Marketing

How Instagram Influencers Help Your Brand Sell More Internationally

Discover the best strategies to use this social media to raise trust and brand awareness.

Nicole Schmitz

April 12 2018 · 8 min read

You’ve got a notification. A “like,” a request to follow, a new follower, or one of your favorite Instagram Influencers has just started a live video.

Today, over 800 million active monthly users are receiving notifications, just like you.

Instagram is a constant, addictive, instantly accessible social media platform and is the perfect tool to include in your social media marketing strategy to attract new customers as you expand internationally.

Beyond having your own business profile, one of the fastest ways to gain brand recognition and increase sales in a new country is with local Instagram Influencers.

What? Who? How? Continue reading to learn why local Instagram Influencers are guaranteed to boost your sales.

Connecting with your new market

I’m a big believer in trust. Consumers trust in the quality of brands that they know, in trending products and services, in hotels, resorts and excursions that their friends have already stayed at and experienced and the customer reviews of others.

To learn how to gain consumer trust in new markets, check out: How to Build Customer Trust When Entering a New Market Internationally

As a cross-border ecommerce merchant, your first hurdle is connecting with your new audience. The next challenge is for you to appear in front of the right potential customers, then develop their interest in your products, and gain their trust in order to help them make purchases from you.

This is the point where Instagram Influencers come into play - they create trust with potential customers who are not aware of your brand, have never visited your website and did not know that they could purchase from you with their local payment methods.

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Pixlee, a visual content marketing platform that specializes in using user-generated content on social media, defines Instagram Influencers as:

“Influencers are Instagram users who have an established credibility and audience; who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity.”

An influencer has amassed a large following of active users who are fans, supporters, or individuals who are interested in the same topics, products, lifestyles, fashions, music, or passions.

While maintaining their social media persona, they incorporate product placements in their photos and videos, give testimonials, encourage followers to benefit from said products or services and positively promote items and experiences that their audiences would be interested in.

Influencers aren’t only part-celebrities, they are also content creators, storytellers, artists and models. They are set designers, experts in lighting, communication specialists and business entrepreneurs.

Instagram Influencers exist throughout all market niches and in every country.

To find them read this post: How to Use Influencer Marketing Strategy to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Why use Instagram Influencers in new markets

Instagram is an ecommerce merchant’s marketing dream tool. It is a social media platform that is focused 100% on visual content. With the option to post photos, videos or live stream - stunning visual content catches attention.

As of January 2018, the U.S. was Instagram’s largest user market with 110 million monthly users as reported by Statista. However, the second largest user base was Brazil with 57 million monthly users.

Brazilians are constantly connected to the internet and social media platforms. Brazil ranks fourth in the world for having the most internet users and smartphone penetration is on the rise. All good news for cross-border ecommerce merchants seeking to expand into new markets - maybe even to Brazil!

Back to why you should you use Instagram Influencers in new markets…

High-quality photos and videos have a higher chance to catch the eye of a user as they are scanning through their Instagram feed. But, in order for your content to be seen and trusted, your business needs an active profile with followers - and a lot of them.

This is where you can turn to local Instagram Influencers to connect with new customers.

The best way to understand the benefits of working with digital influencers in new markets is by discovering real influencers and examining the social engagement they create.

Brazilian Instagram Influencer: Beauty and Fashion

Let’s check out @Niinasecrets. Nina is a 23-year old Brazilian Instagram Influencer with over 2.9 million followers. She focuses on beauty and fashion and actively posts photos, Insta Stories, and goes live to create an even closer relationship with her followers.

In her post below she captions the photo with “boa semana para nos”, translated to I wish a good week for us. The message speaks directly to her followers and does not directly advertise a brand or even make a call-to-action. As a result, over 88,868 followers liked her post. The products within her photo range from apparel, accessories, footwear, and decor. Even her hair and makeup became topics of discussion.

When was the last time that you generated nearly 90k likes and thousands more visualization with one Instagram posts? This would be the power of the Instagram Influencer. 

@Niinasecrets
Nina, 23, Brazil. Beauty and fashion blogger 👗💄
5,782 posts, 2.9M followers, 1,823 following

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Beyond the photo with visual product placement and a tailored look, additional benefits can achieved by ecommerce merchants within the comments field. If you review the comments left by her Brazilian Instagram followers, they directly ask Nina for product information and where they can buy the products she is wearing in the post.

  • What brand is your bag?
  • Where did you buy it?
  • Beautiful clothes, where are they from?
  • Where is the shirt tied around your waist from?
  • I’m crazy for these tennis shoes. What brand are they and where can I buy them?
  • I need a hair and makeup stylist for my wedding. Waiting for your recommendations in Sao Paulo.

Additionally, there was one comment made by a follower that directly exemplified the potential for ecommerce merchants.

_paolacruz@q_lacerda é da kate spade, mas acho que não vende no brasil 😕
_paolacruz@q_lacerda it is kate spade, but I think that it is not sold in Brazil 😕

Regardless of if this exact Kate Spade bag is sold in Brazil or not (as speculated by a follower - not the Instagram Influencer), there is the opportunity for Instagram Influencers to direct followers to your business profile and e-store to purchase products and services that may not be available within their country.

This type of Instagram engagement and lead generation could be yours when you work with local Instagram Influencers as you expand into new international markets.

5 benefits of finding the right Instagram Influencer in new international markets

By finding the right Instagram Influencers, you can benefit from the following:

  • Influencers have local followers who trust them = millions of potential customers.
  • Followers look to influencers to learn about new products and services.
  • Influencers attract specific audiences which when matched with your goals is like finding gold!
  • They speak the local language and know how to communicate with their audience.
  • Influencers only choose to work with businesses and promote products and services that they believe will create engagement with their audience.

If you are interested in expanding your ecommerce business to Latin America, the good news doesn’t stop with these five benefits of working with a digital influencer.

Statista reports that 52% of Latin Americans follow their favorite brands on social media. Compared to only 37% of Europeans and 41% of those in Asia and the Pacific.

Once the connection has been made between an Instagram users’ favorite Instagram Influencer and your brand - Latin Americans are more apt to start following your business, generating additional customer touch-points and the ability to customize more strategic marketing campaigns based upon their personas.

Travel and Tourism Instagram Influencing Strategies

Brazilians love to travel. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that Brazilians continue to choose the United States as one of their top tourism destinations. In 2015, Brazil ranked 7th out of all nations for arrivals in the United States. The National Travel and Tourism Office also stated that, “Brazil is the top arrivals market from South America and accounts for more than 30 percent of all arrivals in the United States from the continent.”

Travelers need flights, accommodations, rentals (cars, boats, skidoos, baby seats, campers, etc.), packaged tours, attraction tickets, unique experience offerings and recommendations for where to visit, eat, shop and relax.

A local Instagram Influencer within your new target nation abroad can help your ecommerce business sell tourism and travel products and services.

Check out @paulodelvalle. He is a Brazilian with an Instagram profile filled with posts of his travels, landscapes and travel experiences.

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@paulodelvalle
↠ Content Creator & Filmmaker 📍Based in São Paulo, Brazil 📷
2,250 posts, 371k followers, 240 following

With a growing follower base that loves to travel and plan their next trips, Paulo is actively connecting with his audience and providing them with travel inspiration. Posting in Portuguese and English, he has tagged their holiday location, The Shores Resort & Spa, other popular related hashtags, describes their first-time experience of making s’mores and posts a direct link to a website for booking flights, hotels, and amusement park tickets in Florida.

With over 12K views, this Instagram Influencer strategy for engagement generates traffic, qualified sales leads and new sales. Every ecommerce merchant within the tourism market has the ability to adopt the use of a digital influencer strategy.

Do you need an Instagram Strategy for Ecommerce to work with an Influencer?

The quick answer is no. But, we all know that quick fixes don’t always pay off in the end.

For example, if an Instagram digital influencer posts a photo with your product or mentions your service, they will only be able to do so in the text “photo caption” area. Viewers will have to take extra steps to search for your company’s name and then search for the product on your ecommerce site.

Fix this by learning how to start using Instagram to increase sales and learn of strategies to help you avoid mistakes, here.

With an Instagram strategy for ecommerce, you will be able to generate direct traffic from your chosen Instagram Influencer’s profile to yours (when they tag your page in their photo, hashtag your company in the photo caption and tag your username in comments) then lead new followers to your ecommerce site.

Or better yet, learn how to sell more on Instagram by also using Instagram Shoppable tags to enable an in-app shopping experience and boost sales.

How to find Instagram Influencers

Working with the right Instagram Influencers is predicted to pay off and yield quick results with increased engagement.

My EBANX colleague Amanda wrote an article to guide your strategy! Her article is worth reading as it further examines the following tips on how to find the right digital influencers for you.

  • Monitor your social media accounts and others within your niche
  • Research hashtags
  • Access influencer platforms
  • Register on FameBit and let Influencers contact you (reverse the search!)
  • Reach out to influencers on IZEA
  • Do a little more old fashion research

The right digital influencers have an active group of followers and help to drive more social media engagement (a click of the heart on Instagram, a comment, a tag, a share, a direct message, a click-through to a website, etc.), create traffic, qualified sales leads and new sales.

Start strategizing to work with local Instagram Influencers today

There are Instagram Influencers who are ready to help you expand into new markets. The benefit of working with a trusted, popular and engaging personality in a new nation is a competitive advantage for cross-border ecommerce merchants to begin using. Don’t limit yourself to working with only one influencer, expand your reach and tap into different audiences by working with many.

Ultimate Guide: How to Expand your Ecommerce Globally