What is Influencer Marketing? Here’s How Influencer Marketing Works

by Influencers

What is influencer marketing? How can it help my brand? How do I get started? 

Influencer Marketing is set to grow to over $10 billion dollars by 2020 (Credit: Mediakix). On Instagram alone, influencer marketing accounted for $1.6 billion dollars in advertising spend in 2018. That number is set to increase. 

65% of marketers say that they will increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year. 

With the growth and rise of influencer marketing, brands are able to find authentic ways to advocate for their products using real people, in real time, and with real, big results. Thus, influencer marketing is a great way to reach your target audience and build brand awareness among like-minded individuals.

What is an influencer?

There are many definitions of what an influencer is, but here’s the common consensus. An influencer is a person who has built a loyal audience through social media, blogs, or other communities, that has the ability to influence their audience through content creation.

Some other definitions include: 

Definition Source
A social media influencer is someone who has built a loyal following through their online content creation. BigCommerce
An influencer is a social media user that can have anywhere from several hundred to several million followers. They drive conversation and engagement around a particular topic, discussion, or niche area. Influencers have their fingers on the digital pulse or a highly-engaged and loyal audience. CPC Strategy
An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process. Influencers are normal people, who are connected to key roles of media outlets, consumer groups, industry associations or community tribes. Influencers may or may not be aware of your company, but represent control of an audience segment that is important to your business Influencer Analysis
An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his/her audience. Also, an individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with. The size of the following depends on the size of the niche. Influencer Marketing Hub
Influencers are individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers. In business to business (organizational) buying, internal employees (engineers, managers, purchasers) or external consultants act as influencers. BusinessDictionary.com

Our Definition of Influencer

As you can see, there’s no clear and exact definition of an influencer. The common theme is that an influencer has an audience that they can engage with through content creation. Some definitions focus on an influencer’s function, while others focus on an influencer’s potential reach. All of them seem to agree that influencers are people that can educate, engage, and influence a large number of people.

What is Influencer Marketing?

At its core, influencer marketing is the process of using external content creators, or influencers, to advocate and engage with your brand’s message. As part of this, the influencers present their content to their audience, increasing brand awareness and helping to convert their audience into your customers.

How influencer marketing works

Digital influencers are the trendsetters and taste-makers of today, with audiences looking for their recommendations in order to guide their purchasing decisions. 

Firstly, digital influencers are content makers. They are creating shareable and communicative user-generated content about your brand that can be used for marketing promotions, email campaigns, and more.

However, influencer marketing is not just Instagram posts or YouTube unboxing videos.

Influencer marketing can include: 

  • Product reviews on social media
  • Unboxing videos
  • Product placements in creative content (with or without a direct mention from the influencer)
  • Sharing the brand’s campaigns and new product launches
  • Sharing a unique coupon code so that the influencer’s audience can get a great deal
  • Partnering with the influencer to create a co-branded product or campaign
  • Giveaways on the influencer’s platforms
  • Promoting events that the influencer or your brand will attend
  • Supporting influencers’ causes by donating products to their fundraisers and events
  • Using influencers to create content like videos, blog posts, and social media ads for your brand.

The possibilities are truly endless for what an influencer and a brand can do together. In fact, the best collaborations use unique approaches in order to provide fresh content to audiences.

Where are Influencers?

With the importance of influencers growing every year, marketers are scrambling to find influencers to work with. The trouble is, where are the influencers?

The term influencers is mostly used in reference to Instagram users with large followings. However, the term influencers applies more broadly to content creators with an audience and there are content creators on every social platform. 

What platforms are your customers on?

In evaluating which influencers to work with, be sure to consider where your audience is located as well. If your audience is primarily found on Instagram, then these influencers will have greater clout than influencers found on other social media platforms. Additionally, using existing customer data can help you narrow down the search for influencers to the social platforms that your audience already use.

Influencers are located on social networks (like Instagram) and blogs, as well as other digital spaces. However, it’s important to find out where your ideal audience is before partnering with influencers on a particular platform. 

A key to finding influencers who can successfully advocate for your brand is finding those influencers who are already engaging with your brand. Using an app like Carro, you can comb your existing customer lists to find influencers who have already had contact with your brand. That familiarity will allow the influencer to authentically post about your brand because they already love your product. 

Influencer Marketing: The Future of Digital Brand Content

Influencer Marketing is the fastest-growing channel in the digital marketing space. In fact, Instagram now ranks 6th at influencing consumer purchasing decisions (Source: Hubspot). In other words, today’s consumers are looking for authentic recommendations from everyday people. Influencers fill the need for brands to be able to share without the polish of other brand marketing. 

Influencer marketing can expose your brand to new audiences and leads, as well as increasing brand awareness for existing customers. Therefore, influencers allow the brands to present their products and messaging in a fresh, approachable, and interesting way. Thus, it wins over customers with its originality and authenticity. 

Get started identifying the influencers in your customer database today with Carro

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