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Instagram has privately told some influencers how much to post to boost engagement

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the influencer and creator economy. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Behind closed doors, Instagram is telling some influencers how frequently to post on the platform and what types of posts could help them boost their follower counts and engagement rates.

My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with three creators who said that Instagram had privately shared specific guidance with them.

This guidance was a rare glimpse by Instagram into how influencers can grow on the platform and into how its mysterious algorithm works.

Some creators and industry experts said they felt the volume of posts recommended by Instagram was unsustainable and others said they appreciated the recommendations. 

Here's a glimpse at what Instagram recommended, according to one creator:

  • 3 in-feed posts a week (including in-feed Reels or IGTV posts).

  • 8 to 10 Stories a week (and at least 2 a day).

  • 4-7 Reels a week.

  • 1-3 IGTV a week (including Instagram Live). 

"When I first heard the ideal amounts, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud," said artist and small-business owner Rachel Reichenbach.

She said she felt the volume of content was "unrealistic."

Read more on the advice Instagram shared with creators here.

A pair of TikTok influencers sold $100,000 worth of masks in 2 days

TikTok creators Greg Auerbach and Nate Twer earned a living in 2020 by posting sponsored videos for brands.

And my colleague Dan Whateley wrote that Auerbach and Twer are now moving beyond brand deals to direct-to-consumer sales by selling a mask that you can wear on your wrist when it's not on your face.

To promote the "Slapmask," the pair turned to TikTok:

  • They posted a TikTok video on December 9 directing followers to a custom link to the Slapmask's e-commerce page.

  • The TikTok post helped drive over $100,000 in sales without any paid promotion on the app.

"The bulk of the views were in the first few days, and most of the sales came from that video," Auerbach said.

Read more about how they used TikTok to market their product here.

Influencers and experts say Q4 was packed with deals as the industry came roaring back

Q4 is typically the busiest season for an influencer's business with holiday campaigns and sponsorships. 

The influencer-marketing industry took a major hit in early 2020 because of the pandemic, but insiders said it began to rebound with a packed holiday season.

Sydney and I spoke with influencers, talent agents, and managers about the impact of the coronavirus on the influencer industry.

Here are some holiday campaign trends and rates they saw in 2020:

  • One influencer was offered $6,000 for an Instagram package (in-feed photo, a Reel, and a few Stories) — a higher rate than her average starting prices. 

  • Brands adapted their strategies this holiday season with elements like livestreaming and giveaways gaining popularity.

  • One agent said merchandise sales had also steadily increased this year, making influencer-led direct-to-consumer products a major revenue source for his digital client.

Read more about the marketing trends from this past holiday season, here.

What it's like working for a YouTube star and how to get a job in the influencer industry by networking

Taylor King is a YouTube video editor and creator known for appearing in and working for Alisha Marie, who has 8 million subscribers.

I spoke with King who shared what it's like to work for a top creator on YouTube and her networking tips, which included:

  • Using Instagram to reach people by regularly commenting on photos. 

  • Responding to people's Instagram Stories.

  • Starting up conversations by direct messaging people. Instagram users can direct message anyone – no matter how famous they are.

"No one remembers you liked a photo, so I will comment something that stands out, like something that will make them laugh or know I watch their videos," she said. 

Read more on how King landed her job working for a YouTuber, here.

More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:

Instagram 

  • 6 real media kit examples that Instagram influencers use to land brand deals (Dan Whateley, Sydney Bradley, and Amanda Perelli) 

YouTube 

  • How much money a nano influencer earns on YouTube with 1,900 subscribers (Amanda Perelli) 

  • 15 YouTube stars break down how much they get paid per month (Sydney Bradley and Amanda Perelli)

TikTok

  • The 'Ratatouille' musical that began as a TikTok trend earned over $1 million in ticket sales (Dan Whateley) 

This week from Insider's digital culture team:

Here's how the bizarre theory that Kanye West cheated with Jeffree Star got started

Thanks to TikTok, a rumor has gone viral online about rapper Kanye West and the beauty guru Jeffree Star. 

Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge wrote that there's no actual evidence to suggest that West and Star have ever dated, met up, or had a romance.

Page Six reported on Tuesday that Kanye and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were headed toward a divorce. Then a TikTok video claimed that gossip in Los Angeles had been revolving around Kanye and Star "for months."

The video was created by Ava Louise, the internet troll who last year filmed herself licking a toilet seat in an airplane for a "coronavirus challenge."

When the YouTube drama personality Keemstar asked Star about the rumor, Star said, "I'm having the best time in Wyoming, come visit sometime!"

Read the full story here.

More from Insider: 

  • Beauty influencer Nikita Dragun who flew to Miami for New Year's Eve was caught maskless in an elevator (Kat Tenbarge)

  • An anonymous Instagram account exposing LGBTQ influencers partying in Mexico has set off what some are calling a 'gay civil war' (Moises Mendez II)

  • Old tweets that contained anti-Semitic and offensive language resurfaced from 'Bean Dad' (Palmer Haasch)

  • An Instagram parenting influencer died while pregnant (Rachel E. Greenspan)

Here's what else we're reading: 

  • The personalized shout-out app Cameo says it fulfilled 1.3 million videos in 2020 (Natalie Jarvey, from The Hollywood Reporter)

  • A tax expert believes YouTube star PewDiePie is trying to dodge his taxes (Chris Stokel-Walker, from Input Magazine)

  • Meet the executive who changed Hollywood's image of YouTube (Wendy Lee, from the LA Times)

  • Over 2,000 Facebook Gaming creators are making more than $1,000 per month on the platform (Rebekah Valentine, from GamesIndustry)

Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: [email protected]

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