Did you know that almost 86% of women use social media for advice on potential purchases? 

As a result, the concept of influencer marketing was born. 

You may have come across the term ‘influencer marketing’, and pondered on what it means, how it works, and more. So, what is influencer marketing? 

And more importantly, should your business consider using it? Here’s what you need to know. 

You may have come across the term influencer marketing online but what is influencer marketing and should your business use it? Here's what you need to know.
Social Media Concept. The meeting at the white office table.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Think back to the days where a celebrity would feature in a Sketchers or a Pepsi advertisement. This was the original idea of influencer marketing. Finding a high-powered or highly-influential person to promote a product, in hopes that it would convince a ‘normal’ person to buy it. 

Nowadays, today’s influencers have moved more towards ‘normal’ people on social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with large followings and an audience that engages with them regularly. 

How Does a Person Become an Influencer? 

So how does one become an influencer?

The process would usually start with a regular person who has made themselves known within a certain niche. For example, a personal instructor may have an Instagram page where he posts fitness videos and images. 

His following is in the thousands and people admire him and respect his advice. He now has the power to influence their purchase decisions within the health and wellness industry. If he swears by a certain supplement, they’re bound to take his word for it. 

That is how influencer marketing works. 

Different Categories of Influencers 

Influencers can be organized into different categories, based on the number of followers they have and their engagement rates. There are broken down as follows:

Micro-influencers have 10,000 followers or less. The influencers tend to have a strong influence within a very specific niche. 

Middle-influencers have from 10,000 followers to 250,000 followers. These influencers tend to have experience working with brands and their audience seems to be slightly more engaged and have a more intimate online relationship with them. 

Macro-influencers have more than 250,000 followers. These guys are what you would call ‘Social Media Celebrities’. Although their reach is large, it can be a bit more difficult for them to provide genuine authenticity when it comes to promoting products. 

How Do Businesses Use Influencer Marketing? 

The first step is for a business to know their ideal target audience. If your product is targeted at parents, you wouldn’t want a teenage influencer promoting them, but rather a mother who has followers who match your criteria. 

There are two options: 

  • A business can sponsor an influencer with a product or service, and ask them to review it on their profile: this is generally for micro or middle influencers
  • A business can pay an influencer to promote their product or service outright, either to create sales or to increase their own brand presence online

Alternatively, a business can use Instagram shoutouts to their advantage, which is just a mention of your brand on a well-known account. 

The most important thing for businesses to do is measure the success of their influencer marketing program. Influencers should be able to provide exact numbers around video views, comments, likes, and link clicks. This will help a brand decide whether the investment has been worth it. 

So, Where to Now?

Now that we’ve answered your question, “What is influencer marketing?” you need to decide if influencer marketing is for you. 

First thing’s first, decide on your goals and what you want to achieve. Then ensure that you find the right influencer for your brand and that their audience meets your requirements. 

You need to know what your selected influencer might give you. Read this article for a good idea of what their presentation should include.