Understanding Influencer Marketing

When you hear the term “influencer,” who is the first person that comes to mind? Some might say Kim Kardashian, but the truth is, most millennials and generation z-ers on social media prefer smaller scale influencers known as micro-influencers to the larger macro-influencers, such as the entire Kardashian family. 

Who is an influencer? An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect others’ decisions because of their knowledge, position or relationship with their audience. Want to know which influencers you’re already following? Check out this list of those with the biggest audience.

These increasingly popular micro-influencers are basically the smaller version of macro-influencers. They tend to be more industry focused and provide valuable one-on-one and personal interactions. Because content is curated specifically for their followers, it feels more authentic than the paid posts you often see from more popular influencers – posts that are typically written by the company rather than the individual. Most micro-influencers won’t promote a product or brand they don’t personally use, so their followers trust their endorsements, resulting in stronger partnerships and return on investment for companies. 

Influencer marketing can be presented in a variety of ways including, social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or videos on YouTube, as well as blog posts and even product reviews on websites. These paid sponsorships are the result of a partnership between the influencer and the brand. There are usually a set of agreed upon guidelines, including payment, before the influencer endorses the brand or product. According to Social Media Today, most mid-level influencers charge $250-$400 per blog post, including social media posts. While social media posts are a good way to quickly get the message out, blog posts and reviews are good long-term options to ensure the brands and/or products show up in google searches or in reviews for years to come – further strengthening brand awareness and positively influencing potential customers’ impression of the product. 

Many brands take advantage of influencers to reach their target demographic in a more authentic way. Brand advocates can be a valuable resource for companies to utilize in order to get their brand or product in front of more eyes that fit their target demographic. Although influencers must disclose partnerships, if companies find the right “fit,” the partnership will appear more natural and benefit both parties. In a survey of influencers, 95 percent said they think their audience still trusts their brand recommendations even when the post is marked as “sponsored”.

As more brands move toward influencer marketing, it’s important to consider these two steps before diving in. Be sure to establish a budget your company is comfortable with and decide on what products you are willing to give away. Then, find the right partnership. This should be authentic! The better the fit, the better the brand advocate. Influencers are an effective way to reach your target demographic through authentic content – start taking advantage of them!