

Mood Boards are a collection of images that give a general sense of the type of aesthetic that you like to have for your images.

Here’s an example of a mood board Neil Waller uses when promoting his business, Shore Projects.

marketing on Instagram

This way, the influencer would have a good sense of how to convey your brand’s message to their audience, which will make your marketing on Instagram much more successful.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you’d be paying your influencer for multiple services. For example, creating the content, promoting the content to their audience, and usage rights to the content that they create. According to Later.com, it can cost anywhere between $500 – $50,000 depending on the audience size.

This way, you’ll be able to use the content in any way. You could repurpose the content. For example, on your blog, your own Instagram page, on Facebook ads, or on your product page.

Influencer Marketing on Instagram – Step 3: Measure results when marketing on Instagram

Before you launch any campaign, it’s important to have a good framework in place to measure results. This way you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t.

When it comes to marketing on Instagram, you’ll want to create trackable links for influencers. Tools like Bitly, can create multiple trackable links for each influencer you’re targeting. You can ask influencers to paste the link in their bio as well as the image caption.

That way, you can see exactly how much traffic they’re driving to your page.

Instagram influencer marketing

Instagram Marketing & Dropshipping Instagram – Putting it All Together

Marketing on Instagram has proven to be beneficial for ecommerce entrepreneurs. If your product has visual appeal, then you could potentially make thousands by dropshipping on Instagram.

Building a following organically should be part of your Instagram marketing strategy as you build your brand. As this requires a long term approach, doing a Webstagram search, planning posts with IconoSquare, and siphoning followers from competitors can help expedite this process.

One of the quickest ways to build a large following on the platform is by leveraging the audiences of influencers. In this post we’ve provided an in-depth answer to the question, ‘What is an Instagram influencer?’ and provided some strategies and necessary considerations for influencer marketing.  

Instagram influencer marketing is one of the most useful things that any new dropshipper could spend their time and money on. Try out Instagram influencer marketing, and you might find it to be a great platform for building your brand and growing your ecommerce business.

Want to learn more?

Have you tried marketing on Instagram yet? Has dropshipping Instagram worked well for you? Let us know what worked well for you in the comments!

  • Marlou Pereira

    Hi an influencer (35k followers) made contact regarding doing reviews of some make-up products I got listed on my e-commerce site. They want me to send samples then they will review. But all my stuff is drop shipped from other retailers. How would you recommend approaching this?

  • Natalir

    This is a very helpful post thank you. But any ideas of how new startup businesses with small budgets of $50-$100 can find influencers? $500 is quite out of reach for most small startups.

  • Hi @disqus_5cSIwsotrr:disqus,

    You could offer them % commissions off every sale they make or try reaching out smaller influencers who don’t charge so much.

    There’s an interesting discussion on this going on here: http://ask.oberlo.com/d/208-how-to-promote-your-products-using-instagram-influencers-as-your-affiliates/5

  • It depends on how much time do you have. You could just order it from your supplier and have it shipped directly to the influencer (as if he/she was your regular customer). If you want to make things faster, try express delivery, though it might come at a price.

  • Great write up, you may also want to checkout http://shoutcart.com – you don’t have to reach out to influencers (which mostly don’t reply) and spend time building relationships, you can get in touch with them right away using Shoutcart. We offer demographic breakdown of influencer’s followers, so you can find an influencer to work with based on audience that matches yours. Check us out!

  • Petra Kershaw

    This is not on topic, however, I am so frustrated. I am very new to all of this social marketing and am learning quickly. However, I cannot seem to figure out how get my product images from my shopify store (dropshipped through oberlo) onto my Instagram account. I’m told there’s a way to take a snapshot and post. But I can’t figure it out. I have an Android Samsung 3. thanks for any input!

  • Ruta Ganusauskaite

    Hi there Petra,

    Here’s a tutorial on how to take a screenshot on Samsung 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhIGMHUoums

    Note, that you can also save the images from Shopify store on your computer. You can then send them to your phone and upload to Instagram.

    Good luck!

  • Extremely helpful. Thanks.

  • Major Sputnik

    hi, i have never come across an article that explain so comprehensively about influencer marketing on instagram. Thanks for sharing!


  • I Will Find Killing Product 4 Dropshipping Aliexpress, Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Moreover, I Will Start Drop Shipping, Store Creating, Products Sourcing, Marketing
    Please check out my gig on Fiverr here https://www.fiverr.com/mirajsujonbd

  • heav staley

    Hello let’s do business http://www.Instagram.com/ggottaboutique

  • babypinch

    You might also give tomoson a try. Here you can arrange to send samples to many small influencers at the same time and specify which tasks to complete. It’s a good place to start.