3 Brands Nailing Instagram Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing has been one of the hottest industry buzzwords of late. No doubt you’ve heard about it, seen it online, and might even be in the middle of running a few campaigns yourself.

One of the biggest reasons why influencer marketing is everywhere is because brands are seeing success with it. In fact, an article by eMarketer cited a recent study in which influencer marketing was found to be quite effective. From eMarketer:

84% of marketing and communications professionals worldwide expected to launch at least one campaign involving an influencer in the next 12 months. Those who had already done so were happy with the results: 81% said influencer engagement was effective.

Some more trends marketers see from influencer marketing:

  • 59 percent of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets in 2016. (SocialMediaToday)
  • 51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing. (Tomoson)

Easy to see why influencer marketing is important to a lot of brands now, right?

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a number of brands out there that have been able to really nail influencer marketing. Especially when it comes to Instagram. As one of the fastest growing social media channels out there, it has a ton of potential for the right brand who is looking to pack a visual punch.

Let’s take a quick look at a few of those Instagram based influencer marketing campaigns that have worked.


Birchbox is a monthly beauty box company (with a few retail shops) that has been seeing quite a bit of success with influencer marketing. Since they are a relatively young brand (started in 2010) that appeals to millennial clients they’ve been able to harness the power of a number of Instagram influencers to promote their products and service.

One example was when Birchbox partnered with popular blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere. Emily has over 300k followers on her Instagram account and fits in perfectly with the “ideal” Birchbox target persona.

She curated a box for them last Spring and the results really tell the story.

A few of my other favorite products in my curated picks for Birchbox!

A post shared by Emily Schuman (@emilyschuman) on

These are just a few of the images she shared on her Instagram account, but notice that each got thousands of likes. Her five posts gained approximately 20,000 likes and reached an estimated half a million targeted Birchbox customers.

Because she posted her images over an extended period of time, she was able to increase engagement. In each photo she highlighted just one product that would be included in the box, so the other ladies who were waiting for the box felt a budding sense of excitement. Many commented on her posts that they couldn’t wait to receive their boxes.

The Gap

Fashion and clothing brand The Gap reached out to a number of online influencers from popular fashion bloggers, to Instagram pros, to already popular magazines like Conde Nast Traveler to promote their new project styld.by. The site highlights a number of influencers as they showcase how they style Gap clothing in their own lives.

You’ll see a photographer like Matt Bauer who has 88k followers on Instagram.


As well as blogger Olivia Lopez who has 314k Instagram followers.

It’s easy to see why a campaign like this can work really well.

First, it allows The Gap to really showcase its clothing in a very organic way. None of the images promoted by the styld.by campaign actually feel like ads, they just look like people (who look like Gap customers) wearing clothes in beautiful places or fun spots.

The campaign also is set up in a way that fans and followers feel encouraged to create their own images and use the hashtag #styldby as well, which reaches even more people.

Finally, The Gap made this an interactive experience. On their styld.by site, simply click on the outfits you like and you’re immediately directed to a page to buy the items.

Hawaii Tourism

You’d think that a place like Hawaii might not need some extra help when it comes to attracting visitors. But, Hawaii’s tourism department wanted to increase the amount of first time travelers to Hawaii, so naturally they turned to Instagram influencers to spread the word.

It makes sense, since Hawaii is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, it’s someplace that translates really well over more visual social media channels.

Naturally, Hawaii tourism turned to some of the Internet’s most popular travel blogger influencers to help promote their campaign called “#lethawaiihappen.”

Photographer Jordan Herschel generated over 23,000 likes for each of these photos for the campaign. He has a following of over 500k fans.

As with The Gap campaign, the #lethawaiihappen campaign reached out to a number of different online influencers. The first group was travel bloggers, but they also made sure to highlight Hawaii’s own “brand amabassadors” that included local bloggers, a former Miss Hawaii, and surfers as well.

By utilizing the hashtag, it also allowed for anyone who was visiting Hawaii to participate also with their own user generated photos. This helped the campaign generate over 100,000 photos over the course of year, it reached over 50% of US based travelers, and a majority of them said they hoped to visit Hawaii in the next two years.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are brands out there just killing it on Instagram with influencers. All of these brands made sure to find people who could speak directly via beautiful images to their ideal target customer. And, something important to note as well, influencers don’t need to have massive followings, the key is not to look just at the numbers, but instead, at the right influencers for your brand.

They also made sure to focus on engagement. By using specific campaign hashtags it allows for tons of user generated content which can only help to spread word of mouth and push the reach even further. Since word of mouth is one of the biggest ways people are influenced to buy, it’s a very smart idea.

Have you tried some influencer marketing with your own brand? What’s worked for you?

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