Chances are, you’ve participated in influencer marketing already—whether you knew it or not. If you’re active online, you’ve probably liked or commented on or shared or at least read or watched a piece of sponsored content posted by an influencer at some point. That’s the thing about this type of social media marketing: When it’s done right, it’s beautifully subtle.
So what is influencer marketing, exactly?
“Influencer marketing is the practice of marketing products and services by partnering with individuals who have influence over a large group of followers (ranging from several thousand to several million) on social media.”
And what does doing it right really mean? It means that a brand is smart enough to partner with an influencer who is an authentic fit for whatever product or service they’re trying to sell. That way, when the influencer posts about it, their endorsement comes across as genuine and their audience is receptive to the recommendation.
“The most effective influencer marketing campaigns introduce a brand to a specific audience through an influencer’s trusted voice in an authentic, friendly way. Understanding your brand’s target demographic is essential. So is identifying an influencer whose core audience aligns with that target demo.”
Influencer marketing is the wave of the future. More and more marketing executives are spending more and more money on this form of advertising. Why? Because it works! Just think about it. Are you more likely to buy something after seeing it featured in a traditional commercial or banner ad, or after your very favorite YouTuber or Instagram meme queen advocates for it in a way that resonates as organic?
“When it’s done right, it’s authentic, trustworthy, and purchase driven. It’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way to grow your business, increase brand awareness, and drive sales.'”
If you think about it, influencer marketing represents a pretty cool shift in the advertising paradigm. It reflects a deeper understanding of consumer behavior—the realization that people care deeply about how they spend their most precious resource (their time). Young people don’t want to waste their time bombarded by obnoxious pop-up ads or dull commercials. But if someone we truly look up to—someone we proactively choose to follow on a social media platform because they’re inspiring or hilarious or just a good role model—sends us a message that something’s worth considering, we’ll pay attention. We’ll listen. We’ll support the product or cause in question.