Everyone's talking about influencer marketing these days.
But how well does it really work?
Recently, the team at Hubspot designed and ran an experiment, designed to test an innovative influencer-based strategy.
Using Facebook and Instagram, they started connecting with top influencers.
Then, they implemented a comment contest, weaving gamification into their strategy.
The idea behind the contest was to incentivize their audience to leave authentic, thoughtful comments.
This can go a long way toward working with Instagram's algorithms to improve the visibility and reach of your posts.
The results were quite promising.
As they had hoped, they started getting more comments, and more engagement.
Using Influencers and Gamification to Leverage Engagement
Instead of showing news need updates in chronological order, both algorithms now favor content from friends and family over publishers, and content that users interact with — by liking, commenting, viewing, and sharing posts.
Social media algorithm changes can be tricky for publishers and marketers — especially when we read stress-inducing statistics about Facebook's algorithm reducing organic reach for publishers by roughly 40% over the last few years.
The answer to getting noticed in busy news feeds is to get people clicking, viewing, and interacting with your posts.
We started experimenting with mobilizing and incentivizing our Instagram audience to engage more frequently with our posts. We're rewarding people we think will love our content and engage with it by helping them see it first — and in some cases, win prizes.
1. Influencer Pods
We want to cultivate more engagement with our Instagram posts by creating our own influencer pod.
Influencer pods are made up of — you guessed it — influencers in a particular vertical.
They join specific, invite-only groups to engage with one another's posts in an authentic and mutually beneficial way.
Pods help content get viewed higher up in the Instagram feed, which makes it easier for even more people engage with the content — in their feeds, or in the Explore tab.
We created our own influencer pod with several other well-known companies creating great content in similar worlds to us, such as social media, technology, and design companies.
Whenever someone posts new content, they let the group know, and if the other companies find the post interesting, they will like the post and write a genuine comment on the post. Check it out in action:
[image source: Hubspot]
Our pod has started to generate 10-20 additional comments per Instagram post from relevant influencers within HubSpot's vertical.
These engagements help us (and fellow pod members) rank in Instagram's feed, and they inspire a little social proof, too.
If Instagrammers see influencers and companies they know and love engaging with HubSpot on Instagram, they might want to check us out, too.
2. Instagram Comment Contests
We want to help our audience engage with content we think they'd love by running an Instagram comment contest. We want to generate authentic comments on our Instagram posts from fans — and reward them for it, too.
We created the #First60 contest on Instagram. Here's how it works:
1) We encourage followers to “Turn on Post Notifications” from HubSpot to make sure they didn't miss the contest announcement.
2) We post an Instagram Story when we're getting ready to publish a new Instagram post as part of the contest that urges followers to be among the first people to comment “#First60” for the chance to win a prize.
[image source: Hubspot]
3) Our followers comment on our posts, and we select prize winners and send them swag.
[image source: Hubspot]
We’re rewarding people who love our content and engage with it by helping them see it first, and in turn, we're able to generate a lot of engagement on our posts.
Like the influencer pods, this Instagram contest generates 10-20 additional comments per Instagram post. The engagement helps us rank in the feed, turning on notifications helps us get our content in front of more of our fans, and everybody likes swag — the contest fosters good will with our audience, too.
You can read the full write-up over at Hubspot.
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