With so many influencers now on Instagram, more and more brands are trying to take advantage of their micro-celebrity followings. Here are a few tips for companies looking to leverage influencers to reach a wider audience.

Develop a Plan of Action

Before approaching influencers, brands need to determine what they want to accomplish — and what they can provide in return. Influencers can offer one-time promotions or be brand ambassadors, posting regularly about a product or service; both options have advantages and disadvantages. Companies should also consider cost per post as well as the cost of any sponsorship agreements. Is the return on investment high enough for your particular brand to work with influencers?

Companies will also need to establish an easy way for influencers to share products with their fans and followers in a way that seems natural; design websites and online shops with these potential buyers in mind. Influencers may already be your customers, so listen to their suggestions and feedback — but don’t make them responsible for the content of your marketing campaign.

Choose the Right Influencers

Depending on your product or service, you’ll need to look for different qualities in the influencers you choose to partner with. Consider the size of their audiences, the demographic(s) they appeal to, and how often they engage actively with their followers — only influencers who appear genuine will be able to promote your brand successfully. Posts per day are also important: influencers should be active on Instagram and post at least once per day. Monitor the levels of engagement and responsiveness. Go for quality over quantity.

It’s also important to look at the brands that influencers have previously promoted. If the majority of your influencer’s posts are promotional in nature, it’s possible their audience engage as much with your product or service. Make sure their audience seems interested in what they have to say, especially about other sponsored content, and that any influencers you work with are forthcoming about their previous partnerships.

Once your brand has determined influencers who might be interested in working with you, reach out! Not everyone will respond, but if you offer an appealing partnership, you may soon be able to take advantage of their audience. Keep in mind, however, that even campaigns with popular Instagram influencers won’t generate huge profits overnight. That’s why longer-term approaches may make more sense, depending on what your brand wants to achieve. As likes and shares increase, more people will discover who your company is and what you have to offer.