What Is Influencer Marketing?

As online networks have increased their reach and brands have found opportunities to reach consumers directly through these spaces, the popularity of influencer marketing has grown rapidly.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Madeline Martini | Aug 11, 2022

Influencer marketing utilizes individuals with substantial social media followings in the spaces that overlap with a brand’s target audiences colaborating with social media managers to sell products and spread brand awareness. Many influencers are also celebrities who can influence the behavior of thousands of users over time across a range of platforms. By sharing posts, creating product reviews, publishing blogs and taking further action to promote a brand, influencers can help companies reach untapped audiences in an authentic setting.

What does influencer marketing do?

  • Influencer marketing allows brands to stand out by trading traditional advertisements for more personal connections with consumers. 

Consumers see over 10,000 advertisements per day, and according, have grown accustomed to ignoring many messages they encounter. This has led to companies seeking opportunities to leverage the strong relationships that influencers have established with their typically large number of followers.

These pre-existing ties make influencers excellent advertisers, and interestingly enough, this effect grows the smaller the following gets. For example, users who fit within a specific niche and have only a few thousand followers, known as nano-influencers, may fill a role as a unique source of authority for their users. These followers recognize and are the target audience for the specific content the influencer offers even though others may not have a need for the content — allowing brands to tap into a highly engaged market with great respect for the influencer’s opinions and digital identity. 

What is an example of an influencer?

  • Although many people think of influencers as celebrities, the meaning of the term has shifted to include a wider range of people.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande are all common examples of mega influencers, or people with millions of followers. However, the meaning of ‘influencer’ has changed, creating space for non-celebrity figures to get involved. Macro and micro-influencers lack the popularity of a world-class athlete, but social media users may view their status as more accessible. If these influencers post about a genuine passion or interest, their authenticity may earn them more trust than a mega influencer.

With the shift toward more relatable influencers, companies have come to enlist the services of part-time workers. Gigfluencers are people with full-time jobs who perform influencer tasks on the side. As a result, businesses have many options when deciding who will provide them with the most potential for reaching specific audiences for certain campaigns. Not all influencers have millions of followers, yet their high-quality social networks are rich soil where organizations can sow the seeds of their budding brands.

How do you attract influencers to your brand?

  • To build healthy partnerships with influencers, companies need to make the relationships mutually beneficial for both parties.

While working together with influencers, businesses need to ensure everyone has something to gain from the collaboration. If a company is in the tech industry, it can invite influencers to events where they engage directly with products. Individuals enjoy free experiences and can share their feedback with online followers. It’s a simple strategy that delivers quick perks for influencers and more exposure for an organization. 

Businesses can further nurture these relationships by liking, sharing and engaging with influencers’ posts, bringing exposure to their publications and offering fair compensation for their services. Once influencers notice businesses supporting them in concrete ways, they’ll likely reciprocate this energy. Companies can utilize different strategies, so it depends on the circumstances of the campaign and their agreement with influencers.

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