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What is influencer marketing and how can you develop your own strategy?



Influencer marketing can be one of the most effective forms of online marketing available, but it can also be one of the most difficult to get right and build an effective strategy around. What exactly is influencer marketing? How do you find influencers that are perfect for your business? What does an effective influencer marketing strategy look like? This article will answer all of these questions and more, giving you everything you need to create an influencer marketing campaign that will bring in new clients and new revenue.

The Basics

Influencer marketing (sometimes called social media marketing) involves using a person with a large following to promote a product or service. Ideally, the influencer has an engaged audience and expertise in the area of the product or service being advertised. Influencers typically blog about their experience with the product/service, share photos on Instagram, take photos of themselves wearing the clothing at home or in public places, use hashtags in Twitter updates, pin content on Pinterest, and make videos on YouTube. To learn more about influencers use social media to search for hashtags like #sponsored #ambassador #ad #paidrepost and find brands that are working with other bloggers they admire. A good way to develop your own strategy is by understanding what type of brand message would work best for this particular blogger. For example, if the blogger frequently uses profanity in posts then it may not be a good idea to work with them because this will conflict with your brand’s message. 

If you have already decided which type of influencer would be best for your campaign then start by contacting them and explaining why you think they would be interested in what you are doing and why it aligns well with their values. If there isn’t any luck there then see if they have connections who might be interested.

Different Types of Influencers

There are three different types of influencers who could be a part of an influencer marketing campaign: micro-influencers, macro-influencers, and mega-influencers. Micro-influencers are individuals who have anywhere from 1k to 100k followers on any given social media platform. Macro-influencers usually have anywhere from 100k to 1 million followers on any given social media platform. And mega-influencers usually have over 1 million followers on any given social media platform. These categories vary when looking at more than one network as well; for example, Instagram micro-influencers will typically have less than 10,000 followers whereas Twitter micro-influencers might reach anywhere from 5k to 10k followers. Before you start implementing influencer marketing into your campaign, it’s important to identify which type of influencer would best suit the product or service that you’re promoting. 

This also includes what kind of content they post on their respective social media account - are they talking about products similar to yours? Do they promote brands in the same niche? Are they more interested in posting beauty tutorials or fashion tips vs parenting articles or fitness posts? The goal is to make sure that the influencer has content related to what they promote so that their followers are interested in what they share with them via the sponsored post.

Identifying Target Audiences

An influencer marketing strategy can be constructed by narrowing down the target audience. This will depend on the campaign being created, but a general guideline is to target between 300-500 people. When targeting this size of the audience, it would be ideal for the person to either have a lot of followers or at least one other social media account that has a high level of engagement. The niche for the content must also be relevant to what the campaign needs in order to garner attention or shareability from those who are following their online presence. A good way to evaluate whether someone could be targeted as an influencer would be by reading their social media feeds. Does this person seem like they would use/wear what you're trying to sell or otherwise promote your brand? Would they create quality content about your product? Do their values align with yours? These are just some of the questions you'll want to ask yourself when evaluating potential influencers.

Building Relationships with Influencers

Social media has changed the way brands go about connecting with their audience. One of the newer methods of outreach to potential customers and consumers is influencer marketing. Brands have discovered that by partnering with individuals who have an established following on social media, they are able to take advantage of a wider range of audiences than they might otherwise be able to reach. Social media influencers serve as a bridge between brands, potential consumers, and other communities interested in buying products that align with those social media channels. 

Influencers offer what some call the wisdom of crowds for product development. In the past, companies tried to design products through only the use of quantitative data from focus groups or surveys. But now, many also rely on qualitative feedback from influencers’ followers when developing new products. Using this information, companies can understand which aspects of a product resonate with different audiences and make adjustments accordingly before launching it to the public. For example, when launching the newest version of Pokémon Go, Nintendo was very specific about which Pokémon would be included in order to appeal most strongly to its target demographic - Generation Xers who grew up playing Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow. The game includes many familiar faces including Pikachu, Eevee, Charmander, and Jigglypuff but it also includes generation one monsters like Dratini and Cyndaquil that kids today may not recognize as Pokemon at all!

Moving From Brand Awareness to Conversions

To expand the reach of a campaign, one should look to leverage their relationships with other influencers to help promote a product. This is often done by contacting said influencers or offering incentives for them to promote the product. This will make an effective tool for a company that already has a following in place, but for those looking to build theirs from scratch, it may not be the best strategy. 

Another thing that should be considered when developing an influencer marketing campaign is where the influencers exist within their vertical. It may seem logical at first that each demographic would have its own set of influencers, however, this isn't always true. When considering influencer marketing, one must take into account the verticals available to them- does their industry provide a wealth of influencers? Or are they simply fishing from any possible pool that could connect to their product?

Measuring Success and Next Steps

Based on the success of your first campaign, you should have a good idea of who your target audience is. Now, it's time to consider what type of campaign would be best for them. For example, someone who prefers written content may prefer a blog post while someone who prefers visual content may enjoy receiving an infographic. Then think about what they want to receive from the campaign. Is it coupons or special offers, updates on a product line or sneak peeks of new releases, industry news, or information about timely topics like wine in Italy? Figure out what are the most relevant topics that would be valuable to this specific group of people, then build creative content around those topics.


This concludes the three-part series on what influencer marketing is, why it's important, and a brief overview of some strategies for achieving success with your own campaign. You now have all the tools you need to start developing an influencer marketing campaign for yourself. Remember, in order to be successful with this new way of doing business, patience and tenacity are key!