What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is certainly not a new strategy, but it has become exponentially more powerful recently with advances in internet technology and is expected to remain a dominant force in the marketing industry for years to come. This type of marketing strategy focuses on outreach to influential individuals who have an existing audience that lines up with the company’s products or services. It can also be described as two-step communication, since advertisers and marketers are reaching their audience indirectly through third-party channels.

What Exactly is an Influencer?

The term “influencer” in the context of marketing can refer to many different kinds of influential people, including notable bloggers, popular YouTube posters, social media magnates or even Hollywood celebrities. Since social media outlets have an incredibly large and broad audience, many of the most successful influencers maintain a presence on one or more sites. Their value to marketers can come from the sheer size of their viewer base, trust they’ve built up for their audience or their ability to set trends in the industry.

Methods of Using Influencers

Marketers can leverage these influential people in one of several ways: by marketing to them, partnering with them or adopting them as advocates. Many companies try to resonate with certain influencers with various advertising and marketing tactics with the goal of persuading them to advocate a particular product or service. Marketers can also develop a working relationship with key people in their industry, pitching products and ideas or offering incentives. Some companies go a step further and bring the influencer on board, making them an official advocate of the brand.

Benefits of Marketing to Influencers

There are several reasons why influencer marketing is expected to be a $5-$10 billion dollar industry in the very near future. One of the mains reasons that it has become such a dominant force is that it allows companies to connect with an existing audience that has a proven interest in products or topics related to their brand. This allows marketers to skip a lot of the research and experimentation required by traditional techniques. All they have to do is to get the message into the hands of the influencer and allow them to communicate it to their audience.

Marketing through influencers offers a more subtle and genuine message compared to advertising on television, radio or billboards. Viewers or fans of an online personality are likely to trust that their recommendations have some merit, even if they would be suspicious of a similar message from the company itself. The power of social media networking also encourages viewers or readers to spread the message along their own personal networks, which can greatly increases a marketer’s reach with minimal effort.

There is no doubt that influencer marketing is here to stay, which means virtually all marketers should be looking for ways to use it in their own outreach efforts. Companies in all industries and of all sizes should seek influencers in their target market and start a conversation with them. There are many ways to interact and use influencers for marketing purposes, but building a friendly and professional relationship is always the first step.