What Is Influencer Marketing And Why It Matters In Business

Influencer marketing involves the marketing of products or services that leverages the popularity, expertise, or reputation of an individual. Influencer marketing is often associated with those who have large social media followings, but popularity should not be confused with influence. Influence has the power to change consumer perceptions or get their audience to do something different.

Influencer marketing explained

In simple terms, influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and modern marketing techniques. It harnesses the power of celebrity endorsements from the past with a modern, content-driven marketing strategy

When researching potential influencers to partner with, businesses should assess the following characteristics:


Usually defined as the ability to deliver a message to a large group of people.

However, reach is less important in influencer marketing because influencers with small followings often possess higher credibility and a more targeted audience.


Or the level of trust an influencer enjoys because of their perceived knowledge or authority in a niche.


Influencers who possess salesmanship can convince others of their point of view because it is told with confidence and conviction.


Often if you just look at metrics such as follower counts, it might be easy to fall into so-called “vanity metrics,” which don’t tell you much about the real business impact an influencer can have.

Instead, before picking up a potential influencer as a partner for your business is critical to assess the level of real engagement of the following.

Are those people, liking, re-sharing, commenting, and discussing? Is the influencer meeting with many from its core community in the real world or through live online events?

True Fans

Connected to the engagement side, it’s critical to ask whether the influencer has a group of so-called “True Fans.”

As Kevin Kelly has defined a True Fan in his masterpiece, “1,000 True Fans”

A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.

As long as the influencer has those true fans you can be sure, as a brand, that those fans will also go a long way to make sure that the campaign with the influencer will be successful.

Influencer marketing is also a less transactional and more authentic form of promotion (if properly assessed), in that there is more collaboration between the brand and the influencer.

Collaboration means that the goals and values of both parties need to be aligned. 

Businesses must respect the influencer and how they have built their audience.

Successful collaborations result when businesses resist the temptation to change an influencer’s goals or values to suit their own purposes. 

Why is influencer marketing important?

Influencer marketing is important because conventional digital marketing is now largely ignored.

As people on the web have learned to ignore digital ads in a phenomenon known as “ad blindness” given also the overwhelming volume of digital ads and use the number of such ads to consider whether to boycott certain brands.

By partnering with influencers, brands can insert themselves into consumer conversations and leverage influencer trust to reduce the chance of being ignored.

When businesses get consumers talking about their brand, they create genuine conversations that can never be replicated through traditional marketing strategies.

Examples of influencer marketing

To spread the word on the benefits of grass-fed beef, producer La Cense Beef collaborated with food-bloggers who had an audience of dedicated meat fanatics.

The company set up a website detailing the benefits so that influencers could spread the message about their brand in an informed and authentic fashion.

A less typical example of influencer marketing can be seen in the case of carmaker General Motors (GM). GM created an insider’s club for car fanatics with a deep passion and affinity for the maker.

By sharing exclusive news and offers with insider members, General Motors encouraged their most loyal supporters to spread the word about their brand.

With the rise of new creators’ platforms and content formats, influencer marketing has consolidated into a multi-billion dollar industry.

The two major platforms for influencer marketers, beyond Instagram and Facebook, have become YouTube and TikTok.

As short-form video content has taken over, with YouTube Shorts and TikToks, brands leverage upcoming influencers to sponsor their new product releases.

Take the Dunkin’ Donuts campaign with Charli D’Amelio.

With a single video campaign, you can reach millions of young people across the world.

Types Of Influencers

Choosing an Influencer for Your Campaign

After knowing the channels to locate influencers for your campaign, you need to choose one that properly fits your goals and objectives.

There are a thousand influencers available in your pool, but not all will be appropriate for your campaign.

There are general goals for influencer marketing to increase brand awareness, thereby increasing sales and revenue.

However, each business has additional targets that they aim to achieve with influencer marketing

Some really want to reach out to their customer base in a particular age group or expand their reach from a certain sector, so you must be able to identify your goals, to adequately help you determine your choice.

Influencers can reach targeted audiences, so properly defining your goals will help you streamline your search and ensure you pick the right person for your campaign.

Below are steps you need to take in incorporating your choice with your goals and objectives.


During the research phase, there are many decisions you need to make, depending on your brand strength, your audience, your budget, and your preferred means of remuneration. 

  • You need to conduct a survey about the social media platforms your current market is well-populated to give an insight into where to focus. As a beginner in influencer marketing, it is recommended to start with a channel, even if there is no clear indication as to where you should focus. For example, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle really excel on Instagram because of the opportunity to regularly use pictures to publish content. Technology, gadgets, and mobile trends largely excel on YouTube. There is always one influencer or the other doing a review or comparison of certain gadgets and what the specifications mean; if you have built a game, then twitch is the best place to get your audience as it is exclusively for gamers.
  • You should also look into the type of influencers that will suit your campaign before selecting one. If you want an awareness campaign to reach millions of people without necessarily targeting a specific audience, then mega influencers is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want some high level of awareness in a more targeted audience, then you could use macro-influencers. Perhaps, you want a smaller reach, in a largely targeted audience, you should consider using micro-influencers and nano influencers. Your budget will also be determined by the type of influencer you decide to employ for your campaign, so you should look around, do a market survey of how much each of these influencers charge, and you should know what your campaign can afford. It is, however, important to consider your product type and how much money you can generate per item on average. If you sell very cheap items, it is unadvisable to select expensive influencers to enable you to get your returns quick.
  • Ensure that the influencers on your shortlist are “legit” – they haven’t amassed fake engagements and followers. Check through their posts painstakingly to see their follower-to-engagement ratio. Someone with 10,000 followers shouldn’t struggle to get 100 engagements; if they do, it could be a red flag of poor content, fake or inactive followers. The comments shouldn’t also be stereotyped like robots. If all the comments you see on an influencer’s posts are short and identical, it could be fake or simulated. There should be a proper flow of interaction.
  • Check out the influencers’ previous campaigns, what brands they have worked with, how similar those brands are to yours, and how successful the campaign turned out to be. Also, check out their posts and be sure they can communicate about you to their audience without sounding excessively promotional. You need interactions, not a robot.

Look for an advocate

Many influencers just want to make money from campaigns, and so they don’t put genuine effort into the campaigns; they just want the campaign to end as soon as possible, so they can get money from other campaigns.

This is usually dangerous to the campaign’s success, as there is usually little creativity in terms of content.

This is why the influencer you choose must be ready to dedicate effort to ensure the campaign’s success, rather than just make random posts about your product or service.

From previous campaigns of an influencer, you will get an insight into how creative he is with campaigns. If you can ensure that your choice influencer can advocate for your brand, you will totally win over his audience, and it will be evident in your sales and revenue.

Choose according to your business scope

If your business scope is small and not even beyond your country, maybe in just a few select states, it is advisable to use micro-influencers because of their closer interactions with people who form your target audience.

Even if you feel like you can afford the celebrities, there will be little effect as those influencers have a much larger scope than your audience.

If you have a brick and mortar store in Just one state in a European country, it might be out of scope to contact a celebrity as their fans are people all over the world, and many people won’t travel down to patronize you because a celebrity they like is talking about you.

However, mini influencers, nano influencers, and micro-influencers can reach out more specifically to people within your scope.

As word spreads locally, the number of customers will increase, and from there, you can think of expansion to other states, probably based on requests of people who engage posts.

Consider many engagements

Before committing to an influencer, especially micro-influencers and below, it is important to know how well they get their audience engaged.

As previously said, micro-influencers usually engage with their audiences more, so there is evident goodwill, but this engagement should be well measured in terms of percentage.

An influencer with 100,000 followers but has an average engagement rate of 10,000 likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc., is doing worse than an influencer who has 30,000 followers with an engagement rate of 7,500.

So when making decisions, it is important to properly consider followers considering engagements, don’t just choose an influencer because they have a larger audience.

How well influencers’ audience engages their posts is a testament to how valuable their content is, and hence how useful they can be to your campaign.

Ideally, the average engagements for posts on social media should be from 3% to 5% to ensure that you are dealing with a loyal set of followers.

Select from your niche

You will see many influencers with impressive numbers and previous campaigns that look good, but be sure to select from your niche for two main reasons.

You want to be sure that they can provide useful content for your brand. In the past, their content might have been great because of the knowledge they possess about the niche of those brands.

But if they don’t know much about your niche, you greatly risk a failed campaign due to poor content.

It is also possible that the influencers have gained their target audience from posting things that their followers are conversant with.

The majority of that audience followed them because of that campaign.

If your choice influencer brings up a strange topic, it might be difficult for them to relate, and they altogether ignore it.

Your target audience:

As a business owner, you could be selling directly to consumers (B2C marketing), or you may target other Businesses (B2B marketing).

In choosing an influencer for your campaign, it is important to know the influencers that are already popular with brands.

Such influencers that are popular with brands are great for B2B marketing.

If you target businesses as your customer base, your influencer must be reputable. A reputable and well-known influencer can be appropriate for this kind of campaign because fellow businesses will trust them better.

For individual campaigns, several influencers can be used, even relatively new ones, as long as there is an audience and the influencer can create quality content.

Type of remuneration

It is important to determine whether you want to give out cash, products, or both to your choice influencers for a successful campaign.

If you render a service, you can show past jobs and services you have rendered to your influencers to critique and see how much knowledge they can garner about your brand because audiences will have a lot of questions.

You definitely do not want your influencer ignoring them.

You can also give out new products for them to use and have an honest opinion about it and look at the product from a customer perspective; that way, they will relate with the customers better in their posts.

Commissions are also ways to get your influencers well invested in your campaign, you just have to reach a fair agreement with the influencer, and if you are using more than one influencer, you can make use of dedicated links for them so that each of them will have a collation system for leads that were gotten through them.

Influencers are sometimes skeptical about using commissions as the sole form of payment, but it can be mixed with other means of remuneration. If you are paying cash only, you need to ensure that you are not promoting an entirely new product.

Products already in the market but have dipped in demand can be promoted. Hence there will be fewer questions, and even fellow consumers can have the answers to the questions of others. 

Key takeaways

  • Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that utilizes those with influence in a particular industry to increase brand awareness and encourage them to take a specific course of action.
  • Influencer marketing relies on shared goals and values between the concerned parties, and not on transactional arrangements.
  • Conventional digital marketing is now largely ignored by consumers. Influencer marketing is seen as a more authentic marketing strategy.

What are the types of influnecers?

We can break down influencers into five main categories:

What is considered influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that leverages those with influence in a particular over social media platforms to increase brand awareness via targeted campaigns. Examples comprise brands’ campaigns over Instagram or TikTok, where brands connect with influencers in various niches to launch, promote or enhance their products successfully.

What factors to take into account when picking an influencer?

A few key factors to take into account when choosing to work with an influencer are:

What's the process to follow to choose an inlfuencer for your brand?

Read more:

Marketing Glossary

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

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