Influencer marketing is the method of communicating a message about your product, service or brand using popular individuals with an engaged audience.

In simple terms: paying a blogger to mention you.

This is a hugely popular area of digital marketing at the moment, with both the big brands and the start-ups using it as a critical part of their marketing strategy.

So what is an influencer?

An influencer is essentially anyone that has an audience. This can be a huge audience of 10 million, or a modest audience of 10 thousand.

They can be a blogger with an army of email subscribers. They can be an Instagrammer with a crowd of followers. They can be a vlogger who gets thousands of views on YouTube. Or they can be a public speaker who regularly speaks at public events.

In fact, the more successful influencers are usally all of the above.

What makes a quality influencer?

I’m glad you asked, as this is very important. The quality of an influencer should be measured – at the very least – in these two ways:

  • Engagement of their audience
  • Relevance to your customers

Looking first at engagement, let’s take two Instagram accounts as an example:

  Followers Av. likes per post
Influencer A 1,000,000 10,000
Influencer B 10,000 1,000

Which do you outreach to?

Don’t be fooled by the bigger numbers. Even though Influencer A has 100 times the followers and 10 times the likes, Influencer B actually proves to have the more engaged audience; 10% engaged compared to just 1% engaged for Influencer A.

What’s more, when it comes to paying these influencers, you’re more likely to have to fork out a lot more for influencer A as, on the face of it, they look drastically more popular.

Relevance is another key area to consider for quality. An influencer should have the audience you wished you had. If you’re selling a healthy drink, pick a food blogger. If you’re selling jewellery, pick a fashion blogger.

This will not only be important for your brand, but it will also be important to the influencer and their personal brand. They want to engage with brands that are relevant to them and their audience. They want to provide value to their audience and won’t compromise this for a quick buck (usually).

For example, a fitness blogger chucking up a post about a carpet cleaner will lose a lot of respect from their audience. These influencers live and die by their audience, so they cannot compromise the relationship they have with them.

What are the benefits of influencer marketing?

The core benefit of using influencers to market your brand is that you essentially communicate your message through the influencer to an audience that is listening intently.

A lot of social media users don’t want to be sold to, and a lot don’t even want to follow a brand. There’s a tendancy to engage with people more readily, and that’s why influencers are thriving.

There’s long been a trend to trust the opinions of others when it comes to a customer’s decision making process (second only to recommendations from people they know), and influencer marketing utilises this trust.

How can small businesses use influencer marketing?

No small business can afford to engage with Zoella, but that doesn’t mean influencer marketing is out of reach. Add a question below or message me on social media to see my thoughts on how your small business could use influencer marketing.

Posted by:Mark Flint

Mark's an experienced digital marketer and graphic designer. He's worked with numerous brands in a variety of industries – from food to property – and set up FLINT Marketing in 2015 to work with small businesses.

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