What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencers have both reach and sway.

Influencer marketing is suddenly such a trendy topic in marketing that a Forbes article quoted that 84% of marketers planned to use the strategy in 2017. This method has particularly come into popularity with the rise of social media. But the truth of the matter is that it’s always been around in the form of celebrity endorsements.

That’s because influencer marketing is essentially having an influential individual, like a celebrity, endorsing your brand on a social platform — most effectively, in a subtle and organic way, like casually tweeting that they’re going to one of your events or having one of your products in their home in a photo on Instagram. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a celebrity. It can also be an outspoken ambassador or a leader in your field. With a celebrity, you might get a wider reach, but in the latter two cases, you would be able to reach a more targeted and niche audience — these people are more influential to your people, and to your brand.

It also blends the power of word-of-mouth marketing, since the message is reaching influencer’s followers, and they trust what the influencer has to say. That mimics the same effect that a message has when it comes from someone like a relative or trusted friend when they make a referral to you. It carries far more weight than not only a traditional ad, but even a celebrity endorsement on a more passive and detached medium like a television commercial.

The best part is that it’s not necessarily very expensive, especially since some influencers are interested in repayment other than cash, and because of the potential returns. An Entrepreneur article from May 2017 reported that on average, businesses earned $6.50 for every $1 they invested in influence marketing.

Make the Most of Influence Marketing

Here are a few rules of thumb to make the most of your influence marketing outreach:

  • Look for an influencer with strong engagement, not just a large group of followers. Resonance with fans is just as important as reach. There are plenty of tools to help measure various aspects of influence on different social media channels, which can be factored in before you approach someone to represent your brand.
  • Build a relationship, rather than look for a one-time post. It’s good to have a relationship with the influencer before a post goes up so that the recommendation seems authentic and organic (for example, if they attended an event of yours recently). It’s also much better for retention, if followers see your relationship continue and your brand come up time and again. Plus, it’s a social tool after all, and followers who have a relationship to an influencer, who has a relationship with you, might begin to feel like they have a relationship to you as well. It opens the door for you to begin relating with them directly.
  • Be sure to disclose sponsorship. The FTC requires that paid influence marketing needs to be noted on the post itself, and the fines can far outstrip the benefit of even a wildly successful post. Look up the guidelines and stay within them to ensure success.

And, of course, reach out to us anytime to ask how we can hook you up with the right influencers — and messaging, and strategy — for your business.


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