Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.
For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.
“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”
According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.
So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.
Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”
The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.
In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.
Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.
“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”
As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.
As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.
At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.
As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)
What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.
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