Influencers on Instagram – how to hire an influencer to promote your business

First things first; you cannot confuse influencers with celebrities. Influencers are all those people who have a large fan following on social media; thus, having the ability to influence the decisions of their followers. 

All influencers are celebrities but not all celebrities are influencers. Wonder what that means? 

Our beloved Jennifer Lawrence and George Clooney are celebrities but they’re not on social media so they don’t fall under the category of influencers.

On the other hand, Huda Kattan, the founder and CEO of Huda Beauty has 2 million followers on her personal Instagram profile and over 29 million followers on her Instagram beauty blog; thus, turning her into an influencer: 

To really help you understand this concept, Jennifer Anniston is the perfect example. 

The Friends reality show TV star broke a Guinness World Record when she created an Instagram profile in October last year and reached 1 million followers in just 5 hours and 16 minutes. 

Thus; she was effectively added into the list of influencers on Instagram as well. 

The great thing about Instagram is that most people want to minimise their following list because it is considered socially acceptable. 

This makes it much more challenging for influencers to gain followers but when they do, its because their followers are highly interested in the content they create. 

So let’s talk about how you can hire influencers on Instagram to promote your business: 

Find out the type of influencer you need 

We’ve only just established what an influencer is, but if you have a startup brand, you’d be surprised to know that there are many different types of influencers out there. 

The question is, how do you determine which influencer is right for you? This will depend entirely upon your budget, your target audience and your business. 

  1. Micro-influencer 

As the name suggests, micro-influencers are those that have a very specific fan following within a niche, with usually under 50,000 followers. 

Currently, one of the most popular micro-influencers on Instagram is Miette Dierckx, a traveller and food blogger with over 35k followers:

Dierckx is a brand ambassador for Coca Cola which is great because their drinks go with all kinds of food; thus, the multinational beverage company promotes its brand through Dierckx. 

The advantage of hiring a micro-influencer is high engagement rates because they produce unique content for a small market segment that is interested in it. 

Plus, fewer followers means that it is easier for the blogger to interact with their audience; thus, developing meaningful and personal relationships – so if you hire a micro-influencer, it will be much easier for them to convince their fan following to try out your product or service.  

Micro-influencers are great for startup businesses with no money because they cost less and may even be willing to promote your brand in exchange for free products. 

  1. Macro-influencers

Macro-influencers usually have a fan following of close to 1 million. 

These may be average bloggers that worked hard over the years to get recognised on Instagram or a local celebrity – perhaps a book author or TV actor/model who has been in a few commercials. 

Macro-influencers are great for brand and product promotion. 

Blue Apron recently partnered with the California based technology reviewer, Austin Evans, by sponsoring his video in exchange for the promotion of their restaurant:

Macro-influencers are perfect for average-sized businesses who can afford to spend money on an influencer that can bring them higher reach. 

  1. Celebrities  

Celebrities are usually termed mega-influencer, mainly because they have millions of followers. 

Celebrities cost brands the most in terms of hiring because of their fan following and their already established reputation in the entertainment (or other popular) industry. Thus, they do not usually commit to one brand. 

Like I said before, celebrities are only influencers if they are active on social media. Some of the highest-paid celebrity influencers on Instagram currently are Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez and Christiano Ronaldo, among others. 

You’ll notice how Selena Gomez has endorsed brands like Burberry, Puma, Coach, Pantene and many others in the past. 

In fact, Gomez’s endorsement of Coke became Instagram’s most-liked picture at the time:

These were all million-dollar deals depending on the type of endorsement. If you’re a startup or even an average-sized business, it’s likely that these influencers fall way outside your budget. 

Bigger brands like Coca Cola can afford both macro and micro-influencers as well as other forms of advertising. 

While engagement rates are higher for micro-influencers, celebrities and macro-influencers usually have a very high impact on their followers, especially teenagers. Whatever they use, their fan followers will want to use as well.  

  1. Brand ambassadors 

A lot of experts argue whether brand ambassadors fall in the influencer category or not. 

Nevertheless, they’re another great way to promote your brand via Instagram. 

Brand ambassadors usually have a fan following of less than 10k and they sign on with companies for long term projects rather than a single endorsement deal. 

These are self-made individuals that create blogs based on doing the things that they love, for example, foodies, makeup artists and writers are some of the most common bloggers the millennial generation is bringing forth.  

You can hire a brand ambassador if you need to create brand awareness and boost conversions. 

Adidas partners with a lot of millennial bloggers interested in street style in different regions of the US to promote their limited edition footwear: 

Brand ambassadors are often very cost-effective so they’re accessible to all brands. You can easily find the right brand ambassadors by looking up popular hashtags. 

Brand ambassadors mostly young with new blogs so they won’t create a hole in your pocket; however, they will have limited reach within a specific region or demographic so you may have to go with multiple influencers to advocate your brand. 

The exact number depends entirely on the reach of your marketing campaign.  

  1. Professionals 

Professionals are a step-up from brand ambassadors. 

They’re influencers that are industry experts or knowledgeable and well-respected personas in their respective fields which owe to their higher fan following of about 10-20k.

Hiring a professional to advocate your brand is likely to generate higher Return on Investment because due to their education, skills, job title or another achievement – their followers trust their opinion. 

This concept has been used widely in the past for traditional marketing. 

If the best dentist in the city recommends a toothpaste brand, every hygiene conscious individual will buy that same brand. 

Fast forward to a decade later and a number of industry experts have created their social media profile through which they recommend products to users. 

The trick here is that paying industry experts to recommend a product to their followers is deemed unethical and even against the law in some industries. 

So instead of hiring influencers on Instagram, you can introduce your product to professionals. 

Send them free samples, educate them about what your product has to offer and convey its benefits. If they like it, they’ll advocate it. 

This is extremely important because many of these professionals build trust with their followers by steering clear of paid promotions. 

How to recruit an influencer 

Yes, hiring influencers on Instagram is all about decisions, decisions and more decisions! 

We’re already done with the first step which was deciding which social media platform to use

Instagram is definitely the best advertising platform for most market segments as Facebook is slowly phasing out and Snapchat went downhill after its major update last year. 

Here are the following steps you need to go through when recruiting:  

  1. Finding an influencer 

There are different options you can opt for when recruiting an influencer.

Some firms use agencies, others directly look up influencers for collaboration and some even create their own influencers! Its hard work to build an influencer from the ground up but it saves a lot of money in the long run. 

Anyhow, you can use search engine tools like Influencer DB and Social Bakers that offer engagement statistics, comparative rankings and an overview of the kind of content influencers post which help firms determine the type of influencers that they need to recruit. 

The best part is, both these tools are free to use. There are also paid apps like Later that provide a more in-depth analysis of influencer analytics but it all depends on the information you require. 

When it comes to creating an influencer, brands like Philips Lighting and Home Serve are using employees as brand advocates whereas others use their customers as influencers. 

Famous or influential customers and employees within a society can do Instagram takeovers where they handle a firm’s social media account for a certain period of time to interact with followers.   

  1. Drafting a contract 

This is something that requires weeks or even months in the works, especially if your firm is looking for a long-term contract with an influencer. 

You need to specify in your contract the time period for which you will hire the influencer. A long-term contract will require a lot more specifics and terms and conditions as opposed to a one-time, short term project. 

  • Come up with a payment plan

The duration of your contract will determine how you pay the hired influencer. 

If you’re a startup brand partnering with nano and micro-influencers, a great way to save money is by offering them free products instead of cash payments. 

Another common way to pay influencers is by offering a flat payment rate for each collaboration, suppose, each Instagram post or collective project.

Firms usually opt for long-term contracts with macro-influencers so its a much more expensive option. The payment depends on a number of different factors like the duration of the contract, frequency of work etc.    

Determine whether you want to pay per action or per result. Then, define what counts as a successful conversion, for example, clicks, views, coupon usage etc. and measure that. Choose the measure that brings you maximum return on investment. 

  • Exclusivity 

This is a luxury only the rich can afford. Getting macro-influencers or even micro-influencers to commit to your brand only comes at a high price. 

Fortunately, there’s a way around that. If you create your own influencers, they’ll automatically be exclusive to your brand; thus, they won’t cost you too much. 


Influencers are a great way to promote brand awareness and market your brand’s offerings. However, as with anything else, it takes a set of right decisions to achieve the proposed outcome. If you’re spending too much on paying influencers, then other aspects of your business may suffer; thus, causing losses so the key to achieving maximum Return on Investment is to maintain the perfect balance.

Research is a crucial part of recruiting an influencer so make sure you don’t skimp on that because its a very common mistake that small businesses make in order to save money without realising that the investment in research will reap benefits and profits later. As the saying goes, to make money you have to spend money!