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What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer Marketing
What Is Influencer Marketing?

If you have read anything about marketing lately — especially digital marketing — you have probably heard about influencer marketing. It’s safe to say it’s a buzzword at this point. 

Influencer marketing gets more popular every year, but there are still a lot of questions about this form of marketing. Today, we’re breaking down the basics of influencer marketing to help everyone understand exactly what influencer marketing is and why it matters.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that uses social media influencers to promote a brand, product or service to an engaged audience. That prompts the question, “what is an influencer?”

A wide variety of people call themselves “influencers,” which is no surprise, given that it’s actually a broad category. We can define influencers as social media content creators who accumulate enough followers to meaningfully influence the behavior of others. In other words, a personal Facebook account with 100 followers doesn’t make someone an influencer, but a Facebook account with 12,000 dedicated followers who care about your content does. 

Influencers can actually be broken down into four general categories by the number of followers they have. What are the 4 types of influencers? They are:

  • Nano influencers (Between 1,000 and 10,000 followers)
  • Micro influencers (Between 1,000 and 100,000 followers)
  • Macro influencers (Between 100,000 and 1,000,000 followers)
  • Mega influencers (Over 1,000,000 followers)

Keep in mind that these follower counts are just general guidelines for categorizing influencers. By these definitions, nano influencers are a subcategory of micro influencers. 

Influencer marketing is when brands partner with influencers to promote their products. 

How Does Influencer Marketing Work?

Looking at an influencer’s social media page, it might be difficult to see how influencer marketing works. The answer is simple — in influencer marketing, brands pay influencers to create and publish sponsored posts on their pages.

The process goes something like this:

  1. A brand reaches out to one or more influencers about participating in an influencer marketing campaign.
  2. If the influencers want to participate, the brand and the influencers agree on terms for the sponsorship. The brand will generally provide the influencers with some guidelines on what they need to include in their post to receive payment. 
  3. The influencers publish their sponsored posts about the brand for all of their followers to see. They endorse or promote the brand’s products/services in these posts. 
  4. Ideally, the influencers’ followers engage with the post, learn more about the brand, and even become customers. 

Actual influencer marketing campaigns involve many more steps, but this is the general framework of how influencer marketing works. 

Any company in any industry can take advantage of the power of influencer marketing strategies. That said, influencer marketing statistics show that e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are some of the most likely to use influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is especially popular in industries like health and beauty, fashion, and fitness. 

What Is an Example of Influencer Marketing?

Let’s walk through an example of influencer marketing. Take, for example, an Instagram influencer marketing campaign for an e-commerce brand selling skincare products. 

To start, the brand would probably look for influencers who create content related to beauty and health. 

The marketers would have to choose what kind of influencers they want to work with and begin creating a list of potential candidates. Mega influencers have much larger audiences, but micro influencers are more affordable to work with and have higher engagement rates. There’s no right choice, just what’s best for each brand’s goals. 

Once they have their list of influencers (mega, micro, or somewhere in between), the brand could reach out to each influencer individually to propose a sponsorship. The brand would either help generate influencer content ideas or leave the creative side to the product influencers on Instagram. Those that agree to participate in the campaign would post their sponsored content on their Instagram accounts as scheduled. 

Finally, the brand tracks the results of its influencer marketing campaign and pays the influencers for their Instagram sponsored posts. 

How Do Brands Work with Influencers?

The above example is one way that brands can work with influencers — directly. There is another option, though.

Working with influencers directly and managing your own influencer marketing campaigns can be overwhelming for internal marketing departments. That’s where influencer marketing software comes into play.

Internet marketing software simplifies all of the steps of the influencer marketing process. It can help you find the right influencers, reach out to them, plan campaigns, pay for campaigns, and track results, all in one place. 

How Lionize Can Help

Interested in launching an influencer marketing campaign? Lionize can help. Our influencer marketing platform takes the guesswork out of influencer marketing, so you can get results faster.  Book a discovery call today to see how we can help your brand.