Has your agency been using Instagram influencers wrong?

A study of 12 million Instagram posts worldwide has revealed that micro-influencers generate more engagement than celebrities when it comes to both sponsored and non-sponsored posts.

Influencers with between 1,000 and 1,999 followers on Instagram offer the best engagement, according to social media specialist Takumi. The research indicates that interaction levels drop sharply once an Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers. 

Takumi found that 'micro-influencers' retain high levels of engagement on both personal and sponsored posts. This is because there are fewer degrees of separation and they have a better understanding of what their followers want to see, according to co-founder and product manager Solberg Audunsson.

"The time commitment of micro-influencers per follower is also higher and this is observed by the followers. What this data shows is that the return on investment is drastically higher when engaging with micro-influencers," he told PRWeek.

To calculate engagement percentages, the total number of likes and comments on a single post were divided by the number of followers of the account:

A post from Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson was cited as an example of low-level interaction. Despite having 773,000 followers, a selfie from Thompson promoting the Skinny Mint brand generated 0.9 per cent engagement.

Meanwhile, an image promoting Bali Body products from lifestyle blogger The London Foxx, who has just over 6,000 followers, had an engagement rate of 10 per cent.

Choose wisely

Audunsson pointed to a number of brands that have successfully made the most of their social media spend by capitalising on this trend: "Propercorn and Lyst have been able to carve out recognisable brand identities by working with micro-influencers. Established brands such as Lastminute.com and Sipsmith have used this technique to push a particular product range or promote an experience," he added.

In a separate study of 500 UK Instagram posts, Takumi also revealed that 50 per cent of post engagements happen in the first 72 minutes after a post. With the window of opportunity for brands to maximum their reach limited, this further demonstrates the importance of partnering with the correct influencer.

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