Alright, so you’re finally ready to hit that “confirm order” button, but what got you to this point? There are a lot of factors---the reputable brand, the way it is advertised, the quality of the product, the reviews it received, etc. Or, you may have made your decision because you saw a celebrity, a popular social media personality, or just a close friend/family member actually using the product.

If the above is true for you, then you have been subject to influencer marketing. With brands becoming well aware of the power of influencers, influencer marketing is now an important part of a modern business’s marketing strategy.

What Exactly is Influencer Marketing


In general, influencer marketing is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on people who have the ability or potential to influence a target audience with their social following or popularity. Typically, an influencer is a social media personality with a huge number (usually in the hundreds of thousands or even millions) of subscribers, fans, and followers on a certain platform.

Below are some examples of influencers who are popular “YouTubers,” “Instagrammers,” or Facebook celebrities and their niches:

According to David Cianco, director of Partner Marketing at Yext, “influencer marketing is a form of promotion where an entity partners with outspoken market leaders who have curated their own audience to augment your brand’s message. Some modern marketers see it as a form of ‘growth hacking,’ where the leverage these market leaders give you allows your brand awareness to grow exponentially faster and gain more trust than you would by more traditional advertising or paid media.”

A company may pay an influencer to use, promote, or talk about their products or services to their followers, viewers, and readers. In some cases, the company may arrange for non-monetary compensation such as free products, ambassadorships, sponsorships, or exchange deals. A brand usually chooses the influencer to help market their brand because of the fan base the influencer has. Typically, the brands target audience will match up with the demographics of the influencers fan base, making it an easy way to engage with a captive and engaging audience, while also having the credibility of a third party (the influencer) promoting or reviewing the product.

In return, the influencer may directly or indirectly promote a brand in their content. For instance, a popular YouTuber who travels around the world may promote an airline, a hotel, or an adventure outfitter that sponsored his trip in his videos. The YouTuber may take publish a video tour around the aircraft, talk about the amenities of the hotel he is staying, or document the activity he enjoyed with the outfitter. He may also include his sponsors’ links in his content.

Upon publication, these videos help encourage his followers, which number from 100,000 to more than a million, to avail of the airline’s, hotel’s, or outfitter’s services. That’s a marketing win for both the businesses and the influencer.

Here’s a great example of YouTube star, Casey Neistat reviewing the DJI Mavic Air drone on his YouTube channel: 

Why Influencer Marketing is Important


Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms are now part of people’s lives. Millions of people share content and communicate through these social media platforms every day. Thus, it is easy to see why influencing target markets through social media platforms is beneficial for a business.

In addition, social media is a somewhat expansive but informal channel of communication. Content is usually shared in layman’s terminologies, everyday language, or easy-to-understand format. Influencing the audience through social media platforms can feel more organic, not forced like traditional advertising methods (tv commercials, billboards, online ad space, etc.).

“Businesses were in so much denial that social media was going to stick around or be important that they passed over the ability to harness the power of being a first adopter,” Cianco explained. “Today, social media gave rise to smart marketers, passionate fans, and creative types using social media to build their own audiences around subjects that drove their interests. Suddenly, these people had the power to make suggestions to others---often with a higher degree of trust than other media sources.”

He also pointed out that recommendations from influencers and social media friends are now important deciding factors in buying a product or service.

Marketers should realize that brand recommendations by social media personalities and friends are now taken seriously by customers. As such, part of their marketing strategy should take this trend into consideration.

Microinfluencers: Who are They?

Recently, marketers are now tapping so-called micro-influencers. These are social media personalities who have around 1,000 to 50,000 followers (or more but not beyond 100,000). Despite the name, micro-influencers can be very beneficial for brands.

Why? For one thing, a micro-influencer has a smaller but more defined fan base. For instance, the micro-influencer may be a rock guitarist with a signature style of playing his instrument. That means his audience would be rock enthusiasts who are fans of similar styles as his. Thus, if a business that sells electronic guitar pedals and amplifiers arranges a successful deal with this micro-influencer, it is likely that the guitarist’s audiences will also take notice of and buy the company’s products.

Another advantage of micro-influencers is that they can easily and directly engage their followers thanks to their smaller fan base. They can answer inquiries about the products or services they’re using via direct messages or comments. Thus, they can build a more personalized, more human connection with their followers since they’re not dealing with thousands or millions of followers. Often, they are able to answer inquiries about why they chose to partner with certain brands in a more honest way.

Thus, the realistic number of followers and their ability to communicate directly with their audience makes promotions by micro-influencers feel more organic and authentic.

Where Does Influencer Marketing Belong


It is important to remember that influencer marketing should never replace direct communication between a business and its target market. It should not substitute personalized experiences that the company creates for their consumers.

However, knowing the power of social media and the online marketing landscape, influencer marketing should be viewed as a powerful tool. After all, wouldn’t you like to have an influential partner whose audience---your target market---is actively engaged with him/her and will seriously consider his/her recommendations?