How important is Instagram to the world of social media influencers?
A new survey of social influencers worldwide from influencer platform Zine found that nearly 80% of respondents considered the Facebook-owned property to be their primary way of collaborating with brands.
Blogs were a distant second, named by just 16% of respondents. And other social media platforms—YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest—fared even worse in the estimation of influencers.
Influencers likely favor Instagram because it provides an easy way to leverage their followings in service of brand campaigns. Generating branded content can be as easy as posing with a product, especially ones that have a strong visual appeal.
A recent survey from analytics and social media marketing platform Klear found that the number of influencer posts on Instagram nearly doubled to a little more than 1.5 million posts worldwide between 2016 and 2017.
But influencers—and the brands that work with them—need to maintain transparency and remain on the right side of regulations. Zine's survey found that only about half of influencers used the #sponsored or #ad hashtags recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to identify posts as sponsored content.
In late 2017, the FTC issued an updated version of its guide to endorsements. Among the recommendations in the document for influencers:
But there's another good reason for influencers to clearly communicate their relationship with brands—it helps them to maintain an aura of authenticity, which is how they racked up their follower base in the first place.