Influencer Codes and How They Can Help Incentivize Instagram Sales

Influencer codes work like this: find Instagram influencers, create a specific discount code for each, and have them share it with their followers. This tactic can help incentivize sales on Instagram or at least get coupon-happy users on your site to browse your products. 

In the United States, a survey showed that 88% of consumers used coupons while shopping in 2020. Honestly, who doesn’t love a deal? Discounts can convince an unsure shopper of their purchase.

And even when a coupon doesn’t lead to a sale, it can achieve branding. I myself have definitely visited brand websites while browsing Instagram just to check out the deal. Maybe I don’t end up buying anything, but I leave the site with the brand’s name in my head and an idea of the products they offer.

But why use influencers to promote your discounts? How do you set up, promote and track influencer codes? Let’s break it all down.

Why use influencer codes?

Why should you bother with influencer codes, instead of just offering discounts on your own website or social media accounts? Well, the simple answer is that consumers trust influencers more than brands.

Research shows that 61% of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from friends, family or influencers, while only 38% are likely to trust brands. With the amount of advertising thrown at us daily, it’s not surprising that consumers have become a bit weary of the content produced by brands.

An Instagram post from @abiwebb_x that features an influencer code.
Swedish fashion micro-influencer Abi Webb promoting her influencer code with sportswear brand Stronger. Abi has 12K followers and high engagement on Instagram.

When you collaborate with influencers, you leverage the trust that the audience has in them. Followers see your brand through the eyes of the influencer. But any old influencer won’t do the trick here. In order to make a positive impression on followers, you need to find the right influencer for your brand.

Look for influencers whose followers trust them, and who can produce authentic content. Remember to:

  • Prioritize high engagement over the number of followers 
  • Ensure that the influencer aligns with your brand’s mission, values, and style
  • Give influencers creative freedom to create their content as they see fit

How to create influencer codes

To create influencer codes, generate them the same way you would regularly add coupons to your e-commerce or payment platform. Remember to specify the percentage/amount of discount, which products they’re valid for, and the timeframe you want them to be active.

But how do you name them? Each influencer working on your campaign needs their own unique code, so depending on the number of influencers, you may have to create several codes. And in order to avoid a mess later on, there are few general best practice guidelines to follow.

1. Make it easy to ID the influencer

Most brands use the influencer’s name to make it easy to distinguish one code from another. With very common names, you may have to add an initial or other detail, but whatever the case, make sure you can tell which code belongs to who.

An Instagram post from @barbarabraga85 showing an example of a clear, identifiable influencer code.
There’s no doubt that BARBARABRAGA12, which gets you up to 12 free meals from @hellofresh, belongs to mommy influencer Barbara Braga.

Imagine you want to know how many sales a specific influencer has generated with their code. You go to your e-commerce platform or Google Analytics to check, but the codes don’t have the influencers’ names. Now you have an extra step of verifying codes in order to get the information you need.

2. Keep it short and sweet

While most people will be able to copy and paste the code into your e-commerce platform, don’t assume that everyone can. Cart abandonment is a big problem for online retailers, and you don’t want to encourage it with overly complicated discount codes.

3. Use block capitals

Block capitals make your code stand out from the rest of the Instagram caption. They also help users understand what the code says more easily. Keep in mind that there is a multitude of devices and displays out there, and people also see differently.

Influencer codes written in lowercase and capital letters to show how case affects noticeability and clarity.

Look at the image above for example. Which codes are easier to read? And which stand out more? Those in block caps are more noticeable and also avoid confusion between lowercase characters that look similar in certain combinations.

How to promote influencer codes

Okay, you’ve decided you want to try to boost sales using influencer codes. But how do you go about getting those codes in front of followers? And how do you make that experience exciting and user-friendly?

Send influencers products they’re enthusiastic about

When influencers share your code, their content should engage followers and get them excited about your products. So, send the influencer products to feature in their content that they themselves are truly excited about.

There are a few different ways to do this. If you want to feature a specific product, ask the influencer which variation they like best. Do they want blue or green? Small or large? 

If you don’t mind exactly which product the influencer shows off, let them choose. To make things even easier for you, give the influencer a voucher and let them simply shop on your site. This way, they choose what they like best and get the full brand experience. And you don’t have to prepare a special package, but rather send out products via your usual logistics routes.

Set up Instagram Shopping and give influencers permission to tag

Instagram Shopping lets you either integrate a product catalog from your e-commerce platform, or create one directly with the Facebook catalog manager. In the past, only brands could tag products, but now influencers can, too.

However, you have to give the influencer permission by tagging them as a business. But once you do, they can tag the products that appear in their posts. So, in conjunction with the discount code, followers have a direct link to the product page, all in one post.

Involve followers to participate in the conversation

Some brands invite their followers (who aren’t necessarily influencers) to share content featuring their products by using brand mentions and brand hashtags.

Morphe Brushes on Instagram, and example of a brand that invites its followers to tag and mention the brand in their content.
Morphe Brushes’ Instagram invites followers to tag or mention the brand in their content, and they regularly repost follower content to their feed.

This can add a sense of social proof to your brand’s Instagram account. Potential customers can easily see other people like them who have bought your products and uploaded content featuring them. Social proof combined with an influencer code may convince some people to buy.

Moreover, if followers feel included in the conversation, they may feel more excited to use influencer codes to buy your products. Later, they can publish their own content and perhaps get featured on your feed. 

How to track influencer codes

Influencer codes are one of the data elements that help you track your campaign. By looking at their use, you can gain valuable insight into how different influencers and social networks performed for your campaign.

You can get analytics information from your e-commerce platform. Most of the big ones have built-in analytics that offer data about customer behavior, purchases, and revenue. You can also enable the E-Commerce feature in Google Analytics and look in the Conversions reports.

When analyzing the use of influencer codes, ask yourself:

  • Which influencer brought in the most sales? Most revenue?
  • Which products were the most purchased?
  • Did certain influencers seem to sell certain products well?
  • Which social network performed better – who generated more uses of their codes, Instagram influencers or Youtubers?

The more conclusions you can draw from this data, the better you can define future campaigns. Moreover, influencers that perform well are great options for future repeat collaborations.

Conclusion

People love special offers, and influencer codes can capitalize on that. A discount, combined with the way people trust influencers, can help your brand incentivize sales or at least get branding from curious followers.

Kate works on the Marketing team at Heepsy as a content writer. When she's not online she can be found traveling or trying out a new recipe.
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