Understanding the value of Instagram influencers in ag
With virtually all professional conferences being cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re staying optimistic by looking ahead to when we hope conferences can resume. We’re also looking back on some of the shows we were able to attend most recently and examining how the trends we observed will evolve in agriculture over the coming year.
At Commodity Classic 2020 in San Antonio, one of the biggest trends we noticed was the presence of influencers in exhibitor booths. For years, clients have been asking about social media influence, and the effect of influencers themselves, in the ag space. Ag is a niche market within the immense world of social media, so some clients and prospective clients haven’t been very confident that social media is worthy of a share of limited budgets.
When we start by looking at the overall influencer universe, Inc reports that 71 percent of marketers feel that influencer marketing helps them raise brand awareness on social media, and 67 percent have stated that it helps them reach a more targeted audience. Likewise, we have discussed the value of conventional ag influencers and how they factor into buying decisions. With the burgeoning popularity of Instagram in the marketplace, the combination of the two is more powerful than ever in how they shape purchases.
Who’s Who on Instagram
It’s important to distinguish what qualifies an Instagram influencer and how they add value to a marketing strategy, particularly in the ag market. We often think of this type of marketing as more of a pop culture phenomenon, where celebrities and models sell products via snapshots of products-in-hand alone. Essentially, marketers are borrowing an influencer’s credibility to sell a product or promote a brand. Though this tactic can be very successful for consumer brands, ag brands often take a different approach. For ag brands, influencer marketing is less about product placement and more of an opportunity to educate and share unique offerings and brand values through visual and video means.
So, who exactly is an ag Instagram influencer? Consider those that are highly integrated in the ag social media space, those who offer strong endorsements of the brand and will provide an in-depth conversation about ag topics and a connection with the audience. They’re not just a talking head.
The Ag Connection
There are many ways that ag brands can apply an Instagram influencer strategy into their overall marketing plan, to promote upcoming trade shows, conferences, product releases and ambassador programs. Marketers should focus on honest and authentic content, which builds a transparent connection with other companies and, in this case, ag dealers, farmers, ranchers and veterinarians. Transparency is a key factor to this success because it builds trust in a population that relies on trust when making purchasing decisions. In addition, it provokes discussion and increases engagement between brands and producers.
Ag influencers can appear live and on-location at events, live-stream product reviews, demonstrations and agronomic education sessions, or promote your brand as experts. Similarly, they can incorporate and showcase a brand’s photography and video using features on Instagram. Any engagement that connects the influencer with viewers, including answering questions and encouraging interaction can increase sales, due to their organic approach.
Keeping it Legal
In the Instagram influencer sphere, it’s necessary to disclose all compensation for promoting a brand or product. Influencers can do so by simply adding the appropriate hashtags (#ad or #sponsored) in their post, or using the branded content option. Additionally, it is recommended to follow the guidelines presented by the Federal Trade Commission for relationships between influencers and brands.
As ag brands continue to turn the cameras on themselves, it’s an exciting time to see how and where they will develop on Instagram and throughout the social media landscape. Social media and audio/visual technology have transformed how we market, which products we invest in and the ways that we communicate with brands, and the opportunities for consumer engagement are endless.
Head, Earned Media. An Iowa State graduate who was born and raised on a diversified grain and livestock farm in northern Iowa, Amy loves bringing this lens to strategic planning, communications integration and earned media measurement. She provides oversite to the Earned Media team, ensuring there are no missed opportunities to tell a good story and engage a customer or influencer.