What Is Influencer Marketing?

January 2, 2018 Sarena Brown

In the world of marketing, there are constantly new buzzwords and trends popping up that every marketer wants to know. Today, for instance, influencer marketing is taking over—but for a good reason. In fact, 66 percent of marketing professionals trust influencer marketing and used it in their marketing strategies last year.

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To cover all the bases of influencer marketing, here’s everything you need to know about the trend and how to successfully use it in your social media strategy.

The Definition

To get technical, influence is the ability to have an effect on someone or something’s behaviour, while marketing is the act or business of promoting different products or services. The definition of influencer marketing is almost a perfect combination of the two: It’s the act of promoting or selling products through people who are able to have a direct impact on the character and success of a brand by influencing its target audience.

In human terms, influencer marketing is working with people who have an influential status online to promote your brand, products, or services to an audience who is willing and excited to listen and be swayed.

It’s Not a New Idea

Influencer marketing might be trendy right now, but the idea has been around for decades—it’s how we use influencers that’s changed. Think about it: Celebrity endorsements have been happening for decades. Brands have always used celebrities, athletes, or influential leaders to be their brand models, spokespersons, or advocates. Influencer marketing is the exact same idea; however, now it’s being used on a different platform: social media. And the influencers themselves aren’t necessarily celebrities, although they do have engaged followers.

This evens the playing field, allowing anyone and everyone to go online to voice their opinions and share content. You no longer have to be famous to earn a massive following; you just have to have something to say and find the right group of people who are interested in listening. Today’s brands don’t have to rely on someone with a celebrity status to promote their products because everyday individuals hold more power.  

Doing It Right

This all sounds too easy—find someone on Instagram with followers and pay them to use and promote your product. That’s it, right? It’s not that easy. If you want your influencer marketing campaigns to be successful, here are some things you should think about: 

Picking the right influencers:
Take your time and find the right influencers. Just because they have a large following doesn’t mean they’re right for your brand. Think about it this way—if you’re selling custom dog collars, you probably don’t want a makeup artist promoting your product because that audience cares about makeup, not dogs. Working with an influential dog owner or trainer would be a much better choice, even if the influencer’s following is smaller. 

Don’t force a relationship:
If an influencer isn’t interested in working with your brand, stop trying. This will only lead to content that feels fake, forced, and uninspired. If the influencer is excited about trying out your product and working with you, you’ll get much better results than if you were to work with someone who had to be begged and pleaded. 

Always run a trial:

Before you invest in any influencer, run a trial campaign first. This can be anywhere from one to two weeks and it allows you and the influencer to get a feel for how the followers are responding to your brand. There are dozens of analytics tools that will help you determine if the test has been successful or not. 

Provide them with the tools for success:
Make sure your influencers have everything they need in order for the campaign to be a success—otherwise, you’re setting them up for failure. Provide them with enough products, coupon codes, links, and design templates to ensure their audiences can really get to know your brand and engage effectively. 

For the success of your business, influencer marketing is one social strategy that should definitely be on your investment list.

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