What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a pretty big buzzword in the world of marketing, and it is one that some businesses still don’t get (which can really make a company seem old-fashioned). While it isn’t something every small business owner can just pick up and do, it can be incredibly effective for viable companies. At its best, it can be a complete win-win, bringing new customers to your business while creating content perfectly suited for the influencer’s audience. Here are the basics:


What is it?

Influencer marketing is a concept that gains strength every day. It essentially refers to influencers, or internet celebrities, promoting a product or service to their audience. They are paid to present the brand to their social media following, and in turn the fans may be persuaded to buy their product/service. This is so effective because every field has influencers, and every influencer has a loyal fanbase listening to every word they say.

It’s essentially a hybrid of multiple marketing tools, taking the age-old concept of the celebrity endorsement, and placing it into a fresher content marketing/ social media marketing parcel. The biggest difference is that this is in collaboration, and may be on both the influencer’s and the brand’s page.

Everyone is an influencer to some extent, as long as you have social media friends and followers, but some accounts are more famous than others. If you want world domination, who will get your name out faster than somebody like Kylie Jenner? If you’re a makeup brand with the marketing budget of a small country, Kylie would be a perfect fit. If you’re a medical school however, it’d be better to get in touch with a famous and respected doctor. Followers are important, but at the end of the day, it’s better to get a relevant influencer on your team than a famous one.

According to Grin (in a really interesting blog post that you can check out here), it is argued that the Queen and the Pope were the first influencers, convincing the public to try medicine in a time when it wasn’t widespread and was met with a lot of scepticism. Maybe rightly so, as medicine was essentially useless for a long time, but it did set the foundations for what we have now, and the medical field would still be in its infancy without the masses warming to change.


Why is it important?

We’ll let the numbers speak on this one. Nielsen’s Global Survey of Trust In Advertising created a report which detailed “consumers’ opinions online” as the second most trusted ad format in the whole study (after personal recommendations) at 58%. Buyers are naturally sceptical, and rightly so, but it seems as though an influencer’s authority can leapfrog this initial suspicion to some extent. Partnering with a trusted personality and creating engaging content about your service or product makes people feel more comfortable with your brand. By not adding influencer marketing to your marketing mix, you could be missing the chance to make the transition to becoming a household name.

When companies come up with new marketing strategies, adding an influencer makes your campaign a lot more visible, higher-profile, and will give a large and noticeable return on investment (ROI). However, it is important for companies to choose the most fitting influencer to represent their product or service, as it could be a waste of time, or even harm your brand in the worst-case scenario.


How do I use it?

There are multiple ways to set out on an influencer marketing strategy. For the most part, the limitations are just what sector you’re in and who you’re working with. Once you work out a target audience, you work out the perfect fit for your brand, and can go from there. B2C companies should prioritise social media, adverts and any other places plenty of consumers will be. B2B companies may find it more useful to use an influencer as a guest speaker or guest blogger.

Social Media sites are arguably the most effective place for influencer marketing to take place, as it’s a space influencers have mastered, and where all their followers frequent. This means instant results. There are multiple social media platforms, all with different purposes and target audiences, so we can’t stress how important it is to find the right person. For example, Instagram would be perfect for a creative company, but LinkedIn is a better fit for a formal and professional one.


Are there different types of influencers?

Influencers are generally split into 3 groups based on their social media following:

  • Micro-influencers (ability to influence 1,000-100,000)
  • Macro-influencers (100,000-500,000)
  • Mega-influencers (500,000+)

Micro-influencers are often seen as the best value for money, as they’re often seen as more relatable and trustworthy because they aren’t mega-celebrities. If you want a normal person who just happens to have thousands of people interested in their opinion, this is the way to go.

Macro-influencers are generally the middle ground, as they don’t quite have mega-influencer numbers, but they have massive reach without completely draining the company’s bank account.

Mega-influencers are huge, instant results, personified. For a price, of course. If you can afford to get Travis Scott to wear your clothing brand’s new shirt and post on Instagram about it, you can more or less guarantee selling out within the next 24 hours.


Does it actually work?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: A lot of marketers understand the power influencer marketing has on their brands, and there is an increasing number gravitating towards influencers over more traditional methods.

When compared to older marketing strategies, influencer marketing is a more impactful way to grow your business. It can help you get more revenue, and increase your brand’s global visibility. It also boosts the engagement rate on your content and can help your social media pages bloom. These are just a few of the many benefits of influencer marketing.