Influencer marketing uses celebrities, athletes, bloggers, and other influential figures to market brands.
Influencers are those who have large social media followings and have the ability to influence their audience.
Brands use influencers to promote their product or service through paid advertisements, free giveaways, and endorsements. In addition, they can generate significant brand awareness and loyalty through paid or unpaid posts.
The goal is to get them to share valuable information and create excitement around a particular topic, product, or service. The key benefit for brands is that they reach a larger audience at a lower cost than traditional advertising methods.
Micro-influencers can be established on a variety of channels. So, once you've chosen the micro-influencer to partner with, you can have them write a post about your service, share an online review, or post a picture on Instagram with one of your products. Due to the manageable size of their base of followers, they’ll be able to engage with your target audience on the content they share about your products and brand.
This way, they can answer any questions the audience members may have about your products, communicate their experience with your products, and direct audience members to your website or customer support team if necessary.
Sisters Hermon and Heroda are fashion micro-influencers with roughly 89K followers on Instagram.
In addition to sharing fashion looks and tips with their followers, they are also disability advocates and often share what it’s like being deaf.
In their ad, the duo shared a video in which they illustrate how being deaf can be considered a barrier in society and how that can make you feel powerless.
They then introduce the brand, Molton Brown, and how its latest fragrance makes them feel "audacious, intense, and passionate." In the caption, they continue to share how the brand’s collection resonated with them because of their life experiences.
This is a great example of how influencers can effectively tie their own personal stories to a brand’s product, making the messaging even stronger.
Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognized and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.
Even if your target audience doesn’t overlap with all of your celebrity influencer’s fans, having them promote and/ or use your product or service is a powerful form of social proof. Since celebrities are so well known, they’re effective at reaching multiple audiences across various channels.
Since celebrities are so well-known, there are many ways to work with them. You may focus on social media, print or online ads, TV commercials, blogs, or other written publications.
You can ask the celebrity to:
In a recent Instagram post, supermodel Winnie Harlow shared a post in which she rocks a Fendi back, with a short copy that reads, "The first secret to success is believing in yourself."
Fendi’s mission is all about turning dreams into reality. Harlow has been vocal about her struggle with bullying as a child due to her appearance. However, that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming a supermodel.
She serves as a symbol of perseverance and confidence, which is in great alignment with the brand. As a brand, you want to make sure that the influencers you work with align not only with the audience you want to reach but also with your values.
A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).
To collaborate with a blog influencer, you may write a guest post for their blog, ask to be mentioned in one of their posts, or sponsor a post about one of your products or services. If you sponsor a post on the influencer’s blog, you can also provide images of your products for them to share as well.
A popular lifestyle blog influencer is Hannah Bronfman of HBFIT.
Bronfman writes about health, beauty, fitness, and creating a life that makes you happy and feels good. Between her blog subscribers, social media following, ads, the book she wrote, and the app she created, Hannah has millions of audience members and fans who keep up with her life.
Her blog features a variety of product, gym, and spa reviews. She collaborated with Face Gym, a local facial studio, on a sponsored blog post about their services and facial treatments.
Bronfman included information about the unique studio, facial experience, why her audience members would love the services Face Gym offers, as well as a coupon code for their first visit.
There are also pictures of Face Gym and the services they offer in Bronfman’s blog post to give audience members a better idea of what to expect from the studio in terms of services and atmosphere.
Social media influencers are well-recognized on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people.
Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.
Once you find a social media influencer with an established image that works for your brand, posts content you feel complements your products or services, and has followers who are also members of your target audience, you can determine what type of content you’re going to have them promote.
If the influencer is on Instagram, you may have them post a picture with your product and tag your social account. If they’re on Facebook, you can ask them to share a live video of them opening your product and if they’re on Twitter, you can have them write a brief statement about your product and pair it with a picture of them holding it.
On YouTube, you may have the influencer share a video of them using your product while explaining the reasons why they love it.
On any social media platform, you can also have an influencer host a contest or giveaway with your products or share coupon codes.
Tabitha Brown is an actor and vegan influencer who gained popularity on TikTok and Instagram through her buoyant personality. Her 3.9M followers on Instagram consist of health-conscious individuals who enjoy learning about Brown’s vegan recipes, lifestyle, and life advice.
Recently, Brown partnered with plant-based meal company Orro and posted an image on Twitter of her pouring one of their products into a glass.
The post directs the audience to the website where they can learn more about the brand and discover their line of products.
Because Brown is such a strong figure in the plant-based, vegan community, she was a great partner for the brand. She even has a strong community of non-vegan followers, who simply enjoy her personality and content. This allows Orro to potentially reach multiple personas.
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts on a specialized topic within a particular field. For example, a KOL might specialize in makeup application, the Paleo lifestyle, or Bikram yoga.
If your business is looking to attract audience members in a very specialized field, a KOL is a great option — due to their expert knowledge on a certain topic, KOLs are trusted contributors in their industries and have followings of people who are also invested in those subjects.
KOLS, like micro and celebrity influencers, are present on many channels, such as social media, blogs, other written publications (like academic journals), and ads. Therefore, your business has many options for how you decide to work with a KOL.
You might have them review one of your products on YouTube, mention you in their column, write a blog post about your brand, share a post about your product on Instagram, or pose with your product for a print or digital advertisement.
She’s a makeup artist pro — her expert knowledge on makeup application makes her a key opinion leader in the makeup and cosmetic industry. Kandee shares thousands of makeup tutorials, makeup tips and tricks, and product reviews on YouTube and Instagram.
She has shared sponsored content for BoxyCharm — a subscription service that provides customers with a box of several new beauty products every month — promoting their service, as well as her favorite products in the box, among her millions of followers and fans.
BoxyCharm’s target audience includes lovers of beauty products, cosmetics, and makeup which works with Kandee’s huge base of followers. They had Kandee share a post with one of their boxes, describe which products inside she was most excited about, and tag them in her post.
Now that we’ve covered the different types of influencers your business can work with, let’s review how to find these influencers so they can begin helping you reach your target audience.
The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember an influencer is already creating content in your field and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.
Review articles related to various topics in your field, conduct individual searches for people you’ve heard of or know are already high impact contributors, and scan industry-specific sites and web pages for influencers.
You can also search for influencers on various social media platforms. Whether or not you’re going for a social media influencer, most influencers will likely have some sort of social media presence — their profiles serve as a great way to learn more about them.
On social, search for keywords and phrases, specific users, hashtags, and tagged audience members on specific posts (brands and social users may have tagged influencers you could potentially work within posts).
Don’t forget to look in the comments sections of high-traffic posts related to your industry or type of work as influencers may have posted comments and interacted with members of your target audience there. You can even get some ideas from influencer posts on your competitor’s accounts.
Use your current network (professional and personal) to obtain referrals. Look for KOLs on LinkedIn and ask your team if they’ve recently followed any micro-influencers on social who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand and image.
If you’ve worked with any influencers in the past, ask them if they’re willing to connect your business with other influencers they know as well.
Reading blogs is another great way to locate influencers — that is, both the blog authors and their sources. Scan for the people mentioned in the blogs. Perhaps the blogger is reviewing their work, mentioned a quote from them, or asked them to contribute to the piece.
Additionally, themed publications (business, art, beauty, or fashion) often do expert round-ups where they feature dozens of influencers. You can research the individual further to determine if they’re a good fit for your business.
If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to send them a direct email or give them a call (although that’d be pretty cool). Instead, you’ll probably have to go through a talent agency or work with an agent to determine whether or not that celebrity is willing to work with your brand and for what price.
Due to the rising popularity of influencer marketing, various technologies and software have emerged to help businesses identify influencers and measure their success.
Three of the most popular options include Modash, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo.
Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular for brands to invest in. With the rise of word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, it’s a great way to connect with audience members, enhance brand awareness, and boost conversions. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers.
So, begin developing your business’s plans for incorporating influencers in your marketing tactics today so they can help you build new and lasting relationships with your target audience.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.