What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is one of the most rapid growing sectors in a marketing program, and involves the leveraging of influential people to promote a product or services. The categories of influential people vary from market, industry, and overall campaign goals —an influencer can be a local Brooklyn baker with a blog and Instagram account, a college athlete that is on the rise, a mother of three with a Facebook account, or a celebrity from a hit television show. Influencer marketing comes in different forms, and can either be organically earned or a paid partnership — it all depends on the type of relationship a brand has with that particular influencer.

How Influencer Marketing Works

1. Pick an Influencer that is right for your campaign
From the health conscious yogi to beauty product fanatic, there are a wide variety of influencers to choose from, and picking the right one for your campaign is key. There are three things to consider when choosing the appropriate influencer for your influencer marketing strategy: 1) their audience, 2) quality of their content, and 3) how their image aligns with your brand. While the number of followers/fans an influencer has is not the sole indicator of whether they are the right fit or not, knowing their audience demographics can also determine the success of your campaign. Make sure you target the correct audience by taking a deeper look into the type of followers the influencer has. Moreover, the quality of an influencer's photos and written content can determine if your campaign message is successfully delivered. Do an audit of the influencer's work and check to see if they meet your company standards. Finally, make sure the way an influencer portrays themselves is favorable to your brand. You are ultimately partnering with the brand an influencer created for themselves, so if they don't align with your company values, chances are they are not a good fit for your campaign.

2. Organic vs. Sponsored
To pay, or not to pay, that is the question. While the holy grail of an influencer partnership is one that does not require any monetary compensation, this type is only attainable through a relationship has been established between the brand and the influencer (or the influencer's values align with the brand and is willing to do a campaign for free, or in exchange for a service or product.) This often occurs when the influencer is a fan of the brand, or is new to the field and is building out their portfolio of brands they worked with. The type of partnership described is labeled organic, and does not require monetary compensation. The other type of partnership with influencers is a sponsored one, which requires monetary payment, which comes with a variety of compensation options. While there is no industry standard for the amount paid for a blog post, or a series of posts on social media, each influencer will set their own price based on their previous work. Consider the audience size, quality of their content, and their brand before reaching out to an influencer for your campaign.

3. Use all their channels
It is important to maximize your relationship with an influencer by utilizing all their mediums for reaching out to their audiences. The best candidate should have a blog to dedicate a post to your company, and various social media accounts including: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Be very clear which channels you expect your influencer to use, as each channel comes with its benefits and constraints. Keep in mind that the type of content for each channel must be unique—make sure the influencer creates multiple pieces of content for each platform that can reviewed prior to posting.

1. They reach niche audiences
All marketing campaigns should contain an influencer program, as they are able to reach niche audiences. Do you provide a service or a product to a niche market? Then influencers will be one of your best tactics to impact and resonate with potential customers. The influencers themselves don't have to have a large following to make an impact on your campaign, a few thousands of followers could potentially provide the desired outcome.

2. They provide word-of-mouth marketing
Marketing professionals understand that word-of-mouth significantly impacts a consumers decision making process, especially when it comes to making a purchase or signing up for a service. Influencers in a space can be advocates for your brand and add a personalized touch to why a consumer should choose your brand or product over others. After all, they are influencers in a space due to the number of people that turn to them for recommendations, and they have the power to drive a purchase.

3. They create unique content for your brand
While an influencer's blog and social channels allow you to drive a certain consumer outcome, the type of content influencers create is also a value asset to your business. User generated content (UGC) humanizes your brand while also delivering a marketing message. Be sure to have the influencer create multiple pieces of work for each platform, any assets they don't use can be featured on your company's own social media channels or marketing materials. Just make sure you make it clear that any assets created will be free for you to use.

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