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Influencer marketing as a concept is not new: Brands with massive budgets have paid celebrities to endorse their products for decades. But as consumers move away from traditional marketing and towards social media and emerging forms of digital marketing, a new type of marketing through online influencers has emerged.

Today’s influencer marketing involves finding a “normal” person on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube with a highly engaged audience. There are a few different ways you can implement influencer marketing:

  • Pay the influencer a specific amount to create sponsored posts about your product or brand.
  • Provide the influencer with free or discounted merchandise in exchange for a review.
  • Offer the influencer exclusive products or insider information in exchange for posts about your product or brand.

Every influencer has spent time crafting their own brand identity and growing their audience. They’ve built trust with their audience through their authenticity: While consumers might be skeptical of big celebrities endorsing products or brands, they are more likely to trust influencers who are regular people, just like themselves.

In turn, brands may need to trust the influencer to take control of content, such as writing reviews and creating posts that feature their products. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right influencer to partner with for your brand. Marketers should strive for subtle and authentic content from influencers rather than overly promotional posts.

By 2020, influencer marketing is expected to rise to a worth of $5 to $10 billion.

Different types of influencers

As a marketer, it’s important to find influencers that align with your brand’s core values, voice, and vision. This will help ensure that you reach the right audience for your products or service while maintaining the branding you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

You don’t need to find influencers with the largest audience. Instead, look for folks who align with your brand’s values and have an engaged audience. That means the influencer receives a lot of likes, views, comments, shares, etc. on their posts.

Influencers now fall into three main categories, based on their audience size:

  • Micro influencers: under 10,000 followers. These folks are ideal for reaching niche yet dedicated audiences.
  • Power middle influencers: 10,000 to 250,000 followers. These influencers may not have the reach of mega-celebrities, but they do have an intimate and engaged audience who tend to trust their advice. The power middle influencers also have some experience working with brands.
  • Macro influencers: 250,000+ followers. These are YouTube and Instagram celebrities. While they have the best reach, they may not provide the same authenticity and trust associated with power middle influencers, so think carefully before signing any deals.

How to measure influencer marketing

The success of influencer marketing is notoriously difficult to track, unlike paid ads or SEO efforts. But you do have a few options for tracking success:

  • Videos make it easy to physically see how many people have watched your influencer’s post.
  • Similarly, you can see how many people engage with your influencer’s posts.
  • Assigning unique codes to each influencer will allow you to see how many of their followers actually convert.
  • You can also give an influencer a specific link to share with their audience which makes it easy to track your KPIs.

Does influencer marketing really matter?

Influencer marketing won’t be going away anytime soon. Only 33% of consumers trust blatant advertising but 90% trust peer advice. Influencers allow brands to take advantage of this unique relationship.

Only 33% of consumers trust blatant advertising but 90% trust peer advice.

If brands want to form a genuine relationship with potential customers, influencer marketing certainly does matter. Plus, influencers exist in every niche from gardening and home improvement to skincare and cooking, allowing you to target a very specific demographic. Influencers are much more than just Starbucks-drinking, beach-going fashionistas.

What now?

Now that you understand what influencer marketing is, you’ll need to decide if and how to use it to your brand’s advantage. The first step is to develop a clear goal. Do you want an influencer to help drive sales? Build authenticity and brand awareness? Encourage email sign-ups?

From there, you can start scoping out potential influencers that mesh well with your brand’s mission and get started building a relationship.

Want to learn more about marketing with influencers? Read our blog post about its effectiveness.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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